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  • Radical Change

    March 3, 2009

    The other night I was watching an episode of House Hunters on HGTV.  A single lady was looking to move from her traditional family home in the suburbs to a small one-bedroom apartment in the city. She planned to get rid of her car and her gardening tools and all kinds of other stuff she wouldn’t need in a city dwelling.

    When she bought her home in the suburbs she was excited about all the room, hosting family events, decorating, gardening and all the other romantic notions that come with home ownership. But ultimately, she found it all to be just too much.  She said she really sort of felt burdened by all of her stuff and the space and all that it required of her.  And as it turns out, her family didn’t come to visit all that much. So, she decided to make a radical lifestyle change and scale back to the bare essentials.

    As I watched I thought about my big backyard with its mole holes everywhere and the flower beds that I can’t maintain and a garage so full of crud I can’t find anything.   And the idea of scaling back in a radical way was exceptionally appealing.

    I know of another lady who is married and has grown children. Her husband is an executive and they are very well off.  Like most couples in their tax bracket, they had accumulated and collected a house full of precious and lovely things that go along with fine living.

    One day they had a garage sale and sold everything.  And I do mean every thing.  They moved from a home of several thousand square feet into a small unheated one-room cabin that overlooks a river in a very rural area.  They have no closets, just two or three hooks and a couple of shelves. They have just one each of the things they need instead of one in every color, like many of us do.

    When I visited her cabin and saw her one or two hooks and one or two shelves for all of her clothes, I couldn’t imagine not having a walk in closet!  But honestly, in spite of having a closet full of clothes, I wear the same four or five outfits most of the time. If I were willing to make a radical change, I could probably get by with a couple of shelves and hooks and be perfectly happy.

    Radical change.

    How do you get to the point where you are willing to make the leap out of your comfort zone into something so different?  Even if all that comfort seems a little heavy and not all that comfortable.

    Is it a push? Is it something sharp and pointed that pokes you out of your nest?

    Or is it a pull? A sweet and lyrical song that draws you away into another life?

    Or is it merely discontent?

    I don’t know. I have been thinking a lot lately about making a radical lifestyle change, but I have neither a push nor a pull, so maybe its discontent.  Or maybe it’s just a case of the wintertime blues.

    Maybe instead of selling all my stuff, I’ll get a radical haircut instead.

    * * *

    When you think about making a radical lifestyle change, you have to consider not just the burden of the material “stuff” littering your emotional landscape, but also the burden of psychological obligations – like blogs, twitter, social media, television, clubs and other things that you have made space for in your life that require maintenance.  ~AM.

    69 Comments »

    1. YewNorkBabe says:

      I down-sized to a smaller house last year but my lifestyle is still the same. Now when my kids come over or my stepkids have their friends over, there is no room. I may have a smaller house to clean but I spend all my free time in the spring and summer in the numerous gardens, weeding and trying to figure out what the heck I’m supposed to be doing in there.

      I think if I were you I’d go for the radical haircut instead…not that your hair isn’t always awesome.

      March 3rd, 2009 at 8:15 am

    2. Julie says:

      I’m just the opposite. But I’m also only 22 and want to have family soon(like next couple years) and have this thing for big farmhouses. So does my husband so eventually we will be moving from our pretty good sized two bedroom duplex to a much bigger house.

      * * *
      I think it may have something to do with seasons of life. When I was in my 20s I was very interested in home and garden and nesting, and I still do love those things. But at 49, I’m more interested these days in artistic pursuits than keeping up with a lot of property. ~AM

      March 3rd, 2009 at 9:06 am

    3. Amy says:

      Sometimes I want to sell out of our anonymous suburban lifestyle. I want to go find a condo in the city and walk everywhere. Or live in tiny cabin on big land with lots of gardens. My husband wants to sell everything we own and live in an RV and travel.

      We only have one child, I homeschool and he’s adventurous. But, then reality comes crashing in and we realize we have to be able to make money.

      Some days I do feel trapped.

      March 3rd, 2009 at 9:18 am

    4. HarryJacksMom says:

      Funny how great your timing always is – we’ve decided to move, not really changing our lives that much, just getting a bit more elbow room. In the process of getting things ‘ready,’ we’ve pitched enough that we almost have enough room here LOL We inherited gardens when we moved here, and it’s been a big burden for 6 years. I’m going to try and remember these lessons when we find our new home. Happy week 🙂 And let us see the new hairs!

      March 3rd, 2009 at 9:25 am

    5. suzanne says:

      I do think it has to do with age….one just gets tired of keeping up with all the stuff. Less stuff equals less maintenance; plus you begin to realize what is of true value. So I understand your siren song, yet the gumption and energy it takes to make such a radical change seems overwhelming at the moment, too. It is a balancing act, isn’t it? Yep, I’d go for a simple act like a new hair do or trying a new vegetable!! 🙂

      Suzanne

      March 3rd, 2009 at 9:38 am

    6. Donna W says:

      If I outlive my husband, I’d be making huge changes: I don’t drive, so living out here in the boonies wouldn’t work. I’d move to senior citizen housing on a bus route in a part of a city that seems safe. That would take tremendous adjustment for one who has not lived in a town or city for over 40 years. I do believe, though, that as long as I had access to a public library and had Internet access, I’d get by.

      If Cliff gets to the place where he can’t handle 43 acres, we’d move to a small town, probably. Either way, age brings huge changes, and one had better be thinking about her options.

      March 3rd, 2009 at 9:38 am

    7. Janis says:

      In my mind I scan my house from top to bottom each day,wishing I had one of those EASY buttons. The accumulations of past needs and dreams sure pile up. The desire to strip down to the most basic requirements is there, but the discipline is lacking. I picture a nice pristine piece of white paper, in a serene uncluttered room, with only an open window and my imagination. That’s where change begins.

      Back to reality…I am a mom and my life rich with two daughters, is more like an explosion of backpacks, electronics, books, and too many shoes. Change is so complicated.

      Now, that radical haircut…remember Britney?

      March 3rd, 2009 at 9:44 am

    8. happy geek says:

      We do radical change every 2-3 years or so.
      I’m just longing for steady.
      LONGING.

      March 3rd, 2009 at 10:07 am

    9. MM says:

      I’m getting a radical haircut today. I’m hoping that will at least tide me over for awhile. Ha! But I understand the desire. I’m a very simple girl. I don’t need a lot. My ideal life would be a very simple condo downtown with no yard and I could walk to work. But my husband enjoys the suburban sprawl. So we mow and have a garage full of crap we don’t use, aka, stuff-my-husband-refuses-to-let-go-of. I keep telling myself that one of these days he’ll see the benefit of my simplicity. But for now, I’m benefitting from his sentimental nature. He adores me and our little boy and I don’t doubt for a moment that he’s a committed man. I guess I can deal with the suburban sprawl for that. 🙂

      March 3rd, 2009 at 10:10 am

    10. Jenny says:

      I have to say that cabin sounds pretty romantic. As long as I had my man, my bike and some pavement….I guess I better empty the teenagers out of the house first.

      March 3rd, 2009 at 10:23 am

    11. Jenny 867-5309 says:

      We live in a simple 1300sq foot house and it drove me nuts for about 2 years, until I was able to get rid of the stuff that “we just had to have” (but never used) and just simplified. Now it’s quite cozy.

      March 3rd, 2009 at 10:27 am

    12. rrmama says:

      Yeah I was called two weeks ago to make a change. I have a BIG birthday next week so I think that was the push. I did cut all of my hair off! I must say I was shocked at first but then the compliments started coming and now I love it and it only takes me about 15 mintues to wash, dry and style! Can’t get any better than that!

      March 3rd, 2009 at 10:30 am

    13. Musings of a Housewife says:

      I can’t imagine making THAT kind of change, MY WORD that’s DRASTIC but I do have this THING where I have to clear out clutter and CRAP regularly. It drives me NUTS. It sounds divine to scale back dramatically but it’s not something that I would ever do with young kids. I think it’s a stage of life thing.

      March 3rd, 2009 at 10:32 am

    14. Sally says:

      My husband and I have collected too much stuff over 22+ years of marriage, but the thought of sorting through all of it to decide what to get rid of seems too daunting a task and just never gets done.
      I know it would be easier to simplify and get rid of most of it, but still can’t bring myself to do it yet.

      March 3rd, 2009 at 10:37 am

    15. April says:

      I’m ready for the change. I’m thinking of having a HUGE yard sale this summer and donating the rest to Goodwill. I’m tired of the clutter and excess. Things could be much simpler if I’d let them.

      Thanks for writing this post. I’m not alone in the world anymore.

      March 3rd, 2009 at 10:39 am

    16. Shoe says:

      Hang on. Your life will get radical with Sean growing and his interest changing. Downsizing well not yet. Wait till he goes to college and gets his own place.

      ****
      When Sean goes off to college, I’ll be old enough to downsize to assisted living.

      March 3rd, 2009 at 10:42 am

    17. Tom says:

      I’d like to radically get rid of most of the legos and marbles I injure my feet on every morning. That’d be a great change.

      Seriously… I’m looking forward to radical change, once the kids have moved out. For now, I’m content as things are.

      March 3rd, 2009 at 10:55 am

    18. Kathy says:

      Oh AM…radical change and getting rid of stuff is something I dream of on a regular basis. I feel more compelled during the holidays when materialism seems to hit an all time high – not only in the stores but in my heart. (One for you, two for me shopping skills!)

      The maddening thing is that I’m attached to Mr. FF who seems to be a worse packrat than me. He purchases little things here and there that never make it out of the Walmart sacks when they land on the kitchen table or in a pile on his “workbench” in the garage. I think the process of selling it all (or a big bunch of it) would be easier to push and pull through if your spouse was “in”.

      In spite of my desire to get rid of stuff, I still seem to have the ability to continue to accumlate. Ack!

      March 3rd, 2009 at 10:55 am

    19. grammyscraps says:

      We made the radical change two years ago. We both retired and sold our 33-acre property because it was just too much work and responsibility. We wanted to be able to go away without getting a house sitter or just worrying if everything was ok..it was kind of in the middle of the woods with no near neighbors. We lived there for 30 years and got very accustomed to outbuildings and plenty of storage.
      When we moved, it was into a very nice manufactured home in a very nice Senior park..very little extra storage space..lots of security for when we take off in our 5th wheel for 2-3 months. We thought it was going to be a very difficult transition..all that space and quiet to town and 5 minutes from the freeway. But, we are loving the convenience, the minimum maintenance (our landscaping is gravel with graceful beds and shrubs) and the freedom to go as we wish.

      March 3rd, 2009 at 10:58 am

    20. Traci Best says:

      Radical change in lifestyle is scary…but oh so worth it! We came to this same ‘point’ last spring right before we took the plunge into home schooling…so I totally get where you are coming from. It is hard…but I’m so glad we took the risk!

      March 3rd, 2009 at 11:06 am

    21. Heather says:

      I don’t know that what you are feeling is age-related. It may be, but I also think that it has to do with how we define who we are – is it about the size of our house or the neighborhood, or the ‘stuff’ we can purchase?

      Or is our identity found in our faith? And as that understanding grows, the need for stuff diminishes.

      On a practical note, if you feel the need to purge, but are overwhelmed by it, use the trash bag-a-day (or week) concept. Just fill one trash bag at a time. It’s not long before you have significantly less stuff.

      March 3rd, 2009 at 11:08 am

    22. Sarah says:

      I think I liked your last paragraph best. So true.

      Our little family of four is soon to make a radical change of living in a 2 bedroom 1 bath house to a semi truck with bunk beds and no bathroom, a mini fridge and room for only a set or two of clothes for the week.

      While I think it’s going to be absolutely nuts, I’m really looking forward to living with less.

      My house has been making me crazy, I feel it’s too small and I’ve found I’m just one discontented lil mama! I think living in a semi truck 5 days a week will make me realize just how big my house is the two days a week I’ll get to live in it.

      March 3rd, 2009 at 11:12 am

    23. Gretchen says:

      Wow. I have nothing coherent or extra to add. It does get wearying, trying to fit through that eye of the needle in my minivan, though…

      March 3rd, 2009 at 11:15 am

    24. Megan (FriedOkra) says:

      We just got back from vacation where we stayed in a small beach house and with my mom who recently moved into a new home. We’ve been in this house for nearly three years and I really enjoyed “living” in new spaces for a bit. I used to think I was a woman who really wanted to put down roots, but I’m learning lately that I love what a radical change does to my outlook on life. What kind of radical change do you think you’d want? I love to daydream about where I want to live next.

      March 3rd, 2009 at 11:22 am

    25. Sharon says:

      Please don’t down size your blog….Though I am amazed that anyone with a small child can find the time to keep it going. I love reading antiquemommy.

      * * *
      Oh man. You are so awesome for saying that. Thank you. ~AM

      March 3rd, 2009 at 11:22 am

    26. Laura says:

      For us, twenty eight years ago, it was the “sweet and lyrical song” of the cruising life that pulled us into a radical change. So we sold the business, the house, all our stuff, and eventually even our car. And we moved onto a 35′ sailboat and sailed to Mexico. And it was WONDERFUL! But after four years of messing with boats we missed a real fireplace, a real sofa, a bathtub, and a place to garden, so we bought another house and started all over again, but with a more conservative perspective. And guess what? Sometimes we talk about doing it all again after the kids move out. My point is: Life is an adventure; follow the path that interests you now. You are never too old to make a change, and hopefully never too set to make adjustments along the way.

      March 3rd, 2009 at 11:25 am

    27. Cassie J. says:

      I thing the lure of “spring cleaning” puts us all in the mindset of weeding out our possessions. I can’t wait to weed out my sweaters and re-stock my closet with shorts and capris.

      March 3rd, 2009 at 11:28 am

    28. Dianne says:

      I suppose it’s different for everyone. I have much less love for all my “stuff” than I did 10-20 years ago. Now, I’d much rather have the space than what fills it. My challenge is finding the time (yeah, get off the laptop) to accomplish this, in the midst of homeschool and other life responsibilities.

      The other factor for me is mindset. If I’m not in the right frame of mind, it’s much harder to get rid of things. I’ve been in bondage to stuff for SO long, though, that it’s getting to be much easier. I long for a simpler life, and a big component of that is rooms that have space, as well as the mental space I gain by not having to deal with the stuff.

      We moved to a smaller house 5 months ago, and I’m enjoying getting rid of things. It’s quite freeing.

      March 3rd, 2009 at 11:37 am

    29. Heide says:

      We (two parents, son, and small dog) live in 1200 square feet and we’re going to downsize to probably 800 to move closer to my son’s school. (Change, but not radical.) But I have been aching for some radical change lately. This morning on Facebook I said I was “doing the middle-aged shuffle.” I’ve been trying to get into my own head space and find some peace, and I think it’s a combination of age (mid-40s) and responsibility (I Am the Primary Income), plus fears for the future engendered by chronic illness getting worse. If you figure it out, I’ll be eager to hear about it.

      March 3rd, 2009 at 11:55 am

    30. Paulla says:

      I am so with you on this. After 12+ years of homeschooling, I am now cleaning out our basement, selling things on ebay, giving away the things I can’t sell, and unburdening myself and my family of as much stuff as they’ll “let me” get rid of. 🙂 I’m married to a packrat, which makes it interesting, but he’s coming around. There’s hope!

      March 3rd, 2009 at 12:07 pm

    31. edj says:

      I pared things down to 10 suitcases and I need more than that. A lot more. Paring stuff down is good, but don’t pare down the blog. Twitter now, you can get rid of that.

      March 3rd, 2009 at 12:34 pm

    32. Margaret says:

      I’m in the process of taking down the Christmas village that takes up the wall space in my dining room. Clearing out looks so good right now. We have a huge yard sale at church every spring. Clothes and “stuff” I hope to add a lot of “stuff” to the pile this year. Now to get off the internet and do it. (I just hate to see my “stuff” going out the door. Maybe not working the yard sale would be a good idea.)

      March 3rd, 2009 at 12:40 pm

    33. First Born at 40 says:

      I’m always so amazed at the range of folks who read this website. Aside from the fact that I have a lot in common with the writer (I’m 46 with a 5 1/2 year old and a 19 month old), I think she is a really gifted writer. I’m a writer myself, so I don’t dole out that praise lightly. So, good on you, Antique Mommy! You obviously speak to women in every phase/walk of life!

      March 3rd, 2009 at 12:42 pm

    34. Sabrina says:

      We made a radical change two years ago. We’d lived in a one story 3 bedroom double wide way out in the country, a half hour to everything…even milk and bread.

      Now we’re living in the “city”, within walking distance of EVERYTHING (which I love). We have a two story 3 bed home now. I’ve always wanted stairs 🙂

      Now I have to do the major purging of junk. Stuff that is still in boxes from the move that I haven’t needed in nearly 2 years!

      March 3rd, 2009 at 12:51 pm

    35. maggie says:

      We bought this townhouse intending to move before we ever had Kid #2, but now Kid #2 is six months old and we’re looking at being here a few more years. I purged my closet so the baby could sleep inside and I’m constantly pruning so we only have exactly what we need at this moment in time. I’d love to have a big house and I love not having all the stuff- can’t decide. Purging my social media commitments however… probably should be done, but then I will too dead inside to enjoy whatever I have left. SIGH.

      March 3rd, 2009 at 1:43 pm

    36. Sarah @ BecomingSarah.com says:

      It might not be for everyone, but I think radical changes in lifestyle like that must be really freeing. I hope I live long enough to try it out one day!

      March 3rd, 2009 at 1:51 pm

    37. Stretch Mark Mama says:

      It took a move across the country for us to make a radical change. We cut our square footage almost in half, and therefore, had to get rid of everything that wasn’t essential. No kidding, we’ll watch old home movies now and can’t believe how much STUFF we had. (And we weren’t Stuff People to begin with.)

      While I’ve been getting ready for our social worker to visit a couple times the past two weeks, I’ve realized that I didn’t have to dust A THING. NOT A THING. Why not? Because we got rid of all the furniture that requires it. Very freeing indeed.

      And yet our house is still packed full of junk…

      I came across a tweet the other day of a family that sold everything and is touring (schooling) around the world for three years. DAGNABBIT, I don’t have the info on them, but doesn’t that sound like fun?

      March 3rd, 2009 at 2:18 pm

    38. elaine says:

      When we were first married nearly 32 years ago, we had nothing and I long for those days. I really feel burdened down with “stuff” and have told many of my friends that when I grow up, I want to be a minimalist. Instead of continuing to talk about it, I’ve started doing something about it.

      March 3rd, 2009 at 2:31 pm

    39. Sarah says:

      hahhahah…I am eyeing 40 acres…we moved into suburbia 2 years ago..and although there are parts to it I adore, being close in to everything…

      my kids and I miss the space…the land…

      ya vel, bloom where your planted…the haircut will always grow out!

      Selling a house and downsizing takes a lot more work and gel!

      March 3rd, 2009 at 2:39 pm

    40. Robin @ Little Bits of Life says:

      When we moved to OKC and were building our house, we lived in a 900 sq foot apt. I only took the essentials and kept everything else in PODS. By the time we moved into our much larger new home, we realized we didn’t need 75% of that stuff and wished we could have rethought the whole thing. As soon as we can move without taking a bath on this house, we will move to something much smaller. I’m not sure about moving to the city just yet. I like that the kids can ride bikes all over the ‘hood, but I’m thinking in a few years, I’d be ok with it.

      March 3rd, 2009 at 2:41 pm

    41. Tammy Marcelain says:

      LOVE this post. I am pulled to a life of simplicity. Irresistible Revolution, by Shane Claiborne, is a wonderful read and it speaks to this throughout. One of my favorite hero’s who lived simply was Mother Teresa. This might not be true for most people, but it is true for me, stuff gets in the way. It gets in the way of my relationship with the Father, it gets in the way with relationships with people. I love the idea of radically simplifying, it would certainly lower stress in these times of financial freakdom.

      March 3rd, 2009 at 3:20 pm

    42. Barb says:

      I would LOVE to be free of “stuff” and more “stuff”!! The older I get, the less “stuff” I want. Now in our retirement years, I don’t need/want “stuff” any more. 🙂 I am all for the cabin with a couple hooks and shelves. That would be a dream come true for me. But, instead of a cabin, I’d rather be a full-time RVer. We’re part-time RVers. I’d love to have the freedom to pick up and go when I want, stop when I want, visit family when I want, etc. Maybe some day (although DH says “no” to full-timing but I keep working on him!).

      March 3rd, 2009 at 3:29 pm

    43. colicmommy says:

      That’s why I love being ruthless about stuff. My husband is a total packrats, my parents were packrats…and somehow, I became the Ruthless Tosser of Stuff. I freecycle it, sell it on ebay, give it to teen pregnancy shelters or goodwill, but I am always purging. Always. My house is big, but not full of junk. We use almost everything we have, and we have cabinets and shelves that are empty. Seeing an empty shelf is very very freeing.

      The yard, though, ugh. I hear you. I convert more and more of our mulch beds to grass each year. We hire a kid to mow. Hubs takes great pride in putting down all the products to make it look good. If I had to do it, the yard would totally bring me down.

      I suggest a radical purging of your stuff, and then see how you feel. I bet you feel GREAT seeing empty shelves.

      March 3rd, 2009 at 3:32 pm

    44. Howdy says:

      The subject of ‘stuff’ has been on my mind a lot since I arrived in Dallas last week for a visit.
      We cleaned out tons of stuff when we move a little more than a year ago and I’m still getting rid of things as I unpack and settle into our new to us old house. We moved from a small city in MA to a rural small town area in Lancaster County, PA. With the large Amish and Mennonite population I’ve appreciated that there is less ‘in your face’ marketing for stuff.
      We’ve never been the ‘keeping up with the Jones’s’ kind of folks anyway and I can’t hardly make myself walk into a mall during the holidays anymore… it’s all about the stuff, so much stuff you can’t move down the isles!
      This trip to Dallas is the first time I’ve really felt like I couldn’t live out here again – it’s too much… too much growth, too many people, and the need to have too much stuff!
      I’m happy with having less… life is much easier!

      March 3rd, 2009 at 3:57 pm

    45. mythoughtsonthat says:

      When I see homeless people, I first feel bad for them, of course, but I also wonder how their lives must be: stressful, for sure, but also much simpler. Now, I don’t want to be homeless but I do long for simpler.

      March 3rd, 2009 at 4:40 pm

    46. Blog Antagonist says:

      The size of my house is okay, and we don’t have a lot of excess stuff. Some, of course, because it’s the american way of life. The one thing I would do over again is buy a house with a smaller yard to maintain. Neither husband or I enjoys yard work and it’s too hot and buggy to most of the year to spend any time out there anyway. We pay a lawn service for basic maintenance, but beyond that, it’s pretty sorry looking.

      Radical changes are good.

      March 3rd, 2009 at 4:42 pm

    47. Katherine says:

      I second the motion for you not to downsize your blog. Please. I’ve never ever commented before although I’ve been reading for several months (sorry!), but I had to come out and say that. I love reading your thoughts. You often say what I think but can’t express.

      About downsizing…when my husband got cancer last year at the ripe old age of 28, we quickly switched to survival mode. While it wasn’t a fun time, we’ve learned some huge lessons and one was that we are busy doing so many unimportant things. I made the decision then not to twitter even though blogging is my part-time job. Even “keeping in touch” can become a burden because I could never ever keep up with everyone all the time.

      I’ve also seen that the more stuff we have, the more time it takes to maintain it and the less time we have for things we truly enjoy. As a young couple, we are adding to our family (one toddler and one on the way–yay!), but we don’t want to add to our stuff or our busyness. We’ll stay in our smaller house, debt-free, and enjoy the simpler things. It’s not a radical change, maybe, but it’s radically different from the lifestyles of many in our generation. I think you should downsize and simplify if you feel so inclined. It may be more work now but not in the long run.

      I’m sorry if I missed the point of your post, but I feel as though I really get it. Even the winter blahs part. After reading my long-winded reply, maybe you’ll be glad I’ve never commented before. Hee hee.

      March 3rd, 2009 at 4:43 pm

    48. Gwen says:

      Dear AM,

      Love this post. I’ve been trying to think of a comment that I can keep fairly short but still cram in my thoughts!

      I turned 48 last week (Carter is 4 and my husband will be 51 in May). Before Carter (BC), I collected Martha Stewart magazines, Mary Engelbreit magazines and subscribed to other home decorating magazines. I shopped antique stores and flea markets and found the cutest things. I daydreamed about how to re-do this room or that. I also wished for a home with a yard so that I could have a garden. Now…blech. All that stuff takes up too much time, money and gosh darn it, you have to dust it! We bought our first home (2 years ago this summer) and it’s a 700+ s.f. condominium. (My contribution to nature is a hummingbird feeder on the patio and I find myself annoyed that I have to take care of it!!) The way the condo is designed makes the interior feel roomy and I can’t imagine that the three of us would need more room as Carter grows. I will say that I take inspiration from citizens in other countries such as Sweden or Japan. Those folks have made an art form of living with smaller space and less junk.

      And by the way, good on your friends who downsized so “radically”. Honestly, we all end up keeping stuff because it’s habit or out of fear (or the intimidation factor of having to FACE all of it). I realized a couple of years ago that I only wore the same few things so next step was Goodwill with bags of donated clothes.

      Anyway, good post. Thanks!

      March 3rd, 2009 at 5:01 pm

    49. Julie at Elisharose says:

      Don’t get the haircut! I did that a few years ago and it took way too long to get it to grow out.

      And yes, I do think of making a radical change. Daily. Maybe not as radical as your friend, but along those lines.

      March 3rd, 2009 at 7:03 pm

    50. Kathy Vaughan says:

      I’m not sure if I’m glad I popped over to your blog today or not. You really hit a nerve! See, I’m really, really wanting to downsize, and not finding the time and chutzpah to get started. I spent a couple of months in Uganda last summer, saw how simply they live (albeit not necessarily by choice), and was reminded again of how much I have that I don’t really need, and how much it ties me down. Not only that, but by converting some of it (OK, a lot of it) to cash, I could use the proceeds to make a difference for people in Africa who are struggling just to survive. But the getting started, and the figuring out the conversion-to-cash angle, and the gray winter days that sap my motivation – well, I can come up with lots of excuses. But we in America all (or almost all) have way too much, and I don’t want to be guilty of hanging on to useless stuff that could feed a hungry child. And if I have less stuff to tie me down, them moving to Africa to see what difference I could make would be a lot easier. I know God has been speaking to me about this. Maybe your post is a good motivation – whether by inspiration or guilt – that I need to get started! So – time to check out Ebay and Amazon selling, I guess. Sheesh! I just wish it were more painless! (And did I mention that I’m really sentimental – just complicates the purging process!)

      (PS – I already tried the haircut, but it wasn’t enough! But go for it – it’s a great temporary fix!)

      March 3rd, 2009 at 7:07 pm

    51. Kerrie says:

      I believe a lot of this paring down mentality has a lot to do with both your upbringing and your general disposition. My sisters and mother are very much into “stuff.” My brother and I—who are also the youngest—are not. My entire family is adventurous though.

      I grew up in the country—really, I played with the electric fence people! The hay pile was my fort. I never got the lust for the shiny, the new, the stuff. My mother is going through a possible bankruptcy and the thought of her living my lifestyle is terrorizing her.

      I would not want to give up the wifi and laptop though. It has connected me to new people and old friends in a way that I was unable to do before the interwebs!

      I’ve told my husband (who’s Scottish «– notoriously cheap!) that when we retire, I want to move to Italy and rent a little apartment. When I croak, they can just kick my body into the alley and bring along the “Bring out your dead cart.”

      March 3rd, 2009 at 8:05 pm

    52. Nette says:

      I think often about “unplugging” a bit. As I’m turning 40 this year, my way of changing, without being radical, is to release the need for more. I’m also getting very comfortable at saying “no”, both for myself and the kids regarding time and possessions.

      March 3rd, 2009 at 8:23 pm

    53. Karen {simply a musing blog} says:

      I am completely with you on this. We’ve been cleaning out our shop in preparation to sell almost EVERYTHING in it – purge it – we can get new stuff later.

      I’ve all but quit blogging and interacting socially for a while until I can “breathe” again – sometimes it’s stuffy in here. 🙂

      Looks like you’ve really touched on a nerve – love some of the comments in this post!

      March 3rd, 2009 at 9:15 pm

    54. sillydoodah says:

      I think it goes easiest when it is a lyrical pull. I’ve found that I’m called to downsize and simplify in “baby steps” rather than in giant, radical changes.

      In my household we started asking questions about our closets: How many coats do I need when some people don’t have any? What would happen, if instead of buying another pair of shoes I sponsored a kid through Compassion?

      The questions led to new “policies” about clothes, etc. – “If I buy a new, pretty sweater, I must give away an older (still pretty) sweater.” And it also led to thinking a lot about our wardrobes, how to make them practical, streamlined, simple, and smokin’. (heh heh)

      The questioning, thinking, and planning spilled out into other areas: books, knickknacks, TVs and electronics, etc. For example, in my new house, I decided to forgo a TV and cable. I just watch stuff on my computer. Its cut down on lots of costs and on the time I spend watching TV.

      And its not about deprivation or some kind of depressing lifestyle. I still buy things. I just think about them a bit more and make sure I’m clear on why I’m buying them. And I still kind of hold to the “Something in, something out” rule of thumb.

      It’s still in process really, but its been a good process. Very freeing. Less really is turning into more. Less time cleaning and maintaining stuff = more time spent on hobbies or with people I love.

      March 3rd, 2009 at 9:17 pm

    55. Cathy says:

      I agree with Sharon, edj, and Katherine – I hope your attempts at “simplifying” doesn’t include your blogging. I’m not sure how I came across the ever popular Antique Mommy blog, but it’s one of the highlights of my day. You have such a wonderful way of bringing words to life! Thank you!

      March 3rd, 2009 at 9:19 pm

    56. Jerriann says:

      I ditto and double ditto Cathy, Sharon, edj and Katherine, I love your writing, you are an ispiraton to me. We are the same age but you are light years ahead of me in writing.

      However I do agree that the older I get the less stuff I care about or need and the more I love, want and am interested in the people around me.

      March 3rd, 2009 at 10:11 pm

    57. Wendy says:

      I have been feeling a twinge of pull toward radical change lately. It mostly has to do whit getting rid of stuff. More than just a parring down, more of a deep cutting off of the unnecessary. But I find in trying to follow this pull I am held back by my lack of trust. By nature I hoard things, so letting go isn’t easy. I may need that again, I have memories that it triggers or I’m going to finish that project someday are all chanting themselves in my head and I close the box and give up. How freeing it would be to accomplish an unburdening purge.

      March 3rd, 2009 at 10:53 pm

    58. Sue says:

      We know we can’t take it with us, so why do we continue to put so much time into stuff? I definitely need to simplify. This is a good post, and I hope, too, AM, that you will continue your blog. It is more than just words because you inspire us to think good thoughts.

      March 3rd, 2009 at 11:44 pm

    59. Grace says:

      Based on the multitude of comments here, and also myself feeling the need to purge “stuff,” I’m beginning to think this inclination is from God. I believe He’s speaking to everyone about priorities. It may be different for each family because we are in varying stages of life, but I think downsizing may = de-stressing, making room for what’s important. We each need to hear how that works for us. And I need to pray for the grace, patience and courage to follow through.

      March 4th, 2009 at 4:28 am

    60. Teri from Indiana says:

      My goal this year was to simplify. To reconnect with my husband. To learn to say no to things that clutter my days and my mind. But with all the special needs and behavior issues our kids have, it’s tough. But I’m learning to say no and not worry so much about offending people by saying no.

      March 4th, 2009 at 7:50 am

    61. Brigitte says:

      I don’t have much insight here, but a small part of it may be whether or not you’re a pack-rat, too. I NEED my book collection and all my cooking paraphernalia, but I have a sister who purges her stuff regularly and lives in a rather Spartan manner. SHE could probably live out of a backpack in the Himalayas.

      Though, I must say, I’ve NEVER been interested in a huge house – that would just mean more rooms to clean! And, antisocial wench that I am, I’ve always been good at saying “No” to various obligations. 😉

      March 4th, 2009 at 8:22 am

    62. Janet Doherty says:

      Very timely story and thought process. My husband is potentially being relocated for a new/better position to PA. Its a great move for him but would definitely put us out of our comfort zone. There is something pulling me out to PA and I don’t know what it is. Is is a new challenge or am I just in the winter blues as well and need a change of scenery. I have lived in the Midwest my whole life and there is something exciting about moving???? Go figure…wanting to leave all the blessing I have behind for an adventure???
      Any insight might help … I just can figure this one out.
      Janet
      Thanks for sharing

      ***

      A change of scenery is always good I think. There is blessing and opportunity to bless everywhere you go. ~AM

      March 4th, 2009 at 12:18 pm

    63. zoom says:

      You really summed up what I have been feeling for awhile. While I enjoy gardening and messing with my house, I really don’t have the time or the money ( right now) to devote to it.

      It is causing me more stress than pleasure, so down sizing sounds really desirable.

      March 4th, 2009 at 1:35 pm

    64. 3limes says:

      Well we are doing it! We are up and moving to Uganda (!) and we are selling it all! We’re not planning on living there for ever, just 2-4 years but who knows what comes after and who needs to hold on to all this stuff? Scary, though.

      March 4th, 2009 at 1:43 pm

    65. thatgirl says:

      I feel like I constantly purge, purge, purge and still have way too much stuff. I would love to sell it all and move to Ireland.

      March 4th, 2009 at 5:56 pm

    66. Minnesotamom says:

      Spring cleaning time! I have been purging lately and it feels excellent. I have also been contemplating the social media, as you suggest. I posted an article two days ago about “connection” vs. “community” in the blogosphere/Facebook. It rings very true in my heart, and I think I might take a sabbatical of sorts, even though I know it means losing readership.

      March 5th, 2009 at 8:48 pm

    67. Good Stuff I Read This Week… « Too Full Of Hands says:

      […] Stuff I Read This Week… Jump to Comments Radical Change – Antique […]

      March 7th, 2009 at 1:32 am

    68. Emily says:

      My parents did this a few years ago, and last week, they went back to a bigger, traditional suburbs house. My mom especially HATED the townhome. No green space (which they both love), not being able to open windows w/o people looking in, tight quarters when family visits, etc. They moved into a lovely neighborhood that adjoins a land-preserve park and love it. I thought they were a little crazy when they made the switch the first time b/c they love privacy so much, so I’m happy that they have finally found a good match.

      March 8th, 2009 at 11:46 pm

    69. mama speak says:

      So is this the beginning of the end? Are you burning out? Are you testing the waters and setting out the logs before the fire in which you purge?

      I have to admit I’ll be awful sad if you go.

      Don’t cut your hair when you’re in this mood!!! It’s like the 8.5MO pregnant lady who decides she’s tired of the way she looks…so she gets a radical NEW haircut.
      Then has the baby & finds she HATES the new haircut, now that her hormones are getting back to normal.

      Purge your closet. You’ll feel better.

      March 9th, 2009 at 4:01 am

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