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The New Black

It has been quite a week.  Take a dose of reality, stir in a little fear and panic, sprinkle a generous amount of stress on top and there you have it.  Sadly this time, I am not speaking about the nation’s economic woes, but rather my own personal ones.  And after the bitter pill left for us to swallow, we ended up with only one conclusion:  it’s time to downsize. 

For us, this means moving out of a house we love (L-O-V-E) and into a more affordable (i.e. smaller) place.  For us, this means spending a substantial amount LESS each month on rent.  This “savings” will help tremendously right now and it is the right decision to make.  It should have been made sooner perhaps, but that is neither here nor there.  All we can do is look forward. 

We were fortunate to sell our house in Southern California when we did (June of 2007 – right before real estate really started sinking).  We were smart to not immediately buy another house up here, but rather to wait and see for a while.  Wait and see what the housing market was going to do (continue to go down – good news for potential buyers like us).  Wait and see if we REALLY liked it up here (we do!) and if we had picked the right town (we feel we have).

The unfortunate part was a couple of things (some factors out of our control, like the stock market plummet and the credit crunch) that have led us to look (again) really closely at our finances.  Decisions that seemed okay before, now (in the light of the whole economic downturn) seem irresponsible and we need to fix that.  We want to get our ducks in a row so that we can buy the house we want in a couple years and start up those college funds for the kids again, etc.  A move seems to be the answer for us right now, but of course it couldn’t be as simple as that – because nothing ever is, at least not for this Zen Mama Wannabe. 

It means finding someone to rent our big, lovely house (so we can get out of our lease) and then of course it means finding another place to move – one that is affordable and will work for us and our kids and oh yes, the dog  (nothing like trying to find a place to live when you have a big dog)!  It is like all these little things have to line up in order to make this happen and it is really enough to put an already stressful situation over the top! 

But, besides the stress, which is overwhelming, I gotta tell you that I like (I actually do) the idea of downsizing.  Of cleaning out, getting rid of, scaling down.  Of having less and dealing with less.  You know, the whole Less is More.  As a friend told me, “We spend so much time dealing with all our stuff – cleaning it, organizing it, taking care of it – that we miss out on other opportunities, like just hanging out and being together as a family.”  Have truer words ever been spoken??

So we have started going through our stuff.  And you know what?  We have a ton of crap stuff.  Stuff we have accumulated over the years.  Stuff we have spent a lot of money on (so THAT is where it all went).  Stuff that is just taking up room and cluttering up our current house (and probably wouldn't even fit in a smaller one)!  If nothing else, talk about bad Feng Shui. 

So the good news is we are changing that.  Starting this past week.  One overstuffed closet at a time.  But you know, we don’t feel bad or sad or anything like that.  We feel good.  It feels good to clean out.  As I told the kids as I tried to explain why we were doing this without completely freaking them out, “We have 3 couches in our house – one on each floor!  Who needs 3 couches?  That’s insane!  I think if we scaled down to 1 couch, maybe 2, we’d be just fine.  But 3 couches – isn’t that a bit much?” 

Yeah, scaling down.  Downsizing.  I hear it’s the new black this year.  Just wait and see.

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One Response to “The New Black”

  1. callieandbatido Says:
    January 21st, 2009 at 1:49 pm

    You are so right and brave Zen Mamma. Not only for facing the hard choices but sharing them with us. I think most of us are in the same boat and it’s time, as our President and others before him have said, “To pick ourselves up and dust ourselves off” and get on with the job of getting ourselves out of this financial debt we have put ourselves in. You even motivated me to take a look at my bulging closets.

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