Less is More

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In a venture away from a fertility post I want to focus on an issue that is near and dear to my heart which is the idea of living with less.

As you can see from my favorite things on the sidebar, I  lean toward the crunchy granola side of life. (despite my career). However, there are certain aspects to military life that lead to downsizing.

1. We (Mo2 & I) move every two-three years. Yes, you read that right. Every place we move requires a new space configuration. For example, if you are in the U.S., you have more room. However, if you are going to the Far East (Japan or Korea) you might find yourself in an apartment or much smaller housing. Germany, too has some restrictions. I’ve seen folks with big houses and those with tiny quarters (both on and off post).  There are some restrictions on vehicles and things you can bring with you and if you are over your car limit, you have to pay for the additional car transport.

In an effort to cut down the items we have to schlep with us, I’ve been judiciously culling through our stuff. My criterion is that if I haven’t used it in a year, it is gone (with only a few exceptions). When we moved from GA to CO, we had stuff in a storage building for over a year and didn’t know what was in there. MO2 paid for it to be liquidated and a surprising thing happened; we felt freer and happier. (For an interesting article on America’s use of storage units please check out :

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/06/magazine/06self-storage-t.html?scp=5&sq=americans%20and%20possessions&st=nyt

We have a storage unit now but only for all the gear the military makes us carry between duty stations (completely and totally tax deductible). I’m going through that and getting rid of stuff as well.

2. I’ve really evaluated our home. As far as living space (bear in mind our house is only 1200 square feet), we only use the living room, dining room, kitchen, bedroom and DSS’s bedroom. I have a guest bedroom that no one goes in (except the occasional guest). Do we really need a guest bedroom? Probably not. This room will become the baby’s room when we have a baby. I may convert our guest bedroom to a nursery with a sleeper sofa for a better use of space and the guest can sleep in the baby’s room and the baby can sleep in our room during the visit.

3. Stuff-I believe Americans have way too many possessions. Maybe this view comes from living in third world countries where people have decidedly less but yet are  happy. Our biggest vice is books. I’ve been going through our bookshelves and taking things to the used book store. I go to Barnes and Nobles with a list. I write down all the titles I am interested in and get them from the library. If they don’t have it at the library and I have to own it, I try to buy it used.  I’ve cut my XMAS list down to experiences not things unless it is a practical item I absolutely need. I’d rather have money for fertility or travel than another thing I don’t have room for. I wear a uniform on a daily basis which means I don’t have the wardrobe needs of someone who is a civilian. It also means since I spend less on clothes,  I can justify buying nicer ones (or so I would like to think). I am very consciously trying to clear my closets every 6 months and if something hasn’t been worn, to get rid of it (barring something very special).

4. Baby gear: In light of all of the above, I am trying to determine what baby gear I will actually need. We have somethings already (a jogging stroller acquired for $20.00 at a church thrift sale), nice hand-me-down clothing from friends and a pack and play (I’m not sure I really need this). What items are necessities? What do you really need? Any advice would be welcome.

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