Extreme Simplicity - Mothering Forums
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Organize & Declutter > Extreme Simplicity
Carolyn R's Avatar Carolyn R 01:32 AM 12-01-2008
Wasn't sure what to call this, but for the last few months I have been drawn to "extreme simpicity"- paring my wardrobe down to about 10 shirts and several pairs of pants, getting rid of all my books except a hardcover journal and bible, and so on. It feels so incredibly freeing, and has made my whole life feel more balanced and peaceful.

I would like to read more about this, be it websites, blogs, books, etc but I'm not even sure what to search...does any one have ideas? Or willing to share your own story of going beyond decluttering and organizing to a pared down, almost Quaker-esque existence?

Excited to hear your responses!!!

SeekingSimplicity's Avatar SeekingSimplicity 01:57 AM 12-01-2008
hollyvangogh's Avatar hollyvangogh 04:13 AM 12-01-2008
Google "living simple" "living simply" "voluntary simplicity" That sort of thing.

Also, I would recommend reading about the Shakers.

There was a great book I read about simple living...and now I can't remember what it was called, sorry. If I remember I'll come back and post it.

And here's a good guideline to follow if you want to purge other things too:

If something doesn't meet at least 2 of the following criteria then seriously consider giving it away:

you love it
it is useful
it is beautiful
ellemnop's Avatar ellemnop 04:42 PM 12-01-2008
I so want to do this but have no idea where to start.

Take care,
El
sabrinat's Avatar sabrinat 11:46 AM 12-02-2008
I admire your ability to do that it seems so freeing in theory. But, I've had to accept that I actually like stuff.
tinybutterfly's Avatar tinybutterfly 11:52 AM 12-02-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by sabrinat View Post
I admire your ability to do that it seems so freeing in theory. But, I've had to accept that I actually like stuff.
:

I am very comfort-oriented.

But I like reading about OTHER people who pare down a lot more than I would want to.

:

Glad you are happy with your new lifestyle.
holyhelianthus's Avatar holyhelianthus 12:19 PM 12-02-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by sabrinat View Post
I admire your ability to do that it seems so freeing in theory. But, I've had to accept that I actually like stuff.
I'm with you! I am the type that likes a cluttered home with pretty things. But I find that Extreme Simplicity in this day and age really means just getting rid of stuff you absolutely don't need. If your framed pictures are making you house your home then by all means keep them! But do you really need that dress you never wear in your closet still?
Holly put it perfectly
Quote:
If something doesn't meet at least 2 of the following criteria then seriously consider giving it away:

you love it
it is useful
it is beautiful
OP~ I have been thinking a lot about how many clothes we all actually need. I want to find the right amount (ie- 3 shirts and 2 pairs of pants) and stick with it. Right now, though, I am planning on loosing weight (no really! I'm serious this time! ) so I need to hold on to my pre-pregnancy clothes. But I'd like to have a discussion on how many articles of clothing one actually needs. I'm sure we could get away with just one (ever seen her?) but I really like some sort of variety and the need to do laundry only once or twice a week.

I feel books are super valuable items to have so I just can't get rid of ALL of mine but I do plan on sliming down. I do want to get to a point where I can get rid of my TV, though. Oh man but right now it's pretty hard!
Krisis's Avatar Krisis 06:22 PM 12-02-2008
I am drawn to this myself - always have been. In decluttering this year I have found it's really nice to have less STUFF. But DH would never go for extreme simplicity... or even normal simplicity he has 2nd grade soccer trophies with his name spelled wrong on them and he still wants to keep them. Sigh.
swiss.army.mom's Avatar swiss.army.mom 02:57 AM 12-03-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by Krisis View Post
I am drawn to this myself - always have been. In decluttering this year I have found it's really nice to have less STUFF. But DH would never go for extreme simplicity... or even normal simplicity he has 2nd grade soccer trophies with his name spelled wrong on them and he still wants to keep them. Sigh.
Ha! Ha! That cracked me up b/c DH was the same way. I finally convinced him to take pictures of his childhood stuff, and store the pictures on the computer. He also scanned some pages, like the award certificate for attending VBS Now he looks at the stuff on the PC and actually gets more out of it than when all that junk was in boxes.

BTW he went from 12 boxes of childhood junk to 1
nascarbebe's Avatar nascarbebe 03:29 AM 12-03-2008
some years back I've discovered that I feel more comfortable when I have fewer but nicer things. I'm not as extreme as you've described but it's so nice to be able to enjoy the few things you do own.

I don't buy anything unless I absolutely love it. I'm gradually breaking down my attachment to things. I prefer quality over quantity. I'm in my early-30s and some of the things I couldn't get rid of before I find myself coming to my senses and decluttering. For me it has taken some time.
Krisis's Avatar Krisis 03:58 AM 12-03-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by swiss.army.mom View Post
Ha! Ha! That cracked me up b/c DH was the same way. I finally convinced him to take pictures of his childhood stuff, and store the pictures on the computer. He also scanned some pages, like the award certificate for attending VBS Now he looks at the stuff on the PC and actually gets more out of it than when all that junk was in boxes.

BTW he went from 12 boxes of childhood junk to 1
BRILLIANT. BRILLIANT. You are a GENIUS. Looks like I will be having a talk with the hubby later tonight >: )
jennlyn's Avatar jennlyn 11:43 AM 12-04-2008
I love the idea too, but find it hard to draw the line at what is enough. At times I want to have minimal furnishings/decorations around the house and while I think it looks clean and simple, my dh thinks too little makes the house look sad and empty. Then I'll see someone else's cute, cozy, homey house and that makes me want to add to my decor. I used to love Shaker style interiors, but I now find myself drawn to other simple styles as well. I previously didn't have issues with getting rid of anything, but the economy at the moment has me second guessing about whether to keep things or get rid of them.
ellemnop's Avatar ellemnop 11:48 AM 12-04-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by swiss.army.mom View Post
Ha! Ha! That cracked me up b/c DH was the same way. I finally convinced him to take pictures of his childhood stuff, and store the pictures on the computer. He also scanned some pages, like the award certificate for attending VBS Now he looks at the stuff on the PC and actually gets more out of it than when all that junk was in boxes.

BTW he went from 12 boxes of childhood junk to 1
I'm working on getting DH to take pictures of his stuff as well... I'm even offering to scrapbook it for him. I'd much rather have a book of pictures of his stuff than the space that all of his stuff takes up.

Another idea that I've approached him with is turning those old t-shirts, etc. into a memory quilt. He's pretty game for this idea, fortunately.

Take care,
El
Purple Sage's Avatar Purple Sage 11:57 PM 12-04-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by magstphil View Post
OP~ I have been thinking a lot about how many clothes we all actually need. I want to find the right amount (ie- 3 shirts and 2 pairs of pants) and stick with it. Right now, though, I am planning on loosing weight (no really! I'm serious this time! ) so I need to hold on to my pre-pregnancy clothes. But I'd like to have a discussion on how many articles of clothing one actually needs. I'm sure we could get away with just one (ever seen her?) but I really like some sort of variety and the need to do laundry only once or twice a week.
Oh wow - thanks for that link! I'm getting by right now with a very small wardrobe, and the woman in your link made me feel so much better.

I love this thread. It's my dream to only have things that I use and/or love in my house. It's definitely a work in progress.
swiss.army.mom's Avatar swiss.army.mom 01:48 AM 12-06-2008
ellemnop said: "Another idea that I've approached him with is turning those old t-shirts, etc. into a memory quilt."

Good one!
My DH had lots of clothes (mainly shirts) in his keepsake boxes, too. Weird
Jyotsna's Avatar Jyotsna 11:20 AM 12-06-2008
You might like Casubon's Book Blog.

Jyotsna
aimeellh's Avatar aimeellh 12:51 PM 12-07-2008
I can honestly say that simplifying as extremely as we have has been the most liberating, wonderful experience of my life.
I get by more than fine with only around 5 working shirts/sweaters and a couple pairs of pants. The whole family does actually!
We donated nearly all of our belongings this past year and moved onto a caravan (RV) with the few necessities we kept.
Life is completely different on this side of the fence. :

Some blogs you might enjoy:

My own: Cage Free Family
Enchanted Gypsy
Adventures In Voluntary Simplicity

Welcome to the world of simplicity
Nemesis's Avatar Nemesis 01:07 PM 12-07-2008
aimeellh, I love reading your blog! I read yours and Walk Slowly, Live Wildly and you both are so inspirational to me!

I stive for simplicity, but I find it is a journey. I want more simplicity than I did when I started "decluttering" my life. I expect I'll want to live more simply as I see the benefits of what I have already done to simplify my life.
aimeellh's Avatar aimeellh 01:33 PM 12-07-2008
I completely agree! It is a journey, that I'm not sure ever ends.
I still consider it and work towards greater simplicity every single day.
There are still days that I feel up to my eyeballs in "stuff" and feel like moaning for The Simple Life

Sara is wonderful, isn't she? I wish that we would have had more than a day to hang out because the conversations were just wonderful and our kids had the very best time! I'm sad that we won't cross paths on the road anymore, but at least with them stationary we will know how to drive our path in their direction this summer

xo
holyhelianthus's Avatar holyhelianthus 01:45 PM 12-07-2008
Duuuude! It's Aimee of Cage Free Family! :

I realize more and more just how much WORK is involved in Simple Living but then again I fully feel in this day and age we don't work enough- not on things that count anyway. My DH is very much into RV living and/or nomad living but I'm just stuck here in this 2 bedroom apartment on the first steps of simplicity it feels like. What I need to do it get some nice big garbage bags and start chucking stuff in it to give away/throw away. I need to make some rules for myself like how many pairs of pants I can own, etc and just DO IT!!!

Would anyone like to do this this week with me?
boogiemonster's Avatar boogiemonster 08:01 PM 12-07-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by magstphil View Post
Would anyone like to do this this week with me?
Start a new thread and tell us what you want to do. I loves me a good challenge.
Purple Sage's Avatar Purple Sage 08:12 PM 12-07-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by boogiemonster View Post
Start a new thread and tell us what you want to do. I loves me a good challenge.
I'm in.
cera's Avatar cera 05:30 AM 12-19-2008
Aaaah I wish I could do this, I am trying but there is just soooo much stuff, and I love to shop *blush*
holyhelianthus's Avatar holyhelianthus 01:40 PM 12-22-2008
Holy cow I totally forgot about that whole challenge I wanted to do! I started feeling a little icky and then found out I was preggers again and my mind just went phft.
AngelBee's Avatar AngelBee 01:55 PM 12-22-2008
:
Purple Sage's Avatar Purple Sage 01:58 PM 12-22-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by magstphil View Post
Holy cow I totally forgot about that whole challenge I wanted to do! I started feeling a little icky and then found out I was preggers again and my mind just went phft.
That's totally understandable.

Congratulations!
tresleo's Avatar tresleo 02:19 PM 12-22-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by magstphil View Post
Holy cow I totally forgot about that whole challenge I wanted to do! I started feeling a little icky and then found out I was preggers again and my mind just went phft.
Congratulations! :
guestmama9910's Avatar guestmama9910 02:52 PM 12-22-2008
Oh, I know what you mean, I dream of simplifying my life to that "extreme." But I have a husband and a toddler, neither of whom get it.
--
AnnaArcturus
nolonger's Avatar nolonger 04:56 PM 12-22-2008
i still live in a cluttered house, but deciding to have ds without a partner or a background that makes a white collar job a likelihood meant accepting the fact that I might have to give it all up and move to an RV, converted chicken coop, or other "extreme" alternative shelter.

i've kept the baby gear down to a minimal I never even imagined befiore living it and I LOVE it! It's made his infancy so peaceful and low-stress that I feel so sorry for my other kids who had all this "stuff" cluttering up their lives and I'm starting to see minimalism spill over a bit into other areas of my life.

We have an on-site washer/dryer so ds was fine with five baby gowns since he's not much of a spitter-upper. When he became mobile, I picked out the stitches of the organic bamboo jersey gowns and made T shirts out of them. I don't accept gifts because I'd rather dress him in the clothes I made or carefully select than in what someone else thinks babies should wear so I don't hurt the gift-giver's feelings.

When ds's drawer gets hard to close, it's time to pick out his outgrown/unused clothing and give it to someone who can appreciate it. I've NEVER had those horrible stress filled searches for matching socks that turned me into the meanest mommy in the world.

He didn't have or need any toys until he was a good ten months old and we found some nice, wooden handcrafted toys in the back of dd's closet that we couldn't bear not to give him. I think he's benefited greatly from interacting with people more and inanimate objects less and i'm kind of sad to have "caved".

Christmas is also making me more materialistic than I like so I'm thrilled to have found some support and help.; I don't want this year to be over. I don't want to put ds in CalWorks daycare to pay for a tickle me elmo and a bunch of clothes I don't even like,
guestmama9910's Avatar guestmama9910 07:28 PM 12-22-2008
I think I spoke too soon! My husband and I just had the most wonderful chat, and I think I just put half of our kitchen up on Freecycle! I am so thrilled! : (Enough exclamation points for you?) It's just a start, but I'm feeling the most profound sense of relief I can imagine. It's a little akin to how I felt boxing up books to sell back to the used bookstore a week ago.
--
AnnaArcturus
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