As many of you know already, I am moving to Denver, CO in approximately 9 days. I am moving from a 3 bedroom, 1,900 square foot house into a 2 bedroom, 1,300 square foot apartment. Do I need 1,300 square feet to live in? Absolutely not. But this was the perfect apartment in a perfect walkable area (it scores a 74 out of 100 on WalkScore.com, which calculates the walkability of an address by locating nearby stores, restaurants, schools, parks, etc) so I took it. I will definitely use more of this apartment than I do my current home, which has had 1 whole bedroom empty and closed off since I moved in last year. And as anyone who has been reading this site for a little while knows, I have been working really hard to purge my life of all non-essential items with the 10 Things Challenge. I am down to what I am taking with me now, and I am so ready to get started in Denver! While I am pretty happy with what I ended up with, I am sure that there are a few things I am dragging with me that I will purge as I unpack in Colorado, but we shall see.
The courtyard of my new apartment
As I have been going through this process of purging and packing and prioritizing, there were a few questions and ideas I had to keep in the front of my mind. And since you guys read this site for the very reason I started it, so we can call simplify our lives and get organized, I figured I would share what I have been thinking about “stuff” lately. I honestly don’t think I have had this little amount of “stuff” since I was in college, collecting used furniture off street corners so we had a place to sit. It feels nice to purge so much from my life and begin to really realize that most of it is just “stuff” and not at all important or worth keeping. If you are planning on downsizing any time soon, I suggest you go through the following questions (as I did) as you go through your belongings:
- Why do I still have this?
- When was the last time I used it?
- Can I take a picture of this to remember it and give it to someone who can actually use it?
- Do I own this to impress others or to make myself happy?
- Will I ever use this again?
- Could someone else benefit from this more than I can?
- What value does this bring to my life?
- Instead of keeping this, can I rent one for the few times I will ever need it?
The less you own, the less you have to move, store, clean, maintain, display, etc. And really, who needs all this stuff we have anyway? A few sentimental items, along with some furniture and electronics, is all I need. It took me until the last year or so to realize it, but I truly enjoy knowing exactly what I have and where it is, and I look forward to my new minimal, orderly, simple apartment life in Colorado!
The main question I ask myself when purging stuff is:
Have I touched this in a year? If not, get rid of it.
When the kids were little, the time limit was 6 months.
It keeps you living in the moment.
It will be interesting to see what items you can still let go of once you move. Will you also tell us the items that you wish you still had?
Moving can definitely be the ideal time to downsize, albeit under a bit more pressure. I know I’ve had to pack boxes of junk before that I just don’t choose to make time and energy to deal with. Nice that you have a few days and have been simplifying already.
It sounds like you’ve found a nice part of Denver too… very nice city… good choice. Definitely a step up from LA and more engaging than Taos. Looking forward to hearing how it progresses.
Vicki – sure will. But I doubt I will miss much of anything.
Michael – Thanks, am happy about it. Much more engaging than Taos, and that is what I am hoping for. Will issue full reports!
I live in Denver, too. You’re going to love it! The people are down-to-earth and the sun never stops shining…except today, we’re expecting 18″ of snow, but what’s a simple life without a snow day (complete w/ fireplace and Bailey’s)?
I moved to CO because I wanted a simpler life, myself. I’d been living in an expensive and competitive area back east. I was overworked, financially overextended, and constantly sick. I was on 3 different perscriptions – for sleeping, anxiety, and depression. I’d always done what was expected of me and was terrified of breaking “the rules”. When you’re living a life that isn’t your own, everything is complicated
I’d always wanted to live by the mountains (always!), but never had the courage to make the change. On my birthday three years ago, I’d decided I’d had enough. I sold my furniture and drove to Denver a week later. Settling in wasn’t easy, but I was finally building a life on my own terms, so the bumps along the way weren’t as scary as I’d always imagined – they were adventures that made me realize that, yes, I’m alive. Today I enjoy my job, am finishing school to become a teacher (my life-long dream), have wonderful friends, get to hike in the mountains every weekend, and live in a small apartment filled with only my favorite things – a fireplace, an overstuffed chair, books, chocolate, and wine.
Here, next to the Rockies, I’ve found home. And there’s nothing more beautiful – more simple – than that.
Found your blog recently and am enjoying your articles. Keep up the great work & best of luck here in the Mile High City!
I’m making an effort to downsize my stuff also.
What about cards you’ve received whether it’s work, holiday or a thank you for something you did? Also how do you feel about keeping old certificates, awards or essays from elementary, high school and college days?
I love your list. Having recently emptied the nest (children and ex), I’ve started simplifying but find I still have a long way to go. Eventually I hope to find I don’t need this 3 bedroom/2 bath ranch on an acre!
sfordinarygirl – I actually only have about 4 “physical” cards that I keep, and that’s only because they REALLY mean something to me. Anything else that I would like to look at once in a while, but don’t need to keep, I have scanned into my computer. My records from school and awards are still in my file cabinet, which will be gone through once I arrive in Denver and scanned into the computer as well. It’s just not worth keeping paper copies of everything.
Sunny – thanks for stopping by! Your reasons for moving to Denver sound like my reasons for moving to New Mexico when I did – I had had enough of Los Angeles after 14 years! NM is great, but its too small for me and my ex to live in at the same time, so looking forward to “starting over” in Denver.
Good thought process there – I am still going thru the process myself.
Thanks for the walkable link. Mine came out 78. Not bad for very very small town 🙂
I am planning to downsize my home within the next year or so and have started getting rid of a lot of “stuff”. I have been doing this bit by bit but I want to do a big cleanout over the next month or so. It’s such a cleansing feeling for me to see the amount of stuff reducing.
Your new neighborhood sounds fantastic. I’m looking forward to hearing more about the area. Thanks for the walkable link!
Have fun! 🙂
I too moved.
From a 1500 square foot apartment to a 600 square foot one
I love it. It’s small, cosy, no real space for visitors who are squeamish about sleeping in the same room as us, and EXACTLY the size we need
I like the walkability score website too, but don’t take it at face value. It scores my neighborhood pretty high because of the many things within a 2 mile radius of my house.
But the website doesn’t know that in my city, that 2 miles is bisected by interstate highways and extremely busy streets without pedestrian crossing lights, and the sidewalks often stop without warning, leaving a pedestrian walking in the busy street.
When I entered my address and saw the score, I just laughed.
I am sure its not perfect, but for where I am living it’s pretty dead on – I have everything I could ever need within walking distance!