living small

living small

February 10, 2016

KatharineSchellman.com - simple mugs

In the last eight months I’ve moved twice. And at some point in the next four months, I will likely move again.

This is only a little bit by choice. Mostly it’s by necessity, due to school and jobs and trying to figure out where we’re going to put down roots. (Still undecided.) While I am fully aware of (and bothered by) the hassles of moving, there’s part of it that I absolutely love:

getting rid of stuff.

I love the feeling of clearing things out, taking loads of boxes (and how is it that there are always multiple car loads, even from a tiny apartment?) to the Goodwill to pass on, of offloading clothes I no longer wear and dishes I never loved in the first place. There’s something therapeutic in the purging process, a literal shedding of weight, a removal of clutter and the anxiety that it brings.

That’s not to say I’m not attached to my things. There are some things I love very much. Things that are special or precious or beautiful or useful (or all three!) go with me from home to home. But everything else… it feels good to leave it behind.

The phrase “living large” is one that has never resonated with me.

I absolutely get why it does for some people. And especially when you come from a modest background — or several generations of a more-than-modest background — I’m sure the impulse to scale up and live large because you finally can is unavoidable.

But rather than living large, in the past few years, after many moves and multiple one-bedroom apartments, I’ve discovered the impulse to live small.

Not personality-wise, you understand. Not in terms of accomplishments, or ambitions, or my personal capacity to feel and do and be. But in terms of the things that I own and the footprint I leave on this planet… I want to keep things small. I want to keep things simple and calm, so I can breathe easier and focus better and not be distracted by so many things.

A single shelf of beautiful coffee mugs? I’d much rather have that than a cabinet crammed to bursting with mugs I don’t use and don’t love.

I’d rather live small and breathe, surrounded only by the things I love.

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