It’s a powerful trust exercise to make room for new unknowns. Deep inside of me, I’ve had a nudging that has grown stronger and stronger. Simplify life, let go of the extra, simplify your business, let go of the extra. It’s time to make room. Room for new possibilities, new dreams.
As someone who likes to feel a strong resonance with each part of my life and live very deliberately, I often make changes slowly and with much thought. This is most definitely true in this case. Keeping our next goals in mind (and room for the ones that are still a bit fuzzy), we’re creating space for newness to seep in.
In my home, I’ve gone through and packed up about half of our things that we really don’t use, items we’ve inherited but don’t love, or we love but we know it’s okay to let go of. For every item, I ask myself, “Do I love this item more than I want my dream?” If the answer is yes, I keep it. If no, it goes. It’s the ultimate litmus test.
I’ve taken photos of special items so remember them, and I’ve chosen to set my home almost as if we’re staging it for sale. Simple, no clutter, (but with personal photos still left). This is what also led us to finally convert the 4 season porch/art studio into a mast bedroom suite. What would we have to do to our house to sell it? Ok, let’s do those things now and enjoy them ourselves.
One of the most heart-wrenching decisions on what to keep or let go of was my mom’s china. She had 3 sets, each of my sisters and I inherited a set. This set of my mom’s china has been packed in a box since I inherited it over a decade ago. I always imagined the “someday” I’d use it. After pulling it all out of the box recently and picked up a few pieces. I realized, while it’s beautiful, it’s not my style in design or durability. So I carefully took out the cream and sugar set and immediately knew that was all I needed. I love it. The rest was purchased by a woman in Canada and I know it will be loved. Instead of every side table, dresser, photo frame, blanket, or decorative pillow, I’ve only kept our favorites and most used. I swear I’ve felt my mom’s energy around yelling at me, “It’s okay to get rid of it!! It’s just stuff. Learn from my life”
In my art business, I’ve added up my sales over the past years and decided to focus on the 80/20 rule. 20% of the items in my shops bring me 80% of the sales. So what about the other 80%? I’ve discontinued some, will no longer stock others, and some will be sold in other ways (more about that later).
Next, I factored in what I love to do in my business. For me, I love when I get to create, paint, draw. But I also love the connection that my remembrance ornaments bring and the beautiful feedback I get from others about them. It’s given me such a deep feeling of connection and healing after experiencing such deep grief myself. So I’ve kept in those parts that are both profitable, and I love. I’m also working towards some big goals in my business that I had intended to reveal this past winter, but between shingles and covid, I had to put that on the back burner a bit while I worked at sorting out life a bit and easing my stress load.
When I found myself in bed for weeks with covid last January, I really tried to not think about all the business I was losing or was getting pushed back. I tried not to think about all the things I couldn’t control. Instead, I waited until I was feeling a bit better and then had a heart-to-heart with myself. If my business or life required me to perform at a million miles an hour to “succeed” then I needed to change some things. It was not sustainable.
Life needed more balance, slow time, nature, and calm. When we found this home, I imagined it as a place of refuge from all the world’s stress. It is in many ways, but it’s an ongoing process to protect that energy. If you remember though, this place was the result of a lot of dreaming and believing in the seemingly impossible, paying off debt. $48k of debt in under 2 years to be exact. It’s that same trust that I’m feeling pulled to now.
So I went to work, strategically. A few deep sobbing crying sessions about what we really want from life. Do I want to build a business that is completely virtual so we can come and go as we please and travel or should I pivot and do more work in person as well and hire help for when I’m traveling? In-person art classes, more retail locations carrying my work, etc. All were good choices. What did we want our day-to-day life to be? Were our daily lives matching what we say our values are? In some ways it was, but it was seriously lacking in others. So we wrote down the areas of disconnect, wrote down ideas to improve, and a game plan.
Cabinet by cabinet, room by room, we filled box after box with items we know we’re ready to let go of. We decided that we’d have a huge garage sale in the late spring of 2021 and we priced items as they went in each box.
I went through my art studio a couple of months ago as we moved it to the basement and all items that had lower sell-through rates, or took up more room than I was willing to give it in the new studio… each got priced to sell at our sale.
When I say, “I could write a book about inheriting things and then deciding how to deal with them” I’m not kidding. I’ve already started it. It’s about the guilt, the responsibility you feel to each item to honor it, and how all of the feelings of missing your loved one, wanting to honor their intentions mix with the grief, sadness, and guilt. They get wrapped up in every single item. It makes it both completely exhausting, and a soulful exercise to work through those items and choose what to keep and what to let go of.
So what are we doing with all the stuff?
We’re having a gigantic sale here at our home. It’s planned for the Thursday, Friday, Saturday of Mother’s Day weekend (May 6-8th, 2021). (Rain dates 20-22) This sale has furniture I’ve painted, some original artwork, lots of gifty decor, and truckloads of inherited items. Everything from tools, rugs, candles, lamps, mirrors, lots of garden and landscaping goodies. The truth is that we’ve inherited more than we need, lots of really amazing things that are ready to spread joy in new homes. By selling so much of our possessions we’re making room for new goals.
If you’re local to the Twin Cities message me and I can give you the address and times. Plan a ladies garage sale trip out here and load up on goodies and plan a stop for local lunch at the Watershed Cafe and a walk to the Cascade Falls Waterfall.
This sale will provide two benefits. 1) Help us make room for what is coming. 2) Will provide extra funds to put towards those dreams.
It’s been a really important part for me to not simply load up the car and donate all of these items. First, it’s amazing if that works for you. We’ve done this many times over the years and it always feels so good. My gut, however, was telling me I needed to sit with this process this time. There was a gift in the process for me of handling each item, reliving the stories of them, feeling the gratitude of abundance, and feeling gratitude in the choices of what can stay or go. I’ve felt that I needed to honor and pay respect to these things have helped shape my day to life both in our current home and also some while I was growing up. It’s been a beautiful experience to look at these items and see them as a direct tool to help us reach our next steps and goals. It’s also helped strengthen my ability to love something and also not need to own it as well.
Thank you for being on this journey of growth, allowing, patience, dreaming with me. Cheers to you and each of us as we work to make our lives true to us and our deepest knowing and hopes.
PS – do you follow me on FB? If so I’ll be sharing more photos there soon after I get everything set up this weekend.