yesterday morning i went to an estate sale here in town and as i turned onto the street of the sale, i realized that i knew the person who was having the sale. i soon learned that she is losing her house. she said she was fine but i was not. it shook me up and i'm still shook up. i have a few friends who are going through this exact same thing. it is so sad and brought back memories. in 2009 just after renovating this place the economy came crashing down and larry's business took a terrible hit and things got very scary for us too. we were lucky and his business recovered. as i wandered through the estate sale i was struck by the amount of stuff that was for sale. i'm not talking about normal stuffed closets here, but a scary amount of stuff. hundreds, if not thousands of boxes stacked as high as me filled the house, garage and yard. it was overwhelming and it made me want to become a minimalist on the spot. it reminded me that there is a delicate balance between enough and too much. and in todays world that balance can be hard to maintain. the glossy magazines and beautiful blogs featuring so many new and pretty things can make you want more than you need. at least that's the effect they have on me. i began to wonder about about how the pursuit of more stuff can actually put our homes at risk, or when is enough, enough?
our own financial life is quite simple now but it hasn't always been this way. we used to live in a big house and the desire to fill it was just as big. i get a lot of emails asking how we simplified and the answer is that it took a big desire to change and a dose of courage to follow through with that change. our new desire is to live as simply and cheaply as possible. because neither one of us makes a big salary, if we don't have the money, we don't buy it. we don't have credit cards, car payments, cell phones or cable tv. we can afford these things but we just don't want to live that way any longer. we know that to keep things this simple we have to be vigilant and not slip back into the way the media says we should be living. we have a small house with a small mortgage, which also means small utility bills. shopping in big box stores and department stores makes me feel uneasy, i'm much more at home in yardsales and thriftshops. if i do waiver and purchase something from a big store, i always suffer from severe guilt, so i try to keep those experiences to a minimum. and you can say what you want about a vegan diet, but one thing for certain is, it is cheap! eating out is kept to a minimum mostly because getting good vegan food is hard around here or anywhere for that matter. all my skincare and cosmetics are free or next to free because that is my line of work. i always trade services for haircuts and facials. our preferred way of travel involves a tent and sleeping bag. this past week was spent under the stars of the eastern sierras and it was breathtakingly beautiful. something that can't be experienced in a hotel room. if we do stay in a hotel it is always heavily discounted through travelzoo. earlier this year after a string of car problems, larry decided to give up his car for a week and ride his bike everywhere. well that week has turned into 6 months now and i doubt he'll ever go back. he's lost 15 lbs and says he feels better than ever. larry is also the craigslist guru. when the house or cars needs repairs that is the first place he looks. i know this lifestyle isn't for everyone and some days i wonder if we were crazy to change our life so radically but most days i'm quite content and so very grateful to be living this way.
so what is your take on clutter and finances? do you think the two are related? do you know anyone going through the agony of losing their home?
have a wonderful weekend and i'm excited because the temperatures here are supposed to be cooling and i can't wait to share my thrifty fall wardrobe picks!