From the Blog

It’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint

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I don’t know if I have a terminal case of naive optimism, but when faced with an impending task or deadline or obstacle, I tend to VASTLY underestimate how much of a pain in the ass it will be. Why do I do this? Or more pointedly, why would I do this more than once? Indeed, more than, more than, more than once. Continuously. All the time. You’d think I’d learn. But I haven’t. That perky, dumb optimism and short memory always beats out any wiser, jaded cynicism. Screw you, wisdom! I’m busy being a dumb bubble head over here!

We have been downsizing, as I have mentioned repeatedly. This has been an experiment in willful lifestyle tuning. In the past few months, I’ve patted myself on the back over all the furniture we’ve gotten rid of, all the old papers I have shredded, and all boxes I have emptied. It has felt fantastic.

That sparkly euphoria has served a dual purpose, however, of also concealing just how much other stuff I still have. I was so goddamned excited to get rid of the low hanging fruit, and I felt so much lighter, I forgot I still have a shit ton of shit. I was so happy to get rid of ten boxes of crap, I forgot I still had fifty more to deal with.

With our downsizing success thus far, I was under the mistaken impression that this current move of ours would be soooo much easier. And we’d have noooo trouble fitting into 533 square feet of space. With just one regular sized, not a walk-in closet. For two people. With camping gear. And a cat.

And still lots of books. I was under the impression that I got rid of a lot of books. I did. I swear! I went through them, with the idea of thinning the herd, and I still ended up with 10 boxes. I want to read those fuckers!

The original low hanging fruit of our downsizing gave us a false sense of accomplishment. We thought we were being so good. But really, we have just started downsizing. We’re just at the tip of the iceberg. We are just coming to terms with a lifetime of conventional acquisition, and now we are trying to drop out of that race. We are really just at the beginning.

It’s easy to get rid of stuff we don’t use. But what about stuff we might use? What about stuff I like, but haven’t used lately? No, we don’t need two can openers or two ice cream scoops. But do we need the pastry cutter and the zester and the juice squeezer thing? Those items seem essential in a civilized kitchen. How much is cutting out too much? Will we be neanderthals without my milk frother?

We are still getting rid of stuff. We have to. We don’t have the space. I hope it continues to feel as liberating as it has so far. But I think letting go is going to hurt more, moving ahead. The decisions won’t be as easy. I have to remember this isn’t a quick process. It’s going to take a while. And it’s going to be a pain in the ass.

Below, our hatchback loaded up for a trip to Goodwill.


  1. Wow! Sounds familiar, right down to the hatchback car. We are afraid of the same thing with a move into the tiny house. 1200 square feet down to 400 square feet was really hard and it took about 3 years of near weekly donate piles by the door. I think I’ve been feeling a similar na├»ve optimism regarding our next transition from 400 sq ft to 150 sq ft. Learning vicariously from the stories of others is the best way to obtain experience I think. Thanks for the wake up call! :)

  2. I hope you’re having a chance to relax amongst the all those boxes!

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