Empty, White, and Beautiful

For the first time in months, I feel like I’m back in my element. Let me explain…

My husband and I have been drifting since February—living in a succession of hotels and sublets—because we’re reluctant to commit to long-term housing. It’s an interesting, and liberating, way to live; the only downside is that most short-term housing is furnished, leaving you with little control over your visual environment.

One thing I’ve learned from this experience: my surroundings have a big psychological effect on me.

My last two “homes” both had brightly-colored walls, plenty of pictures and décor, and lots and lots and lots of furniture. Now, don’t get me wrong—these were lovely places that most people would find delightfully warm and charming.

I, on the other hand, could never quite adjust to all the visual stimulation—especially while trying to work from home. How I yearned for one blank wall to rest my gaze upon! It got to the point where I’d close my eyes, and imagine myself sitting in a stark white room—just for a few moments of mental peace and clarity.

Lest you dismiss this as the rantings of a crazy minimalist, scientists have found that a visually chaotic environment restricts your ability to focus. I have to say, I wholeheartedly agree!

But before you worry that my blog implodes because of this turn of events, I have happy news to report. This week, we moved into our latest abode, a small one-bedroom sublet in a converted factory. Oh, what a wondrous sight—high ceilings, huge windows, and glorious bare white walls!

Summer sublet

And since we’re finishing out the lease of the current tenants, we got a great deal by taking it unfurnished. After four months of navigating around other people’s sofas, tables, chairs, and desks, the emptiness is heavenly.

Overall, the effect is airy, ethereal, and serene—and makes my spirit feel the same.

I’ll admit, an unfurnished sublet is not the most practical choice. Since we’re only here for three months, and have no idea where we’ll move next, we won’t be acquiring much. But you know what? I’m looking forward to living this summer with the absolute minimum—a coffee table and a mattress, to be exact—and having plenty of space to do yoga. It’s a little like camping indoors. :)

Over the next few months, the property manager will be showing the place to potential new tenants. I can’t imagine what they’ll think of our sparsely-furnished space (that we’re strange? poor? on the lam?), but I honestly don’t care. Because at the moment, I am staring at this empty room, with its empty walls—and I can’t stop smiling.

Does anyone else have trouble concentrating in a cluttered room? Do you share my love for an empty, white space? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Minimalist Home: Adding Warmth Without Adding Stuff

The most frequent criticism I hear about minimalist homes is that they’re “cold,” “sterile,” or “uninviting.”

Of course, such criticisms usually come from people who aren’t minimalists; and in the end, it doesn’t matter what anyone thinks about your home but you.

However, sometimes our decluttering efforts can suck the warmth out of our space. We’re so focused on elimination, that we forget about our aesthetic needs—those little visual cues that make us (and our families) feel comfortable in our homes.

Never fear: your living room doesn’t have to look like Pottery Barn to have charm and character. Here are some ways to cozy up your space without adding more stuff:

1. Choose natural materials. When your furnishings and décor are few, natural materials convey a wonderful sense of warmth. For example: a reclaimed wood table, a wool area rug, beeswax candles, linen napkins.

2. Add texture. This is a great way to add visual interest, especially with a monochromatic color scheme. A chunky handknit throw, nubby wool upholstery, or hammered metal bowl are subtle, elegant alternatives to chintz and frills.

3. Decorate with nature. Skip the home décor stores, and decorate with a plant, vase of flowers, cluster of branches, or unusual rocks you’ve gathered on a hike. They’re inexpensive (or free!), and add a beautiful, organic look to your space.

4. Use light as décor. During the day, throw open the curtains or blinds (or consider letting your windows go naked) to maximize natural light. In the evening, a few candles or string of white lights can create a romantic, magical glow.

5. Use color. A coat of paint is the easiest way to liven up a room without adding stuff; even a single wall of color can have a dramatic effect. However, if (like me) you’re a devotee of white walls, you can still benefit from a splash of color—simply choose fun hues for your practical stuff, like pillows, placemats, towels, or upholstery.

6. Choose vintage or recycled materials. Not only are upcycled items more eco-friendly; there’s just something infinitely more charming about stuff with a patina or history.

7. Use glass jars. Longtime readers know I’m a big fan of mason jars. Maybe it’s just me, but I think some of the consumable stuff in our homes—spices, beans, coffee, pasta, cotton balls, bath salts—are pretty enough to serve as décor.

8. Use personal items. Stuff with meaning—like personal photos, artwork, or travel souvenirs—are so much more interesting than store-bought décor. The key is editing: highlight just a few important pieces, to give them the spotlight they deserve.

Remember: adding warmth isn’t about adding stuff. An empty room with weathered wood floors and a single vase of flowers can be absolutely delightful. Rather, it’s about choosing our stuff with care, so that our homes are welcoming havens for our families, our guests, and ourselves. When you come home at the end of a long day, your space should always make you smile. :)

{If you’d like to learn more about minimalist living, please consider reading my book, The Joy of Less, A Minimalist Living Guide, or subscribing to my RSS feed.}

Minimalist Workhorse: Mason Jars

Those who’ve read my book know I’m a huge fan of versatile items – from both a minimalist and ecological standpoint, I think it’s better to own one multi-functional item than several single-function ones. In my opinion, the more uses something has, the more worthy a place in our households.

When it comes to multi-functional items, I’m hard-pressed to think of a better workhorse than the humble mason jar. Besides their obvious use for canning and storing food, they can fill myriad other roles in our homes: from serving as lanterns, to drinkware, to impromptu piggy banks.

The best part: they can do double-duty as both storage and décor. Instead of buying mass-produced tchotchkes, consider “decorating” your home with the stuff of your everyday life. It’s elegant, inexpensive, and makes you truly mindful of what you own.

Consider the following ways to put mason jars to work in your home:

1. Kitchen storage/décor. Displaying dry foods in glass jars – like pasta, beans, coffee, and spices – are a wonderful way to add warmth to your minimalist kitchen.

2. Bathroom storage/décor. Use them to hold cotton balls, q-tips, or bath salts for a serene, spa-like look.

3. Laundry room. Powdered detergent is prettier in a glass jar than commercial packaging. (Make your own, so you can skip the packaging altogether!)

4. Vase. A mason jar makes a lovely, simple vase for a single bloom or small bunch of flowers.

5. Lanterns. I love the look of white candles or tea lights in glass jars – so beautiful!

6. Office supplies. Use them to corral all those loose paperclips, rubberbands, or pencils.

7. Paint. A great way to store your paint so you can actually see the color.

8. Hardware. Fill them with screws, nails, bolts, and all those other bits and bobs on your workbench.

9. Drinkware. Nothing says summer like a mint julep or iced tea served in a mason jar.

10. Terrarium. For some low-maintenance greenery, make a terrarium: all you need is potting soil, pea gravel, activated charcoal, and some moisture-loving plants.

11. Piggy bank. There’s something very satisfying about seeing all that spare change accumulate.

12. Craft supplies. Beads, buttons, and embroidery floss are gorgeous in their own right – and make more interesting décor than mass-produced trinkets.

13. Natural décor. Glass jars of sand, stones, seashells, and other natural treasures lend a nice organic touch to any room.

14. Gifts. Homemade mixes in mason jars make wonderful gifts. Layer the dry ingredients for a decadent treat – like hot cocoa, or chocolate chip cookies – and attach a label with the recipe.

Do you have any other ideas for using mason jars? Please share them with us in the Comments!

{If you’d like to read more about minimalist living, please consider buying my book, The Joy of Less, A Minimalist Living Guide, or subscribing to my RSS feed.}

Radical Downsizing

tinykitchen2-sA little over a year ago, my husband and I were living in a 1000-square-foot, 3-bedroom house with a 2-car garage and postage stamp backyard.

Now we’re living in a 390-square-foot, 1-bedroom apartment.

I have to admit: I loved the idea of such a radical downsizing, but wasn’t quite sure how it’d work out in practice. But you know what? So far, we’re functioning perfectly well in about one-third of our former space.

Here are the differences between our former (larger) house and current (tiny) flat:

Former house: 3 bedrooms
Tiny flat: 1 bedroom
Thoughts: Having three bedrooms was a lot of wasted space for us. We turned two of them into offices; however, I rarely used mine, preferring to work (on my laptop) in the living room instead. We’ve found one bedroom to be adequate for our current needs, but may opt for two in the future (the extra could serve as an office/guest room/flex space).

Former house: large, eat-in kitchen
Tiny flat: compact kitchen in corner of living room
Thoughts: I love having an open-plan kitchen, and the lack of space has been a great disincentive to accumulating excess culinary gadgets and appliances.

Former house: full-size refrigerator
Tiny flat: small, dorm-size refrigerator
Thoughts: When we first moved in, I thought the tiny fridge would be a problem – but surprisingly, it hasn’t been an issue at all. We’re a five-minute walk from the grocery store, and have found we prefer spontaneous meal-planning to bulk-buying or stocking up.

Former house: laundry room
Tiny flat: small washer/dryer combo in kitchen cupboard
Thoughts: If the unit worked well, this wouldn’t be a problem. However, it’s a temperamental bugger, and I often resort to hand-washing and air-drying rather than fight with it. I really don’t mind, though – there’s a certain simplicity and mindfulness to it.

Former house: two-car garage, two cars
Tiny flat: no parking space, no car
Thoughts: My husband commutes to work by rail and foot, and we take the train or bus on our weekend jaunts. We heart public transit!

Former house: front and back yards, garden
Tiny flat: public parks, pot of herbs on the windowsill
Thoughts: We miss having a garden (but not mowing the lawn!). For now, we’re content with growing some herbs and frequenting farmers’ markets – but in the future, it would be nice to have a small plot of land.

Former house: basement full of equipment and tools
Tiny flat: shoebox with a handful of small tools (hammer, screwdriver, etc.)
Thoughts: Since we’re living in a rental, we’re not responsible for maintenance and repairs; after owning an old house, that’s been quite a relief!

Former house: two offices
Tiny flat: ziplock bag of supplies in a kitchen drawer
Thoughts: Most of our work is done digitally, so we really don’t need a roomful (or two) of office equipment and supplies. A few envelopes, paperclips, pens, pencils, tape, etc. have been enough.

Former house: two bookshelves full of books
Tiny flat: a handful of books
Thoughts: Ebooks are my minimalist dream come true. If I can’t get something from the library, I purchase the Kindle version. Since another overseas move is likely in our future, I’m determined not to accumulate physical books.

Former house: TV
Tiny flat: no TV
Thoughts: If you own a TV in the UK, you must pay a yearly TV tax. We decided to skip the expense of the TV, cable, and tax by forgoing it altogether. We occasionally watch shows or movies on our laptops (via iTunes).

Former house: attic
Tiny flat: no storage
Thoughts: As I say in my book, stuff expands to fill the space available. Having less storage space makes it much easier to be a minimalist!

Former house: 21 normal-sized windows
Tiny flat: 4 enormous windows
Thoughts: 17 less windows to clean!

Former house: doing repairs and maintenance on the weekends
Tiny flat: traveling and hiking on the weekends
Thoughts: :-)

Overall, I’m really enjoying our tiny-living experience. It’s fascinating to see “how low we can go” and still meet our needs – without many of the things we once considered necessities.

In our consumer society, downsizing is often associated with deprivation. Our experience, however, has been the opposite: living with less has given us an incredible sense of freedom, happiness, and spontaneity.

Have you ever done a radical downsizing (or do you dream of it)? If so, tell us about it in the Comments!

{If you’d like to read more about minimalist living, please consider buying my book, The Joy of Less, A Minimalist Living Guide, or subscribing to my RSS feed.}

My Minimalist Workspace

Today I thought I’d give you a peek at my minimalist workspace – in case you’ve ever wondered, this is where the magic happens. :)

From the time I was a child, I’ve never been a fan of desks. When I was young, I used to spread my homework out on the floor; somehow it felt more expansive, more conducive to creative thought. I was always slightly uncomfortable in schools and offices, where I had to conform to a more proper workspace.

When I moved into my new flat, I was thrilled to see the deep, low windowsills – a perfect minimalist office! I love the natural light, and the ability to “people watch” on the street below. And sitting on my cushion puts me into a calm, peaceful mood – helping me achieve a yoga-like mindfulness while I work.

You’ll notice that I don’t have the usual desk accoutrements in my workspace – partly because it doubles as my living room windowsill, and partly because I don’t require much more than my laptop. I do almost all of my work digitally, so really don’t need pens, paperclips, or a stapler standing by. I keep a tiny stash of office supplies in a kitchen drawer, and a folder of essential paperwork in my wardrobe.

I know this setup won’t work for most people, and am certainly not suggesting you adopt it – just giving you a little glimpse into my world, and what works for me!

Miss Minimalist's Workspace

Miss Minimalist's Workspace

{If you’d like to read more about minimalist living, please consider buying my book, The Joy of Less, A Minimalist Living Guide, or subscribing to my RSS feed.}

Minimalist Makeover: Barry’s Bookshelf

When it comes to downsizing our possessions, some things are easy — like knickknacks we don’t like, dinnerware we don’t need, or clothes that don’t fit. Others, however, present more of a challenge; and I don’t think I’m the only one who puts books near the top of that list.

Therefore, I was excited to hear from Barry, who recently decluttered his bookshelf. He kindly agreed to share his “before” and “after” photos with us:

Barry's bookshelf

Barry’s bookshelf

Here’s what he wrote about his experience:

As a book lover and a graduate of medical school some years back, I’ve carted half a ton of books around wherever I’ve lived. About a year ago I began reading Leo Babauta’s works on simplicity and minimalism and have made significant progress in shedding nonessentials including some of my books. (I have a post about Breaking Up With Your Books that was inspired by a friend’s similar predicament with book clutter.)

Five years ago after becoming a single parent, I downsized into a small beach house here in California and the one bookcase I kept was still crammed full and became a catchall for odds and ends. It really started to get to me so the first step was to color code the books. Some of my friends asked me how I’d ever find anything with the books arranged this way, but I responded…’Since I read them all I think I know my books!’ Finding the book you want is never an issue if you’ve read it. :)

The second step was shed more volumes and in the process make my bookshelf a bit more appealing and minimalist in nature. I bought an Amazon Kindle and, except as gifts for others, I haven’t been able to buy a print book since. Now, like my music, I buy my books in digital format. I guess that means my library won’t be expanding either.

How inspiring! I love how Barry realized that arranging his books wasn’t the solution, and instead narrowed down his collection dramatically. By keeping only the volumes most important to him, he’s created a wonderful, streamlined library that perfectly fits his needs.

Furthermore, he’s maintaining his minimal library by purchasing new books in digital format. I’m using the same strategy, and dream of the day when every book ever published is available electronically!

Big thanks to Barry for sharing this with us! Please check out his blog, 4 Plates, 4 Cups, 4 Bowls ~ Tips for a Simpler, More Meaningful Life, to read more about his minimalist journey.

Do you have a minimalist makeover to share? If so, please email me your “before” and “after” pics, and a few words about your inspiration, motivation, or techniques:

ct09 AT missminimalist.com (remove the spaces and replace the AT with @, of course!)

{If you’d like to read more about minimalist living, please consider buying my book, The Joy of Less, A Minimalist Living Guide, or subscribing to my RSS feed.}

My Tiny Apartment Tour: Minimalist Bedroom

After last week’s post (400 Square Feet is the New Black), I received quite a number of emails and comments requesting more photos of our tiny apartment.

Today, I thought I’d give you a sneak peak into the bedroom. I feel a little shy inviting thousands of people into this space, but what the heck – here goes.

To be honest, there’s really not much to see. It measures only 9.75 x 9.25 feet, for a grand total of 91 square feet. Suffice it to say, photographing it was somewhat of a challenge!

Tiny minimalist bedroom

Tiny minimalist bedroom

A few notes:

* I know a mattress on the floor is not everyone’s cup of tea, but it works for us. It also makes the high ceilings seem even higher. :-)

* We have no built-in closets, so all our clothes are in these two wardrobes (mine on the left, DH’s on the right). Above each wardrobe, we’ve corralled out-of-season items (sweaters, scarves, gloves) and other extras in white nylon Ikea storage cubes. I like the way they blend into the wardrobes and the walls, and give us a little extra storage space.

* I’m not a huge fan of the carpeting, but when you’re in rented accommodations, you learn to live with less-than-ideal finishes. If it were our own place, I’d choose either dark, wide-plank, weathered wooden floors, or white painted wooden floors.

* Yes, there’s a distinct lack of color here; but as most long-term readers know, I *love* white (see my posts Minimalist Home: White Walls and Minimalist Design: White Floors). I particularly like white linens in the summer – so cool, crisp, and refreshing! I’m considering adding a pop of color with a throw pillow; perhaps something in aqua or lavender, with a botanical print. Of course, I welcome suggestions from more décor-savvy readers.

* This bedroom was made for a minimalist – there’s not enough room for a dresser, nightstand, or any other piece of furniture. I love the way it requires one to boil things down to the essentials: a place to sleep, and a place to store clothes.

As I say in my book, I think the bedroom should be the most uncluttered room in the house. It should be a place of peace and serenity, a haven from our hectic lives. But it doesn’t have to be BIG to serve these needs. By keeping things simple, a small space can provide just as wonderful an oasis for our weary souls!

{If you’d like to read more about minimalist living, please consider buying my book, The Joy of Less, A Minimalist Living Guide, or subscribing to my RSS feed.}

400 Square Feet is the New Black

Last week, I wrote about my Housing Crisis – at the time of the post, my husband and I had four days to vacate our flat and no prospect of new accommodations.

Well, today I have some good news to report: I’m writing this post from our new apartment! With only hours to spare, we found a place, passed the reference check, and signed a lease. I still can’t believe that everything fell into place at the last minute.

What’s even more exciting: our new place will inspire us to continue to live minimally, and provide me with plenty of blog material. Why? It’s less than 400 square feet (390 to be exact).

In one year then, we’ve downsized from a 1000-square-foot 3-bedroom house, to an 800-square-foot 2-bedroom flat, to our current 390-square-foot 1-bedroom flat. Woo-hoo! I’m excited to explore the challenges of living in such a small space.

The wonderful thing is, it doesn’t feel small; in fact, it feels more spacious than some of the larger flats we looked at. The reason: it has white walls, ceilings over 10 feet tall, and enormous windows that take up the entire front wall of the flat. It’s amazing what a difference these features can make – the whole place seems so light and airy.

Here’s a few pics (one of the front windows, one of the open-plan kitchen in the corner of the living room):


Some of the challenges we’ll be facing (and I’ll certainly be writing about):

* the complete lack of storage space. This flat was a conversion, and has no built-in closets. We will have to fit all our stuff into three small wardrobes (I’ll take one, DH will take one, and the third will hold coats, shoes, tools, paperwork, luggage, iron, and all those miscellaneous household supplies that have to go somewhere).

* the tiny refrigerator. Having a small, dorm-sized fridge (with an itsy-bitsy freezer) will be wonderful inspiration to shop often and cook fresh. I plan to write more about our simple, healthy meals in the future.

* no parking. Last year, DH needed the car for work, and we found it convenient for exploring the English countryside. Since this flat does not include parking, we’re ready to go car-free! DH will commute by rail and foot (2 miles walking each day), and we’ll be relying on trains and buses to get out of the city and go on our weekend hikes.

So what’s the meaning of the title, “400 square feet is the new black”? Well, my good friend Tammy Strobel (Rowdy Kittens), her husband, and their 400-square-foot apartment were featured this week in a wonderful New York Times article on living a happy life with less. I’m thrilled to join the ranks of such inspiring, small-space dwellers, and hope to see a trend develop for mindful, “right-sized” living.

My husband and I haven’t lived in this small of a space since college, and we’re excited to come full circle (we always felt the 1000-square-foot house was much too big for us). Fortunately, our lack of stuff has enabled us to move into a lovely space in a great location (if we had more possessions, we’d probably still be looking).

I never expected to live in 400 square feet again, but I’m pretty confident we can make it work. How about you – how low could you go? Let me know in the Comments!

Minimalist Makeover: Beth’s Closet and Kitchen

Last week, Beth left the following lovely comment on my post about The Joy of Less:

Thank you! I read your book last week and loved it! There is so much valuable information in it! I started today with my bedroom closet. I kept remembering your words and kept going. I did it and the bedroom (which I am going to use as a yoga room too–don’t have a mattress and box spring–just a futon) is next! My closet looks so good! I can’t believe it but I am only using half of the rods to hang clothes on. I feel like a real minimalist–ok maybe a beginner but I’m into it now. ( :

I was immediately intrigued by her closet makeover (what minimalist wouldn’t be?), and invited her to send me some “before” and “after” photos. I also asked her which advice from my book she found to be most valuable, or inspirational, in her decluttering process. Here was her reply:

What really helped me:

Your advice to take everything out, everything! I didn’t want to do it at first–just as you wrote–there were some things I thought I’d be putting back anyway, why take them out? I did as you suggested though and you know what, many of those items never made it back into the closet!

Also your suggestion about using modules for projects or like items. This really helped me. I make jewelry and knit. Now I have jewelry supply, knitting supply and even technology supply modules instead of having these things all over the table surface or on the closet floor! That box on the shelf with the bike helmet is my jewelry making supply module.

For the kitchen–your strong advice (I love it) to have a place for everything. I realized if my drawers and cabinets were not cluttered then I’d have room for the kitchen items I use but don’t need to have cluttering the counter.

Also–invaluable–your idea of Trash, Treasure or Transfer. This made it fun and easy to do the initial sort through the stuff. I would always get stuck right at the beginning obsessing over items or paperwork and just quitting. This time I just made piles. In trash I had recycle or shred. I’m shredding some of it myself but am going to a community shredding event for the bulk of it. That gave me the idea to post links on my blog to shredding events.

So without further ado, here are the photos of Beth’s closet transformation (before on the left, after on the right):


Beth's closet

Notice the clear floor, the nice amount of breathing room between clothes, and the color coding of the bottom rack. She also removed the jumble of boxes from her top shelf, leaving just one box and her bike helmet (what a difference!). I’m sure this serene and streamlined space makes it a pleasure to get dressed each morning!

Beth was also kind enough to send me a snap of her gorgeous, decluttered kitchen:

Beth's kitchen

Beth's kitchen

Those empty countertops are a minimalist’s dream! Keeping all surfaces clear is an important step in my STREAMLINE method (my strategy for achieving, and maintaining, a decluttered home). As I mentioned to Beth, this photo would have made a great illustration for my book. :-)

Many thanks to Beth for sharing these inspirational photos! If you’d like to learn more about her minimalist journey (and see more of her decluttering pics), please visit her blog, Staying True. You can also read her full review of my book while you’re there.

I really enjoyed this, and would love to make “Minimalist Makeovers” a regular feature on the blog. If you have one to share (whether it’s your garage, your living room, or simply your sock drawer), email it to me at:

ct09 AT missminimalist.com (remove the spaces and replace the AT with @, of course!)

Please include a photo of your newly-decluttered space (and a “before” pic, if you have one!). Also, let me know what decluttering advice (from my book, or otherwise) inspired you most.

{If you’d like to read more about minimalist living, please consider buying my book, The Joy of Less, A Minimalist Living Guide, or subscribing to my RSS feed.}

Housing Crisis

Given the title, you might expect today’s post to examine falling real estate values or the number of homeowners defaulting on their mortgages. But no – rather than discussing such heavy-hitting issues, I’m simply writing about the fact that my husband and I have to vacate our flat in four days and have no place to live.

The backstory is long and complicated, but to summarize: DH left his job, we gave up our flat (thinking we’d be leaving the UK), DH found another job, we now need a new one. Unfortunately, this turn of events transpired just weeks before our lease was set to expire, prompting a frantic search for accommodation in the expensive and competitive rental market that is London. (We were told by an agent that it’s the tightest market they’ve seen in years.)

And by competitive, I mean that any new listing that’s in decent shape, and a decent location, is immediately pounced upon by some equally desperate soul. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve heard, “That was let 30 minutes ago,” or “That one lasted just a few hours.” In a particularly heartbreaking instance: we found the “perfect” flat, and made a full-price offer on the spot. By the time our agent drove the 10 minutes back to his office to submit it, the couple who had seen the place just before us had arrived to put a deposit on it. It feels like we’ve been one step behind the entire time.

However, I’m not writing this post just to whine about our spectacular failure to secure new accommodations; I actually have a point to make regarding minimalist living.

The point is, we are not in a panic. Why? Because we don’t have a lot of stuff. Yes, we now have more than the two duffel bags with which we moved last summer (it’s hard to live without any furniture, plates, pots and pans, and cleaning supplies). But the amount is so little, and the value so low, that we’re not too worried about it. We can stash it in a small storage unit, or a kind soul’s garage, until we sort things out. To be honest, I wouldn’t lose that much sleep if we had to leave it on the street (I am frugal, though, so I’d prefer to avoid replacing the necessities).

If we had a house full of designer décor and furniture, I’m sure I’d feel differently. I’d be spending this week arranging movers, stressing over an appropriate storage solution, and paying untold sums of money to protect and transport our precious stuff. I’d be lying awake at night wondering if our sofa, or our art, or our vases would be secure from theft and safe from damage. Furthermore, I’d have to worry about finding a new home large enough to hold it all.

In a few days, our two chairs, coffee table, mattress, and handful of boxes (in addition to DH and I) will be adrift on the streets of London. Okay, that’s a little too dramatic: the stuff will probably be in storage somewhere, and we will be in a hotel. But instead of letting the situation cause distress and disruption in our lives, we will go with the flow, take each day as it comes, and be grateful that we live lightly enough to weather our own little housing crisis.

I’ve said it many times before, and I’ll say it again: life is infinitely easier when you have less stuff!