On Monday, I had a long conversation with a good friend and fellow author, Devin O’Branagan. Devin recently sold her home and is renting a tiny room at a friend’s house. I, and many others, told her that she would find herself happier and less burdened once the house was gone. Like me, she was having difficulties tending to her large house. Devin has long thought me to be a little crazy when I shared my desires to downsize and live in a tiny/small house. Now, she gets it. While she is frustrated by the tiny size of her current living space, mostly because she can’t figure out where to store stuff, she does find herself unburdened and is contemplating a future that includes a tiny/small home. Devin is also more accepting of the idea of downsizing her belongings further as most are currently being stored in a large storage unit. She fought the idea of selling and downsizing for a long time. Now, she cannot believe that she was so anti-change when things are looking brighter for her than they have in a long time.
Now, if I could just get my mother to not look at me like I’ve lost my marbles when I discuss my future hopes.
While Devin’s future is brighter, I am feeling disillusioned by my own. This is not the first time I’ve been down this path but it hurts a little more this time. Come November, I will have cleaned and decluttered for two years. I had hoped to be done a year ago and not sure I’ll be done by the two year mark either. While massive strides have been accomplished, there is still a great deal to do especially with three rooms that I have yet to do much with. Disillusion also comes from the continuing financial burden. I cannot afford to move at this time and not sure when I can in the future. It would take a miracle, I think, to get to my end goal. I continue to hold fast to my end goal. It is what keeps me going, keeps me decluttering, and keeps me from falling back on bad habits. I frequently hope that soon – so very soon – my many published books start selling a lot more copies and on a consistent basis in order to help me get to my end goal just a little quicker.
On the decluttering front, I have become more tolerant of the emptiness in the front of the house which has made it easier to finish out the last little piles of stuff to sort through. While I haven’t had much time these past two weeks or so, I’ve conquered the small piles of creeping clutter in the laundry and living room. My goal is to have the entire front half of the house completely “empty” by Sunday so all I have to do is sweep and dust once a week or so from here on out.
I also took time to take pictures of the house and its contents then pack critical items for emergency evacuation purposes. While my region of Colorado is not typically burdened by wildfires, it never hurts to be prepared and have an action plan. There is always the potential and it seems more likely with each drought-filled summer we have here. The sentiment ‘You’re a writer when…’ comes to mind with the first things I prepared. Laptop, iPod, eReader, extra pen and paper, printouts of outlines, and small bags of my essential medications/supplements went into a laptop bag. (The eReader also contains PDF files of all my story outlines and the bulk of my writing.) Items that have been written but not typed yet went into a fireproof safe with major personal documents and a backup drive with files from both computers. I backed up all computer files to a cloud drive and a pen drive too just in case. A small suitcase with clothes, a cat carrier stockpiled with food and toys, and a bag of guinea pig provisions where surprisingly secondary on the list. Still, it is all standing by waiting if I happen to find myself needing to leave in a hurry. My biggest concern, in such an event, involves the guinea pigs. Getting them out of their cages and then the house and into a car can be very time consuming and if time is at premium, I might have to leave them behind. Hopefully, it will never come to pass but I’ve known way too many people forced to evacuate their homes for wildfires this year and last year.
Through emergency preparation, I have come to the realization what items mean the most to me and what items I am okay with losing. I won’t be happy to lose the items per se but I could live with it. I even started a list of the essential items desired if I ever found myself with a clean slate. The list has been very helpful in my coping with the emptiness of the front of the house.