less is more: lessons in downsizing


  Meet Jill. I met Jill working at BlackBerry (any guesses as to why we don't work together anymore????) If you've hung out with me here for a while you know about the un-fussing of my life

less space = less stuff = more life

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Jill had her own hard (but worth it) lessons in downsizing. Read her words (that's an order)...

Yes, we've all heard the cliché-ish (less is more) phrase many times before. But I never felt its true meaning until I started living it.

Just over a year ago, my family made the decision to downsize. We put our 2,400 sqft house up for sale and bought a smaller house, where I no longer needed a megaphone to call my son for dinner. The reasons for this jumped from job security (BlackBerry, anyone?), to being house-broke, to coming to terms with us staying a three-person family and no longer needing this house to 'grow into'.

Through the always painful packing process, I was amazed at how much stuff we had. Seriously, how and when did we get so much stuff (a lot of which was pure crap)??? And I consider myself to be neat and organized to begin with. I made a pact with my family that if something new entered the house, then something had to leave the house (with the exception of purses, shoes and family members, of course).

We sold furniture. We purged. Ohhhhhh, did we purge. We befriended people on Kijiji and made the conscious decision to try those who could use our help, instead of bargaining with people who just wanted our stuff for cheap. We know we could have ended up with more money in our pockets, but realized some things were more important. Like the smile on the little boy's face who was inheriting my son's bedroom set, and had just realized we were throwing in the Transformers bedding to go along with it. Or the man who took anything and everything, packed it himself, loaded it into his little car, and made many trips back and forth, all because he was shipping it back home to his family in Syria.

The entire process opened our eyes. My then six-year-old son eagerly helped us sort through his toys, and accompanied me on every trip to the donation box; yet, he didn’t complain once as his stash of toys gradually shrunk. When he finally decided to 'let us' sell his monstrous Thomas the Train table and sets, we 'let him' go to the store and buy a new XBox game (I mean, it was only fair)!

There are times I miss the extra space, and having a spot for me to escape to when I need 15 minutes of pure quiet (and there are many more times this winter that I miss my double garage ...). But the trade-offs are worth it. My family is happier and closer (and I'm not just talking about physical proximity). My husband and I paid off our student loans with some of the profit we made from the house sale. We inherited great neighbours, one of which has become my son's BFF and regularly stays for dinner. And my son, who was on the verge of becoming that stereotypical spoiled-only-child, learned a valuable lesson that I hope he will carry with him through the tough years ahead.

Throughout the past year, I've tried to maintain the 'less is more' way of living. I'm not going to lie to you, it's been hard. Heck, escaping out of Walmart without an action figure or Lego set is a minor miracle these days (Walmart product displays are ingenious)!

Right now, I have peace of mind. We have more breathing room. We have less stress. We are thankful, not for our stuff, but for our experiences. And you can't put a price tag on that!


So who's Jill?  Since being voted "funniest female" by her graduating high school class, Jill Hastie has lived up to this honour (please note the Canadian has not been edited out!) by charming / tormenting the social media world with her excessive sarcasm and wit.

When not preaching the great word about corporate communications, Jill can usually be found being "that Mom" in the hockey stands, or on the football and soccer fields. Jill lives in booming city of Kitchener, Ontario with her husband and seven year-old son.

You've heard the expressions: 

Everything is progress

Progress not perfection

Are you cleaning out the cobwebs in any area of your life? Cleaning the skeletons out of your closet?  Organizing your spice rack? In the comments below, let us know one action you're going to take TODAY to make a little progress.