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Advice for those still in the process of minimizing...

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 

I thought it'd be good to have a thread where those of us who aspire to minimalism can ask advice of those who are already there. 

 

I was thinking of this thread as a place where we can kind of give a picture of where we are at in a certain area and what we most need and get advice on what to keep and what to toss/give away/sell...

post #2 of 20
Thread Starter 

Me first!! orngbiggrin.gif

 

My first question is about drinkware...mugs, glasses, travel mugs, and the like...

 

We basically have the following:

 

For cold drinks--

*one set of 12 oz glass glasses (was six, but I think only 4-5 now)

*one set of 5 oz glass glasses (was six, but I don't think we have more than 3 now)

*one set of 2 oz glass shot glasses (six...we used these to teach Bug how to drink out of a regular cup, but we don't need them anymore)

*two square glass glasses that came with a bottle of whiskey (I think 8 oz?)

*two jelly jar glasses with handles (16 oz)

*one HUGE glass glass for iced tea (we used to have two...I think it's like a 24 oz)

*a handful of large plastic tumblers (I think we had 10, but there's only like 6-7 now. We originally bought these just for guest situations to use instead of the throwaway cups, but DH put them into regular rotation)

*two sippy cups for Bug

*four stainless steel water bottles

 

For hot drinks--

*two big white mugs from our dinnerware set (the other ones have long since broken)

*two regular sized Star Wars mugs (DH JUST got these, so there's no getting rid of them!)

*one pretty mug with saucer that's mine

*one generic big brown mug that's also technically mine

*two huge cappuccino mugs (that I brought back from Romania...these mostly get used more as bowls, though)

*a set of six espresso mugs with saucers (from World Market and they all fit into a stand that sits on the counter and doesn't take up much space)

*two travel mugs--one for me, one for DH

*a stack of disposable hot cups for company left over from our Christmas party

 

If it were up to me, I think I could at least cut back our cold drink cups to like three of the 12 oz, three of the 5 oz, two of the huge iced tea ones (I'd have to buy a second one), a couple of water bottles, and Bug's two sippies (still handy for when we are out and about and for bedtime water). I kinda like the jelly jars cause I can fill one four times and get my minimal amount of water for the day, but I don't HAVE to keep them.

 

On the hot drink stuff, we'd have to keep the travel mugs and four other mugs for sure. The rest I'm ambivalent about...but since the espresso set was a gift from me to DH at Christmas a few years back I don't feel like I can just arbitrarily give those away. 

 

As far as for when guests are over, I probably would donate the current plastic tumblers and just buy a new set or two the next time a company situation comes around (and then keep them in a separate "for company" cabinet). For hot drinks I think our disposable ones will last a while for those few times we have more company over than could drink from our four mugs.

 

Any advice for me? Am I cutting back enough? Too much? 

 

 

 

 

 

 

post #3 of 20
Thread Starter 

Another question on kitchen appliances (can you tell that I'm tackling the kitchen today in my "spring" cleaning?)...

 

I want to consolidate my appliances...here's what I've got...

 

*Blender--just a generic Oster (I SOOO want to trade it out for a Blendtec or Vitamix..but that is a save up for kind of thing)..it gets a lot of use

*Breadmaker--we actually use this at least once a week for pizza dough and at least a couple times a month for bread, but I plan on making more homemade bread so this is a keeper

*Crockpot--I use this a good bit as well for quick and easy dinners

 

Those are my keepers (even if I replace the blender eventually)...

 

I've also got...but will probably rid myself of...

*Magic Bullet with ALL the attachments (could use this as blender/food processor/etc....but don't really use it for much more than chopping cilantro and making salsa...both of which could be done in the bigger blender or with my PC food chopper)

*Coffeemaker--it's the kind that brews the coffee and then dispenses it (no actual pot)...but DH can't drink coffee currently and we've also got both a cold-brew system that we prefer as well as a stovetop espresso pot

*Hot pocket sandwich maker--bought super cheap when I was feeling nostalgic for my old one I lived off of in Romania...hardly used much at all

 

But what do I do to replace what I use my George Foreman for? It's the kind with both grill and waffle plates. Granted, we haven't done waffles in a while, but we do enjoy them on occasion...and I use the grill part to cook up chicken breasts when DH doesn't feel like grilling them outside or when time is of the essence. I realize that just those two things are not much reason to hang onto an appliance for...but I need advice on what I can do instead for those two things. Is there some way to do those things without a specialty appliance?

post #4 of 20

Holy cow!! To me, that's a LOT of drinkware (mugs, especially)!!! I have four mugs, four tall glasses and four short ones, two freezer mugs, and two sippy cups. That's it. I do have one travel mug and a water bottle, but I don't think of that as part of my kitchenware, because I don't use that stuff at home.

 

Now, there's only me and Mr. Moo, but I also entertain quite frequently, at least twice a week with just a few guests, but I also hold a monthly dinner party where we use all the drinkware at once, and it's a drop in thing, so we actually wash it and re-use it throughout the night.

 

My suggestion is that you reduce your collection to two mugs for each adult, and two to four non-mug cups per human in the house.

 

Additionally, if you entertain more than once a month, set aside four to eight more cups and two to four more mugs, but put them in a place where you won't use them if you run out of clean dishes. I think your instincts are right on about what you can get rid of... just do it. :D

 

As for appliances, keep what you use (your "keepers"), store what you don't... and put it in an inconvenient place (the attic or basement if you have one, a storage unit, the home of a sympathetic friend or relative, etc). If you don't feel like you need the rest of them enough to inconvenience yourself to go get them out of storage after a set time period (60 days, 6 months, 1 year, etc.), get rid of them.

 

As for me, I have a microwave, a rice cooker, a crockpot, a hand mixer and a smoothie blender. I'm hoping to get a food processor or good blender to replace both the smoothie blender and the hand mixer soon. On the rare occasion that I make toast I do it in the oven, but it's not often enough to justify the lost space in my kitchen, but that's us. I really think that kitchen stuff is so personal depending on personal eating, cooking, washing habits. :)

post #5 of 20

Subbing!

 

One of the hardest things I found to get rid of out of the kitchen was all the extra dishes. Cups were the worst. I think I still have about 12 adult cups and 6 kid cups. Still too many, and not enough space for them... I figure one cold/one hot cup for each person per day should be enough.

 

When my George Foreman died, I really found a grill pan to be sufficient. It's a square shaped pan with ridges (like a foreman) on the bottom. You have to flip things in it, but I found I got the basic same results, and the fact that it LOOKS like I used my foreman helped me get over it. (Stupid, but true.)

 

One place where I'm really having trouble right now is my books and my movies. If you think my being sentimental about my kitchen appliances is silly, then my attachment to my books and movies is ridiculous. Anybody have any ideas about how to narrow it down? Did you just pick a number and say "No more than X amount allowed in the house"?

post #6 of 20
Thread Starter 

I basically went through my books a few months ago and culled out a bunch that I knew I wasn't gonna read again. Sold some of them at Half Price Books but was annoyed by how little they pay for a book (about 25 cents each) that they are then gonna turn around and sell for $7-8 each!! So I donated the rest to my public library. Yes, that meant I didn't get anything for them, but I figured it was better to donate them and get nothing (but know that they were either going into the library rotation or were going to be sold to benefit the library) than to sell them for a pittance and then have a company profit from them and they go to one person who was probably going to do what I did with them in the first place (read them once or twice then set them on a shelf for the next 8+ years..to be dusted occasionally and that was it)!!

 

After a few months I went through my books again and divided them into several piles like this:

 

*The store away for keeps pile...these are my old journals, my baby book, my college yearbooks, and the like...I think there's like 16 things in that stack, but some are more like booklets than actual books, so it's a fairly small pile.

 

*The must keeps...a handful of books that I really wanted to keep and reference...like TCOYF, the Peanut Allergy Handbook, Curly Girl, etc...things that are about where I am at in life right now. I think there's 13 of those? At least three of them will no longer apply in a few years as they are small-child related (and we plan on having at most two children now...if DH will come around to even trying for one more)...so when that time comes, out they will go.

 

*The nice to keep for now...a bigger handful of stuff that I'd like to have on hand for now, but will willingly part with whenever we move into an RV in a few years. There's 36 items total in this stack (some booklet sized). A very few of these might end up in my store away for keeps pile, but only 2-3 things and the rest will be given away.

 

*The should-I-ever-have-another-kiddo pile...these are just books dealing with pregnancy and the first two years of babyhood...that we are currently past ATM, but I would like to have around should I have another child. If we get another 2-3 years down the road and no child appears, they will be given away. There are 15 items in that pile.

 

*The rest of the books...all these are either already gone, or stacked on a bookshelf to be sold (through Amazon or Half Price Books), or given away to church or library. This was a rather larger amount I felt like...and compared to a lot of people my collection was on the small side!! It was just too much for me!!

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

With our movies my DH and I just sat down the other day and each took a stack of about 10. As I separated out what I felt were must keeps from my stack, he did the same with his stack...and then we switched and did the same with the second pile. Then we did it again and again till we'd gone through our collection!! We weeded out quite a lot in this manner (and that is after we'd weeded out a decent quantity last January as well). We have rarely bought any new movies in the last 3-4 years. Basically we both have to LOVE a movie to buy one now, but we do have our particular attachments to our previously owned stuff...and since most of that was from our single days, there isn't a lot of overlap there!! Just went and looked and we've got close to 90 DVD's in there...and that's not counting our movie sets (Star Wars, LOTR, Matrix, Back to the Future, and Indiana Jones)...or the few TV series that we plan to keep (though those are organized into a system instead of in their cases...How I Met Your Mother, Big Bang Theory, and Friends).

 

Yes, we COULD be more minimal in this area, and I don't doubt we will be in the future as we switch to more things in a digital format and as we move into a smaller space in an RV in a few years...but for now, this is where we are at movie-wise.

post #7 of 20

Yeah, that would be a lot of cups for me.  We have three drinking glasses (used to be four but one broke and I need to get another) 4 children's cups, and a stainless steel water bottle each.  We use jars if we have people over. The girls each have a Dora water bottle that they don't need but love so we keep them.

 

Appliances we have a blender, a crockpot, a toaster oven, and an ice cream make.

 

I don't know how many movies we have, they are in a binder with all our cds and it just sits next to the tv.

 

We have 39 books between my husband and I, many of which I will pass along once I read them, or once I'm past this stage of my life (kids). I just pared these down again and imagine I will continue to do so.

 

We have 21 memorabilia type things, diplomas, scrapbooks, journals, but lots of them are small.

 

And we have 38 kids books on the shelf, but just got some more so I need to sort them.  All of these fit onto two and a half shelves of our bookcase.  I'd like to get it down to just two shelves for now. That would be two shelves of books, two shelves of toys, and one shelf with our tv.  I started out with 3 full bookcases and haven't missed any of the books I've given away.

post #8 of 20
Thread Starter 

Ha, on the appliances I completely forgot I also have a toaster and a hand mixer!! I'm fine without it, but both my husband and Bug LOVE their toast and while I could probably make toast for Bug in the oven with the broiler, DH is rather adamant his toast be well done all over. So the toaster stays for now. the hand mixer doesn't take up much space and while I COULD do the same by hand...if I have a mixer it just makes things that much easier...so why not?

 

I do have a microwave as well, but didn't even think of that as an appliance since it came built in with the house. We've got it right now, and should we end up in a newer RV it will probably have one as well....but I don't NEED it. I just use it cause it's there!!

 

When I lived in Romania the only things my roommate and I had in our whole apartment that were appliances of any sort was a three burner gas hot plate that came with the apartment and an electric hot pocket sandwich maker that I bought. We had no oven, no fridge, no microwave, no dishwasher, no washer or dryer, no other random little small appliances. But we had fun!! We had to haul our clothes over to a friend's apartment or our landlady's apartment to wash them....then haul them home to dry on folding drying racks near the radiators (and jeans and socks ON the radiators). We couldn't bake anything. Since it was winter we COULD save things overnight or sometimes even longer in our pantry with a window open to the winter weather to keep things cold, but it would have been more of a challenge had we still been there over a hot, un-airconditioned summer (and if I'd been there another summer I swore to buy a fan at least!!). It was definitely an adventure and while I don't think I'd want to go without conveniences as MUCH with a toddler in tow, I definitely don't need NEAR the amount of stuff that is considered vital to most Americans. It's just a bit too easy to get sucked into having too much stuff here in the States, hence my need every so often to just overhaul the house and dump the accumulation!!


Edited by Rainey Daye - 2/4/12 at 9:16am
post #9 of 20
Thread Starter 

I'd have to say, if I had to pick only three appliances (big or small) to have they would be a full free-standing stove w/oven, a fridge w/freezer (but could be the smaller Euro-style size), and a washer. If I were allowed five, I'd add in a GOOD blender and a programmable crockpot. The rest of the stuff I can do without or make do with something else (toast in the oven, stovetop espresso pot, etc.)

post #10 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mommel View Post

Holy cow!! To me, that's a LOT of drinkware (mugs, especially)!!! I have four mugs, four tall glasses and four short ones, two freezer mugs, and two sippy cups. That's it. I do have one travel mug and a water bottle, but I don't think of that as part of my kitchenware, because I don't use that stuff at home.



I didn't want to say it and sound critical- but it seemed like a ton to me too. When you say jelly jars- do you mean like mason jars with lids? If so, those are great because you can drink out of them or use them for food storage.  

 

I was going to suggest:

 

cold drinks:  each adult pick their favorite glass, and 1 sippy cup for your child if thats what you like to use best.  Maybe one glass for him as well? And keep the water bottles for out of the house if you will use them. Maybe one each.  that should be 7 containers to drink from.  How many guests do you usually have? If it's 4, then maybe put 4 glasses up in a cupboard for them.

 

hot: I'd keep the travel mugs if you use them and 1 mug each.

 

We have 3  adult teacups/mugs and the kids each have 1 teacup plus 1 extra for when they have a friend for a tea party.  And we have mason jars we use for leftovers or bulk foods- so we drink out of those for cold drinks.  The pint sized ones are great for the kids and either the quart or pint are good for the adults.

post #11 of 20
Quote:

Originally Posted by Rainey Daye View Post

 

I do have a microwave as well, but didn't even think of that as an appliance since it came built in with the house. We've got it right now, and should we end up in a newer RV it will probably have one as well....but I don't NEED it. I just use it cause it's there!!

 

This makes me so thankful that our apartment doesn't have one built in. I bet if there was, my partner would use it. I really hate microwaves so this would make me mad lol. If we move, I think I will have to remember to not get a place with a microwave.  I know some people who use theirs as a cupboard and keep dishes or whatever in it.

post #12 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rainey Daye View Post

I'd have to say, if I had to pick only three appliances (big or small) to have they would be a full free-standing stove w/oven, a fridge w/freezer (but could be the smaller Euro-style size), and a washer. If I were allowed five, I'd add in a GOOD blender and a programmable crockpot. The rest of the stuff I can do without or make do with something else (toast in the oven, stovetop espresso pot, etc.)


Hmmm... I wasn't even counting the bigger appliances. Yikes! I don't own my home though, so I guess I just assume that anywhere I would rent has a washer/dryer, refrigerator and oven/stove. 

post #13 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rainey Daye View Post

Ha, on the appliances I completely forgot I also have a toaster and a hand mixer!! I'm fine without it, but both my husband and Bug LOVE their toast and while I could probably make toast for Bug in the oven with the broiler, DH is rather adamant his toast be well done all over. So the toaster stays for now. the hand mixer doesn't take up much space and while I COULD do the same by hand...if I have a mixer it just makes things that much easier...so why not?

 

I do have a microwave as well, but didn't even think of that as an appliance since it came built in with the house. We've got it right now, and should we end up in a newer RV it will probably have one as well....but I don't NEED it. I just use it cause it's there!!

 

When I lived in Romania the only things my roommate and I had in our whole apartment that were appliances of any sort was a three burner gas hot plate that came with the apartment and an electric hot pocket sandwich maker that I bought. We had no oven, no fridge, no microwave, no dishwasher, no washer or dryer, no other random little small appliances. But we had fun!! We had to haul our clothes over to a friend's apartment or our landlady's apartment to wash them....then haul them home to dry on folding drying racks near the radiators (and jeans and socks ON the radiators). We couldn't bake anything. Since it was winter we COULD save things overnight or sometimes even longer in our pantry with a window open to the winter weather to keep things cold, but it would have been more of a challenge had we still been there over a hot, un-airconditioned summer (and if I'd been there another summer I swore to buy a fan at least!!). It was definitely an adventure and while I don't think I'd want to go without conveniences as MUCH with a toddler in tow, I definitely don't need NEAR the amount of stuff that is considered vital to most Americans. It's just a bit too easy to get sucked into having too much stuff here in the States, hence my need every so often to just overhaul the house and dump the accumulation!!



Tammy over at Rowdy Kittens is fridge free! It's an interesting idea.

 

post #14 of 20

All my music and movies are digital now... no actual CDs or DVDs. Most of my books (all but about 10 for me and a small basket of books for Mr. Moo) are digital too.

post #15 of 20

For kitchen appliances we have a microwave oven. 

 

We don't even have a coffee maker since we use a stove top percolator.

Of course we have a fridge, but we live in Europe so it's not gigantic. Only two shelf freezer though, I wish we had a little a bigger freezer. We have a dishwasher but if our next place doesn't have one I think we should try living without.

 

We had a blender but it broke and we couldn't get a replacement part. I haven't gotten around to buying a new one though we used ours a lot for making smoothies. But I'm thinking of getting an immersion blender instead. I'd like to make pureed veggies soups with it as well, and I think it's better for whipping cream than an electric whisk.

 

We have five mugs (had six, one broke) and two for our kid.

We have 6 large glasses and 6 smaller glasses with a short thick stem -they are nice for wine, champagne or anything but we use them as regular drinking glasses too.The large ones double as latte glasses as well. Our 3-year old drinks from those too.

 

Two towels per person, two sets of sheets per bed.

Only keep books you really love, donate all others. 

 

Keep a minimal wardrobe of favorite pieces you actually wear all the time. 

 

Maximum of five pairs of shoes (Rain boots, winter boots, summer sandals, walking shoes, party shoes. What more could you possibly need?)

 

Three coats, winter coat, mid-season coat, rain coat. You could even do with just one water and wind proof coat and one winter coat. Or with a single 3-in-1 coat :)

This is living a four season climate. If you live somewhere warm, you can do with less coats and shoes!

 

Just think about what are the bare necessities. It's not much.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

post #16 of 20
Quote:

 

Maximum of five pairs of shoes (Rain boots, winter boots, summer sandals, walking shoes, party shoes. What more could you possibly need?)

 

 

 


and I'm in a temperate climate so I only need two pairs of shoes, warm weather and cool weather. thumb.gif 

 

I need to pair down my coats/sweaters though, I have two sweaters, a windbreaker, and a warm coat.  I'd keep just the coat, except it's ugly.

 

post #17 of 20
Thread Starter 

I'm going with a good regular pair of leather boots for all but the hottest part of the year, a good pair of sandals for all but the coldest part of the year, a pair of strappy heels for those few dressy occasions, and a pair of cute and comfy shoes for kicking around in. Besides that a pair of athletic shoes and a cheap pair of Old Navy flips for the pool and I'm set.

post #18 of 20

for shoes I have kinda the same amount but different because I think we live in different climates-

 

snow boots - for most of the winter

 

rain boots - for when its still slushy with snow and wet and rainy but I'm going to get overheated in snow boots

 

tennis shoes - for the ground is finally dry but still too cold for exposed feet

 

flip flops - for the summer

 

So 4 pair : )  I suppose a pair of dressier flats would be nice if I ever need to dress up a little. If the occasion ever comes up I'll have to find something, but I haven't had an event like that in years.

post #19 of 20

This is an old thread but I find it fascinating. I would have considered myself a minimalist before I married my husband but I'm afraid we're closer to the opposite end of the spectrum these days. We have five bookshelves FILLED with books and another with over 500 record albums. We may have gone beyond the point of no return. We are in our late 30's and not particularly technologically advanced enough to enjoy the digital options. Anyone else have this much sentimental attachment to books and music collections?
 

post #20 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by MamaInTheDesert View Post
 

Subbing!

 

One of the hardest things I found to get rid of out of the kitchen was all the extra dishes. Cups were the worst. I think I still have about 12 adult cups and 6 kid cups. Still too many, and not enough space for them... I figure one cold/one hot cup for each person per day should be enough.

 

When my George Foreman died, I really found a grill pan to be sufficient. It's a square shaped pan with ridges (like a foreman) on the bottom. You have to flip things in it, but I found I got the basic same results, and the fact that it LOOKS like I used my foreman helped me get over it. (Stupid, but true.)

 

One place where I'm really having trouble right now is my books and my movies. If you think my being sentimental about my kitchen appliances is silly, then my attachment to my books and movies is ridiculous. Anybody have any ideas about how to narrow it down? Did you just pick a number and say "No more than X amount allowed in the house"?

Don't know if this will work for you, but this is what I did. Put all books and movies that I have read/seen in a box. Tape up the box and in 6 months, if I haven't needed or wanted to get into it, it goes straight to my favorite charity unopened and unsealed. If you open it, you're doomed. Hope this helps.

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