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We’ve been talking about simplifying since we moved to North Carolina three years ago with a seriously overweight moving van which filled a two-bedroom apartment plus two storage units. But giving up stuff is tough and incremental change is often obscure. I was starting to feel like we’d never achieve our vision. Plus, I get tired of talking about ideas without seeing things happen. I wanted to shout at myself, “simplify already, or just shut up.”

Recently, though, we slapped all our big talk about downsizing on the table by saying yes to the chance to be neighbors with good friends. (One big benefit of renting…flexibility). They have created an amazing space in their yard with lots of flowers, a vegetable garden, stone pathways and shade trees. It’s a peaceful place to hang out. Behind their house they built a beautiful cottage of less than 800 square feet. We knew this was a rare opportunity to “do life” with people we enjoy. I’m already co-gardening with my girlfriend whom I also swim with weekly. They welcomed us to “the neighborhood” after we moved in with a delicious grilled dinner. They are two of the most positive, upbeat people I know so I’m looking forward to being around them more. (We hope to be equally life enhancing.)

This is almost the smallest place we’ve ever lived. For this move we continued to whittle down our things, carefully considering what we truly love and use. I was nervous about how things would fit moving in but we transitioned this weekend and with only three or four boxes left to sort through everything else has a place. Better yet, we are not crowded. It feels like the first time we’ve been close to our goal. Hopefully, now, with smaller living we can experience more. More exploring what interests us, more time with each other, more freedom to be spontaneous. I’m seeing the progress. Now, it’s time to live it.