WHEN SAM AND I were first married, I have to admit that I was a total pack rat. We packed up a truck and I brought along 17 boxes of stuff + suitcases upon suitcases clothes. Our home was around 1000 square feet and my style was very kitschy, I loved the look of having lots of stuff covering every shelf. Needless to say my style has changed drastically. About a year into being married we had to move out of our first apartment in Montreal because the heating bill was basically the cost of rent for the month... darn those old, beautiful yet drafty buildings! We were downsizing to a place that was about 750 square feet and I spent the month before we moved reading about and embracing minimalism and then getting rid of about half of our stuff. We sold a ton of furniture and began to feel the freedom that getting rid of belongings you don't use all the time can give you. Having a baby means you accumulate more stuff, it doesn't need to be an unnecessary amount of stuff but babies need places to sleep and change their bottoms and clothes and some toys, so again, I decluttered our belongings and got rid of another half of our stuff (I will write more on embracing minimalism with kids later!).
When we moved to Toronto we got rid of more than half of our belongings again since we were downsizing again to a tiny 500 square foot condo. This was the hardest purge since we started to have to get rid of things that we really loved but didn't have a use for or that wouldn't fit into our new place. Looking back though, I don't miss any of the things we got rid of, frankly, I can hardly remember them. This just goes to show how insignificant many of these items we hold on to truly are in the long run.
Now that we have moved into our two story home in Leslieville we have more space and less stuff. Through selling our old furniture we have been able to purchase pieces that we really love to start making this house feel like a home. There is room to move and breathe and relax since everything has it's place on the shelf or in the cupboard.
Over the last three and a half years we have reduced our belongings to about 1/8 of what we started with. I have learned so much about myself, about the things I hold on to, about how I don't need very much to be happy. In fact the opposite is true: less clutter and less stuff means less time cleaning and having your mind occupied with things and more time spent focusing on things that are really important, like relationships and the things that you do in a day that you love.