When we moved to San Francisco, we pared down our belongings by a huge amount. We only brought one piece of furniture with us - our kitchen island, for extra counter space, since our kitchen is without exaggeration the size of a closet. Our dinner and cookware got chopped by about half, our wardrobes by at least a third, and our bookshelves by 70-80%. And now, for the most part, we use what we own. The knives in our drawer get dirty and have to be washed every time Sam does dishes, because we just don't own any that are extraneous.
But getting rid of the extraneous is an ongoing thing, not something we can stop because we're done with the move. We're pretty careful about not making new purchases when we can re-purpose something we own to fit a new need, but we do still occasionally have to bring new items into the apartment. Since we moved from a house (where we had something like 2500 square feet of space for living and storage) to an apartment (roughly 500 square feet), we can't afford to bring in stuff indiscriminately - or without taking stuff out. Even if we could, I don't think we'd want to. Having less stuff around lets us appreciate the stuff we keep - it doesn't get lost behind all the cruft.
So this is not a paring down, but rather a process of continual review, and it is one of our areas of focus - for 2011 and probably beyond.
I'm off to a good start: after hearing that a friend bought Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything and How to Cook Everything Vegetarian on our recommendation, I realized that our copies were stuck behind a number of cookbooks that we never use, plus a few others that we use less frequently. We pulled the ones we don't use from the shelf - I'll trade them in on Amazon or list them on Freecycle - and rearranged the remainder so that the Bittman books and our bread books (which also get used all the time) are much more easily accessible.
Next up: my wardrobe. I have to be careful, because I have some clothes I'm only not using because they won't fit until after the baby comes - I don't want to get rid of those. But I also have clothes that I probably wouldn't wear even if they fit, or would only wear grudgingly. (I have underwear in my drawer that always gets pushed to the back of the drawer. Why do I own underwear I don't want to wear?)
Is anyone out there paring down like this? I'm particularly interested if you're doing a continuous review process, rather than a one-time purge.