It’s almost become a cliché: getting layed off, taking a pay cut, being out of work. Sadly, it is touching every person either directly, or indirectly through someone they know.
This week it touched my family.
My husband went to work on Friday morning and was told that in a few months, his salary will be cut 25%. Thankfully, it’s not 50% or even a complete lay-off. But it will still affect our budget substantially. We will rely on my income even more, and I carry our health insurance. But after crunching numbers and considering the lower cost of daycare (reduced pay = reduced time, so we can take another day off from paying daycare each week), we think we will break even.
One of my best friends works for the same business and was also advised of paycut. However, they are not sure that they will fare as well. Barely making it each month, they are afraid they will need to sell one of their cars (public transit in our area is practically non-existent and both she and her husband work out of the home), and if cutting all other costs doesn’t work, they may have to sell their house.
My husband and I, after a short conversation, invited this family to move into our house with us, should it come to selling their house. Suddenly, every bit of “extra” in our house really doesn’t mean much. We are willing to sell nearly every item in our bedroom and our children’s bedroom, plus our office, to make room for our friends. We decided the only thing we would put into “storage” in our garage would be the dresser and cribs from kids’ room, because they were an heirloom item.
Our house isn’t large. In fact it is a 3-level townhouse with a garage/laundry room/storage on the ground level, dining/living room & kitchen on the main level, and bedrooms upstairs. But it is still cluttered with useless items as I gradually attack each living space. And watching my friend frozen with shock and terrified of having to sell every thing she owns… put it in perspective.
Why do we own all of these unnecessary things? I watch the news reports of the tornadoes in Alabama where people just lost everything and think – what would I want to save from a storm? I look at the one-too-many tablecloths, extra t-shirts-from-some-event, and even the fleece blanket my sister-in-law has given us for Christmas (for the 3rd year in a row!) and think: If a tornado was coming, would I grab this? If there was a fire, would I be upset if this was lost? More often than not, the answer is no.
So, as I sit and start collecting items to sell on Craiglist (my first venture in this! Help me!) or put up on Freecycle, it’s getting easier to let the Stuff go. It’s just Stuff. And most Stuff can be replaced.