February. 10. 2011.

this is it.

When our first son was 4 months old, we decided our 12oo square foot house was just too small for our “growing family”.  We had to move.  then and there.  5 years and two more kids later, we are downing in a 4,000 square foot prison cell.  Sure we have room.  4 plus bedrooms, three stories.  Storage and bathrooms galore.  And every square inch is filled with stuff.  crap.  garbage.  Not like a trash house you see on “Hoarders”.  No, our living spaces are fairly modern and minimalist.  But the closets?  Full.  The storage areas?  Packed.  Furniture?  Everywhere. 

And it is taking over.

If you ask my husband and I which aesthetic style we most identify with, we would both respond with “minimalist”.  Now that term may vary between California Modern minimalist, Scandinavian minimalist, Hampton’s beach house minimalist or even NYC penthouse minimalist…..but we like minimalism.  However, if you look at how we live, it is anything but.  One room and board sofa and Barcelona chair, a minimalist does not make.

Every day when we get home from work/school/the babysitter we unload our stuff.  I spend some time sorting through the piles of paper (anyone have a kid who goes to Montessori?  Why oh why is it necessary to send home every paper that every touched their precious little hands?  More on that later….).  I try to toss some paper.  Sort some paper.  File some paper.  But ultimately what I do best is STACK some paper.  And there it stays.  Until I reach my bi-monthly breaking point of paper pile overload. 

That is how I feel like I spend my days.  Sorting and stacking paper.  Sorting and stacking toys.  Sorting and stacking clothes.  Sorting and stacking groceries.  The number of times a day my hands or eyes set themselves on things that I do not in any other way actually use or love each day is depressing.  The number of toys that my children dump on the floor each day as compared to the number with which they actually PLAY is a dismal return on investment.  The number of groceries we store in our fridge each week only to throw away the next week because they’ve expired is disgusting.  And the number of pieces of clothing in my closet that I consider wearing each day only to decide not to because they don’t fit/are ugly is enormous.  So why do we keep all this stuff?  Why do we own SO MUCH?

I try.  I really do.  Almost every day, I bag up something and throw it in the car to give away.  But 4,000 square feet of stuff accumulated over a lifetime is no small task.  There is the pure time issue.  I don’t have a lot of time to go through my stuff.  There is the time management issue.  Sometimes, most of the time, I would rather do anything besides go through my stuff.  Then there is the sentimentality issue.  Some of this stuff means something to me.

So enough.

We realized we had to do something radical.  If we want to live the life we want to live – less management of our crap, more hanging out living the life, we need to do something.  Fast.

So we are selling our house and launching one of the biggest experiments of our lives.  Our goal – less rooms to mess up.  Less space to store stuff.  Less money spent on they place where we hang our hats.  The intended outcome – more money for vacation, dinners out, charitable donations, whimsical spur of the moment indulgences.  And more time just being.  In whatever way we want to “be” at the moment.  Because we will spend less time managing our stuff.

So we are on the hunt.  We want to stay in the same area.  Urban (or as urban as you get in the midwest) but residential.  A neighborhood with old houses, deer in the yards but walking distance to the coffee shops, parks and schools.  But we want small.  Some would say stupidly small.  If we were in Europe though, aside from the castles it wouldn’t be small.  If we were in NYC, aside from those penthouses it wouldn’t be small.  But small.  Small for a family of 5 with three boys under age six.  and a Siberian husky and long-haired black cat.  Under 2000 square feet. 

Let the challenge.  and the opportunity.  begin.

 

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February. 9. 2011.

intro…..

This, just like most things I do in life is an experiment.  It might not start out very smoothly, or maybe it will.  But blogging?  Well, I don’t really know how to do it.  I don’t really know how to manage a blog.  But my guess is not very many people do when they are just getting started.  I’m not going to do a long-winded introduction of who I am…..that will come out in what I write.  Organically, as they say. 

So here we go.