Sunday, February 23, 2014


I've always been de-cluttering something. My roommates in college can attest to that. If it wasn't needed or I hadn't worn it in a year, out it went. I never cared much for brand name stuff in high school, so thrift store shopping has been a part of my life for quite a while. My favorite article about clutter is always this one.

But things have changed. I moved, between the yearly trips to college to our now home, five times in college, twice the year I graduated and then to two more apartments before we bought our house in 2012. I've never liked moving, mostly because it meant I had to pack all my crap. And I'm tired of being controlled by my crap.

When the recession hit, my job wasn't the only thing to go. I tried to stop buying unnecessary things. I had yard sales, reacquainted myself with the local library, and rode the bus like it was my car. But things are changing even more. When articles like this grace the New York Times, people sit up and take notice.
“We never liked furnishing or cleaning or taking care of things we really didn't need,” said Ms. Copenagle."

I'm still searching for ways to avoid having to spend most of my weekends cleaning. I don't need a ton of knick-knacks. I even got rid of enough clothes to sell the extra wardrobe we bought a year and a half ago. The husband and I share a closet that still has plenty of space. And the weird part is that with less clothes, I find more ways to style my everyday outfits.And ever since I read The Zero Waste Home, I've been trying to implement more and more ideas like that into my life and our home. Why would I need, for example, 15 pairs of shoes when three would do? At a certain point, you can't even appreciate the favorites you own when you are bogged down with too much.

The average American home was less than 1,000 in the 1950's and now it's more than doubled. They are building a new housing community up the road and the houses, a) all look the same and b) why the hell would you want to pay heat/cool that much space? Our house is just under 1,500 and I want to go smaller with our next house. But as it is, we can probably live comfortably in this house with up to two kids. I shared a room with my younger brother for three years and was no worse for the wear.

I just finished the book You Can Buy Happiness by Tammy Strobel and found it a great read, much like Zero Waste. Strobel has the "dream" and realizes it is crap. The New York Times interviewed her a few years ago:

"Yet Tammy Strobel wasn’t happy. Working as a project manager with an investment management firm in Davis, Calif., and making about $40,000 a year, she was, as she put it, caught in the “work-spend treadmill.”
So one day she stepped off. “The idea that you need to go bigger to be happy is false,” she says. “I really believe that the acquisition of material goods doesn't bring about happiness.”

Agreed. Life is too short to be controlled by your possessions. Strobel now lives in a tiny house, 128 square feet to be exact. While I'm not sure if I could go that far, I like that I can dream about that.

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