I grew up in the 50s and 60s in West Allis, a working class suburb of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. My parents grew up during the Great Depression. But unlike most people, I was taught to never save anything! We were taught there were people less fortunate who could use what we weren’t using. It wasn’t as if we had a fancy lifestyle in West Allis, but it was true, there were plenty of people less fortunate. As we outgrew our clothes, they were given to someone in the neighborhood or donated to a local charity. All belongings were passed along to someone else as soon as we were done using them.
In the first 18 years of our marriage, my husband and I moved 6 times - 3 times long-distance and 3 times locally. We paid for every move ourselves. When we moved cross-country we used major moving companies that charged for every pound and every mile the pounds traveled. We evaluated each of our belongings to determine if they were worthy of their moving cost. We’d look at the boxes we hadn’t unpacked since the previous move and question how important that unused stuff could possibly be! We got very good at paring down. We’ve lived in the same house since 1996, but we have fewer belongings today than when we moved in because we continue to pare down. If we’re not using something and we don’t know when or how we’ll use it, we let it go.
My professional background is in education; I’m a former band director. For many years I ran a music education-related business. I’ve been a Clutter Coach since 2004. I've worked with people in their homes and offices, but my current business focus is on speaking, teaching, and writing about clutter-free living.