Living in San Francisco brings a realm of interesting experiences that are unique to us city-dwellers.
One of which, is the necessity to have our buildings “retrofitted” to reinforce the foundation of our buildings in an attempt to avoid major structural damage (or complete destruction) when the next major earthquakes hits. I know – fun stuff, right?! 🙂
Recently we had retrofitting done to our 6-unit building, which required our neighbors, Sean, and me to pack up our basement storage units and ship our stuff off to another location for safe-keeping while the construction was underway.
Instead of merely packing up all our stuff, Sean and I decided to take the opportunity to reassess what we had stored away, so we could determine what we actually needed/wanted to keep, what could be donated, and what needed to be tossed. The exercise was so refreshingly helpful and provided living proof to how simplicity in life can bring so much joy.
Our experience has encouraged us in our decision to take a “less is more” approach to life.
Living in a small (less than 1,000 sq. ft.) unit has already limited the amount of stuff we’ve been able to welcome into our home; and over the years as we have moved, it has provided perfect opportunities to weed out unnecessary clutter from our lives.
During the more recent event wherein we were preparing for the retrofitting, we made an even further dent in reducing our surplus. As we parted with the things that had just been stored away in boxes (including things we loved, but just hadn’t been used in over a year (or longer)), we have found how holding onto less “stuff” has increased our gratitude.
With less “stuff,” we feel less weighed down.
We have also have become less impulsive with our purchases. We are finding it just feels so freeing to live with less. Today when we consider welcoming something new into our home, we try to simply bringing more awareness into our purchases. For example, we consider:
“Will this purchase add lasting value/function to our lives?” or “Is this something I actually need?”
Or sometimes, we merely incorporate the simple tactic of just WAITING before buying something impulsively.
We don’t feel it’s necessarily wrong to “treat” ourselves once in a while. But in the past, we found we were just buying things because we wanted them and had the means to do so…only later to have them end up stored away unused after the novelty had worn off.
By waiting before we purchase, there have been a number of times wherein the charm wears off and we no longer desire the thing we though we “just had to have.” And for those we still want after some time has passed, it is with increased appreciation and anticipation that we are able to welcome such things into our home.
We have also been spending more of our free time seeking out more life-giving experiences.
Many of which are free or low-cost: like spending time with each other or friends in the park, meeting up with friends to play pool/darts/bowling/etc., walking through farmer’s markets, strolling with Chloe in our neighborhood to encourage conversations with strangers, seeking out gems to photograph, etc..
These kind of activities have made us feel so much more connected with one another, others, and our community.