Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Living with Less

Apart from being able to buy wine at the grocery store and looking forward to possibly affording a home before we're corpses (not familiar with the real estate situation in Vancouver? Here's an interactive educational tool to help illuminate you), one of the best things about moving to the US is the opportunity to purge unwanted, unnecessary household items.

Apartment living with a family has made me very aware of clutter, and I find myself getting anxious whenever the "stuff" begins to accumulate and take away from our living space. I now have an irrational fear of ending up having to climb over mountains of our possessions like in Hoarders. In 2012, a friend pointed me in the direction of The Minimalist Mom. I purchased her ebook, read it in a day, and thought "YES! This woman is speaking my language!" Ever since then, I've been pretty militant about rounding up "stuff" and donating it to Sally Ann about once a season, and I'm a lot more conscious about what we buy and why. Now, every time Huz can't find something, he gets a little nervous that I might have donated it without his permission (which I almost never do. Almost.). My mother, whose love language is giving presents, is saddened when I ask her not to go overboard at Christmastime or not to buy too much for our second daughter because I've already got more than enough from our first.

A cross-continental move takes living with less to the next level. I get to vamoose of our sad, dilapidated pullout couch that we got for free 6 years ago (which means it was in rough shape 6 years ago, and has only gotten worse since). Any ill-fitting, dated, or falling apart clothes must go, as must anything irreparably broken, hideously ugly, or of questionable origin (I'm thinking particularly of an entire box full of random cords and wires that have not been used in YEARS). Almost all tchotchkes have their execution dates set, and I am practically giddy with delight at the thought of giving away our metal bed frame, which I have walked into in the middle of the night more times than I care to recall.

But knowing that you are moving far away in a matter of weeks also means that you implement an Impending Move Austerity Plan, which I am LOVING (Huz maybe not so much). Out of hand soap? Rather than buying more, let's use up every single molecule of soap that we can find in our house first: old bars of Pears, the Strawberry Shortcake foaming soap that I bought Honey Bee to get her excited about potty training, and the what seems like decades worth of travel-sized soaps/shampoos/body washes that we've collected. Fridge looking a little empty? Rather than running right out to the grocery, pretend you're on Chopped and ask yourself "What can I make for lunch using canned salmon, hot dog buns, and green peppercorns?" (The answer: Canned salmon sandwiches. Without green peppercorns. What the hell do you do with green peppercorns? I think I must have bought them by accident, mistaking them for capers.)

So if you're in Vancouver and wanting to spend some time with us before we move, come on over for a glass of Marsala wine or a shot of Fireball, and grab a souvenir tchotchke while you're at it.

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