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Striving For A More Simple/Minimalist Life in 2010 - Page 2

post #21 of 230
I've been working on the whole simplifiying/decluttering thing off and on, but I'm back on board now, as we have a new baby coming in a few months. Life feels so cramped and busy and I'm trying hard to make room (in more ways than one) for the baby. I still can't quite grasp how our family will be redefined in a few months. We're not having any more kids, and dh made it clear no more pets either, so it feels like soon we'll really know who we are as a family and won't be searching or wondering what we will add next, so I suppose our general outlook on the future is being simplified too.

Many people assumed we would be moving when we announced ds2 is coming, we live in a 900 sq ft townhome (no basement, garage, or yard), the kids will share a room, and dh and I share our room as his office, but it feels good to tell people our priorities are different- many of our relatives have both parents working full time and miserable, so they can afford nice big houses. We've made the commitment to live with less income, and in a tiny, not so nice house, BUT have a wonderful home where the kids can be raised.

The physical decluttering is winding down, so now I'm also trying to say no to commitments. I quit my very part time (ten hours a week) job last month; not just because I don't want to work when the baby comes, but because financial gain is not worth the stress (read: clutter) of commuting, and stress on family to provide childcare. Our parents have crazy busy stressful lives and I don't want to add to someone else's clutter. And, this week alone, I turned down 3 different family gatherings. We still see both our immediate families weekly, but we can't be running everywhere every day. I'm coming to realize that dh, ds, and the new baby and I are our OWN family- not just appendages to other familes, and sometimes, we need to be our own priority. My sudden urge to say no is also because of potty-training ds. It was so nice to just hunker down at home for a whole week, say no to any outside commitment, and mark a huge milestone in our son's life.

With the baby, I got so into nesting and got excited and made a registry full of things I'd love to get for the baby. Now, I've been going online everyday looking at my list, making sure everything on there will contribute to a more simplified life, and sure enough, it's helped me come up with alternative ideas and cross things off the list that I once deemed as necessary. Makes me realize how much I've changed since ds1 was born.. there was soo much that I thought I needed, but was just wasted.
post #22 of 230
Quote:
Originally Posted by ParisApril View Post
This morning I stuck up a "No Junk Mail" sign on the mailbox in an attempt to cut down on the paper waste that we don't read. I mean, really those flyers are used to tempt me into buying more crap I don't need. Anything I really need I can find on my own, thanks

http://www.ecocycle.org/junkmail/
this webiste has links to help you unsubsribe to junk mails, catalogs, credit card offers, phone books, etc, and other tips.
it took a bit of work initially, but now we can go days without any mail because of it. (kinda sad too to see an empty box, but I guess I'm hoping for personal letters and cards in the mail!)
post #23 of 230
Wonderful thread...
post #24 of 230
There have been many wonderful and absolutely true points in this thread. I agree that when your home is simplified, everything is just calmer, more peaceful. BUT - how do you get to that point??? I know I WANT a simpler life, but I haven't worked up the courage/energy yet to start simplifying!!!

I know I should take baby steps, but I am just not there yet....not even at the starting point. I sure hope I get there soon.....
post #25 of 230
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oliver's Mama View Post
We've made the commitment to live with less income, and in a tiny, not so nice house, BUT have a wonderful home where the kids can be raised.
Love this!

We rent (and will hopefully wind up buying) the house we live in. It's definitely a fixer upper, but liveable. I love the potential the house has, but sometimes it is depressing. I will remember this. Thanks!
post #26 of 230
Well, I'm in. We moved from Germany to China about a year ago, and I decluttered quite a bit before - just as 4 1/2 years before when we had moved back to Germany from the U. S..

We still have "too much stuff", so I'm trying to downsize in all sorts of things. My children wear school uniforms in the International School here, so they need fewer clothes. I'm in the process of letting go of some children's books which is hard because I do get emotionally attached to them - or more to the memories of reading them to my children.
I'm downsizing my own closet. ...

Here's a site I've found helpful in the past (and probably some of you know it): www.organizedhome.com.
post #27 of 230
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oliver's Mama View Post
http://www.ecocycle.org/junkmail/
this webiste has links to help you unsubsribe to junk mails, catalogs, credit card offers, phone books, etc, and other tips.
it took a bit of work initially, but now we can go days without any mail because of it. (kinda sad too to see an empty box, but I guess I'm hoping for personal letters and cards in the mail!)
Thanks but the junk mail here doesn't come addressed to us. I'm in Canada and the junk mail I am talking about is flyers, a stack 3" thick is delivered to my door every week! Then we get 3-4 different phone books every year. 3 Sears catalogs. None of these things are addressed to us they give them to everyone.

I got sick of handling the piles 3-4 times before they ended up in the recycle bin. Now we just get bills!
post #28 of 230
I'm not sure whether I responded to the last thread or not. Our family of 4 (dh, me, ds - 9 mos and dd - 4 years) moved from our 1300 sq foot condo to a 3600 sq foot house in October. The basement is full of our stuff. This has been a years in process and still going on rehab. My goal is to get rid of things that have been in boxes since we first planned this move at least 18 mos ago.

We have a ton of books and I see that I have done that to the children already. And toys. Lots of nice hand made wooden toys, but, too many nonetheless. And I hoard crafting stuff. 7 plastic bins of yarn, a rolling suitcase of scrapbooking stuff and now the built in hutch is filling up with all manner and colors of roving for needle felting and colors of "skin" and accessories for doll making.

Did I mention that I work full time as a lawyer and don't really have time to do as much of this as I'd like with two small children at home and a stay at home husband who doesn't cook very much/often?

And he's worse. There is no order to his mess. Currently, an entire bedroom is dedicated to his wood working for the house.

Anyhoo, I'm slowly making my way through the baby items as we will not be having any more children. And should we find that to be untrue, I am believing that we will be as blessed as the couple we have blessed with clothes, breastfeeding stuff, cloth diapers, and a car seat.

I will need to tackle the books next. Lots of good spiritual growth stuff in those boxes. But the romance fiction can go. I never re-read fiction.

I want our home to feel light, airy and be a place of respite. I don't want it hunkered down with stuff. The things we have I want to be things we use. If we don't use it, it should go.
post #29 of 230
we are definitely in! we are living the dream!

because we are moving to NZ, we had to get rid of a lot of stuff. it was liberating!

we currently own: 23 boxes of books, 2 boxes of kitchen stuff, 5 boxes of action figures, 1 chair, 1 bicycle (DH's), 2 trunks (one of DS's toys, one of his instruments), 6 suitcases of clothes and various "must take with us" items, 2 lap top computers, 1 back pack (day pack), and my "diaper bag" which carries various things to keep DS and i comfortable during our day (small toys, snacks, a few extra EC back up supplies, etc).

we're storing the boxes, chair and bike, and taking the rest with us to NZ. once there, the kitchen boxes will be sent to us. We'll have to purge them in NZ.

we sold our 3-br 1300 sq ft home (obviously), and will be buying a 409 sq ft, two bedroom apt. it comes fully furnished, but we will likely sell what we don't like and purchase what we do like. it also has a large terrace (150 sq ft) so we will have nice outdoor living too!

we have decided to downsize because we discovered that--in our larger house--there was 1. a lot of wasted space, 2. we really only used roughly a one bedroom apt amount of space, and 3. it's obviously less expensive to do so considering we're moving to a city.

we are purchasing a two bedroom so that we can eventually have DS in there (if he wants--we're considering a "family sleeping room" concept), or DH can have an office in there eventually; but in the mean time, we've decided to rent it to a young couple with similar values who will be working with us in our business, doing some child care, and so on. it might be for only a year or so, but it will offset some of the costs of our initial move.

once we feel established in NZ, we'll return to the US to go through our storage goods and see what we really use, want, and need. I have a feeling that I will be able to let go of a lot of my books. i realized that while i love them, there are very few that i read over and over--like harry potter--so there are a number that i can let go of. my husband will not part with his action figure collection, though he might let go of the 1990s reissue and just keep his original star wars figures.

i'm sure we'll be able to let go of the bike and the chair before we leave next week.

i'm really excited about the opportunity to live as we truly dreamed!
post #30 of 230
Zoe, so exciting about the move to NZ! Best of luck to you!

I'm in. We're expecting #2 this year , and I've spent last year making some BIG changes.

* We moved from a 925sqft home on zero land to a 2300sqft home with lots of land which will be our forever home. The house is too big, so we rented a room to a friend of ours which is bringing in more income for us. However, the mortgage is LESS in our big home (fixer-upper) than it was in our small home, and this will allow us to simplify in other ways, by planting a big garden and orchard and having chickens.

* We are doing all of our own remodeling, which is a big time commitment but so much more fulfilling and saving us lots of money. It also allows us family time and every decision is ours. The house is really becoming a great country home.

*We are moving from two car payments to one! DH's Prius is paid off next month, and we have purchased our "family" car to fit the size family we're hoping to have, so no more buying cars. Both of these will be run into the ground, and I will be doing a good amount of the basic maintenance on them.

* I have been learning to say no at work. This has been the biggest accomplishment so far, and I've been much more selfish with my time. I took a pay cut to give up the one part of my job that was causing me the most stress, and I'm SO happy to have done it. Especially with the new baby coming soon and me staying home with DS as it is, I love the extra family time I've been getting. I'm NOT going to miss my babies growing up!

We need to work on:

* not buying stuff
* not going out to eat all the time
* decluttering as we work on the back part of the house (which is storage right now)
post #31 of 230
congrats to you, sme!

it's so interesting to think of a place as a "forever home." i've always been so mobile.

i suppose if find the perfect spot, then, well, yeah.
post #32 of 230
Quote:
Originally Posted by ParisApril View Post
Thanks but the junk mail here doesn't come addressed to us. I'm in Canada and the junk mail I am talking about is flyers, a stack 3" thick is delivered to my door every week! Then we get 3-4 different phone books every year. 3 Sears catalogs. None of these things are addressed to us they give them to everyone.

I got sick of handling the piles 3-4 times before they ended up in the recycle bin. Now we just get bills!
I was going to try this for unaddressed junk mail and make my own sign: http://www.reddotcampaign.ca/

You can write to Canada Post if you post a note and still get junk mail too. I get so many flyers that go straight into the recycling, hopefully this will help.
post #33 of 230
Thanks to this board I started my decluttering journey about two years ago. When I was a kid I was embarrased to have people even know where I lived because we lived in such a dilapidated and gross home. I don't like feeling ashamed of my home. I don't like making mental justifications for the objects in my home. I want to be proud of everything I own because it's useful or beautiful. I think my kids function better when they're in a clean and uncluttered environment. I enjoy inviting people into my home and not making excuses or having to hide clutter.
post #34 of 230
This is an interesting thread, I'm in. I've been on a simplifying/decluttering journey for almost 3 years now. It started with our move from US to Europe 3 years ago, I gave away/sold about 3/4 of our belongings. We came here with just the basics, some books, some toys and mementos. But old habits die hard and I found myself accumulating some clutter once more, so I'm back to editing our life.

The things I did to simplify my life so far:

1. the bedding linens: I no longer use flat sheets + duvet for our coverings, instead I got several duvet covers that I change when I change the fitted sheets. This way the bed is so easy to make in the morning, instant tidy look in the bedroom.

2. no more cloth placemats that need washing after almost every meal (messy kids). Instead I found some really pretty cork mats that I wipe clean at the end of the meal.

3. I cook all our dinners from scratch. To simplify this as well, twice or three times a week I cook soups or stews (works great in the winter) that could be reheated the next day for dinner. So I have 2 or 3 days of not cooking without eating out. For warmer weather I do lighter fare/salads but the same principle.

4. Got rid of the 'fancy'/themed china. Instead I have white dishes that go for every occasion as well as flatware that looks nice enough for company. We use them everyday and I just dress up the table with table cloth/flowers/candles for special occasions. I have a white table cloth and a red one and between the two I cover everything from Easter to Christmas.

5. All towels are white. I don't have an explanation for this one, just easy for me to deal with all white.

6. The biggest one for me and I'm still tinkering with it, is to maintain a level of cleanness/tidiness at all time so the house doesn't get out of hand and I don't break my back as a result catching up with chores. Such a biggie for me, I am really proud of myself to be nearly there!

What I still need to work on is to streamline the kids clothes. As they are getting older they don't need the same amount as when they were babies or potty training (kept buying ahead of time not realizing this).
post #35 of 230
Quote:
Originally Posted by nascarbebe View Post
When I was a kid I was embarrased to have people even know where I lived because we lived in such a dilapidated and gross home. I don't like feeling ashamed of my home. I don't like making mental justifications for the objects in my home. I want to be proud of everything I own because it's useful or beautiful. I think my kids function better when they're in a clean and uncluttered environment. I enjoy inviting people into my home and not making excuses or having to hide clutter.
THIS. Exactly. You put it very succinctly. I was just coming to this thread to write essentially the same thing. Rock on, mama!
post #36 of 230
Quote:
Originally Posted by Olma View Post
6. The biggest one for me and I'm still tinkering with it, is to maintain a level of cleanness/tidiness at all time so the house doesn't get out of hand and I don't break my back as a result catching up with chores. Such a biggie for me, I am really proud of myself to be nearly there!
This is a challenge, isn't it? I used to beat myself up for not cleaning everything all the time. Now I've relaxed a little. We do the toilets and tub and vaccum once a week. Everything else is on an as-needed basis. We have a tidy home though, so this is very easy. You notice if a surface looks dusty or the kitchen floor needs a wipe.
post #37 of 230
I am so glad I re-read this thread this morning. We are creating a family closet complete with a washer/dryer combo unit (the kind that is both in one, not the stackable kind). I helped the kids (all four) reduce their clothing by half so we can fit it all in one big closet. I am dreaming of easily maintained laundry.

We drastically reduced our dishes and linens already and it has made such a huge difference. One of everything for each person. Dishes are never behind because we need to wash after every meal in order to have something to eat off of at the next meal. I need to wash the sheets and dry them the same day or we don't have enough to sleep on that night. I LOVE this system as nothing accumulates. Now that we have a minimal amount of clothing I will always be caught up. Forced accountability is necessary for me
post #38 of 230
I'm in.

I am in a place right now where I hate to be home much at all. We have so much stuff, so many piles. And then the dogs get in the way, and I get claustrophobic. I am just paralyzed by lack of motivation.

My New Years Resolution is to create a home where I want to be. Relaxing, enjoyable, less visually distracting. My plan is to do two 15-minute decluttering sessions a day and then establish a system for regular cleaning.

This will speak for my level of desperation: I have been on the MDC boards, lurking for four years. This is my first post!
post #39 of 230
we are currently in a single dresser, and i'm thinking of continuing that as we move forward. it will help--and then use the closet for storage. it really makes you value what you have, and heck, you know what you have.

my sister and her husband have so much clothing that 1. not all of it has a place; 2. they can't keep up with it; and 3. they often don't know what they have or can't find what they want. by keeping it streamlined, it's easy to keep tabs on what you have and what you need and what not.

it's great to have a family closet or single dresser.

whew. i'm tired today. baby finally down for a nap.
post #40 of 230
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by agirlday View Post
I'm in.

I am in a place right now where I hate to be home much at all. We have so much stuff, so many piles. And then the dogs get in the way, and I get claustrophobic. I am just paralyzed by lack of motivation.

My New Years Resolution is to create a home where I want to be. Relaxing, enjoyable, less visually distracting. My plan is to do two 15-minute decluttering sessions a day and then establish a system for regular cleaning.

This will speak for my level of desperation: I have been on the MDC boards, lurking for four years. This is my first post!
Welcome to our discussion and welcome to MDC! Officially that is, since you lurked that long!
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