“A house is just a place to keep your stuff while you go out and get more stuff.”-George Carlin
My wife and I have lived in our current home for almost 20 years. Fifteen years ago we added more space to the house. Now it is home to two humans, two dogs and one cat. We have a lot of room but we also have a lot of stuff. We have toyed with the idea of moving into a smaller home either closer into the city or to a cute little town about fifteen minutes away. At this point it is still just an idea.
I have a whole host of reasons of why this is a good plan. My number one reason is I am tired of doing yard work which includes mowing the grass in the summer, weeding and mulching beds, and blowing leaves in the fall. I have a big yard and a lot of big oak trees full of leaves waiting to drop in a month or two. What compounds my problem is that I have a lovely semi-retired neighbor who seemingly spends every waking hour making his yard look immaculate. It puts a lot of undue pressure on me (mainly from my wife) to keep our yard looking presentable. Sadly, I no longer care. I would much rather be out riding my road bike, or my mountain bike or hiking on some trail in the woods. But instead I mow, pull weeds and blow leaves.
No matter all the reasons I dream up to justify such a move there is also just as many reasons why it seems impossible. The biggest reason it seems like a foolish reality, stuff, lots of stuff. In thirty years of marriage we have accumulated tons of stuff, not only our stuff but our kids stuff too. I remind each of them often that we still have their stuff here with us and would they please come get it. Normally what happens is that they come to pick some stuff up and end up dropping more stuff off. It is a vicious cycle.
My wife and I looked at a cute new house built by a friend of ours in the small town we like recently. As we were walking around checking out the rooms we were both having the same thoughts, our massive dining room table that we use maybe ten times a year won’t fit. We will have to get rid of one of our sofas, and maybe four chairs. There is no place for the piano, or my library of Buddha books and then there is the issue of my workshop and all my tools, my truck, my trailer, my, my, my. In a word it became overwhelming for both of us. As nice as it would be to have no yard (yes we would have an issue with our two dogs), quaint restaurants and a brewery steps away from our front door the adjustment, hell the packing, the deciding what to keep and what to give away was just too much to think about.
So how are other people solving this dilemma? The dilemma of downsizing, because we have friends that are, storage units. Right now, within a five-mile radius of my home, six storage complexes are being built. Yes, people are leaving their spacious 4,000 square foot homes with big beautiful yards and slumming in a new 2,500 square foot house just ten feet away from their next door neighbors in hotsy totsy planned communities with parks, sidewalks, ponds, fountains and a social director and storing all the stuff that wouldn’t fit. This certainly seems counter productive to me because in reality I know that they also bought a lot of new stuff for their new crib because who wants to put old stuff in a new place.
We like our stuff, having it around us makes us feel safe and secure but we don’t need everything we have, hell I would bet we don’t use half of what we have. Some people keep score with their stuff “He who dies with the most toys wins”. Others simply have an unhealthy relationship with stuff. I am pretty confident that I will get the smaller house, and tiny yard one day. The moon and stars will need to be aligned correctly and two big dogs will need to find their way to doggy heaven but I see it in my cloudy crystal ball which I won’t take with me when we move.