Tuesday, May 17, 2016

How much is too much?

Yesterday my friend Joe Hagy, aka "Cranky Old Man", posted about all the things he didn't have as a kid growing up in the 1950's....things like color TV, Netflix, cell phones, FM radio, air conditioning, a car with power windows and lane departure warning, etc, mainly because those things hadn't been invented yet.  I grew up without those things, too, and we were still happy as could be.  Today we have two of everything, and lament the fact that we don't have three of everything like our neighbors, the Jones's.  'Merica!

Six years ago we sold our 3500+ square foot home and moved into a two bed / two bath apartment.  It was supposed to only be for a year until I could find a suitable lot and build us a home more appropriate for two people.  It turned out I / we liked the maintenance-free apartment lifestyle.  It didn't take long, however, for that second bedroom to turn into our catch-all / junk room, so after another "stuff purging" we downsized again into a smaller but nicer one bedroom.

Now here we are about to downsize again.  This time it was prompted by the fact that the $10 BILLION dollars worth of new construction going up within a mile radius of us, and the 8,000 new permanent jobs that will come with it, are making our little utopia a congested nightmare.  Plus, management seems to think that our community is now worth its weight in gold.  It isn't.

Last week we went through every box, every cabinet and drawer, every closet and nook and cranny, and simplified once more.  What we've found is that if you downsize in steps, it's much easier to accept.

We've gone in six years from one huge rolltop desk to two smaller desks, and shortly to just one.  Much of our furniture, none of which held any sentimental value, was given away to family and friends, sold on Craig's List, or put into storage for later use, except "later" never came.

We decided we didn't need that extra blender, or the food processor, pressure cooker, or the toaster oven that we only used twice to melt cheese on open faced roast beef sandwiches.  Ditto for the two extra coffee makers that were made obsolete (according to my wife) by the new model that George Clooney was hawking on TV, the extra set of cookware and dishes and drawer full of dull knives, and all those old towels that two people will never, ever need. 

Most of our books long ago gave way to Kindles, and a Bose radio brings us magnificent sounds that belie its tiny size.  I also finally gave up hope that all those pairs of jeans I saved that "shrank" in the dryer will ever somehow stretch back enough to fit my 2016 waistline.  And as much as I've cut back, K has cut back even more.  :)

This time we're giving up about 200 square feet, but because it's arranged much better, and without any long hallways, I think it will actually live larger.  Plus we'll now have an on-site dog park, a "pet grooming station", and a gym with actual instructors.  (And you know how much I love exercise....I could sit and watch it for hours!)

So how many more downsizes are there in us?  Where will this all end?  Maybe....  

Umm, probably not.  Looks like a lot of maintenance.   How about....

....the Ultimate Woodie?  No?  OK, I have it....



  1. I don't know what people do that don't have children. It is so much easier getting rid of stuff, especially old sentimental stuff when you can keep it in the family. Kinda sucks you moving, I know there was much you liked about your apartment...progress is a bitch. Hope the next move works out and is your last move.

    1. I'm sure things will work out great, Joe. It takes about a week to adjust, then life goes on. I'm actually rather looking forward to it.

  2. One of the things on our list for this summer is DECLUTTER this house! We got rid of a lot when we moved, but that was almost 7 years ago & we've accumulated more again. Plus there're the boxes that never got unpacked from the last move.

    And Joe - we don't have kids, but I'm not a super sentimental person. The stuff I REALLY care about I'll be keeping. Everything else I'll take a picture & say buh-bye! Maybe. :)

  3. We've been in this house for almost 8 1/2 years and I agree, over time stuff just accumulates. My ex-husband, two boys, and I used to live in a 980 square foot house without an attic or a garage and I have to admit, it was tight. I appreciate the luxury of having ENOUGH room, but what I don't like is too much clutter destroying the calm and serenity of however much room you have.

    So decluttering is on my list, too!

    1. It feels good to be free of all that extra stuff. If it hasn't been used or worn in 6 months or a year, toss it I say! Larger stuff you can put in storage, and if you haven't missed it or even thought about it in 6 months or a year, take a hint...you don't need it!

  4. Scott, I sent Joe's post to a couple of people SWMBO asked me to. I think your post will go the same route today. Love the urn thought!

    1. For some people (like us) this is a great way to live, but I understand that some others value their stuff, for whatever reason, to ever give it up. So be it. ;)

  5. Haha. You start off in a very small space, move out into the world, and end up in a very small space indeed. That's dark, man. really dark.

  6. I hope you find a new special place. Being able to watch the airport and walk to restaurants etc was my dream. Love how you ended this post. Very creative.

    1. The great thing about living in a rapidly growing city/region is that new, "better" places to live are always coming along. The state-of-the-art "in" place today will just be tomorrow's "meh". Plus as you get older you realize that stuff you once yearned for turned out to be just another dust catcher. Live and learn.

  7. I am a firm believer that a simpler life is a happier one. I simplified my life last spring (got rid of A LOT of unneeded stuff) and it felt amazing. By the way, I would love to follow your blog but I cannot find a follow button.

    1. Hi new friend! I'd love to have you follow, but I'm not sure how to do that. I'll look into it, though. :)

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