I have been asked to give a few more details about our downsizing so here goes.
Over time we have inherited and purchased enough stuff to fill the largest U-Haul truck and have an embarssing amont left over.
Over the last year I have worked hard to find new homes for at least 95% of it. Some went to family (they got first dibs), a lot went to friends, and car load after car load went to the Salvation Army. Mike and I were there so often that they now recognize us both and we have some new friends.:-)
Initially, I went through the hose and cleared out the easy stuff such as extra mugs and no longer worn clothing. I was self chastised when I donated all the craft items I purchased and then never used. (Memo to self: craft using what you have!)
The second round required some more thinking and some harder decisions. I had to give myself permission to not keep every inherited item or gift. I took a "memory picture" and let it go. Box after box of holiday decorations, family linens I didn't' use because my table wasn't the right size, etc. left to find new homes. Freeycle was a great resource for finding some of these new homes.
The final pass through the house saw some treasured items leaving to be loved by new families. Surprisingly, this was not as hard as expected since I now had practice and a new mindset. My china (12 place settings) went to someone at work who loves to entertain. My crystal went to another friend at work. The dining room set is being enjoyed by by some of my extended family of the heart. And, my wedding gown will be used to make christening gowns and family heirlooms for new families. I am content.
By the end we have kept 13 pieces of furniture, 15 paper boxes of miscellaneous items and 3 larger plastic totes of bulkier items. Plus, Uncle Bill's snow blower, the new grill/smoker, and the newer patio furniture.
I no longer feel owned by my possessions. They do not define me.
Who knows, there just might be something to this new minimalist life style.:-)