Re: Simplicity
From: Deborah Mensch (
Date: Thu, 23 Feb 2006 12:00:17 -0800 (PST)
I'm really enjoying reading this thread. Here's a bit about my experience
with cohousing and simplicity.

My husband and I are both pack rats by upbringing and personal tendency. We
took a Voluntary Simplicity course at my church while we still lived in a
large single-family home, and as a result, when we heard about a unit for
sale at cohousing nearby, we were ready to give it serious consideration,
and ultimately decided to make the leap.

We moved from 4 bedrooms to 2 and from 2400 square feet to 1200. We gave up
our garage and attic hobby/storage spaces. It was a big stretch. As we
prepared to move, we had major moving sales and gave away lots of things on (We actually made enough money by selling extra stuff to pay
for a professional moving company, which was great for moving with an
infant, especially since we all got stomach flu on or about move day. Yuck.)

As we considered what to get rid of, it was much easier to let go of stuff
we had been hanging onto "just in case we need it someday." The reason, of
course, was that we knew we would have closer relationships with our
neighbors, increasing the chance that if we really needed something, one of
them would have it and be able to give, sell, or lend it to us. Also, the
community owns many tools in common, so we could let our duplicates go.

We're still working on getting to a less cluttered lifestyle, and we still
have a storage unit for the stuff we haven't decided to let go of yet. But
the rent for the storage unit is a whole lot less than the additional money
we were paying on our mortgage before, and having that buffer space has
decreased the stress of having to make so many "get rid of it" decisions in
such a short time. As we get more comfortable with our new situation in
cohousing, we are able to be more ruthless in getting rid of our
mostly-useless extra stuff.

I won't say having only 2 bedrooms is easy -- we hunger for a home office
space where we can close a door -- but we're still moving in the direction
of greater simplicity in our stuff. And because our housing costs so much
less than before, we are able to make different decisions about jobs and
hours than we would have needed to make with the bigger mortgage.

The journey continues. Thanks for the inspiring writings about people a bit
farther along!

Deborah Mensch
Pleasant Hill Cohousing, CA

...where I'd better get the wisteria on our shade trellis pruned before this
beautiful T-shirt weather fools the plant into thinking it's March or April!

On 2/21/06, Paul Abramson <pabramson [at]> wrote:
> I have been reading about Simplicity and noticed that Cecile Andrews has
> written that community is central to Voluntary Simplicity.  Is any
> subscriber to this list a member of a Simplicity Circle?  And does
> cohousing
> promote simplicity, or does it make life more complicated?
> _________________________________________________________________
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