Over the years our family accumulated way too many things. There were dishes and dvd’s and things everywhere. There wasn’t a surface that was empty and while objects continued to pile up it seemed the less we owned that had any meaning.
Two years ago we decided that we would stop purchasing dvd’s and sell off those we previously purchased. It was a step in the right direction but our efforts to purge dwindled. Last year I purged some more but the house still felt overstuffed. We made a promise to ourselves that 2015 would be the year we completely purged our home and our lives.
The idea to purge didn’t mean we would become a completely minimalist family. I still love my dishes, make-up, and vintage cameras. We still keep what we want and enjoy it but we have a paired down version of it.
It is my dream to downsize within the next 10 years. I would like to sell our home and purchase a small home. I dream of a chalet type abode with wooden floors and wide-open windows. There will be nothing fussy, just casual and comfortable living on a one level home with a small shed off to the side. I need a space to have campfires, container garden and enjoy the fresh air with each other and our dogs.
By living with less and finding more meaning for the things we buy and how we live our lives, we know the transition will be easier to make. We will have grown to appreciate and understand this way of life. We hope this will inspire us to spend more time together and have a less stressful life.
Here are five ways we started this year to create a new way of life.
1. We donate, sell or trash all the things in our lives that we don’t need or give our lives meaning. Our local bulk garbage collection is once per month. We take advantage of this to get rid of the trash. We have a large bag of garbage for nonperishable items. This is open and ready to go. Clothes that cannot be repaired, broken items, boxes, bags, excess packaging and so forth can be thrown into this bag. (quality packaging materials are saved so we can recycle and ship out our shop products)
We try to purchase items that we really need or to add to the quality of our lives. There are times though when we buy something on sale or that cannot be returned. These items we sell. We also sell things depending on their use for extra items we really want. (I am selling my old lampshades, curtains and cushion covers to buy new ones.)
2. We constantly pair down all our belongings. We donate clothes to the Family Aid or Salvation Army and we donate all the other items to the local animal shelter. We schedule our donations monthly. This enables us to purge quickly and not have second thoughts.
3. If we don’t use it or find a value for it we delete it from our home or lives.We had cupboards filled with pots, pans, dishes, and bakeware. Our closets were overstuffed with clothes. None of these items were in use and because we had so many, none of them had been in use in years. There was no sentimental value to any of these items except for a few pieces which are kept. The rest went to the donation bin.
4. Find a place for everything. Don’t hide stuff away. Don’t stuff it in boxes. I personally owned 13 winter coats. Who needs that many coats? We only need one winter coat each. They can fit into our closets with any seasonal clothes. I keep those in clothing bags for safe keeping. We know our seasonal coat is there along with our hat, mitts or gloves and scarf. Our counters have only the most needed items.
5. Don’t procrastinate. We always took a lazy approach to cleaning, purging, and general home care. We could wait until next week. We’ll do that tomorrow. This approach didn’t benefit us at all. Things pile up. Emergencies are always happening and we need to be streamlined and ready to go at a moments notice. If we have to worry about getting that load of wood chopped up or the garbage picked up, it will never be done and we will be left with piles of things around us. Spend 10 minutes a day in each room. Dust, sweep, vacuum, hang clean clothes and tidy up. One hour per day for general home care will help keep your home tidy and less cluttered. Taking this time also keeps your mind less cluttered. You spend one hour and you are left to enjoy your day.