If you want to live a simpler life, start now. Start small and keep on simplifying as you see ways to do so. We started our path of simplification many years ago. Our kids were much smaller and we had amassed a large amount of “stuff” – clothes, junk, household items, duplicates of duplicates, etc. We were drowning in stuff. And, in some ways I was a pack rat because I never knew when I might need something – like all those various boxes, torn clothes (that I hadn’t turned into rags), stained outfits, books we hadn’t read in years and cookbooks I never used.
We had sold our 984 square foot home and moved into a condo while we tried to figure out what to do. Instead of paying rent, Johnny’s parents let us build a cabin on their property and we moved into it to pay off debt and get down to the basics of life. James was just getting ready to start kindergarten and in order for us to homeschool, we really needed to be able to live on one income. I was fortunate to be able to work from home so that helped, but we wanted to really simplify our lives and cut out the clutter so that we could just focus on raising and educating the kids. We moved to a 750 square foot cabin that Johnny built, purged our storage building of all the junk and really got down to what we needed and not much else.
- Get rid of what you haven’t worn in at least a year.
- Any torn or stained clothes can be cut up and turned into rags. This will also save money that you might otherwise have spent on sponges, paper towels, etc.
- If you aren’t going to have anymore children, why are you saving their baby clothes? Get rid of them – donate them, turn them into a quilt, or gift them to a family who could still use them.
- Really pay attention to what you wear. Do you nee 3 black shirts or 4 pairs of brown flats? Get rid of any excess.
- Husband doesn’t wear ties anymore? Get them out of the house.
- Get rid of duplicate kitchen utensils and/or equipment.
- Clean out your cookbooks. Save the books you use a lot or simply write down the one recipe you use out of the cookbook and then sell the cookbook or give it to someone else.
- Streamline the appliances that have overlapping functions. Instead of a blender, perhaps you can use a food processor. Or, practice your knife-wielding skills and simply use a knife to cut up your produce. It’ll save tons of counter and cabinet space and allow you to get back to the basics.
- If you don’t like a book, give it away.
- Worn out, torn, or mildewy books can be tossed or re-purposed for something else.
- Donate curriculum you no longer use or your kids have outgrown.
- Any school supplies that you are not using can be donated to Goodwill or gifted to another homeschooling family.
- Toss out broken pens, rulers, calculators, etc.
- Turn old papers (that you don’t want to keep) into scrap paper.
- Toss any old medications.
- Don’t like that hair mousse? Give it to someone who could use it.
- If that deodorant gives you a rash, toss it.
- Use up half empty bottles of products before opening a new one.
- If your towels are beaten up but you can’t afford (or don’t want new towels), then patch up the ones you have so that they last a bit longer. Check out this post on how to re-purpose old towels.
The focus here is to really purge your home of the excess – any excess. It’s hard to simplify your life and your home when you are drowning in stuff. Therefore, the first step in simplifying your life is to get rid of the excess.
CHALLENGE: Have everyone in your family remove ONE THING every day from the house for the next 30 days. Grab an empty box or trash bag and label it for Goodwill. Every day have everyone in the house put something in it … or throw something out. It could be as simple as donating a piece of clothing, throwing out something broken, donating a boring book, etc.
If you have a family of four, that’s 120 unused, unwanted, or broken things that can be removed from your home. That’s a lot of stuff! We did this a few years ago and it was amazing how much space it freed up.
With our recent move, we did this again and it really cut down on the things that we didn’t HAVE to move. We did take a truckload to Goodwill, though. 🙂
Let me know how your challenge goes! I’d love to hear the results.