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Simplify and Downsize...You can do it too! - Page 9

post #161 of 319
IT's difficult to get the spouses on the same page sometimes, isn't it?

I brought up not spending on unnecessary items for a year along with paring down our stuff (again, we did this summer but not enough! IMO). He said he'd be willing to be more strict with our spending but not go all the way and NOT spend. And that he was willing to pare down for sure. Baby steps, right?

This thread realy has me thinking about how much unnecessary stuff we really have. Like all of those extra books, and all of that stuff out in the garage. There is all of that emotional attachment, but then, perhaps letting go will be a positive exercise for all of us - being all buddhist and relinquishing the physical attachments...:

I am absolutely inspired though. I am loving this thread. Thank you, Sara, for sharing your journey and inspiring so many of us. Perhaps as we embark on ours we can do the same.
post #162 of 319
I love the idea of taking a year off to travel the country-- but we are kind of tied to my hubby's job, so I don't think that could happen. For a while. Oh well!
post #163 of 319
Sara,
Thank you so much for sharing this journey. I am so completely inspired by you! I even showed my DH your blog/pics last night, and he is really into the idea of downsizing and simplifying. I love how you have decorated your space, I think we have very similar decorating styles. I love splashes of red throughout my house, and the rug you have in your kitchen looks almost identical to the one I have in my entry I am also joining the Compact after reading about on your blog and then discussing it with my DH.

I have always felt like we have too much stuff, but since we live in a big house its easy to hold on to the stuff that people give us. Our home is almost 3000sqft, but we don't even use half of it- but can't move until 2008- long story About 2 years ago I took 10 boxes of knick nacks, decorations, and assorted nonsense to Goodwill and was so freaking happy! I loved how free and light my home made me feel. Then in the 2 years since then, people are constantly giving us gifts for our home, our kids, etc. There is just too much stuff (probably compared to most its less than normal) and it is just dragging me down.

We have plans in the next 2 years to either buy an old house on acreage and refurbish and take it off the grid with solar power, etc OR to build our own little home. In our researching we have realized that we really do not want a big house, but it is going to take a big change in perspective for us to live in the type of home we are dreaming about. So we've decided to start trying to take steps in the direction we want (sustainable, simple, greener living) right now. The first step is releasing alot of our possessions and committing to only borrowing, bartering, or buying used for the next year.

I am ready to do this!
post #164 of 319
Wow, what an inspiring thread!

Your apartment is so beautiful and homey - you've got a great eye for colour and design, as I'm sure you know! We are the opposite - just moved into a bigger house in the suburbs after living in a 2 bdrm 4 storey walk-up in the city. We are realizing that we made a mistake and miss all the perks of being urban more than we like having all this room.

I do love my en-suite bathroom, though!:

But more admirable than your design is your commitment to reassessing your needs and desires, and reevaluating your "dream." I think that's just amazing. Too lazy to search for that bowing-down smiley (NAK)...

I'd love to see pics of your old house, if you don't mind sharing!
post #165 of 319
Quote:
Originally Posted by chasmyn View Post
IT's difficult to get the spouses on the same page sometimes, isn't it?

I brought up not spending on unnecessary items for a year along with paring down our stuff (again, we did this summer but not enough! IMO). He said he'd be willing to be more strict with our spending but not go all the way and NOT spend. And that he was willing to pare down for sure. Baby steps, right?

This thread realy has me thinking about how much unnecessary stuff we really have. Like all of those extra books, and all of that stuff out in the garage. There is all of that emotional attachment, but then, perhaps letting go will be a positive exercise for all of us - being all buddhist and relinquishing the physical attachments...:

I am absolutely inspired though. I am loving this thread. Thank you, Sara, for sharing your journey and inspiring so many of us. Perhaps as we embark on ours we can do the same.

So very true on all accounts!
post #166 of 319
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by babybun View Post
I'd love to see pics of your old house, if you don't mind sharing!
Here are a few photos of the house we sold.

The photos don't show everything...there was also a large loft/office area attached to the master bedroom, and a guest bedroom.
post #167 of 319
Quote:
Originally Posted by Delight View Post
Here are a few photos of the house we sold.

The photos don't show everything...there was also a large loft/office area attached to the master bedroom, and a guest bedroom.
Wow, again your decorating sense is fantastic. You are very artistic. I have to say though, just from the pictures, I think I agree with you and like the apartment more!

It seems more purposeful and intentional...that's just the feeling I got looking at the pictures.

post #168 of 319
Your house was so beautiful!! You are an amazing decorator!!
Still decluttering here. I have been cooking more and spending not at all. I just don't feel the need to right now. Isn't that great?
post #169 of 319
Quote:
Originally Posted by Delight View Post
Here are a few photos of the house we sold.

The photos don't show everything...there was also a large loft/office area attached to the master bedroom, and a guest bedroom.
Delight - What type of camera do you use? Your photos are such high quality.
post #170 of 319
Quote:
Originally Posted by Delight View Post
Here are a few photos of the house we sold.
...I think I would have sold at least half my soul for that house. It's lovely. Of course, so much of it is YOU, which is why your new place is so lovely.

I wish I had a simplicity dream, but with a hoarding disorder, it's hard. I love clear spaces, clean areas, tidy spots. But, at the same time, the clutter lives on. It's a constant battle.

Perhaps a smaller place would be good...but I wouldn't be able to do it quickly. Too many emotions attached.

Thanks for showing the house photos. y'all have major guts.
post #171 of 319
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by hipcoolmama View Post
Delight - What type of camera do you use? Your photos are such high quality.
Canon EOS Digital Rebel XT

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mom2Wilmo View Post
I have been cooking more and spending not at all. I just don't feel the need to right now. Isn't that great?
Me too...I've been doing so much better cooking at home...even without many groceries. I've been trying to use it all up. And I haven't spent all week. Yay!!
post #172 of 319
Hi! I'm new here and have looked at your post throughout the past couple days and decided to post. I love your little apartment. When we first got married we had something exactly that size. We moved into a 2 bedroom house in the country on 6 acres right before my daughter was born. We always thought we'd have to add onto it because it was "too small" compared to everyone we know. But I've never been "truly" happy. I grew up with a mom who saved EVERYTHING and after reading your post and looking around and thinking, I don't need things to be happy, I need LESS to be happy! (When we first got married we had nothing, we used to sit on the floor on a blanket and watch little house on the praire movies together and that was our happiest time together that I can remember). Once we got the money to purchase a couch, a table etc.. then seemed to come arguments, Weird huh?? After reading what you have posted Sara had me realize what I've been trying to realize all along! I want to thank you so very much. I started 2 days ago with our bedroom and got rid of everything we don't use. Not like we have a lot of clothes, but, I got rid of all the unnecessary things (I'll wear eventually etc) and took them all the salvation army. (I feel so free!) I did the "den" area last night and cleaned that all out. We haven't had an entertainment center and nowhere to put the TV...so I took the baker's rack we had in the kitchen and took the back off it and now am using that as a TV stand! I hated it as a bakers rack (recieved it for Christmas one year) so now I am so thrilled to use it as a "entertainment stand".

Anyway, I just wanted to thank you. I will have to take pictures of everything once I am done. I think doing this will bring me closer to God and My daughter (She will be 2 tomorrow) and my husband. It's funny how we get carried away sometimes and don't realize the reason we aren't happy and feel so bogged down and stressed all the time. It's funny because I picked up this parenting book yesterday and she stresses simplicity in it and getting rid of all unnecessary material objects... so it seems like this week God has been calling out to me to really work hard on this! (Which isn't hard because we don't have a ton of "Stuff" but just a ton of Unnecessary stuff!")

Now I just have to convince my mother the same!


Thanks again! You are my "simplicity" hero!

Oh, P.S. We have 4 cats, 3 dogs and a bird! My next step after decluttering is teaching them how to not shed! ha ha
post #173 of 319
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by CountrylivinmomtoB View Post
...it seems like this week God has been calling out to me to really work hard on this! (Which isn't hard because we don't have a ton of "Stuff" but just a ton of Unnecessary stuff!

Thanks again! You are my "simplicity" hero!
What a great first post...welcome to MDC! And thanks for the kind words...so glad I could help you take that first step. Sounds like it's been fun at your house! I love that you moved the baker's rack...it's so great to find a new use for something.

My journey to simplicity and being content with less things is certainly a spiritual journey...a verse that came to mind when I was reading your post:

"I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength."
Philippians 4:12-13, NIV

It really doesn't matter what our circumstances are in life...if we have learned to be content in our HEART, we can be anywhere and be in the midst of anything...and still have joy. I do think contentment is learned...because it goes against our human nature. It takes practice. I think this is a common thread throughout all religions, not just Christianity.

It goes along well with the Compact pledge that several of us have taken (see thread here). Simplicity and contentment are contagious Once you start in one area of your life...it spills over into everything!
post #174 of 319

This thread is so inspiring!

We lived in Ontario for a semester when Dh was on sabbatical and I loved living in an appartment. We only took the stuff that fit in the car since we drove there from Maryland. It was wonderful living without a lot of clutter. Our appartment was brand new when we moved in and I loved the clean, empty space.

Now we're in our cluttered house

I'm not ready to get rid of everything-I admit I do enjoy having books since we're not near such great libraries like we used to be and I do like having a yard. I do want to make some improvements though.

We've always said that we need a bigger house but i'm not sure we do. I think we can learn to use the space we have. Our house was very cheap so we wouldn't save money by moving but we can get by without adding on-at least for several years if ever.

Off to do some decluttering....
post #175 of 319
Well, I could have pretty much wrote almost all of countrylivinmomma2B's post! LOL (Except we only have 2 dogs-shedding maniacs as well!) I too have been following your thread, Sara (and your blog). You are truly an inspiration! This week we are downsizing and moving from a victorian in a bedroom community to a small craftsman in the city. 1800 finished sq feet plus unfinished basement (for all of our junk) down to 1450 finished square feet total (includes basement). I had been worried about how being in a smaller space (with hardly any storage) will be for us-but now I'm so excited! I have been donating to St. Vinnies all week and when I question myself and my decluttering, I just think of you Sara! TY TY!
The monthly mortgage payments will be a little more for us- but we save almost everywhere else -gas milage, utilities, precious TIME with our dd.
Thank you for the scripture as well- such encouragement to me during this somewhat harried and stressful time. I am the daughter of a serious packrat and I don't want my dd to have to deal with the stress i did growing up- feeling stifled by stuff, and worrying about the stuff, and feeling like stuff was what made me important.
Blessings mamas-
Heidi
P.S. Sara- how do your christian friends react to your environmental awareness and your "granola-ish" lifestyle. (I use the term granola with admiration and love! So many people in my christian circle think I'm off the wall and becoming a liberal earth muffin hippie madisonian- to me it is just being a responsible steward of the resources God has given. I'm not sure how to react to and/or inform critics.
post #176 of 319
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamaheids View Post
Sara- how do your christian friends react to your environmental awareness and your "granola-ish" lifestyle. (I use the term granola with admiration and love! So many people in my christian circle think I'm off the wall and becoming a liberal earth muffin hippie madisonian- to me it is just being a responsible steward of the resources God has given. I'm not sure how to react to and/or inform critics.
My friends really don't say much. I have a really close friend who is a pastor in Boulder, CO...and although he didn't understand before, I think he may be coming around. Especially after being around all the 'radicals' in Boulder . I love it there.

There are so many different opinions out there on this...but it's such an easy one in my mind. IMO, Christians should be some of the most fanatical environmentalists around! God created and gave us this earth and told us to take care of it. It's really HIS...and we are the stewards, like you said. Why on earth wouldn't we do EVERYTHING we can to preserve it and conserve it's valuable resources?

With that said, it's a whole other issue if a Christian is "worshipping" the earth and it's taking away from their relationship with Jesus.

Just my 2 cents
post #177 of 319
Wow, I can't tell you what a different direction our lives have taken since you started this thread Sara!

We are now officially in the process of doing something similar as you! Not quite to the extreme though. We will probably be moving to a two bedroom apartment. We have guests a lot, about every month we have a friend or family member visit, and my mom comes for weeks at a time so we really need the extra bedroom. Oh yeah, there's also a strong possibility that my brother may move in with us too. Yikes, LOL!

Anyway, I'm just so thrilled to be doing this. We have six or seven bags full of stuff to give away and the pile is growing. And I took in two big bags to the consignment store today. And there's still a bunch more to get rid of! I never thought of us as having that much stuff, but holy smokes, I was wrong!

Hopefully next time this year we will be free of credit card debt and then we can concentrate on our school loans. So thank you, thank you for the inspiration!
post #178 of 319
You are such an inspiration! And I agree with everyone else, that your design sense and aesthetic are really wonderful!

My H and I live in a three bedroom apartment with our two sons. They share one room (well, mostly just our one year old sleeps there, as our three year old still prefers to bunk with us;-).

Our third bedroom is our office/study. We both work from home, and I can't imagine not having designated work space. That said, the room is a cluttered mess, mostly with my H's "stuff" (he's a total hoarder -- canNOT bear to part with something he's paid "good money for", even if it's broken : ). We also have a fair amount of paper work -- both for our businesses and just filing/documentation. We both have laptops, but I'm wondering if you (or anyone else who WAHs) have further suggestions to reduce the paper-work aspect of our stuff.

I've also been really inspired by what you've said about toys. I keep telling my H that I want to convert our office into an office/playroom, b/c I can't stand having our living room cluttered with toys. Now, if I cut the number of toys in half -- or more -- than there'd be that much less to have strewn about!!
post #179 of 319

Cloth Napkins

Oh, and a little question about your cloth napkins. How often do you use them before washing? Do you keep them designated for a specific person if you resuse?
post #180 of 319
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by maryjane View Post
Oh, and a little question about your cloth napkins. How often do you use them before washing? Do you keep them designated for a specific person if you resuse?
I would say that we only use napkins at about 50% of our meals...all the other meals are just not messy. If they do get used...and have food on them, we wash them. If not...they go back in the pile. Sometimes we have what I call "the community napkin". I just put one in the middle of the table and whoever needs it uses it This is only when it's only us (DH, DD, and me) eating.
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