My wife and I recently made a decision that will dramatically impact our daily lives… but before I get into the specifics of that decision, I want to explain the reason we’re making it.
Our motivation can be best described by the words of Henry David Thoreau: “Simplify, simplify.“
Like many people our age, our life together is inordinately complex– far more than it needs to be. This is epitomized by the enormous collection of “stuff” we’ve managed to amass, which never ceases to amaze me. We want to simplify our lives– not just a little, but we’re talking the type of simplifcation that dramatically impacts the quality of one’s life.
So what is the decision? We’re selling our 2300 square foot home, and moving into a townhouse with 1000 fewer square feet. Further, this townhouse will be a scant 5 minute drive from my office, instead of the horrible 1+ hour commute I currently endure. So how does this add up to a quality of life improvement?
<li>Reduction in commute time will add about 10 hours per week of free time. That’s an extra 40 hour week every month, 520 hours a year. Actually, that’s a huge understatement– I currently leave for work around 7am, and come home around 7:30 to avoid the traffic, so in reality it will be a lot more than a couple hours a day that I’ll be gaining… what will I do with all this extra time?
</li><li>We’re going to get rid of a huge percentage of our “stuff.” There will be a massive garage sale, followed by donations to various charities. This includes furniture, computers, servers, clothes we never wear, small appliances we never use, etc. The stuff that clutters our lives is like a boat anchor that weighs on our conciousness… the more space you have, the more stuff you get… our new rule will be that we can’t buy something without getting rid of something of equal size. This will force us to keep things pared down.
</li><li>At the end of this process, we’ll have zero debt, which is a huge change. Additionally, we expect to reduce our monthly expenditures by approximately $1500 a month. While most of this will go into savings, a little extra cash in the pocket each month makes it easier to do the things we want to do.
There’s more, but you get the idea.
Bottom line, reducing the complexity of life increases its quality. We’re doing this in a way that represents fundimental change– we’re kind of “rebooting” things. However, even little simplifications can improve things. It’s worth considering.