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Striving For A More Simple/Minimalist Life Tribe - Page 2

post #21 of 177
I am Katie and my family is Edward (DH), Libby (2), Lily (11 mo), my adult sister, a dog, two kitties, and two rats!

I really enjoyed the last thread, although I think I lurked the whole time. I've always been a fan of decluttering, but it seems like we just keep accumulating things (and we don't BUY stuff either). After we bought our house (880 sq feet) I felt like we had to have enough things to FILL it, but now I feel like it's totally okay to have half empty closets.
: )

We have a million projects to do around the house, so I seriously need to simplify in that area too!

My DH and I decluttered two very toxic jobs a few months ago and are just starting to get back on our feet financially, but it was TOTALLY worth it.

Right now we are trying to cut back on monthly expenses, we just cancelled our monthly garbage pickup and natural gas (yay for wood stoves and recycling)
, we ditched our cell phones and are still figuring out how to streamline the finances even more.

I've taken at least three trunk loads of stuff to give away since Christmas and my family is astounded because they think our home is rather "spartan" to begin with (HARDLY!)

Ultimately our goal is to be as self sufficient as possible so that we can spend more time together and more time LIVING, not just passing time. I love all the inspiration and ideas that everyone have here.
post #22 of 177
Hey all....I'm Shellie (duh) and I am married to my college sweetheart (15.5 years) and we have four kiddos ages 3.5 to almost-15.

I love this path. It has been a looooong road in life, for sure. For me, the simple/minimalist thing has a lot to do with, but extends beyond, possessions. It pours over into our finances and the way we think, as well as our footprint on the earth. Dh and I both come from materialistic, cluttered and *things* -oriented households. My parents' philosophy was buy as much as you can by spending as much as you can (which means getting as much credit as you can). As such dh and I followed in their footsteps and spent the first 15 years of our marriage deep in debt.

Thankfully we have paid off everything but one of the three car loans we had (we sold one of the cars to facilitate this) and all but one credit card, which is our lowest interest one. My truck note should be gone by the end of the year and the last CC, not long after.

So that is significant simplification there that has trickled down into less clutter, etc. because we strive to not buy things we don't need. And we don't have to spend nearly as much time managing a complicated mesh of credit cards, spending, debt, etc. It's so freeing!

We've simplified the food and chemicals in our lives too, trying to avoid chemicals and processed items as much as is practical. That takes some financial commitment as well, but we have more $$ to invest in that now that we're paying less in interest. I enjoy making simple, wholesome food and having fancy things (and dinners out) be a treat and not a regular occurrence.

I've mentioned before that in 2005 we "decluttered" before moving to AZ from CA....and still we needed an entire 40+ foot vanliner that normally holds *3* households just for us! Our move cost $17k! After we moved we were able to fill up a 3-car garage with items we were purging, not once, not twice, but THREE times. And then we further purged a ton more with the following two moves.

We're doing a lot better...still simplifying stuff and in other areas, such as my photography. I'm a freelance photographer and I love to do child portraits. The whole deal was a drain emotionally and timewise so I'm revamping and simplifying so I can enjoy it again. My latest goal is to spend (ooops...hit submit too soon!) more time enjoying life with my kids and less trying to compete pricewise with the droves of new photographers that are out there. I was tired of spinning my wheels. I'm so much happier now.
post #23 of 177
Hi, I am Cee, mother to 3 children (ages 18, 15 and 8) I discovered both the mothering.com site and the decluttering section of it only about a week ago!

Both my parents were into collecting stuff...stamps, books, paper clippings from magazines filed a-z, etc....but I never recall that we had a cluttered home, they must have been good at keeping it organised. However I inherited the desire to collect, but have not been good at keeping it organised.

I spent twenty years of my life living upstairs of the house we live in now...long story, but my DH and 3 kids were jammed into this tiny pokey space, and I could not keep it uncluttered, instead I compensated for my lack of having a home by going out hunting for china and finds at 2nd hand stores and markets...I would squirrel all my finds away for the day when I had my own home. Now we finally have the whole house, the upstairs and the downstairs...and finally I am realising that I gathered way too much STUFF in that twenty years, and I am trying to gradually clear the place out.

I still have a love of collecting china and vintage things, but want to be able to be more selective and have it displayed nicely so that my house does not look like the 2nd hand or junk store I bought things from!

I find that currently I am struggling a bit with parting with things my third child has grown out of using, eg classic toys or lovely books he is too old for, as I keep thinking that they will be great for grandchildren! However grandchildren are probably at least 5 years minimum away for my oldest daughter, so I am not sure if I should keep things?

Another thing I have trouble with is DH...not that he is a thing, lol...but he is also a pack rat, keeps every strange bit or piece to make things out of...he is an engineer and says that he never knows what small object will be useful! Plus he insists on keeping all old clothes and towels as rags...so we have rags coming out of our ears!

Anyway over the last couple of weeks I have been like a woman possessed and have done a lot of decluttering round the house, the whole family doesn't know what has got into me, but they seem to like it.
post #24 of 177
So I'm starting on a Journey to cloth, to minimize my carbon foot print even more, I just spent $300 on cloth diapers, not only that but I am now sewing my clothes and clothes for other people
post #25 of 177
for the toys and books, why don't you start by throwing out all but the most precious? the beautiful handmade toys, the classic toys that are hard to find now that your children loved, the ones you have great memories of, the timeless ones. Keep just a few of the most special, and same with the books. I don't think it's a bad thing to keep a few special things for grandkids/or even because they are special to you because it was your daughter's favorite book forever, or your son's favorite toy forever. You probably have a lot though that your grandkids realistically won't want/need, and taking up too much space. can you pick the most special to keep?
post #26 of 177
Quote:
Originally Posted by Amys1st View Post
We had a great discussion, but I wanted to start it over. This is esp so we can have others join us.

So Introduce yourself and..
-discuss what brought you to this place
-how is this path and what has it taken you to?
Is it material things, an overabundance of too much in your life or something else?

Understand, not everyone is at the same place and this is a support thread to help you reach what it is you are looking for in this lifestyle.

-Some of us, its finding happiness in their careers or life,
-Some, it maybe just cleaning out material items such as decluttering,
- others its just trying to declutter their brain and life and find what it is that is missing.
Or, you just need to slow down or take some time to sort out what is cluttering up your life, shelves, or just brain.

Here is our previous discussion:
http://www.mothering.com/discussions....php?t=1180209
I'm Jessica. 27yo mommy to awesome 6yo dd and expecting a babe in July. Partner to the love of my life. SAHM. Artist. That's enough for now.

I'm really craving minimalism because of my over-abundance of STUFF. I feel like my possession own ME instead of the other way around. I really want to get out from under it and don't really know where to start. Clutter, clutter, clutter.

I'd like to have a place/group where I hold myself accountable and get inspiration for how to minimize the crap. Not just physical, but thinking that I need more than I do, not being content, etc.
post #27 of 177
Speaking of rags... (someone mentioned an overabundance of rags)

How do you all organize your rags? In the kitchen I have a basket w/washcloths and rags (which we use instead of paper towels), and then a small laundry basket to toss them in after. But... I need a good way to keep rags for the garage (which I want to keep separate because they get really nasty in the garage). What's your solution? Anyone?
post #28 of 177
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruthiegirl View Post
And that is the focus of my summer -- to be purposeful in my decisions.
Can you (or anyone else with this goal) elaborate more on this? It sounds like what I need to do myself.
post #29 of 177
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sweetmama26 View Post
So I'm starting on a Journey to cloth, to minimize my carbon foot print even more, I just spent $300 on cloth diapers, not only that but I am now sewing my clothes and clothes for other people
Yea! Creating and sewing is so much fun!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Juvysen View Post
Speaking of rags... (someone mentioned an overabundance of rags)

How do you all organize your rags? In the kitchen I have a basket w/washcloths and rags (which we use instead of paper towels), and then a small laundry basket to toss them in after. But... I need a good way to keep rags for the garage (which I want to keep separate because they get really nasty in the garage). What's your solution? Anyone?
We use plastic milk crate type baskets which is important to allow the rags to "breathe" and then you can also see what's clean and dirty.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pariah View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruthiegirl
And that is the focus of my summer -- to be purposeful in my decisions.
Can you (or anyone else with this goal) elaborate more on this? It sounds like what I need to do myself.
I am doing this also! Here's what it means to me...as a family we decide what activities are important to be a part of and which ones to decline. We are choosing where to spend our time/money/resources so that we are not over-scheduled or over-committed this summer season.
(DD#1 will be in a June session at school and then she will be participating in a one week dance camp. DD#2 will be just hanging out around the house!)
post #30 of 177
Posting for feedback here...

Today I went out and bought a 6 compartment hanging closet organizer in the name of simplifying. This way I don't have to have a dresser in our master bedroom becuase there isn't room for one anyway! It's really pretty and makes my closet look like one of those closets you see in a spendy/trendy magazine! (You know the adverts where there's like 5 shirts and two pairs of pants and a couple of dresses hanging and then a closet organizer with a few perfectly folded shirts and a couple of pairs of shoes on the floor!?!) Well thanks to simplifying...that's exactly what my closet looks like

Anyway...my question is: since you started simplifying, have you found that you're making purchases that make more sense? Spending a small amount of money to enhance your simplicity?
post #31 of 177
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pariah View Post
Can you (or anyone else with this goal) elaborate more on this? It sounds like what I need to do myself.
Well, I can tell you what it means to me.

We have some goals that are defining themselves each day. We want to eat well, fresh and local as much as possible. This means that we are planting an extensive garden, we joined a local csa and we are making day to day decisions to change our eating patterns. I have made this decision with a lot of careful thought, but I have made these decisions before and have not followed through. This time around, I am going for the follow-through.

It means that I get up an hour earlier and weed/seed/transplant/harvest. It isn't easy! I work hard, but the work is important to me.

I also want to clear a lot of stuff out of my house. It means that I need a list, I need a plan, I need to set aside time to go through a manageable area, clean it out, and make decisions about what to do with things. It means bagging things up and actually getting them out to the car and dropping them off at the thrift shop.

We want to spend time together as a family, so we set aside one weekend a month to go camping at one of our favorite places. Well, we also have a wonderful invitation to gather with friends this weekend during our slotted family camping trip. It means that we say no to the invite and we go camping. It means that sometimes, we make the hard choice.

I find that my thinking about being purposeful often is at odds with my tendency to say yes to everything -- sure, I can take on extra childcare, yes I can help out with your project, yes let's go to a BBQ, yes I can help/bring snack/be a volunteer.

When what I really need to say is no, I have other plans, I have other choices I want to make, other goals in my life that are important.

And I should stress that these are my goals, what I am working towards right now. And I do think this is work, my life's work and I am happy to be doing it.
post #32 of 177
Quote:
Originally Posted by Magelet View Post
for the toys and books, why don't you start by throwing out all but the most precious? the beautiful handmade toys, the classic toys that are hard to find now that your children loved, the ones you have great memories of, the timeless ones. Keep just a few of the most special, and same with the books. I don't think it's a bad thing to keep a few special things for grandkids/or even because they are special to you because it was your daughter's favorite book forever, or your son's favorite toy forever. You probably have a lot though that your grandkids realistically won't want/need, and taking up too much space. can you pick the most special to keep?
Thanks Caroline, that is very helpful advice.
post #33 of 177
Keeping rags

i have a basket in a small hall cubby-closet that has rags, towels, etc. after we use one, i rinse it and put it in our soak bucket (where diapers and mamacloth is also soaked--at different times!), and then wash it with the wash. most just have spilled tea on them. lol!

at our business, i am transitioning from disposables (paper towels) to cloths for wiping up. i have a space where we keep our (now organic) cleansers for the practitioners to use, and i found a source for organic terry cloth and the lady gave me her odds and ends to use as rags. So, that was pretty cool. she apparently had made bathrobes to sell in her organic shop and had lots of bits.

now i have to find someone to make organic massage chair head rest covers so that i can transition from disposables there to washables.

once used, the practitioners put them into their laundry bags. they pay for their own laundry services with towels, and so they toss it in there.

since you started simplifying, have you found that you're making purchases that make more sense? Spending a small amount of money to enhance your simplicity?

yes. for example, i spend a fair bit on organizational items such as accordian folders and baskets to store things and so on. i do try to reuse whatever items i can (particularly at the business), and have been pretty successful with that.

i also find that i tend to simply buy less. for example, i have a lot of bulk spices in bags, and as i finish a jar (from mayonaise or mustard or something), i just clean it out, dry it, and put a spice in it. LOL it works really well. i do have trouble getting some of the labels off, but otherswise it's good.

others suggested to me that i could be these or those or that set of jars. i was like--i'm already buying jars. LOL i just have to wait to use them. it works out. i think i only need three more. so, by the end of the month.

On the Table front

So, after much thought and laughter, we are seriously considering releasing our broken "northern hemisphere table" to the cosmos, and just going furnitureless for a while longer. DH would like a "floor cloth" for our LR where we can have friends come to "picnic inside."

this is actually rather hilarious in that we are planning a thanksgiving feast at our home for May. we will have no table. we are thinking of doing it by way of standing room or just letting people peck at it, or what have you.

but, DH wants special drop cloths for the floor. I'm not sure what form these will take, either. we shall see. LOL it's pretty cool though. So far, we've been using a HUGE white sheet when people come over. maybe he just wants more significance to it--like "We are choosing this!"

it's kind of funny. but that's where we are.
post #34 of 177
Om girl - I find that I do a lot more sensible shopping, only buying what I think or know what we truly need.

Currently I am crocheting a pair of booties for a friend who is having a baby. She is paying me to crochet her a rasta hat so I'm throwing in a surprise, I'd rather make things and sell them to make money or to wear myself, then to buy a bunch of clothes or things I can't afford!
post #35 of 177
Well I am pleased to say I have made quite a bit of progress today, going through the children's books....with my new mantra thanks to Magelet, only keep their favourites...this has made it so much easier to sort the books.

Now I have a huge pile of high quality books that were not my children's absolute favourites, that I can happily donate to the children's cancer ward at the hospital.
post #36 of 177
Here's something funny - I decluttered my sock drawer yesterday. I had a bunch of sport-type socks that I never used anymore (certainly didn't use them all before I had washed the others), so those all came out of my overstuffed sock drawer, along with a bunch of childish socks that I don't really like, either. My drawer is so much easier to close! Silly that I held on to those socks for so darn long.
post #37 of 177
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Om Girl View Post
since you started simplifying, have you found that you're making purchases that make more sense? Spending a small amount of money to enhance your simplicity?
Yes! I am also NOT buying stuff just because its cute, on sale, marked down, etc. Such as I buy a pair of black fashion boots. Then I wear them until they wear out and when it times to buy a new pair, I remove the older pair first.

Before spending to enhance my simplicity, I also check craigslist, freecycle, or ask around. We have a home gym in our basement. Its all bits and pieces from other people's home gyms. We got off freecycle a wall rack to place our free weights instead of littering the ground. We got a treadmill in perfect condition from a friend. A total gym from dh's work when they closed a clinic.
All of this stuff is used daily by both of us.

For me, when thing are packed in a rubbermaid tub or stuffed in a closet, its out of sight out of mind. It would take me hours or days to find stuff like that. I am better off if not using things or wont in the next 18 mos, passing it on. There are a few exceptions to this of course, but its more exception than the norm.
post #38 of 177
Quote:
Originally Posted by zoebird View Post
On the Table front

So, after much thought and laughter, we are seriously considering releasing our broken "northern hemisphere table" to the cosmos, and just going furnitureless for a while longer. DH would like a "floor cloth" for our LR where we can have friends come to "picnic inside."

this is actually rather hilarious in that we are planning a thanksgiving feast at our home for May. we will have no table. we are thinking of doing it by way of standing room or just letting people peck at it, or what have you.

but, DH wants special drop cloths for the floor. I'm not sure what form these will take, either. we shall see. LOL it's pretty cool though. So far, we've been using a HUGE white sheet when people come over. maybe he just wants more significance to it--like "We are choosing this!"

it's kind of funny. but that's where we are.
We pretty much eat most meals on the floor too. We have a table, and no way am I giving it up, because I love eating there for shabbat, shabbat wouldn't work well for me doing it on the floor. However, we really enjoy eating on the floor. It's nice to use a rug (or floorcloth) to have a defined table space, we have a perfect sized rug we often use. the ONLY problem with this is that it often migrates us to watch TV (on the computer, no TV here) during dinner, more often than I would like. We often end up eating around the computer, even if we aren't watching TV. not what I want. DP grew up with the TV always on, and moreso, almost always watched, so to him, watching TV is a "bonding" activity. to me, it's just a mindless thing that I love and can't seem to resist. I'm ok with watching a small amount of TV on the computer, and I like movies occasionally, but I would really like to simplify my life with a lot less computer. (also a lot less me getting caught up on MDC/researching random stuff)

I'm glad my suggustions were useful
post #39 of 177
when my work gets organized better--or finally really--then i'll be able to have less screen time.

for example, the invoicing. i plan on finishing it this weekend. I have untangled most of it, and divided them into three categories. this makes accounting easier for me and the accountants (thereby saving money).

the templates are done, so once the invoicing for march is complete, i can do april as we go along. the previous owner would pile it up until the end of the month and have to to do it all at once. I find it much easier to record as we go along, and then when the month ends, just make it a PDF and away we go! lol

so much simpler.

The next simplification task for me is to organize the on-site business. i need to create a check-out sheet for the massage chairs, the time sheets, and the practitioner contact lists. I also need to create a calendar so that i can understand when practitioners are going where. Here, it's common to do things "fortnightly" rather than "first and third weeks" as it would be in the US. i need to set out and print out a calendar so people know when they are going and so on. then provide spaces for notes regarding that business (eg, this massgae chair needs repairs, etc).

and then, i have to organize the accounting for the yoga collective so that it is clear and simple as well.

I feel like we are getting there bit by bit! it's fun actually. i enjoy my work.
post #40 of 177
Quote:
Originally Posted by Juvysen View Post
Here's something funny - I decluttered my sock drawer yesterday. I had a bunch of sport-type socks that I never used anymore (certainly didn't use them all before I had washed the others), so those all came out of my overstuffed sock drawer, along with a bunch of childish socks that I don't really like, either. My drawer is so much easier to close! Silly that I held on to those socks for so darn long.
Yes I did the same thing recently...I also wonder why I held onto those socks for grim life for so long!

I have also culled DH's underwear drawer as his was so hard to close, I scooped out the ones at the bottom that he was never wearing and found the elastic was so old it had actually gone stiff and hard so they crunched when I picked them up, lol..definitely was not difficult to toss those out!
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