My little family of 3 is about to embark on a major life change. We're moving out of our current house (over 2,000 sqft, with 4 bedrooms, 2 reception rooms, kitchen/diner, 2 bathrooms, utility room and office) and moving to a 1,000 sqft apartment. 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, kitchen and open plan living/dining space. We adore the area so it's a no-brainer for us, but still - what are we going to do with all our STUFF?
For weeks we've been downsizing our lives - getting rid of old books, unworn clothes, useless paperwork and mounds of clutter - and it has been so cathartic (there was stuff that was still in boxes from the last time we moved house...) Carload after carload has gone to charity/the dump and there's not one thing I'm sad about.
The cost of storage in London has been a major incentive. At one point we thought we'd have a nice little shed somewhere nearby for all our camping gear, Christmas decorations, photo albums and such like. Not for £30 a week we won't. Realising that it would be cheaper to buy a new tent everytime we go camping than to pay to store one was pretty eye-opening.
And I've been massively spurred on by a study by The Center of Everyday Lives of Families at the University of California that looked at the habits of middle-class double-income families. Over a 4-year period, ethnographers studied how the families related to their living spaces during waking hours. They found that regardless of the size of the house, the families spent nearly all their time in a space of around 400 sqft, almost exclusively in the kitchen, family room and dining room. The rest of the house was almost never used. The average time children used the back garden was 40 minutes a week. Parents used it only 15 minutes a week. They discovered that while we crave abundant space, we rarely use it.
So we're decluttered, excited and ready for the challenge. Watch this space...