We’re Monkifying.


The holiday frenzy is upon us, my birthday is in two weeks, and I am in need of knee surgery. To make things more interesting, we have decided to pack up our family and move to a new home.  We live dangerously, and we live hard.

Okay… we live as dangerously as we can until 9 pm when we get really sleepy…

It just so happens that this is the time when we are lucky enough to close on our very first property.  Yes, we will be renters no more!  That is something to be proud of in Los Angeles – one of the most expensive cities in the country.

We are also downsizing considerably.  We decided on a froo-froo neighborhood with kick ass schools and a hefty price tag.  Therefore we are foregoing actual… well… space.  Turns out we can afford only a small bit of square footage in an area like that.

In a matter of days we will be moving from a four bedroom, 1400 square foot town home to a two bedroom, 935 square foot condo.

We’re talking two grown ups, a four year old, a one year old, and two Shih Tzu doggies in close to half the size we’re used to.

There is a certain amount of “negative energy” associated with the place we are leaving.  There will be no room for this energy in our crisp new place.  There will be no room for egos either in our new home, as we will be living on top of each other and need to sacrifice, share, and peacefully coexist with little “my space, your space”.

Frankly, there will also be no room for all the crap we’ve accumulated over the years.

So we are simplifying.

We are purging.

We are redefining what we “need” and shedding the rest…

like a monk would…

We are monkifying.

We have been whoring our wares on craigslist.

We have been hauling our crap into the front yard for garage sale weekends.

We have donated enough to clothe a small village…

and it feels ridiculously good.

We’ve been hauling around a lot of dead weight over the years.  Having stuff, buying more stuff, collecting stuff… it foolishly made us feel like we were accomplishing something… like we were winning…

I think that happens for many people.  Some even live beyond their means, getting into debt just to “keep up with the Jonses”.

For me, I’ve found that I’ve also just held on to too much…

“in case I need it someday”…

“because those jeans will fit at some point”…

“I need this.  It makes me feel nostalgic.”

There is something very liberating about saying “F*ck it!  I’m living in the now.”

We are going to surround ourselves with the present… and practice letting go of the past…

with a few carefully selected, and packed away items:




This monkifying process has led us down a very daring path…

because at our new place…

we’ve decided NOT to have television.




because at our new place there will be no room for the pressure…

the pressure of watching the latest episode of {insert show here} before everyone talks about it online…

the pressure of voting for who sings better or dances better or deserves to win a wife…

and basically no room for a lot of mind numbing…

for escape…

for escape from engaging…

from the hard talks…

from being present.

I’m not saying it will last forever…

but I am saying we’re going to try it out…

because monkifying feels kind of good.


Now who wants to buy this Cardinal Monkey Painting?









21 responses to “We’re Monkifying.”

  1. Nancy says:

    Well I lived in a 900+ square foot home for 47 years. The only plus was we had a basement and 2 car garage. Jack and I lived there through our childhood with only 1 bathroom. I must admit we did have a TV, lol. I swore if I ever got another home it would have 2 bathrooms and be much larger. Well I do have a new home and it has 2 bathrooms and is much larger. Good luck on the new home you will adjust. It is a nice feeling to say it is yours. One day your larger house dreams will come true.

  2. Nancy says:

    PS: I love that painting would go with my tropical decor. LOVE LOVE LOVE IT.

  3. Alayne says:

    Wonderful post.

    We have been slowly getting rid of things, too. I am what I call an “Apocalyptic hoarder,” which means that I hang on to stuff (clothes, blankets, sheets with holes in them) because when the Apocalypse comes, I’m going to need them to keep warm or barter or something. I also hang on to stuff because it’s invested with “emotional” value (coffee mug with broken handle given to me for my 21st birthday that says “I’m 21–go ahead, card me!” and I’m going to be 42 in March).

    So yeah, I hear ya.

  4. Shell says:

    We made a very fast move 3 years ago- and it led to a bunch of purging. It felt so good!

    But… no tv???

    • Jenni Chiu says:

      AND my son doesn’t start at his new preschool until January. He’ll be home all day… with no Disney Jr.
      I sometimes squeeze lemon juice on my paper cuts just for fun too…

  5. Jessica says:

    Oh my gosh you are one tough lady, I don’t think we could do the no tv thing. I’m definitely looking forward to simplifying when we move next though. We have been renting until we find the right house and we have already decided “right” is something small and cozy that we would like to grow old in. Can’t wait to hear about how the move goes.

  6. Jen says:

    I admire what you are doing… think you are a little crazy but I do admire it.

  7. Cathy Flynn says:

    When I went through my divorce in 2004, I didn’t quite do the no tv thing, but I didn’t get cable. Mostly plugged in Disney videos for my girls who were 3 and 7 at the time. I honestly didn’t miss it at all. However, I heard that “The Sopranos” was a good show. I’m a little sorry I never saw it. It probably would have offered me creative ways to whack my ex-husband.

    • Jenni Chiu says:

      Ahh… The Sopranos was a good show. Not too many creative “whacks”, though – mostly point and shoot. You could’ve come up with something way more interesting.

  8. Erin says:

    Wow, some how I feel like a glutton.. After a mega crappy, file for bankruptcy divorce… Then finding my frog prince husband and living for the last 10 years in, build your credit back up, renter hell… We are finally buying “our first” home together 🙂 and we are ecstatic that it is twice the size of this life we have led 4 teens through.. Only 2 are left at home.. Two large high school boys!.. In our tiny little town house were the garage serves as pantry,laundry room, art room, storage etc etc.. And my husband won’t have to hide in there to make a confrence call while the dog barks… I wish you great success.. I really am happy you are at peace with this or faking it well…you can do it!.. Glad it’s not the Internet you are sacrificing… That would just suck for us all! I’m sure this new life will give you lots of great material to keep us smiling 🙂 I know I will be in full empathy of each growing pain 🙂

  9. chiilmama says:

    Love it! We’re in major purge mode because we haven’t moved in 10 years (this month)….which is awesome for stability but not so muchly for a thrift store junkie and two growing kids. My husband keeps threatening to call the Hoarders show, but we’re workin’ on it.

    We do give away tons of outgrown toys and clothes but your post and what Alayne said rings sooo true. I have a ginormous, daunting “ebay pile” taking over our attic of things I think I’ll some day have time to sell. Ha ha. And I’m so guilty of the sentimental hanging on as my kids are now 9 & 11. I can’t seem to get rid of the last of all the cute little clothes, art work and even their freakin’ school papers, because they’ll never “draw….write….think….like that again”. I vowed to do 2 hours a day of sorting through the stuff so we can have space to put up our Christmas tree and I’ve been doing it….but it sucks on so many levels.

    Thanks for this post. I’m ready to get over the loss and regret feelings from purging so much, and on to the zen and the gains of clear space and peace of mind.

  10. Debi says:

    Oh you are better than me. Of course, none of us hardly get to watch television anymore with our crazy schedules. But I don;t think that I could willfully give it up. It is the white noise of my life. Occasionally, when things get too real, I need mind numbing. Buy yey for purging. I;m having the mother of all garage sales come this spring.

  11. Alexandra says:

    You know when I was the happiest, Jenni? When we lived in our first house, half the size of this one. where we were all over each other, and everyone was together.

    Now, they’re upstairs, and far away, and I miss them.

    TV? You don’t need it. We have computers and ipads and that’s plenty. The rest of the time we read, play games, color.

    I love coloring.

    This is all good.

  12. I’m so excited for you and your new home!! We did a similar purge type situation a few years ago and it felt amazing! Of course in the past few years we’ve accumulated more crap that we don’t need so we need to purge all over again but that’s another story… 🙂

    PS: Just found your blog through Mama Kat and it’s fantastic! 🙂

  13. Alison says:

    NO TELEVISION??!!???

    We moved just over a year ago from 1,100 square feet to 2,100 square feet – the irony is, we have less stuff now than we did then. We purged before we moved and we never replaced them. Which meant we didn’t need them in the first place – what a revelation!

    But I can’t live without TV.

  14. Lady Jennie says:

    Good luck on your knee surgery – such timing!

    You’ll be fine in 935 sq ft. When we moved into our house it was only 550 square feet and all five of us lived in there for a year. We also chose location and schools over space.

  15. EB says:

    would love to know how this is going – were you able to keep it up with 2 little ones and no TV in the house?

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