Decluttering the Home, Unburdening the Soul

Before we embark on our Journey to New Zealand, many things need to occur for the move to be successful.   One key thing is reevaluating our priorities.  Months ago the winds of change were felt throughout our house and life, though the decision to move was made 4 weeks ago.  It was solidified 2 weeks ago.  Let’s go back in time to better understand the progression of how we arrived here, at the launching pad across the Pacific.

Medical School:




Los Angeles:


North Carolina:


Somewhere along our career and life paths we understood that the more stuff we had, the happier we would be. But we missed the memo on the fact that the more stuff we had, the harder we had to work to maintain the stuff. Waaaaaaait a minute…… (or as they say in New Zealand, waaaaait two tics)

Meet Burnout – the culmination of keeping up with all the stuff, getting more stuff, and the constant worry that we may lose the stuff. That sounds really dumb when it’s written down. But it is a common thread woven into the fabric of many families’ lives, independent of economic background. This thread has been known to stealthily wind itself very tightly around the soul, spinning anxieties out of control, unraveling families and the very fabric upon which they were built.

In January 2016, John was reaching a breaking point of burnout. Keeping up with productivity, constantly worrying about the bottom line, and always being weary of budgets and spending, got to be too much.  It was becoming suffocating, and change had to happen. He began searching for ways to ease his anxiety and bring joy back into his work. As his partner, I was asked to begin phase one of the Change. Stop Getting Stuff, aka the dreaded word – Budget. In the past, when this word would rear its ugly head, I would cheat and work my way around the bottom line. Women are sneaky creatures and we have many creative ways around the credit card statement (I am speaking of my friends, not a feminist comment).

Clarity found in controlling excess:


Letting go of the old, to prepare for the new:


The house will remain furnished for our tenants renting the establishment. However, closets need to be emptied, cabinets need decluttering, attic spaces need to get organized. The decluttering process can be very challenging so, I started reading The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing for help.


May we learn to embrace simplicity and teach our children the value of collecting experiences above the accumulation of things.

In Good Health, Ana-Maria Temple, MD

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