Beyond Downsizing: Happiness from a Rowdy Kitten & more…

As we get closer to completion on the Tiny House, it becomes more & more evident that we STILL have too much stuff. So, while Aaron works on the interior structures of the house, I'm focusing my energy on how we can start (I'd like to think 'continue') simplifying our stuff, and our lives, so we will fit into our Tiny House once it is completed. But what's the best way to clear out all the clutter!? And it's not just the clutter that needs to go; there are important decisions/realizations ahead as to what is essential and what is not. I've been clearing out our current living space (10'x12' + large closet) for almost a year now, and I finally feel like we have a nice balance between space and stuff. Most everything has a spot. I think that's part of it.... everything needs a spot. Aaron & I have discussed best methods for deciding what stays and what goes. In our move last January, I packed "tiny house" boxes with things I thought we'd want to live with once we moved in - I'm excited to go through them to see what I'm ready to let go of! We've joked about the lawn game where we lay everything we think we need out on the lawn and take turns bringing in what each of us finds most important to include; then we try to find consensus on where it should be located in the house. Talk about process! But I think it's essential. I've "downsized" my life many times before, but this is something entirely different. Over the last year, I've come to realize that it's not about subtracting from what I have, it's about choosing what are the most necessary items to have in our home. What is it that we need? (Really, truly, need). What is it that we each use most? And how often do we use it? Are there things we want (storage containers) that we should create space for? (Yes!) And most importantly - will I survive without a printer in my home office!? (Maybe). I think I need some expert advice! When I started to feel stuck, I checked out a few books at the local library and gleaned advice from those who had done it before. Here are a couple of voices who have helped me on this journey: You Can Buy Happiness (and it's cheap!)   Tammy Strobel is officially added to my list of heroes!! I'm so excited to have come across Tammy's story and wait eagerly for each new blog post. Years ago, she was employed at an investment firm and become tired of the stressful commute, long hours in the office and rising debt from living beyond their means - the typical American drea...Ehm...story :p Once she realized that downsizing would improve their over-all well-being she and her husband, Logan started taking steps to simplify their lives. They got rid of their car (eventually both of them) and started riding their bikes everywhere, shopping at local farmer's markets and using less living space. They have made HUGE changes in their lives and are all the HAPPIER for it! They are currently living on a ranch in Northern California in their Tiny House where Tammy works from home as a writer, teacher & creator. Follow their story at  100 Thing Challenge  Dave Bruno decided he needed to start practicing what he was preaching when it came to the over-abundant consumer lifestyle that Americans -on average- are drawn to. Dave started paying attention to his own spending habits and chose to pare down his belongings to less than 100 Things for the next year. I really enjoyed his insights on our need to hold onto stuff (mostly hobby-related) in order to preserve the ideal self we are hoping to become one day. (I needed to hear that!)  He talked of the need to set rules for yourself and to stick with them. He also explains that it is important to make the decision to do such a project for you and yourself ONLY. This isn't something you should impose on others and expect them to follow suit. Managing our 'stuff' is such a personal process that it is best to leave the decision to downsize it to it's rightful owner. Learn more at          
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