I have learned that I can love to live anywhere.

Six years ago my beautiful partner and I moved in together. We choose this large two bedroom rental in an old, but renovated, three storey walk up. The top floor fire escape in the busy maples provides a fresh air perch, and the windows on three sides create sunset art on the walls. Over time, the property has revealed itself to be ‘a rotting lily’, with countless deficiencies. Along with the challenges of neighbourly proximity, there may be a lot to dislike about this place. But it is here we have grown together, falling more in love each year.

As we prepare to move in a month, downsizing to a 640 square foot, 20th floor suite in a new building, we are prompted to reflect on our transition from treehouse to spaceship. To prepare for this next stage of our journey we are letting go of more and more stuff, allowing others to enjoy our clothes, furniture, tools and dishes. All remaining objects are filtered through my three point minimalist philosophy. Items must be:

  • used often
  • efficient/easy to use
  • satisfying, whether aesthetically attractive or at least the functionality is pleasing.

I admit to hesitating a bit on the most surprising item: the christmas tree! (stay tuned for my next post about memories) There will also be a post about the relinquishing of past lives in the form of letting go of materials connected to previous careers. For both Karl and myself, that has been a bit depressing as well as liberating. It is not so easy sometimes to move on, but with adequate time to process these feelings, a release is possible.

A couple of months ago I wrote a post called “Declutter as if you are moving”. I did not know at that time we were pulling up roots so soon and heading out. In that story I emphasized how letting go a bit, here and there, over the years really makes this kind of transition so much easier. Thank goodness! And hey, I am a professional organizer so writing lists on paper takes them out of our busy heads. As well, we have hired an organizer! Yes, I could make all the arrangements myself but there is such value in utilizing her expertise and management skills, alleviating some of the pressure on me.

Not being able to envision what a new space will be like to live in can create some anxiety. What if it does not turn out to be as great as imagined? I coach clients to articulate intrinsic motivation that leads to action. Karl and I have discussed at length not only the positive attributes of our new home but also how this is an important step to future goals. Downsizing literally and figuratively lightens the load to lift off easily into our dreams. The ‘sky palace’, he calls it, fits this vision.

There will be a brief pause in the relocation action however, to take my minimalist message to the Grail Spring Retreat in Bancroft Ontario as their guest speaker for a weekend. This time in the country will be a welcome respite for me and I look forward to contributing to the wellbeing of other guests.

Here today, though, I thank the trees. This is the last time I will see their spectacular colours from this vantage point. Soon they will all be bare as Autumn blows on and the bald street light will stream into our apartment once again, starting very early as we shift back to standard time. In just a few weeks we will pull the front door closed for the last time. In our hearts, our next adventure has already begun.

I would love to hear your moving stories! What was the biggest challenge and joy about it?