We sold our old home in Framingham in 2004, and moved to the house we are in today. It was a choice we made after learning the hard way, that less space and more awkward space closer to 'stuff' for more money was way worth the larger/nicer home further away. We got rid of quite a bit of stuff before our move. I can't remember if I had read this https://www.amazon.com/dp/B004GNF6T2/
Since then I am constantly weeding things out. I go through my own stuff as I encounter it during the day. I will ask Brian if we can rid ourselves of things that I know we haven't used in a long time (sometime he complies and sometimes he doesn't - he would be the packrat in this relationship, or just has hobbies that require a lot of stuff). I will ask Mina for permission before weeding her stuff out. Clothes that don't fit, toys she just doesn't seem to care about anymore. I will always respect her desires is she wants to keep something, but most times she will think for a minute, and tell me it is OK to let go. Sometimes, she even comes to me and gives me something, and asks me to donate it. She knows that we donate things "to kids that don't have enough toys or clothes". She is also used to hand me downs, and buying thrift more than we buy new. Most times, we end up buying new because it is a particular item that's hard to find thrifted (like cotton PJs or a particular kind of shoe, not very worn).
I'm rambling, though. Since reading that Scaling Down book, I have read others of that topic. I guess over time I've figured out a couple of things about me. First, I'm a dancer. Even though my studio is closed and I may not perform as much anymore, it is part of who I am. It is not what I do, it is who I am. Second, I'm a translator. I have done well professionally being able to speak to both the techies and the non-techies, being a bit of both. This is a rare thing, and it has served me well. I enjoy being in both worlds, and I guess I sort of did the same thing in the cliquish world of high school (was with the metalheads, the geeks and also the popular kids via dance/theater). It served me well when I worked in psych as an undergrad. I am perceptive generally and can 'get' where folks are coming from, and can clue others into that. It helps us immensely (imo) with trying to manage Mina. The 3rd thing I am, that I've only recently really come to understand (though I always knew it on some level) is that I am an Organizer. It is funny to think of this as something that's key to my identity, but it is what it is. As a kid I was always cleaning and reorganizing our house. I would rearrange furniture and ask my parents to buy tables or containers or whatever. I would play school (by myself), pretending I was the teacher, and reveled in the act of carefully curating books and writing supplies and whatever. At a time my parents told me I should be an interior designer, because I always enjoyed decorating our spaces. But when they told me that it was an artistic endeavor and I would need to go to art school I was all out. I love a pleasing space and I have fun making it my own visually, but for me it is all about the function, and the peace that comes with that. It is all just organization.
I'm rambling again. Given my penchant for reading things about getting rid of crap and organizing and simplfying one's life, I came across the blog http://www.theminimalists.com/ at some point. And then their podcast. I love listening to podcasts while I'm commutting or doing dishes or whatever, and theirs has grown to be one of my favorites. Their documentary came out this week on Vimeo, and if you preordered it (as I did) it came with something like 6 hours of additional footage. Basically, all of the stuff that got cut from the movie. I enjoyed watching it on Tuesday night, though it was a lot of the stuff I had seen. It was slow moving and kind of repetetive. Still, it was good food for thought. I'm looking forward to watching all of the other footage. A lot of it is interviews with other blogs I've come to follow, and podcasts I've added to my list. It was again, inspiring. That night I went into my closet and pulled out some things that I never wear, that I don't absolutely love. It (for me) is very freeing.
We are recovering from paying the most we've ever done (I think) for a home remodel. We did pay a lot in cash, but we also took out a HELOC to pay some of it, and are gradually paying it off. After working so hard to pay off debt (minus our mortgage, and then adding a couple of car payments), taking out the HELOC made me feel a bit like a poser. But we have good jobs and will pay this down, relatively quickly. We have had vet bills for Jayne (echo) and will have more (teeth cleaning/extraction), have our weekend vacation to pay for, and Disney in October. We had Mina at the vet with a filling, and will probably have her back again to get it revised/repaired. We have been bad about spending, with all of the remodeling we are doing (paint/carpet/hooks/stuff).
I guess this movie, these books, these podcasts help bring me back from the anxiety of OH MY GOD SO MUCH MONEY SO MUCH STUFF SO MUCH WORK. They center me again. Because at my heart, I'm an organizer. I'm a dork, but that's who I am.
(so if you ever need help cleaning out a closet or organizing a space or packing to move, I'm your gal)