When I moved into a downtown condominium in Fort Worth Texas it was a departure. Leaving behind the lawn-mower, the power tools, the pool maintenance and upkeep of a suburban home. I jettisoned a lot of extra clothing and stuff that most of us keep packed away in closets, attics or garages thinking we may decide we need it someday - and usually never do.
After settling in to my new home however I continued to have those random desires to acquire things. For example, I was at Target and saw a hot-air corn-popper, wow - that sounds great! I had one many years ago and liked it because it's a healthy alternative to junk-food. I have plenty of counter space if not much storage space at my 650 square foot hi-rise studio, but do I really want this thing if I have to leave it out on the counter? As yummy as the hot-air popcorn is, the machine itself is not so attractive... so I took a pass. Now for the cost/benefit analysis: cost=no yummy hot-air popcorn for the next 3 weeks until I get tired of it and move on to my next acquisition. benefit= $40 to save or spend on something else, more attractive uncluttered living space and most importantly the joy of knowing that I am not the rampant consumer of merchandise that I was in younger years.
Not to drone on, but: an electric can-opener.... really?? I am a chef/restaurateur of 35 years experience and I may open a can of something every 2 weeks. Even the most unculinary person I know probably does it even less. Does that little piece of machinery that catches everything that splatters in the kitchen and has the cord that lays on the counter like a grease and lint magnet really deserve 6 inches of my shiny granite counter-top? Nope.... I'm better than fine with an old-fashioned manual can opener stowed away in the drawer.
As a Realtor I show luxury high-rise condos to prospective buyers nearly every day. Most people flip when they see all of the wonderful amenities that urban living has to offer. If you've never explored it before just take a look at some of the slick condos available in my building: www.TPcondos.com
Often times they leave the building ready to buy and then call me back a few days later after their friends and family have talked them out of their exciting urban adventure. I think at those times that I may not have done my job so well. Making the change from a suburban lifestyle to an urban lifestyle involves more than simply cutting back on what you own. To fully enjoy the generally smaller scale of condo living I think there needs to be a paradigm shift in a person's Desire/Need equation. You really can't possibly lack anything that you don't desire or need.
This sounds extreme, but just try it as a starting point: If there was a fire where you live today while you were away at work, what would you have lost which you can't bear to live without? Begin with those things and apply that standard to everything you may want to buy going forward. So it's not just getting rid of things that will make you more content, it's getting rid of a habit we acquired by growing up in such a prosperous and plentiful land. In other words: Instead of basing our property accumulation decisions on the "why not?" what if we based them on the "why?" I think we would ALL be happier wherever it is that we call home, but you will likely never be happy living in a 650 square foot studio condo unless you conquer that new perspective.
Let me know what you think.