My husband and I experienced this one. Eight years ago, we relocated from a 5-bedroom house in rural Kentucky, with a full basement and a 2-car garage, to a 3-bedroom apartment in Baltimore...with 3 teenage boys still living at home. We also went from conducting several home businesses to jobs.
Needless to say (because if we were not a bit of pack rats I wouldn't have written these articles)...we rented an off-site storage unit. Slowly, too slowly perhaps, we whittled it down. At one time, I figured out that we could have bought a pretty good used car (or maybe even an inexpensive new car) with the money we had spent on storage. That thought was an eye opener.
Finally, it became a matter of what's most important. Do we want that bill every month? Most of all, if we add up all the months in a year, do we want continue to "lose" that much money over any more years? After two of the three sons who moved with us to Baltimore had moved out, we began to have more room, too.
I started sorting through my stuff at home, and soon my husband joined me with his, and then we started working together on ours. It was like a snowball effect. And then we started thinking this about the "stuff" in storage: "If we haven't used it in all these years, we probably won't."
We made room at home for the most important items in storage that we really want to keep, mostly the piano, and the boxes of Christmas decorations. And finally we were able to close out the storage unit. Yay! I took pictures because, after all, it had become like a home away from home. So I needed to say good-bye.
So, back to the top ("items from a former hobby or a former lifestyle, like living in a house with a yard")...well, if we get to live in a house with a yard again, I suppose we will take the money we will be saving on storage and use it to buy the few things we would really need. You know...
Do you have items you keep because you never know when you might need them again in the future if you decide to pursue a hobby you've given up, or if you get to live a lifestyle that you don't have any more? Or have you decided to downsize what you aren't currently using? Either way, please feel free to share your thoughts.
You can read Decluttering - What about the old philosophies? - #10 here or #8 here.