How I Got Rid of Half My Stuff, Ditched the Fast-Paced City, and Simplified My Life: Preparing for a Simpler Life and Saying Goodbye to Half My Stuff  #frugal #simpleliving

 If you missed part one, please click here to read it first!

Preparing for a simpler lifestyle and letting go of half my stuff

We had accumulated quite a bit of stuff over the years.  It happens.  You tend to need more things to entertain you and your kids when you live in the city, and since I was also a review blogger for a long time I had even more stuff.  Some of it was practical and useful, and some of it was taking up space and barely touched.

Now I planned to move into a house that was a little larger than the one I was currently living in, but that isn’t the norm.  Our house in the city was 710 square feet, which is TINY.  Okay, maybe not “tiny house” tiny, but small for a family of 4, even without pets.

So in my case I didn’t have to get rid of things in order to fit into a smaller house, but that was the way I made myself think because I wanted less stuff to move, dust, find room for, organize, etc.  I wanted simple.  I wanted a change.

So I began to sort through and say goodbye to many of our things.  And you know what? It was much less painful than I thought it would be!  At this moment, I don’t miss one thing that was donated or thrown away.  Not one.

Questions to ask…

So how did I do it?  As mentioned in the previous post, I sold some of the larger things.  I also used Freecycle and local Facebook groups to give some things away.  But the majority of it (the smaller items and clothing) I threw into garbage bags and donated or threw away.   When going through things, I asked myself the following questions:

  • Does this fit into the “simple” lifestyle I’m going for?
  • It’s time for a new life – what will remind me of an old life I don’t want to live anymore?
  • When is the last time someone used it?  Is it used enough to justify taking up space?
  • Do I really love it or do I feel I should keep it because someone gave it to me or because it’s a nice item and therefore would be absolutely criminal to get rid of, etc?
  • Is it something I can find later at a thrift store if I decide I need it at some point in the future?
  • Do I really need this many of ________?
  • Is this something I would like to replace with something nicer or better quality?

So let’s get a little more detailed and travel from room to room as I purge.

Walking through the front door of my old house, you wouldn’t have thought “simple”.  It was so hard to keep uncluttered, and I was determined to change that in my next house.  But I had to start with this one.

The Kitchen:  

The kitchen was a place that was hard to simplify, but in the end I said goodbye to my microwave (yes, really!), a couple of gadgets I rarely used like a banana ice cream maker (it can be done in the blender), and a toaster oven.  Other things you could get rid of would be a toaster, rice maker, and waffle iron.  If you don’t have the room, you won’t miss these items and will get used to making pancakes instead of waffles, making stove-top rice, and toasting bread in the oven or in a pan.

So long, microwave!  How I Got Rid of Half My Stuff, Ditched the Fast-Paced City, and Simplified My Life: Preparing for a Simpler Life and Saying Goodbye to Half My Stuff  #frugal #simpleliving
You’re wondering how I am surviving without the microwave, aren’t you?  I don’t even miss it!  I have been surprised at that, honestly, but I warm things up on the stove or in the oven and find that the food tastes better that way.  No more soggy pizza slices because I’m too lazy to warm it up in the oven.  ;)   I’ve always been doubtful of the safety of microwaves anyway, so it’s a relief to have one more questionable health hazard out of the house.

Plus, I never have to clean crusty food out of the microwave again!  YES!

I also purged my food storage containers of all plastic, donated some pans and bakeware I never used or didn’t need duplicates of, and kept only the dinnerware and silverware I really loved.

How I Got Rid of Half My Stuff, Ditched the Fast-Paced City, and Simplified My Life: Preparing for a Simpler Life and Saying Goodbye to Half My Stuff  #frugal #simpleliving

The Kids’ Room:

I donated clothing items, shoes, and accessories that were never worn or didn’t fit right.  Are my children the only ones who wear only a few clothing items over and over despite having something to pick from?  Sheesh!  But seriously, it simplifies purging, right?  ;-)

Sheets that were overly stained (how Isaac got that permanent marker, I don’t know!) were thrown away – I made sure each child had one set of sheets and a comforter.  Then I went through the toys and the ones that had been played with once or twice, were broken, or were missing pieces were donated or thrown away.

Note: If you ask your child if they want something while sorting through their stuff, they will say they love it all despite evidence to the contrary!  I gave each of my kids a box and told them they could take whatever they could fit in it to the new house.  This worked well for us!  They haven’t missed a thing they gave away.  In fact, it has made them more open to giving away things they don’t need, less materialistic, and more generous with others.  

Bathroom:

Our bathroom was pretty much a crackerjack box so I was used to keeping things minimal there and didn’t have much to get rid of, although I did go through and pare down all my makeup, hair product, and the kids’ bath toys.  Bath towels and washcloths that were torn or stained I cut into cleaning cloths for future use or threw away.

Living Room:

DVDs.  So many DVDs!  What really takes up space are the cases, so I threw away all of the cases and put discs in double-sided soft slipcovers then organized them in alphabetical order in an inexpensive decorative box from Amazon.  You wouldn’t believe how many garbage bags of DVD cases there were!  These things take up serious space.

DVD Sleeves  How I Got Rid of Half My Stuff, Ditched the Fast-Paced City, and Simplified My Life: Preparing for a Simpler Life and Saying Goodbye to Half My Stuff  #frugal #simpleliving
Oh, and books.  Books are my one weakness – I am a total nerd about them.  I have adult fiction, children’s fiction and nonfiction, educational books and magazines, I just love to collect them!  It was so hard to sort through them because I felt they were all old friends.  I hardened myself for this task, bit my lip, and started stacking books into the “don’t keep” pile.  I asked myself if the book had been read recently by either of my children, if I thought they would be read in the future, if they would be easy to find and buy later, or if they were outdated (for nonfiction/educational purposes). I purged at least a car-load of books (not kidding!), donating them to our local thrift store or giving them away.  But I also kept a lot of them because I knew we would be out in the country without easy access to a library.  I will never believe that books are a waste of space.

Games were up next.  If we hadn’t played it for awhile or the kids had grown out of it, I donated it.  Often, games had very small parts in a big bulky box, so I put many of them in gallon-sized ziplock bags and put them in medium-sized plastic containers with lids for storing.

Office: 

I ended up getting rid of my old desk.  It was a terrible eyesore and took up much more space than I needed.  When I arrived at the new house, I ordered a computer armoire and I absolutely LOVE it!  Everything fits so nicely in it, both my blogging and my financial/business things. Well, except for my large HP printer/scanner/copier.  But it’s such a nice printer I don’t mind that it takes up more space than I would like.  The doors of the armoire close so that it doesn’t even look like I have a computer mess.  This thing is wonderful, I wish I had switched to it earlier!

computer armoire - How I Got Rid of Half My Stuff, Ditched the Fast-Paced City, and Simplified My Life: Preparing for a Simpler Life and Saying Goodbye to Half My Stuff  #frugal #simpleliving
I also went through our file box and got rid of old documents we didn’t need anymore or that were outdated.  I scanned documents that I wanted records of but didn’t need to haul around, putting the files on a portable hard drive.

In part 3 of this series, I’ll share how I got the kids on board, how our move went (and what I would change about it), and how long it has taken us to get used to having less.

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58 Responses to From City to Country: Preparing for a Simpler Life & Purging Half My “Stuff” {Part Two}

  • Thank you so much for sharing! We plan on drastically downsizing during March! I just have to be really disciplined about everything! Thanks for being a inspiration and encouragement!

  • Purging at anytime is a good thing! I found when I have done it is so good for the soul. I feel another purge coming on.

  • It’s always good to de-clutter at the beginning of the year. Out with the old to make space for new things in the coming year. Congrats for getting rid of your microwave….I don’t think I can do that. :(

  • Your idea with the documents is brilliant! I have been wanting to scale back on all the documents we have because many are for my son’s special education. Scanning them and putting them on a hard drive is a great idea!

  • I have a built in microwave, but don’t use it much. I don’t think it’s good to be zapping all of our leftovers, so I heat them in the oven.

  • I love a good purge. We all have so much STUFF that piles up over time. It’s nice to get in there and decide what we really need and open up a little space in the house.

  • This is something I really need to do. I have so much accumulated randomness, it’s unbelievable.

  • I got rid of my toaster, waffle maker and ice cream freezer a few years ago and haven’t missed them at all. Well, I miss the ice cream freezer a little, but I only used it once and it took up too much space. I need to carry this over to my closet, but I have to be in the get-rid-of-it mood. Great tips.

    • Thanks, Alli! Some things are so hard to get rid of because you might use them someday… haha I am trying to decide if it’s worth buying a breadmaker or if I should just make bread from scratch. :p

  • I made up my mind to downsize last year and it’s a bit more difficult that I thought it would be. I’m still trying to do the 365 give something away a day challenge I put on myself.

  • I can’t wait to hear how the rest of the move went!

  • I know I need to free some space up as well. One of these days I need to get to cleaning everything out and get rid of a bunch of stuff. It always feels great to downsize!

  • I would love to say goodbye to my microwave. It is so tempting to use it as a crutch.

  • I definitely had to purge a bunch of my old stuff. I ended up putting most of it in storage though.

  • This is a great series of posts. I have been thinking of getting rid of my microwave.

  • We also ask the same questions to decide whether or not to donate/throw away our old stuff we’re not using or keep them. Asking them really helps in organizing and simplifying our things at home.

  • I have the exact thoughts! My life is in dire need of some serious purging!

  • The country sounds nice, I could use a little purging in my life as well!

  • That is an awesome post Lindsey! Many moons ago my apartment building caught fire and suddenly the only thing I owned were the gym clothes I was wearing that day. Though I was nostalgic about my things I learned fast how to simplify. Ofcourse there are moments when I feel I have accumulated a lot of stuff, but thank goodness I am still actively donating once a quarter. :)

    • Oh my goodness! I can’t imagine, Cara. I do still have a couple keepsake boxes, I would hate to lose them. But it wouldn’t be the end of the world if I did… I just would like to show my kids when they are a little older. That said, things are never as special to the people we pass them down to as they are to us.

      Continuing to purge periodically is the best thing you can do to make sure you aren’t overwhelmed again someday. :)

  • I’d love to have a big clearout like you did. When we move it’s definitely being done. Living life with less is so much better.

  • I feel I have to declutter once a month. it’s insane how things build up around the house.

  • Oh wow, I definitely have to find me one of those Computer Armoire. I just hope it will be enough room for me I always have so much on my desk. At least this will force me to change my ways. hehehe Thanks for the idea.

  • Looks like you’re making good progress! I just got rid of all our CDs and DVDs… they take up so much space and they just sit around.

    • You can buy movies digitally now, so that is a nice option! I just worry about not having access to a hard copy if the internet goes down. Because… you know…. it might be an emergency. haha

  • We’re slowly making the switch from plastic to glass or stainless steel. Eventually, I’m also hoping to ditch the microwave.

    • I wish I had just taken the plunge and ditched the microwave a long time ago! Just do it! haha It’s so nice not having it taking up extra space and I really hated cleaning that thing. :p

  • We got rid of our microwave a year ago!!! I’m anti microwaves ;-) they are so bad for you!

  • Paper is my problem. I really have to work to not clutter up too much paper.

    • Paper is a challenge! I think part of my problem with it is it is too easy to stuff somewhere and forget about. :p I like paperless options when it comes to bills, but there is always some kind of record we should be keeping.

  • I have a friend who has stacks and stacks of VHS tapes with no VCR. I’m like… ya gotta get rid of them! I mean, there’s no need anymore.

    • I have one small box of VHS tapes, and they are home videos that I am waiting to transfer to DVD. VHS… remember having to rewind those things? We are so spoiled now. lol

  • I so need to do this. I find myself wanting to hold on to everything but I know I shouldn’t do it. Speaking of microwaves we just bought us a new one about 6 months ago. Up until that point we were doing exactly what you are planning on doing for about 2 years. Took me a while to remember we even had a new one cause I would just put the food in the oven and not even think about the microwave until I looked up and saw it sitting in the corner.

  • Thanks for sharing! The last time we moved was 2 years ago and it was right down the street thankfully, everything was done in 48 hours but we did end up throwing out a lot.

    • It’s moving that furniture and finding things behind it you didn’t realize existed… haha I should probably Spring clean a little more often in this house. ;)

  • moving is always hard especially if you are downsizing. we moved from a super tiny house into one that was 3x as big. didn’t know how I would fill it up, but we figured that out fast.

    • Haha, it’s never quite the same challenge moving to a bigger house, is it? :) I don’t exactly need the “blank space”, but I do like having less to keep up with. I think being picky about what kinds of possessions you own is important. :)

  • This was a great post girl!! I really need to downsize and start simply too!

  • There is nothing more liberating than purging. I firmly believe that the key foundation to happiness is simplicity, therefore I am all for a simple lifestyle. :)

    • I know for sure that the opposite isn’t true – having stuff does not make you happy. I believe simplicity is the key, too! Thank you for sharing and taking the time to comment!

  • This is amazing! I have been trying to downsize for sometime now, but it seems the more I get rid of the more we accumulate. I love your story!

  • I like some of the questions that you asked yourself when trying to determine what you should keep, and what you should give away and such. I will have to apply this to my own situation when I finally get around to cleaning out my closets. Oh wow – I HAD the same desk chair as you…it was waaaay too big for me, and I used it until it was peeling on the seat.

    • For some reason, every time I read this I thought it said “peeing on the seat” and I immediately thought…. I don’t know what! Aaaaiieee!!! Um, at least it will wipe clean? I think? hahaha

      Yes, mine is starting to peel as well, and my son “helps it” a little every time he walks by. Such a sweetie.

      Thanks for commenting, Yona!

  • Thanks so much for sharing this. I’m also trying to live a more simple life and purge the things we don’t actually need.

  • YES! Another non-microwave Mama! :P
    I can’t even recall the last time ours was used. It was brand new when I moved into this house four years ago and it’s still sitting there, in near perfect shape. We stopped using it forever ago but just haven’t parted with it yet. I probably should, although my husband likes to pop a coffee in it once in a while when he’s very tired in the morning. Me… I even reheat that on the stove lol
    I love your wee computer cubby! So cute. I need one.

    • I’m not missing mine at ALL! Totally surprised but happy about it. :) Thanks so much for taking the time to comment, appreciate that!

      And you do need that computer cubby. I swear it is my happy place. lol

  • I have so much to say, but I will try to keep it brief. You are not alone with the microwave. The only reason we have one now it because it is a built in that came with our house. It holds bread. We also ditched all the DVD covers in one of our moves 4 years ago. I stopped blogging and reading blogs when we bought our house at the end of May, and I am just getting back to it. I feel like we are friends, in that almost creepy I only know you because I read your blog way. It seems like I missed a lot, but glad you are well. Also I love the image for your series. It’s a great shot.

    • Haha, microwaves make great bread-holders. ;)

      I immediately recognized your name and am happy to see you back! I have made some great friends through blogging, it’s not creepy at all. :) If you check the posts from September to now you will see what has been going on.

    • Also, you don’t ever have to be brief. You can even email me if you want! : )

  • As you know, we downsized from a 1200′ home into a 36′ motorhome. We don’t miss the microwave or the many items we hardly used or even new we had. We are happier and definitely less stressed. We don’t have kids anymore, though, so it could be different, but the purging, it’s a healing decision for us:}

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