Paring Down the House

2 12 2009

Living in the D.C. area means that housing is expensive and complicated. If you buy something closer to the city it’s more expensive, but if you work in the city you also spend a lot less time commuting. At times that can actually even be cheaper when you take commuting costs into account. Roger and I decided a while ago to live closer to the city. When you spend as much time working as we do, you just don’t want to add several hours of commuting to the mix. As a result, we live in a two-bedroom condo. It’s definitely a lot bigger than friends’ apartments I’ve stayed at in New York, but our home is pretty modest by most people’s standards.

Now that we are a family of three people and two cats, our modest home is becoming a little more, well, little. This morning alone I bumped into Roger, our cat Maggie, Azita’s Pack n’ Play, the closet door, a chair and an ottoman. That’s all within the span of one hour.

For years now, we have had storage outside of our home. At one point we had 3 storage units. Excessive, I know, but Roger and I joined our lives right on the cusp of our 30s. Both of us had lived on our own for about a decade by that point, so as you can imagine we had accumulated lots of stuff — from CDs and DVDs to couches and desks.

Right about here is where I should probably mention one of the core differences between Roger and myself. I am a big fan of Spring cleaning. I love to go through everything I know and clean, sort and toss. I give bags and bags of stuff to charity regularly. I am attached to few things. Roger, on the other hand, is a hoarder. He collects things and stows them and stacks them. When I moved in with him, he had this closet with floor-to-ceiling shelves, and believe me when I tell you that every inch of those shelves was piled high with stuff. There were 3 broken televisions, boxes and boxes of newspapers and magazines, piles of receipts, clothes he hadn’t worn since he was 8 years old. I can’t even begin to recount the sheer enormity of amount of stuff he (and now we) owned.

When we moved to D.C., Roger just couldn’t get rid of any of that stuff. I donated half of my possessions, but Roger rented another storage unit. By the time I was pregnant, our storage units were stuffed to the gills, and we were paying more than I care to admit to store crap we didn’t need and didn’t use. Still, Roger wanted to keep it all.

I’m not sure what has changed. Maybe Roger will chime in with a post of his own to explain it, but at some point this year Roger has caught the purging bug from me. One Saturday morning we woke up, and he suggested we go get rid of stuff in the storage unit. Next thing you know, we have no storage units, and we’re getting rid of stuff from our apartment. Our home is looking bigger and bigger by the day, and the best part of it is that Azita has more and more space to roam and explore.

We do have plans to get into a bigger place when we can swing it, but for now we’re sticking it out in our little home. And, it feels good. Not just because I prefer a more pared-down existence, but also because we are finally in-synch on this one aspect of our lives. If we keep this up, we may be the same person in 50 years. To tell you the truth, I really wouldn’t mind it.

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