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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.