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Striving For A More Simple/Minimalist Life Tribe - Page 6

post #101 of 177
Can I join too? I am working on decluttering/simplifying... DH deploys at the end of the year sometime and we are having our 3rd baby in 3 years right around that time too so I am thinking that getting the house as decluttered and simplified as possible is going to be KEY to not totally drowning when he deploys. Any tips for baby declutterers? My main "problem" areas are our desks, the kitchen, and kids toys....
post #102 of 177
Quote:
Originally Posted by Amys1st View Post
there is a book to go along with the book. I highly suggest you take a look at it.

I am reading "The Radical Homemaker" right now. Anyone read this?
I requested this for Mother's Day.....read about a third so far. All I can say is THANK YOU for your suggestion!!
post #103 of 177
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paigekitten View Post
We have flushable cat litter.
Can you share the brand please!
post #104 of 177
M: that's cool. we are in the process of re-doing our entry area because of the winter. we now have fall and winter coats out, plus rain gear. we do need all of it out (the weather is quite chaotic), and we can't just store other things. I have put spring/summer things away into their vacuum sealed bags; the rest is out and put away, but we need hooks for that, and something for shoe storage.

i'm thinking of two layers of hooks--one above for us, one below for DS and also for bags. then beneath that a bench that has places for shoes beneath (two rows). the waldorf playgroup has a similar set up, and DH *loves* that set up. LOL so, it looks like that is what we will be doing!

on other notes:

i do seriously need a big bowl or basket for fruit. DH just makes a mess of it putting it straight on the counter top all spread out. i think it needs some containment. so, that's another thing.

and, to round it out, we need to get our winter situation in order. first, dehumidifiers are key. second, we are getting an organic wool fleece mattress cover and organic cotton flannel sheets, and then some hot water bottles to keep us nice and warm in the bed. electric blankets are against my religion, so it's back to old school technologies.

that's what's going on here. gathering, rather than ridding. so annoying.
post #105 of 177
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kindermama View Post
I wasn't going to price anything. Just put it out as is, people put money in the jar if they want to. How much is up to them! That might make it less work for me, right?
We did this. We put out a LOT (I mean, half of a double car driveway's worth of stuff - a LOT!). We got one donation - .25 cents from a little girl who took a book. It was otherwise a madhouse, some people getting what they obviously wanted but some were obviously grabbing anything they could fit in their arms. A few people took one shoe and not another, which to me said they weren't paying attention and didn't want those shoes necessarily. I wish I had done it a bit differently. Not sure how? I still like to give stuff away, but I wish there were a way to make sure the person needed it. Oh well, just gotta believe in karma, I guess.
post #106 of 177
I am excited about the progress we have made in simplifying our house. It is now decluttered enough that most days it is in presentable shape for company. Tomorrow we are having people over for DDs b day and all I need to do is put away today's toys, wipe up the bathroom and that's it!

Sometimes I feel on the fringe of society for my 'simple' choices. Last night we had family dinner with new friends that we see at the kids' activities and their house was overflowing with stuff- coats, shoes, toys, toys, toys. I had to clear an area in the playroom for dd to play. I felt out of sorts and shy, I had a hard time coming up with conversation. I came home feeling bad about myself, I know I don't want to play 'keep up with the Jones' but then I start to question whether I am providing my kids with a variety of creative playthings. I know down deep that my kids have plenty, but I have not completely let go of societal 'expectations.'
post #107 of 177
Quote:
Originally Posted by Punchy Kaby View Post
I start to question whether I am providing my kids with a variety of creative playthings.
I am wondering what things they had which made you question yourself?
If there were one or two things that your DD enjoyed playing with while she was there, which you think are creative and worthwhile...is it possible to invest in those things?
Do your children ever seem bored, lacking in direction at home, or are they content with the things they have to play with? If it is the latter then they probably are quite happy with what they have.

I grew up in the 60's and we had very few toys...and yet my parents did things with us that fostered creativity in us, like we had an easel always supplied with paper, and were allowed to paint freely. We did things like walking in the bush and collecting things off the ground like pieces of bark etc and we brought them home to make collages.

I really don't think children need a whole pile of toys to bring out their creativity. However they do need to feel free to create and make a mess sometimes...I have a friend who won't allow her children to paint at home, which was a bit of a shock to me!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Punchy Kaby View Post
I know down deep that my kids have plenty, but I have not completely let go of societal 'expectations.'
I think that you need to listen to your heart and if you know they have plenty then that is all that matters.

Society can make us feel these days that we need to provide our children with a playstation, DS, Wii, ipod, etc etc....so if it is these tech toys that they don't have, I wouldn't worry about it unless they get to an age where they really want one of these things and then assess if you want to get it. We never got a playstation for our children despite many requests from them! And they have survived and flourished without one. We just got a wii last year which they used for a few months but have tired of.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Punchy Kaby View Post
I am excited about the progress we have made in simplifying our house. It is now decluttered enough that most days it is in presentable shape for company.
Well done!
post #108 of 177
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by clutterwarrior View Post
Society can make us feel these days that we need to provide our children with a playstation, DS, Wii, ipod, etc etc....so if it is these tech toys that they don't have, I wouldn't worry about it unless they get to an age where they really want one of these things and then assess if you want to get it. We never got a playstation for our children despite many requests from them! And they have survived and flourished without one. We just got a wii last year which they used for a few months but have tired of.


Well done!
I am thinking the same thing about the wii. I think we would get it and tire of it once the novelty wears off, which is a few weeks. I guess I have learned my lesson that way- once novelty wears off, its just matter- taking up space and has weight.

OTH, I received an ipod for Mother's day. It is perfect for my workout and since our ancient radio/boom box is one step away from the grave as well as our cd player, a good time to upgrade. The good news, we can attach it to our receiver and play our entire music library or selected things etc.

But the downside: the headphones are stock headphones, not the best and can really damage your hearing, so should think of upgrading those...then I need a new speaker etc. So it can be a cash cow if you want it to. Or, BIL works for a company who makes speakers etc, so he is sending me his discard ipod speaker because he is getting the latest and greatest. His is only 2 years old. I have found asking the techno junkie in your life for this discards is a fine way to go.
post #109 of 177
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kindermama View Post
Can you share the brand please!
Feline Pine. My older cat took a long time to get used to it, but I really love this cat litter because I don't get cat crunchies all over the bathroom. I find it easier to keep up with then any other litter too. I just scoop the poop into the toilet and flush, and shake the saw dust down to the bottom of the box. When all the pellets have turned into sawdust I add more or take it out to the compost. I only empty the whole box every few months and it doesn't smell unless I don't scoop the poop for a while.
post #110 of 177
I think I need to let the kids get messier in the house, when they are outside I don't worry about letting them get dirty. I also need to make the art project stuff more accessible to DS, tough right now though because dd wants everything that ds has and I don't want her to eat crayons and paint. I feel uninformed about so many things: toys, where to shop, kids activities. I try to stay away from advertisements so that I won't be tempted to shop. Sometimes my ds seems bored, but he has always needed direction/help getting interested in playing, he has gotten more creative with playing since we have less toys. Last year I stored away most of his trucks and cars and that's when I noticed him getting interested in other things around the house.

Now I have a pile of junky toys to get rid of from dd's b day. I am a little peeved, I was going to return/exchange things but my neighbor opened all the gifts and threw away the packaging. We got 4 sets ofgarden and beach plastic toys and we already had too many, also baby sunglasses and a hat both of which she will never tolerate wearing. *sigh* we asked people not to bring gifts, but they are compelled to buy junk.
post #111 of 177
Quote:
Originally Posted by Punchy Kaby View Post
we asked people not to bring gifts, but they are compelled to buy junk.
People do this to us too. We specifically say no gifts when we invite them to birthdays, and then they give us presents before or after the party! My sister loves giving gifts and says I am depriving them of the joy of giving. I hate giving gifts and don't understand it. DH and I like having get-togethers to celebrate birthdays, but I feel so bad when someone picks out something for us and I turn around and get rid of it.
post #112 of 177
I need drastic decluttering and simplification ideas. I'm running out of ideas. What can you live without that you never thought you would give up? I have cleared out a ton of stuff in my kitchen, but am eyeing my dishes right now, but I don't know how much I actually NEED. Same thing with clothes and books and toys, but I know we have more then just these things. I am talking bare essentials here, my DH and I are tired of so much stuff, but in some ways we have very little. My home and life are decluttered, but I wouldn't call it minimalist, which is what we want. Thoughts?
post #113 of 177

joining!

I have big intentions!

we are in the process of moving and now that we have moved a lot of the big stuff and some of our important things we are left with a LOT of other stuff..I dont want to take everything and end up with it cluttering our lives so im trying to go through it all and get rid of most of it.. im just finding it overwhelming i guess..

Im thinking of packing up everything that I love first, then things that are useful and then taking the rest to the free store. my only thing is then the house we are living in will feel totally un-home-like for the next 2 weeks.. but i guess its worth it in the end when my new home feels So nice.. it already feels more like home then this house ever did.

I guess my biggest thing is needing to be strict with myself about what is loved & useful. i like stuff but i like my spaces clean and decluttered more!


this is the quote that im living by..

"Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful."
-William Morris
post #114 of 177
What about books? I have the most books in the house, and we have quite a few kid books. How do you all decide which books to keep? I check on amazon and see how much it would be to replace it if the library doesn't have it and for some reason I wanted to read it again. I only keep books we will read over and over, but we still have a lot of books. I also started doing paperbackswap, but haven't mailed out as many books as I probably should.
post #115 of 177
Hi everyone! I love this thread--I just finished reading the entire thing (and I've put a hold on Radical Homemakers at the library thanks to the suggestion--it sounds right up my alley).

Introduce yourself
I'm Astrea, stay-at-home writer mama to Willow, who's 12 months old. DH is PhDing in a really cool field of study. We're Canadian.

Discuss what brought you to this place
It's a confluence of a lot of factors--political ideology, spiritual beliefs, environmentalism. I trace a lot of it back, though, ultimately, to the vision I've always had of my ideal home. For as long as I can remember, if I closed my eyes and imagined by ideal home, it's an incredibly simple space with nothing but the odd beeswax candle or jam jar of wildflowers for "decoration". I'd prefer for almost all of my home's aesthetic pleasure to come from things that are also useful (bedding, curtains, dishes, books, etc.), instead of having a bunch of pragmatic but ugly (plastic!) things and a bunch of pretty but useless things. I'm not there yet but I'm headed that way! Too much stuff--be it physical stuff, emotional stuff, social commitments, whatever--makes me feel unsettled, anxious and unhappy.

How is this path and what has it taken you to?
This definitely feels like the right path for our family. We're in the midst of a big declutter now--the first of many, I'm sure. The more I simplify the more I want to simplify further! We recently had a garage sale and got rid of many things we didn't need, including a sewing machine (I hate to sew, and our neighbor has one DH can borrow if he needs to hem curtains or something) and our TV. I feel we need to work on simplifying our commitments--narrowing down our social circle to people we really care about and want to spend time with, for example, and saying "no" to more invitations and events.

Right now some of my goals are to work on decluttering the less obvious parts of life--going through our overflowing filing cabinet, culling spices and condiments I only use every six months, ripping all our CDs onto the computer so I can play them through our iPod and can get rid of the actual physical discs. I also want to commit to a goal of living plastic-free. For now, that'll mean keeping an eye out for glass, steel, wood, and cloth alternatives at thrift stores, while committing to avoid bringing new plastics into the house as much as possible. I'd love to go out and spend $1000 to replace all our plastic stuff with alternatives, but that's not in the cards right now and I'm not sure that's more environmentally responsible than just re-using the plastics we do have (food storage containers, ziploc bags for in the freezer, kids' toys we've been given ) until they wear out, anyway. Anyone have thoughts on that?

Is it material things, an overabundance of too much in your life or something else?
It's feeling that our life is not entirely in harmony with our internal sense of how we need to live. Simplifying is currently a big part of my ongoing pursuit of a life of justice and integrity.

I'm very happy to meet you all!
post #116 of 177
we just kept our favorites. and it was a lot of books, so no worries.

---

we decided to keep our fruit in . . . a big plastic tub that we were given. it's nto at all pretty, btu it is pretty useful, and it's the only use we had for it. why we were given this tub, i do not know. LOL but, at least we are using it.

we watched a movie the other day--a japanese movie--and realized that we really enjoy living the way that we are: on the floor. So, we are getting rid of the table that we bought, and while we are bringing in some furnishings (from the business--desk, chair, shelves), they'll go in one corner of our living area and be easy to manage. i am thinking of putting up a curtain so that we can close it off when not in use, unless DH keeps it completely clean.

and, we are still looking for how we want to organize the entry way. but, it's ok so far. still neat and clean.
post #117 of 177
Quote:
Originally Posted by Astrea View Post
I also want to commit to a goal of living plastic-free. For now, that'll mean keeping an eye out for glass, steel, wood, and cloth alternatives at thrift stores, while committing to avoid bringing new plastics into the house as much as possible. I'd love to go out and spend $1000 to replace all our plastic stuff with alternatives, but that's not in the cards right now and I'm not sure that's more environmentally responsible than just re-using the plastics we do have (food storage containers, ziploc bags for in the freezer, kids' toys we've been given ) until they wear out, anyway. Anyone have thoughts on that?
I went ahead and gave away most of the plastic in my kitchen. For a long time we used peanut butter jars to store leftovers, until we could get some glass containers with snap lids. Things that don't involve food I've been slower in phasing out.
post #118 of 177
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paigekitten View Post
I went ahead and gave away most of the plastic in my kitchen. For a long time we used peanut butter jars to store leftovers, until we could get some glass containers with snap lids. Things that don't involve food I've been slower in phasing out.
I have one glass container with a snap lid and I love it. I'm going to try to scout out more at an outlet mall in the States when I go there this summer. Kitchen/food items are definitely the priority for me, too Do you use yours in the freezer? How do you find them?

I did another sort-through of my closet last night and put about 10-12 things in "closet purgatory". I'm going to try them all on and then consign or donate everything I'm not 100% on (100% = fits me, looks good on me, suits my taste, and is practical for my current lifestyle).

I also organized our Hot Water Closet of Doom (which stores aprons, cleaning stuff, kitchen laundry, mop and bucket, broom, etc. even though it's really only supposed to hold the hot water heater) and it feels so much better now. I cleaned a ton of crap out of there.
post #119 of 177
I haven't tried them in the freezer yet, I don't have a lot. I use mason jars and recycled jars in the freezer mostly. I have chicken stock in old applesauce jars, and strawberries in mason jars right now.
post #120 of 177
Recycled jars work in the freezer and won't break? I've used mason jars, but not recycled ones. I've accumulated a good stash of them and I've started to use them for food storage.

Going back to the toy topic...we're in a tiny apartment and hopefully will upgrade to a somewhat larger (just a 2 bedroom) apartment in the not so distant future. Still, my son's bedroom won't be huge even after that, and he has a ridiculous amount of toys for the amount of space in his room. I feel really guilty getting rid of them, though. I can't really afford the toys I WANT him to have. He has some wooden toys, and a wooden table with bins underneath, and the top of the table has a landscape painted on it for his wooden train track. He has a nice set of wooden blocks from Germany, and lots of art supplies. I'd love to get him an easel. Anyway, the train table takes up a good amount of space, but it does have the storage bins underneath that holds train tracks, Legos, and cars and that's a big help. Stuffed animals are a big problem...some of them were mine as a child and sentimental, so I want my son to keep them. He really loves stuffed animals, too, which also makes me feel guilty getting rid of some of them.

I was thinking of maybe once a month getting a Waldorf~y, NFL toy and get rid of a couple of the plastic~y toys that have accumulated (as gifts...people don't listen to no plastic very well!) are just becoming clutter. That way a couple good items will come in, and lots of bad items will go out... I know Ikea has inexpensive easels for kids, too. I'd love that and a big pad of paper for him.

I'm going to check out that Radical Homemaker book on Amazon...the title makes it sound like it is really interesting.
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