Posts Tagged downsizing

“Next week, your lucky color will be green.” — Fortune Cookie I Ate This Morning

My mom, dad, and boss have now all told me they’ve found my blog. Hi everybody! I promise not to say anything embarrassing, or politically incendiary! (Except that I’m super-duper excited that Vallay Moua Varro won the St. Paul School Board special election on Tuesday! But that’s not incendiary, that’s just exciting. Unless you’re Pat Igo.)

So, after much ado, we have downsized successfully! Well, sort of. We’re done with the furniture part of moving, at least, and have made dozens of trips to Goodwill and Half Price Books (three duffel bags full = $20 cash!). The whole house makes more sense. No more drafty walls. No more broken windows. No more $170 Xcel bills. No more random crap we never use. Well… or at least, less random crap we never use.

One of the joys of living in Lowertown that I hadn’t anticipated: I can walk to the St. Paul Farmer’s Market and buy bread, cheese, eggs, and any number of amazing fruits and vegetables (squash! cranberries! hello Thanksgiving!). Oh, and cups of Peace Coffee for $1.75. Did I mention coffee? I don’t know why I wasn’t counting this as a huge benefit to living here. I was fretting a little bit over grocery shopping – the closest grocery store is across the river in the west side – but now am excited about the produce literally at my front door. It’s open both in the summer and in the winter! Awesome!

Speaking of awesome, walking to work on the skyways is freaking awesome. I worked from home yesterday to take care of my boyfriend, who had his wisdom teeth out… (I am happy I took care of this as a young and fearless 17-year-old. And am doubly happy I was able to be unconscious. Ugggh.). I walked 5 minutes to get my laptop from my office, then walked back over in the afternoon for a meeting… I didn’t have to pay for parking or wait for the bus. I don’t know how possible it will be for me to live near where I work for the rest of my life, but this convenience is going to be tough to give up. Commuting is a waste of life!

Although.. I confess. I do miss the bus. Tons of busses go right by our living room windows and I can’t help but try to see who is riding and wonder if they’re talking to each other and what they’re saying. What stories will I have to tell from my commute now? Apart from the drunk guy passed out in Park Square Court on Sunday, I haven’t had anything interesting happen between home and work yet. No old man on the bus telling every woman, “You’re gorgeous,  you’re gorgeous, your gorgeous,” no overhearing teachers agreeing to buy cigarettes for their 14-year-old students, no getting stuck in the snow trying to get a several ton bus up the hill on John Ireland (funnest day of bus riding EVER, when all 30 of us on the bus ran from one stuck 21 to the other in 4′ high snow right outside the Cathedral). And certainly no more commuter friends, like Ecolab woman and pretty quilted purse woman and tall silent newspaper man. I do feel wistful. I’m not even being sarcastic. But one thing’s for sure: I will NOT miss grumpy Santa Claus, the white haired bearded driver of the 7:44 65.

And there have been so few green jobs posted in the last week that I’ll just include them here, as an awkward appendage to this entry:

Dodge Nature Center

Environmental Education Intern ($145/wk, 20 hours/wk, West St. Paul)

University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum

Adult Education Coordinator ($45-52k/yr, Chaska)

And now, I am going back outside to enjoy the fantastic weather! By which I mean, going to go continue moving the rest of our stuff. Have a great weekend, everybody!


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Next month, we are downsizing from this to this:


…and I’m not alone. Time Magazine published this article a couple of weeks ago about the changing housing market and the collapse of the big box house. Even Apartment Therapy says that successful people have less stuff.

It was the cost savings that convinced us to break our month-to-month lease. We’re hoping that being on the District Energy system for heating and cooling in a newer building will save us – plus parking and internet are included. That and the living two blocks from work (on the skyway!) will save us parking costs on the days we do have to drive for work.

I’ve been reading a lot about downsizing. Though I am dreading getting the couches back down the 3 flights of stairs, I’m excited to take this as a chance to design my life better and be a little more intentional about the stuff I have.

Like Matt from Unclutterer, I’m a little sad that guests won’t have their own room anymore. We’ve hosted everyone from cousins to parents to dogs to long lost friends over the last year, and having two bedrooms and two bathrooms made this easy. But I’m excited that cleaning won’t take as long… it’s amazing how much one really does expand to fit the space available. I’m looking at you, giant overflowing closet.

I’m packing a little bit as I go, asking questions like these from

  • Can I get by without it? Would I have to replace it if I choose to get rid of it?
  • Is it in good shape? Will it last for a long time?
  • Does it need repair, and if so, how much will that cost and is it worth the price?
  • Do I know someone else who would benefit a lot more from its use?
  • Does it serve a purpose in this new life that I’m moving to?

There are a couple of treasures I’ve found buried. Hello, beautiful hand-sewn gloves that were once my grandmother’s, hiding in the sock drawer! My trunk is already full of non-treasures ready to be repurposed at Goodwill.

And I know it’s early to be thinking about this, but I’d really like not to leave future generations with a lot of crap and unnecessary paperwork when I do (eventually) die. At 24, I’ve already accumulated a scary amount – and I’d rather not make someone else take care of sorting and dividing what is useful. I want to have everything in order.

With law school ahead, I’ve been eyeing our growing collection of furniture with an equally wary eye – and am excited to be forced to jettison some of it. recommends measuring and plotting the space on graph paper. Lauri Ward’s Downsizing Your Home with Style goes even further, recommending floor plans and photographs of every piece of furniture you currently own. I may settle for a list on notebook paper… but one piece of her advice I will DEFINITELY be taking into account is designing around the electrical outlets in the new space. It’s amazing how much more we in modern society depend on electricity than the original designers of my current 1893 apartment had in mind.

Have you downsized? I want your advice!

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