Downsizing, Decluttering, and Simplifying

I am in the process of downsizing, decluttering, and simplifying my life right now. This is in preparation for converting my upstairs office suite, a converted attic crawl space, into a studio apartment for renting. My goal is to have the apartment ready for rental by January 1, 2022, about six months down the road. There is a lot of work to be done to get there. The first step including going through all my “stuff” and doing a Maria Kondo-type decluttering (The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up) approach MOL. I wrote earlier about this in my Secular Hermit post. Here I want to expand on that a little.

While I am already liquidating some of my items on FB’s Marketplace and Craig’s List, I am planning an October 2, 2021, “mini-estate sale”. In addition to my household and office stuff, I am planning on going through my two shops and including tools and equipment. I inherited a lot of my father’s tools, including his professional mechanic tools. Many of these are duplicates of ones I already have, will never use, or have no idea what they are. He had a bunch of specialized tools. Additionally, I am planning on including a barely used cement mixer, a garden “cultivator”, and other pieces of equipment and machinery. Yes, I have two side-by-side shops. The first one is specialized for woodwork and general repairs, plumbing, electrical, and misc. The newer shop is a mechanical shop with welding equipment, mechanic tools, bicycle equipment, and my two bicycles. Attached to this shop is a small garden shed, which includes a wash area for prepping veggies out the garden, planting seeds for garden seedlings, etc.

I am in the process of moving my downsized office into one of the four rooms downstairs. This includes going through my large file cabinet and reducing it to two drawers. Going through my books yet again and culling the ones I no longer want to keep, especially related to my mental health counseling practice, which I have closed.

One of my “visions” was to someday build me Tiny House and be a hermit. I got the hermit part down path. Since my downstairs, the original house’s living area is 999 sq ft, it doesn’t quite qualify for a tiny house, but it will do. So, for all practical purposes, I have my almost-tiny house.

I am nearly overwhelmed by all of the things I’ve got to do to pull this off. Started a spread sheet so as to kind of getting it better organized in my head, figuring out what need to do in what stages, etc., so I can check it off as I get things done. So many decisions to make: keep, sell, recycle, trash? I find it exhausting and can only keep it up for a couple of hours each day usually. I’m a FP (Feeling/ Perceiving) on the Myers-Briggs Personality Inventory. Which means doing detail stuff like this really drains my energy. I am trying to evaluate whether to keep, sell, etc., not just right now but down the road too. For example, the scrapbooking supplies my youngest daughter gave me five or so Christmases ago that I have still not gotten around to doing anything with, I have all kinds of photos on my computer and would really like to get these in scrapbooks. Luckily, my two daughters and ex-wife, Carol, all are pros at scrapbooking. So, I have a lot of expertise and encouragement to call on for help. Then there are my nice Nikon camera and banjo, all that expensive, fairly new, and barely used R.E.I. backpacking and camping equipment. I have a special bump-out shed the camping/backpacking equipment is stored in, along with BBQ and my Dutch oven campfire cooking equipment. With my hip arthritis, I can no longer do the backpacking. What about the camping though? Right now, having sold my truck and bicycling it, camping is also out. But, what about later? I had planned to do some bicycle camping and touring. Still may do the camping, but the touring is looking doubtful.

This bicycling-only thing may to get old. I am hoping it won’t. I think it’s cool and bohemian! Plus, it is part of my contribution to climate change. It is something I have been wanting to try for some years now and is also research for my current book project. That said, I can already tell, not having access to my own car or truck is a major hassle. There are just too few bicycle-safe roads around here for one thing. With my going into semi-retirement, closing my counseling practice, and trying to live on a third of my earlier income, the nice truck I had, even paid for as it was, was more expense than I wanted with insurance, taxes, gas, and maintenance. So that money is in the bank. However, that money is currently paying most of my mortgage until I can get the rental apartment bringing in income. So, that January 1 rental date, may also be a replacement car/truck date. Also, I wanted to try the bicycle-only thing for six months at least and until used vehicle prices come down hopefully. Even when I get a replacement vehicle, I still plan to mostly ride around here on the bicycle, just as I was doing with my truck before.

Simplifying the physical and emotional stuff of my life reflects what I am doing with my spiritual practice too. In addition to “cleaning house” in reference to the physical side of my life, I am also emotionally cleaning house, or at least attempting to.

Emotional decluttering and simplification. This gets personal. My last ex, Tricia, was a very difficult marriage. I refer to her as my “irresistible train wreck.” Since our divorce three years ago, we have maintained a “friend with benefits” relationship. She is still someone I can really bear my soul to, and she meets my needs (or wants) on several levels that no one else in my life does. I care greatly for her. And, I am still the only one in her life that she can really talk to. Increasingly though, I have the relationship more and more a strain. My left brain says it is time, or past time, to bring this relationship to a close. My right brain and emotions, my heart, is reluctant to do this though. Drawing from my Buddhist teachings about impermanence and attachment, all things must come to an end. I can feel us pulling further and further away from each other. It is time to just let it go. Sigh.

Zen practice is a lot about letting go. Maybe spiritual practice in general is a lot about letting go. Gassho.