The No-Return Policy on the Gift of Downsizing

We’ve all had to open a gift we didn’t like at some time or another. Despite the cake, the streamers, the good intentions of the gift-giver, sometimes someone hands you a gift, and a gut reaction takes over. “What am I going to do with this?” “How much time is it going to take me to return this to the store?”

Hopefully this doesn’t happen often, but it does happen. Face it: some gifts are impractical. Or the wrong size. Or we already have one. At a party, you say “thank you” and you try to disguise your disappointment.

Unpacking after a move is a bit like that.

As we preparedgift_guide_photo for our move from a 2,000+ square foot home into a less than 1,000 square foot home, I remember reading a blog that said packing for a move was like wrapping party gifts for yourself: in a week or so, you’d unwrap the present, and you’d have one of two reactions: “Yay! I love that!” or “Aww crap, why did I bring that along?”

As mentioned in my previous post, our family filled two dumpsters of unnecessary stuff to lighten our load before we moved. So when I read that, I figured that wouldn’t apply to me: I was paring down to the absolute minimum, so every box would be a joy to open on the other side of the moving truck.

Not so. I have three moving boxes sitting stagnant in my bedroom right now, to prove my point. Why did I bring that stuff?

Talk about awkward. I mean, if anyone should know what I want for a gift, it’s me!

I can’t call myself a minimalist yet. I’m more like a recovering pack-rat. But with my new tinier house, I’m finding that the best gift I can give myself is space. To live in. I don’t want to store things that don’t add joy to my life. I don’t want to spend my day returning things or disposing of things that are getting in the way of having an adventure.

If anyone reading this is de-cluttering or downsizing, I am here to cheer you on. Give yourself that gift to make intentional choices in your life. Make changes in your life so that you start to unwrap each day as a gift. Make space for new relationships and new experiences. These are the things that always come in the right size. And you never have to return them.

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