That process quickened after we were married, because my taste wasn’t my wife’s, and, frankly, hers was better. Taste wasn’t the only determinant and certainly wasn’t the most important one. That was space.
I’d bought all that furniture for a twobedroom apartment, then moved to a one-bedroom place. Just after we were married, we both got new jobs in a new city, so we took the contents of both of our apartments on the road, finally jamming them into a 1,100-square-foot house. We spent the next six years giving away a lot of furniture and adding smaller pieces, including baby furniture.
Then we bought a 3,500-square-foot house and started acquiring furniture to fill six bedrooms. After 14 years of adding to our possessions, we bought a 2,000-square-foot house and found ourselves etting rid of everything that hadn’t proved worth keeping. In one weekend, my wife filled 16 trash bags full of clothes.
We gave away beds, dressers, sideboards, desks, and chairs. When we were done, we looked around the house we were about ready to vacate. We realized that it looked so much better without all that stuff—much more livable.
Because we threw away so much, the new house is minimalist and comfortable, and everything has a place. Still, we had a hard time deciding what to get rid of, and sometimes I think maybe we went a little overboard.
However, the statement made by stuff piled ceiling-high on the floors of musty basements is not a pleasant one, says Leslie Robison of Green Lane, Pennsylvania, who owns a firm called Simple Systems Organizing and counsels homeowners on how to reduce clutter.