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Striving For A More Simple/Minimalist Life in 2010 - Page 5

post #81 of 230
Quote:
Originally Posted by nonnymommy View Post
How many shirts, pants, socks, shoes, etc for each family member?

How many toys for each child?

How many sets of dishes or towels or sheets?
nonnymommy, I'm personally not a fan of numbering my clothes and toys and other things. The way we do it is that we designate a space for say, linens. We have one drawer under our bed for all of our linens. What we use MUST fit in there.

For toys, DS has one bookshelf, a toy rack, and a toybox (for big stuff). We allow any toys that he plays with and that don't annoy the crap out of us into the toy rack. If it starts to get full? We purge. We also purge whenever anything new comes in.

Each family member has one dresser and one closet. That's it. Whatever fits in there is welcome, but no overflowing allowed (and no storing clothes for the winter/summer in a different place).

This has helped our family remain within reasonable boundaries without the stress of "ack! I now have 21 shirts!!" which didn't feel simple to us at all.

ETA: I guess simple for us means that our THINGS don't interfere with our life. We don't have too much, nor do we have too little. Either would interfere with the quality of our lives. We are a family that in order to simplify, moved into a bigger house with lots more land (we're homesteading on this land). It's more upkeep for us, but it allows us to be more independent, and to spend MORE time with our family on our land and less time as consumers in the commercial world. That, to us, is much more simple. Give me a day in the garden with all the work it entails as opposed to an hour rushing through our crowded local supermarket any day.
post #82 of 230
Am I the only one with more than one kid here? I have 4. It seems much harder to control the clutter with kids who have their own stuff and their own ideas of what is valuable *to them*. I have very little, but my older 2 have very specific ideas of what they cannot live without and that means they have much more stuff than I would prefer. Not to mention birthdays and xmas. Of course dh and I carefully choose what we buy, but they have friends and relatives and doting grandparents. Plus, they have their own money to buy stuff with as well. We are very fortunate that we have talked with them about simplicity, environmental impacts of our purchases, buying less but good quality instead of lots of cheap things. But they are people with their own wants and ideas and that means they don't always do the things *I* would prefer We still own less than most people we know, and we plan to stay in our <1000sqft home.

As for how much we own, I like the numbers. It helps me decide to keep less. Each child has 10 shirts, 5 pairs of pants, and my girls have a couple of dresses. That is enough to account for layering on cold days, a couple days laundry turnaround, spilling dinners on shirts, and going away for a few days. We don't currently have a washing machine (we are ordering a combo machine to put in our family closet) so we need a few more items until that arrives and is installed.

I have one set of sheets and blankets per bed, enough towels for one per person (plus a couple of designated "swim towels"), and enough rags, dish towels, and wash cloths for a week. It has worked great so far.

Our other big clutter magnet is our homeschooling supplies. I have 2 that are school age and I have pared down what we have, but we really use a lots of different resources throughout the year so it is hard to get rid of books they love.
post #83 of 230
Quote:
Originally Posted by Delicateflower View Post
So, my question: what does simplicity mean to you, and can you offer insight into why some people call mixing their own detergent more simple than using a single container from the supermarket?
Simplicity to me is about making my life easier to manage.

I have to say having ingredients on hand so I can cook up cookies, breads, bagels myself at home at any time, using simple real ingredients is a lot easier than having to run to the grocery store every time I need something. I also have the benefit of knowing the food is fresh and the ingredients are not going to harm my body in the long term. I also find cooking therapeutic. Being able to make things is a great feeling!

We heat the house with wood. In the summer we have to order wood and have it delivered. Then we have to move it from the front yard to the back and stack it. In the winter I have to chop kindling and split the bigger logs. Then move the wood around from the back the the sheltered side of the house and then bring it inside to burn. I have to make fire starters out of wood chips, egg cartons and old candle wax. Every day I wake up and get the fire burning and I have to feed the fire all day. All of this is in no way simpler than switching the furnace on in the fall and switching it off in the spring. But for some reason it seems simpler to me. I like chopping wood. I like the hard physical labor!

This year I am focusing on simplifying my schedule. Gone are the days of over booking and running around! I am truly looking forward to hanging out at home spending time with the kids and working on the garden.

Doing all these things we save a boatload of money. I don't work and DH only has to work 3 days a week in order to pay the bills. DH is opening a bike repair shop this spring (something he loves to do) so hopefully he will have to work even less at his other job.

We want out of the rat race. We want to slow things down. We don't want to get to the end of it all and find out we have been so busy we didn't even get to enjoy it all.
post #84 of 230
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by smeisnotapirate View Post
I guess simple for us means that our THINGS don't interfere with our life. We don't have too much, nor do we have too little. Either would interfere with the quality of our lives. We are a family that in order to simplify, moved into a bigger house with lots more land (we're homesteading on this land). It's more upkeep for us, but it allows us to be more independent, and to spend MORE time with our family on our land and less time as consumers in the commercial world. That, to us, is much more simple. Give me a day in the garden with all the work it entails as opposed to an hour rushing through our crowded local supermarket any day.
I think DH and I are in love with you and your DH.... You are welcome at my home anytime!
post #85 of 230
My girls, especially the youngest, have so many clothes because I have a very dear friend who buys too much that has given us wonderful hand-me-downs and family that is very generous. My dh has too many clothes because he buys too much. And I have too many clothes because I hang on to them for just in case. I think I just have to start saying No thanks

I like the idea of each person having one dresser and one closet and one shelf for linens. Putting things away would be much easier then because everything would fit.

My children love to wear out of season clothes though. When it's summer they get the mittens and boots out to play and when it's winter they love to put on their swimsuits. So, I've resorted to bins in the garage for out of season clothes just to avoid the struggles. Maybe each person should only have one bin for out of season clothing?
post #86 of 230
Ive been slacking on keeping up with this thread

I'm on my way to purge some of ds's clothes though. He's refusing to take a nap and since dd is down for her nap I might as well hit ds's clothes.

There's so much clothes they are overflowing the drawers!
post #87 of 230
Quote:
Originally Posted by Amys1st View Post
I think DH and I are in love with you and your DH.... You are welcome at my home anytime!
Aww, thanks! You, too!

Quote:
Originally Posted by nonnymommy View Post
My girls, especially the youngest, have so many clothes because I have a very dear friend who buys too much that has given us wonderful hand-me-downs and family that is very generous. My dh has too many clothes because he buys too much. And I have too many clothes because I hang on to them for just in case. I think I just have to start saying No thanks

I like the idea of each person having one dresser and one closet and one shelf for linens. Putting things away would be much easier then because everything would fit.

My children love to wear out of season clothes though. When it's summer they get the mittens and boots out to play and when it's winter they love to put on their swimsuits. So, I've resorted to bins in the garage for out of season clothes just to avoid the struggles. Maybe each person should only have one bin for out of season clothing?
Hand-me-downs are a huge weakness of mine. I've found that if I match outfits when the clothes are given to me, I'm less likely to keep something that DS will never wear.

One bin each sounds fair for outerwear. We haven't gotten to it in the new house, but we're making a "spot" for each of us to keep coats and hats and things in our mudroom. Each person will have their own space, and what fits in that space is what they're allowed. Kinda like this. I'm thinking it'll just not get used when it's warm out and we're not using coats and things.
post #88 of 230
nonny,

it sounds to me like it is difficult for you to say no, and the feeling of not wanting to waste as well. I can understand this. It was definitely part of my own situation.

It was important for me to learn to be honest, to learn to say no, or to simply take things but pass them along (consign them or pass them to other needy families). i just cannot take on other people's stuff when i don't really need it.

For my husband, his clothing collection kept ballooning because he didn't know what he wanted to wear or wouldn't put things away. once we determined his "style," he was able to streamline down nicely and feel satisfied with his clothing.

I work from a combined process of numbers as well as space. We went minimalist because we only had so many suitcases that we could bring with us. It needed to be a 4 season wardrobe, too. The next aspect of this for us is that we are moving into a 1 bedroom apartment (we are pretty sure; we look at a two bedroom today of the same price, but a bit further out). This means that space is at a premium. It has one closet. the bed we are looking at purchasing has 6 drawers beneath. All of our clothing and linens would fit in the drawers. there is room for a bit of expansion, but not much!

---

And it is true that people define what they need very differently. some people are not naturally minimalists (my sister, for example, has a very ornate style), and what we need is often defined in very different ways. there is nothing wrong with this.

At the end of the day, the real question relates to organization of what those individuals have. As a family, it is important to have a unified organizational process so that everyone knows where things belong and when they belong there (vs out and in use).

For example, a family can choose that toys are kept in the children's rooms, but that art supplies, school work, and related are kept in a common area. Then, the family can determine how those spaces are to be organized and when objects can be out vs put away.

In our home, I decided to keep Hawk's toys in the common area as to keep our room very serene and free of clutter. I keep the toys in two trunks (well, actually one trunk currently). The common area also houses the shelves/wardrobe that contains our office supplies, writing supplies, and will also contain art supplies as we grow into that.

If children share a room, they can design the organizational scheme and processes as suit their needs in their own rooms. This teaches them how to think about their thing, clutter, etc.
post #89 of 230
i like the locker/cubbies look. THere are a lot of options for those out in the world, but i recommend having one built because it generally costs a lot less and can be made to your own specifications and needs.

I'm planning on having one built that has shoe-rack drawers in the bottom and then three "lockers" or "cubbies" behind doors. I want it to only be about shoulder high for me--about 5 ft or so tall, about 14 or so inches deep, and about 60 inches wide. and then put a mirror above it. It would be substantial, but it would cost about the same as buying a ready made one from what i can gather from talking to builders.

it's a great idea though. i discovered that we really used our shoe rack and hooks in our entry, but that it did look messy even when it was organized and as neat as i can make it. DH also likes cubbies/lockers, and so he helped me design what we want to have built. That way, it will be used and really meet our needs.
post #90 of 230
I would like to join this thread, I want my 15.5 month old to learn to grow up as simply as possible. Not only that but my Fiance and I are planning a wedding 3 years from now, planning on buying a house in the near future and planning for a new baby, we need all the simply living help we can get.
post #91 of 230
Quote:
Originally Posted by zoebird View Post
i like the locker/cubbies look. THere are a lot of options for those out in the world, but i recommend having one built because it generally costs a lot less and can be made to your own specifications and needs.

I'm planning on having one built that has shoe-rack drawers in the bottom and then three "lockers" or "cubbies" behind doors. I want it to only be about shoulder high for me--about 5 ft or so tall, about 14 or so inches deep, and about 60 inches wide. and then put a mirror above it. It would be substantial, but it would cost about the same as buying a ready made one from what i can gather from talking to builders.

it's a great idea though. i discovered that we really used our shoe rack and hooks in our entry, but that it did look messy even when it was organized and as neat as i can make it. DH also likes cubbies/lockers, and so he helped me design what we want to have built. That way, it will be used and really meet our needs.
I'm lucky that between my DH and FIL, we get all our wooden stuff handmade. Our entire bedroom set (dresser, highboy, armoire, and bed with headboard) was made by him, and now he's working on stair treads for our totally demolished staircase. I'm putting in an order for the lockers once we get the mudroom finished.

ITA, though. Get a carpenter to custom make it for you. If you talk to them individually, you can get heirloom-quality work for oftentimes a very reasonable price. Besides, you're helping a local artisan and you can oftentimes barter.
post #92 of 230
Here is a relevant post from one of my absolute favorite bloggers. It's called "Working Towards a Better Life." Her blog is a great one about voluntary simplicity.
post #93 of 230
Quote:
Originally Posted by zoebird View Post
i like the locker/cubbies look. THere are a lot of options for those out in the world, but i recommend having one built because it generally costs a lot less and can be made to your own specifications and needs.

I'm planning on having one built that has shoe-rack drawers in the bottom and then three "lockers" or "cubbies" behind doors. I want it to only be about shoulder high for me--about 5 ft or so tall, about 14 or so inches deep, and about 60 inches wide. and then put a mirror above it. It would be substantial, but it would cost about the same as buying a ready made one from what i can gather from talking to builders.

it's a great idea though. i discovered that we really used our shoe rack and hooks in our entry, but that it did look messy even when it was organized and as neat as i can make it. DH also likes cubbies/lockers, and so he helped me design what we want to have built. That way, it will be used and really meet our needs.
We actually got old school lockers off of Freecycle last year. I painted each one a different colour (I colour code things for the kids since I have 4 of everything to keep track of). Each has there own locker as do dh and I. Coats/boots, hats, gloves, and whatever else they need to get out the door is in the locker. I am going to even keep our socks in there so kids can just grab them as they put on footwear (they never wear socks in the house). If it doesn't fit in the locker we probably don't need it. It really helps keep a clean, clear back porch!

In summer they will keep sandals, bike helmets, hats, and whatever other outdoor stuff will be needed. The winter stuff gets stored in stackable crates. It has been a great system, though I don't know how necessary it would be for a smaller family
post #94 of 230
i love the look of old lockers. but, when i talked to the carpenter (builder/furniture maker!), and i compared that to the prices of the used lockers (plus getting them painted because i can't do that myself either--seriously, i am un-handy and without a garage or wahtever, can't really do it in the apt. would be scared of messing the wall/carpet/etc) was about the same. so i opted for the wooden one.

i do love that look though. it's so great!
post #95 of 230
Quote:
Originally Posted by zoebird View Post
i love the look of old lockers. but, when i talked to the carpenter (builder/furniture maker!), and i compared that to the prices of the used lockers (plus getting them painted because i can't do that myself either--seriously, i am un-handy and without a garage or wahtever, can't really do it in the apt. would be scared of messing the wall/carpet/etc) was about the same. so i opted for the wooden one.

i do love that look though. it's so great!
Methinks it's time to change your Location in your profile.

BTW, that blogger I posted is in NZ.
post #96 of 230
I've been on a decluttering and organizing binge today. One of the blogs I read just posted pictures of a children's room that she was really proud of, and it was so dirty and cluttered and claustrophobic that I had to go and label some shelves.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ParisApril View Post
Simplicity to me is about making my life easier to manage.

I have to say having ingredients on hand so I can cook up cookies, breads, bagels myself at home at any time, using simple real ingredients is a lot easier than having to run to the grocery store every time I need something. I also have the benefit of knowing the food is fresh and the ingredients are not going to harm my body in the long term. I also find cooking therapeutic. Being able to make things is a great feeling!

We heat the house with wood. In the summer we have to order wood and have it delivered. Then we have to move it from the front yard to the back and stack it. In the winter I have to chop kindling and split the bigger logs. Then move the wood around from the back the the sheltered side of the house and then bring it inside to burn. I have to make fire starters out of wood chips, egg cartons and old candle wax. Every day I wake up and get the fire burning and I have to feed the fire all day. All of this is in no way simpler than switching the furnace on in the fall and switching it off in the spring. But for some reason it seems simpler to me. I like chopping wood. I like the hard physical labor!

This year I am focusing on simplifying my schedule. Gone are the days of over booking and running around! I am truly looking forward to hanging out at home spending time with the kids and working on the garden.

Doing all these things we save a boatload of money. I don't work and DH only has to work 3 days a week in order to pay the bills. DH is opening a bike repair shop this spring (something he loves to do) so hopefully he will have to work even less at his other job.

We want out of the rat race. We want to slow things down. We don't want to get to the end of it all and find out we have been so busy we didn't even get to enjoy it all.
Ah, that's the first explanation that's made sense to me! Except for the wood part. That's just crazy.

I make everything from scratch for the same reasons as many have said, but I maintain it's not more simple. It may be more desirable, but it's not simpler.
post #97 of 230

I've read the first three pages & will come back tomorrow for the rest.

We just recently moved from our 3000+ SF house (6 of us) to a 1000 SF townhome, and we are way too crowded in with our stuff (even though we got rid of a ton of the things we'd accumulated over the last 7 years). I'm working on purging as much more of it as I can, while we look for our new home- hopefully a small house with acreage for a garden, etc.

Company on the journey sounds lovely.
post #98 of 230
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by smeisnotapirate View Post
I'm lucky that between my DH and FIL, we get all our wooden stuff handmade. Our entire bedroom set (dresser, highboy, armoire, and bed with headboard) was made by him, and now he's working on stair treads for our totally demolished staircase. I'm putting in an order for the lockers once we get the mudroom finished.

ITA, though. Get a carpenter to custom make it for you. If you talk to them individually, you can get heirloom-quality work for oftentimes a very reasonable price. Besides, you're helping a local artisan and you can oftentimes barter.
Again sara, we are in love with you! My DH also does hand crafted woodworking as does BIL. Our whole house decor, including cabinets etc have been made by dh. The only thing not made- sofas and mattresses.
post #99 of 230
Quote:
Originally Posted by Amys1st View Post
Again sara, we are in love with you! My DH also does hand crafted woodworking as does BIL. Our whole house decor, including cabinets etc have been made by dh. The only thing not made- sofas and mattresses.


Awesome! We haven't gotten to the point where all our stuff is his, but we're getting close, especially since we moved into a bigger house and have ZERO furniture for it. (Which definitely helps with the minimalism!)
post #100 of 230
zero furniture does help. while apartments are notorious for lack of storage, i feel that our place has tons of it because we have so little!

i did buy a bed today. the frame is a beautiful wooden one and the mattress is organic latex (again, like our old one). it will be so lovely to have a bed. cost a lot, but that's ok, because we do need it. LOL the mattress will be here next week; the bed will be here in two or three weeks.

i also put in a bid on an oval table that will fit our bay window perfectly (there are already benches there so no need for chairs yet (besides, i can't find any that i want). and, i'm looking at getting modular seating that can be a big sofa with chair, or a loveseat and chaise, or how ever one wants to put the pieces.

i don't like to spend all of the money at once (neither does DH), but i think that getting the basics will be helpful for us.

i also need to get different containers (bins/baskets) for our stuff. the main room (lounge as they call it) has cubby-like shelves, and i measured them out to see what sizes they would need for baskets and what not. i plan on keeping our household, business, and dh's writing paperwork in them, as well as a place for our computers to 'be away,' office supplies and so on. the two lowest cubbies will be for DS's toys, also kept in bins of some sort.

i'm going to look for used first, though, and then see what i find.

it's actually weird (and kind of hard) to buy stuff.
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