Letting Go of Things

We have a long history of trying to get rid of things. While we’ve made some progress over the years, we never seemed to get on top of it.

Deciding to move into one 16 by 18 foot room in a community forced us to grapple with our relationship with things in a much more radical way. Both of us are a little sentimental and have pack rat tendencies. We never bought things just to decorate the house. Rather, our house was decorated with things that had meaning for us – mementos from trips and times together with family and friends, gifts from people we love, things we inherited from the households of our parents. And then there were the books! And the art on the walls!  Sorting what to give away, what would go into the room with us and what would go to storage invited us to struggle with how much we need, what we value most and what role stuff plays in our lives.

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Shared bathroom down the hall

Telling friends about our move to Beacon Hill Friends House, we described our interest in community living and our enthusiasm for the lifestyle change awaiting us in Boston. But a few of those conversations snagged on issues that some of our friends and family regarded as show-stoppers:

  • Moving into a single room
  • Sharing a bathroom with others

Especially that second one.

Most of us have endured those circumstances at one or more points in our lives: Growing up at home, surviving dorm life, crowding into co-op housing as twenty-somethings.

But would it really work for a couple of sixty-somethings?

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