I’ve written a lot about decluttering.
I’ve told you the story of how Rob and I learned about minimalism after meeting a live aboard couple in Florida, back in 2009. When I began writing this blog, back when it was Our So-Called Life, we were in the initial stages of trying to declutter and to live such a lifestyle.
Many of you followed me through our first live aboard experience, during the summer of 2011. This sailing trip was cut short when we ran aground, but the month and a half of living in such a small space made an impression on us. When we returned home, the house seemed so incredibly cluttered. So thus began The Great Purge (later renamed Great Purge #1). Anything that we had not used on Moonraker, was questioned. For a week, we made daily trips to Goodwill. Our goal was to have a simpler home, that was easier to clean and more pleasing to the eye. And we accomplished that.
For the next year, managing clutter was simply a matter of maintenance. We lived on Moonraker for 91 days the next summer, in 2012, and many of you began following our story after reading my piece on Miss Minimalist. I reflected on life in 100 square feet, and found it to be rather comfortable.
Returning home was a shock to the system, not only because the house seemed cluttered, but also because life on land, in our small town in the woods, was so different from what I had experienced while cruising. We did some decluttering in the house, and I began to do a LOT of mental decluttering. We spent the next winter living in the basement, and enjoyed life in the small space.
We emerged from the basement, and from what had been a very dark winter for me (I still refer to it as Last Winter), with the determination to move to the water and to create a new life. We found a 700 square foot apartment in Houston, but our intention was to eventually live aboard full time. Downscaling from 1500 square feet to 700 is challenging enough, but the goal of Great Purge #2 was to downsize to the point where all of our possessions would fit in our station wagon and a small U-haul trailer.
I shared this journey with you, as well as my dislike of decluttering and my feelings of overwhelm. We spend June and July of 2013, emptying out our house, and there was a lot of mental decluttering going on as well. In the end, we spent our last night there sleeping on a mattress in the middle of an empty house.
And now, we have 40 days left until we have to leave our apartment. Our living space is anything but cluttered, and our furniture will be donated. I don’t expect Great Purge #3 to be as difficult or as time consuming as our previous decluttering efforts. But the result will be the most dramatic. We are downsizing from 700 square feet of living space to 100-200.
I look forward to having you join us, as we decide what stays and what goes.