Tempo will be arriving in a little less than three months now.  Real preparation has begun.  We secured day care at a very close in home residence.  Teresa has read up on pregnancy and parenthood throughout the last six months and is far more prepared than us.

Yesterday we went and registered for some supplies.  We also purchased a crib and changing station which I’ll be putting together later today.

Marketers are very good at their jobs: they will show you what you need, or create a need where one didn’t necessarily exist.  Growing up the idea of buying new clothes, video games, a shiny new vehicle and everything else you could want sounded amazing.  When you don’t have a lot (we didn’t) purchasing new things is something you aspire to.  It wasn’t as though my life was preoccupied with getting nicer things, but if given the choice to upgrade, it would be no brainer.  Life was good–having fun with friends, wakeboarding, folfing, driving around in the 92′ Taurus I purchased from my parents after working a year at McDonald’s to save up.  Yet when you don’t have money, the idea of having money and buying new stuff sounded great.

It’s funny how life works though.  At this point, the idea of buying new stuff generally repulses me.  Clutter and useless things are one of my biggest pet peeves, which is hard because Teresa is a clutter bug (I’ve got my own vices which outweigh hers disproportionately–she is the better half).  When you have enough money to actually purchase those shiny things, it doesn’t seem nearly so attractive.

Part of this is due to a personality trait, minimalism.  I’d prefer to have my life streamlined.  Having fewer things to manage normally means increasing effectiveness on those things that are a focus.

However there is a counterintuitive nature to having a family and pets and a house where they naturally are more to manage.  The joy they provide offsets the responsibilities associated.  Yet I am always actively trying to streamline those responsibilities such that they are as efficient as possible.  Despite not having an engineering background, it seems that’s my mindset–always trying to get the most value out of every process.

The tangible output of optimizing that process is attempting to separate the wheat from the chaff in terms of what to buy or not buy.   I’d prefer to only buy what is truly necessary.  But at this point, we actually don’t know what is needed and what isn’t.  Lots of friends and family are giving us tips, which helps.  Yesterday as we walked around Babies R Us and Target scanning things in, there was an incessant querying in my head: will we actually use this?  Is this necessary?

This is not about money.  Kids are expensive, that is not an issue.  This isn’t even about sustainability and saving the planet (though I stand firmly on the side of a capitalistic society that puts planetary resource management first).  It’s about clutter.  And stuff.

The battle against stuff will continue.  The next decade is going to be a tough one in that regard.