Any minamalists in the house? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 26 Old 08-17-2011, 01:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have always been anal retentive about keeping my home clean. I blame it on my father who is a Navy dad and his need for perfection. Once I caught wind of the idea being a "minimalist"..i was hooked. I went through my house and did a clean sweep and removed a huge front porch full of stuff from our home...including our tv. I even do the 333 Project when it comes to my own wardrobe (check it out here http://www.theproject333.com/getting-started/) . It all sounds hard at first, but I never realized how much "stuff" added its own little weight to my shoulders.

Minimizing has saved us time, space and money. I can walk into Target, pick out three things I think I "need"....look at them...and put them down and walk out without spending a buck. It changes the entire way you think.

 

Just wondering if anyone here had found it to be as freeing as I have! In what ways has it made your life better? Harder?

 

 


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#2 of 26 Old 08-17-2011, 01:48 PM
 
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If it is working for you, I think that is awesome.  I have no doubt it is incredibly freeing.

 

I am no where near a minimalist but I certainly see the appeal.  I have been really successful in decluttering certain areas of our home and maintaining them too.  (Patting self on back...)  I have also stopped "buying"  I have to desperately need something before I will bring an item into my home.  Yet I have so far to go with the existing clutter.


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#3 of 26 Old 08-17-2011, 02:26 PM
 
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Well hi there. smile.gif

 

I'm a minimalist because I was raised in the exact opposite way. My grandmother kept our house absolutely spotless, but there was stuff everywhere. Every flat surface was covered in knick knacks, and there was no white space on any walls. I'm not spending my entire life moving little trinkets around so I can dust.

 

I still ended up collecting a bunch of stuff, though, and I recently did a big purge. Actually, today I finished the last room- the kitchen. I'd been putting it off for a while. I love to cook, and I have a fairly large kitchen and a ton of gadgets. I didn't really get rid of much today, but at least I'm not opening cabinets wondering if half the crap in there is going to fall out on my head.

 

I LOVE the 333 project you linked! I did purge my closet and jewelry box, but I'd really like to go through it again. I tried to keep only items that would see me through pregnancy and nursing, plus those things that I just can't bear to get rid of. I've already gotten rid of all of my business clothes. I figured if I go back to work (which isn't too likely) that after 2 kids, none of it would fit me anyway. I have to admit that I didn't actually get rid of most of the clothes that I took out of my closet... I just moved them to another closet. redface.gif

 

What got me going was the book Organized Simplicity. I was tired of looking around my house and feeling overwhelmed by "stuff." Every drawer was full of junk, every closet packed full. The rest of my house looked great, but all the hidden places looked like an episode of Hoarders. Getting rid of all that stuff really helped my general stress level. I feel like I have room to breathe now.


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#4 of 26 Old 08-17-2011, 07:12 PM
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#5 of 26 Old 08-17-2011, 08:20 PM
 
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I have reached a comfortable level of minimalism for my life. When I think about how much stuff I have, it still seems like so much, but if I got rid of anything else, it would not improve the quality of my life, if that makes sense. I have never tried to get to a certain number of belongings, or a certain number of things to declutter, its just what works.

 

I have five kids, but we have less than half the stuff of families we know that have half the people.

 

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#6 of 26 Old 08-18-2011, 07:01 AM
 
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I told dh we're Minimalers. We're not minimalist in the stark sense of the word, I like an inviting, comfy house.

 

We live by the mantra "Don't use, don't love it?, don't need it! I think we're pretty close to the 333 project for clothes except the harsh winters add on to our basics. We stay away from collectibles and fun kitchen gadgets (I think one knife covers like 100 things they sale at kitchen stores). This really cuts down on cleaning time and has been great. Less time cleaning and putting away stuff means more fun family time.

 

The only warning I have is to not jump in so fast that you end up getting rid of stuff you might later need. Whenever I wasn't sure about donating something, I set it aside and reevaluated in in a couple of months. Sometimes a week later I was looking for that item and sometimes I knew in a few months that I definitely could live without it.

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#7 of 26 Old 08-18-2011, 07:02 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I think the kitchen is the hardest place for me to learn to minimize things I really dont need. Now that we are renting a townhouse and I have a kitchen the size of my thumb I have had to learn to cut back on stuff to make counter space. Coffee maker for example. Im the only one that drinks it and if and when I do, its only a cup. So the coffee maker went out the door. Instead I have a french press that i can take out to make a cup, clean, put back in the cupboard. Still more work to be done in the kitchen. I need to let go of some cookbooks. Speaking of cookbooks...im pretty awful with minimizing my book collection in general. i want to hang on to every book I have ever owned. Im working on letting go of some. Slowly lol


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#8 of 26 Old 08-18-2011, 07:10 AM
 
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Ha I too ditched the coffee machine for the french press since I'm the only coffee drinker! caffix.gif

 

I try to get books from the library. Growing up this would be the one area that overran our house, books, books everywhere. I'm looking for a Kindle now to try ebook instead. I made a big master binder for recipes. It was not fun to do, but now is so much easier to meal plan. I don't waste my time trying to find one recipe in a book and whenever I find a new one I just print it out and add it to the binder...love my binder.


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#9 of 26 Old 08-18-2011, 08:05 AM - Thread Starter
 
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oh i love your binder idea! do you hole punch the recipes?

 


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#10 of 26 Old 08-18-2011, 08:48 AM
 
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You will not regret getting a Kindle! I got one for Christmas, and I love it. So far, I've only found two books I really wanted to read that wasn't available for it. One I was able to borrow, and the other I'm just going to have to buy (used, if I can find it). My books are the one thing I've never been able to part with. I need to get past my attachment to them. I've thought about slowly replacing them with the Kindle versions, but I don't like the idea of paying for them twice. irked.gif

 

I tried the binder idea for recipes, but it didn't work for me. I bought a copy of The Recipe Manager, and when I come across a recipe online, I just copy and paste it in there. I have a folder in my filing cabinet full of torn out pages from magazines with recipes that need to be copied in there, too. I like being able to search by keyword to find what I want because I could never keep a binder organized enough.


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#11 of 26 Old 08-19-2011, 08:05 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThreeLittleBirds View Post

oh i love your binder idea! do you hole punch the recipes?

 


Yes, I just used a whole punched one. Bignerpie's online system sounds really good too. I tried one online recipe box, but for some reason I have a hard time going through the tabs to pick out a meal. We do weekly meal plans and try to mix up what we eat so the binder is easy for me to pick recipes based on what meat, pasta, soups, vegetarian dishes are on sale and so on.

 


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#12 of 26 Old 08-19-2011, 09:33 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I might try this binder idea. We weekly plan also and I need a better way to flip through and find recipes that i know we have tried and like!


Hip Hippie Mamatreehugger.gif to Baylin & Evangélina hbac.gif and Wife to my sexy Frenchman Clément luxlove.gif living frugally green in the beautiful mountains of West Virginia. Expecting our newest French Fry July 2012!

 

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#13 of 26 Old 08-19-2011, 08:45 PM
 
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I'm trying too!

 

I don't think I could do Project 333 exactly. I love making jewelry and I have a lot that was given to me (see the bangle photo lol). But I don't feel overwhelmed by it because it's all arranged nicely and some of it is displayed. I don't have too many clothes, but I do have a bunch of scarves and I have a lot of cute clothes I only wear around the house and to parties. For daily wear outside the house, I tend to mix and match a handful of items. When I was teaching and my students had to look at me every day I felt more obligated to wear more different things. Now I can wear the same thing two days in a row (provide there's no baby barf on it!). I do keep separate seasonal clothing boxes so I don't get sick of wearing the same things. North Carolina has four seasons (as compared with where I grew up) and so I find it's fun to open up a box of "fall" clothes in late September. It's like getting a new wardrobe! Yeah a lot of the things I could wear in the summer or layer in the winter, but I like to change it up. 

 

I just minimized my kitchen last month. There's a thread on here about it. I don't have many recipe books. I like to write my recipes down in a crusty little notebook. Now that I have an iPad there are so many apps for organizing them... my only fear about that is bringing my beautiful iPad into the kitchen with my messy cooking hands... 


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#14 of 26 Old 08-20-2011, 04:38 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThreeLittleBirds View Post

 

Just wondering if anyone here had found it to be as freeing as I have! In what ways has it made your life better? Harder?

 

 


We lived overseas for much of 2011 and just recently returned home to our own house.  Before we left, we did a huge de-cluttering.  And I mean huge.  I estimate that we got rid of half of our belongings.  Now that we are home, I have been so happy with our home.  

 

We have the minimum to be comfortable.  As I sit here in the living room, I see comfort and simplicity.  We have enough and just enough.  It is easy to keep clean and for the first time, the kids can keep their things picked up and tidy.  

 

The kitchen is simple to cook in, I can keep up with our minimal laundry, I can pick up and vacuum downstairs in 20-30 minutes, which means that I actually get the job done and the house stays cleaner.  

 

We do get some funny comments from friends.  They think it is strange that we have lived here for 8 years, have 3 kids and still have so little stuff.  I want to tell them that minimizing our belongings was really a very selfish move on our part.  We have less physical stuff, but we have so much more time and peace.  I am a happier mom and wife.  I can keep up!   And I am 5 months pregnant with a dh who works a lot of hours.  But for the first time, I do not feel overwhelmed by my home.  

 

 

And you know what?  I still see things that we can get let go.  I have my eye on 3 books on the bookshelf that need to go and some dishes to return to a friend.  I think I will be de-cluttering for the rest of my days.  


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#15 of 26 Old 08-20-2011, 09:16 PM
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#16 of 26 Old 08-21-2011, 11:42 AM
 
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Don't forget it makes it much, much easier to move ;)


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#17 of 26 Old 08-21-2011, 03:19 PM
 
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I am and I love it. I am paying down my debt at a fast pace, I have time to spend doing things with my son, animal rescue and my church and I don't worry about having to have things or take care of them. I recently purchases a beautiful trailer on some wonderful property. I am fixing it up slowly, having spent this past weekend painting her insides. I have just what and my son need and I am collecting items so I can foster some dogs one day. I would like to build a kennel with solar power for them that is attached to a tiny home I want to build. It has given me great focus on what I really want to do with the rest of my life. It is very freeing and it feels great to be finally living. I don't count things but I definitely have less than most. I keep what I need and give what I can to others who can use it. I like to keep my house pretty clean and neat and minimalism makes it easy. If I want to completely scrub down everything, it only takes me a good 2 hours to make it sparkle, otherwise I just do a little each day, for about 20 minutes. With just the 2 of us, it is very simple. I have a dog and 2 cats and it much easier to keep up with them now. I also have been spending a lot more time swimming and walking with my son, so I lost a little more weight. YIPPPEEE!! I plan on putting in some square foot gardens as soon as I come across the materials. I will get the forms in this fall and then put in some good dirt, mulch and a little manure and let it sit over winter. Can't wait.

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#18 of 26 Old 08-21-2011, 03:47 PM
 
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 I plan on putting in some square foot gardens as soon as I come across the materials. I will get the forms in this fall and then put in some good dirt, mulch and a little manure and let it sit over winter. Can't wait.



Good luck with your garden!   This has been the nicest aspect of having a simpler home -- I have more time for a big garden!   I love it and I am so, so happy when I work in my garden.  I think that is a big aspect of simpler living -- choosing where we spend our time and energy.  A smaller, simpler home means that we can focus on the things we love -- like having a garden, or fostering dogs, or going to church.  Seems like we were always meant to live this way, but got off track somewhere.  


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#19 of 26 Old 08-21-2011, 07:22 PM
 
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oh i love your binder idea! do you hole punch the recipes?

 



I do this, plus you can buy plastic sleeves that hold 4x6 photos, so I slip my index card recipes into those. I also have some 8.5x11 clear plastic sleeves that I can use for recipes I have clipped from magazines etc.  They are more durable this way as well as wipeable.  Love it.  I am always pulling a recipe out of the newspaper.  Then the whole binder is sorted by veggie, chicken dish, appetizer, what have you.

 


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#20 of 26 Old 08-22-2011, 09:59 AM - Thread Starter
 
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We moved during the "plant your garden" time this year, then two weeks later had our wedding. I want to plant a fall garden and the husband and I are going to sit down this week and discuss and plan. Start with something small (we live in a townhouse). But i feel its such a waste to have the space in the yard and NOT grow some of our own food if we can. Part of living minimally is minimizing the amount of stuff you buy. Making as much of it as you can yourself.


Hip Hippie Mamatreehugger.gif to Baylin & Evangélina hbac.gif and Wife to my sexy Frenchman Clément luxlove.gif living frugally green in the beautiful mountains of West Virginia. Expecting our newest French Fry July 2012!

 

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#21 of 26 Old 08-23-2011, 12:45 AM
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#22 of 26 Old 09-09-2011, 04:29 PM
 
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I desperately want to be a minimalist, but DH doesn't go for it. He still talks about how I got rid of a bunch of stuff when he was on deployment and I had to move by myself (3 years ago.) He only noticed like 1 thing missing out of the 7 or so garbage bags of crap I got rid of.

He sees empty space and says "There is an empty space, we can put something there." I see something on a counter top and I try to figure out where I can hide it. My mom is a packrat, though her home is always spotless. She won't quit bringing crap to my house. I have clothes for DD that are size 4T and up! She is 9 months!

My in-laws have knick knacks everywhere. Their walls are covered with interesting things from their diplomat days (things with lots of dust...) and even their kitchen cabinets have tons of knick knacks and stuff on the top of them. I'd go batty if that was our house.

 

My favorite home I ever had was a studio apartment when I was 19. It had a twin bed, a loveseat, and a dresser I painted sea foam green. I had a sort of beach theme. My washer and dryer were tiny stacked ones in my kitchen and I had a small bathroom. It was so simple. Also, my apt was brand new. I hate living in old places with dirt on the baseboards and stuff. We bought a brand new home, so if I can get it simplified, I will be able to keep it nice looking for the most part. Already the grout in our tile is grimy looking though because we didn't seal it. ;(

 

Our house looks like a tornado hit it right now. We can't even walk in our garage.

I am working on this decluttering stuff, but now I feel like I can't get rid of anything... like.. I have all these different sized clothes because I've been 130lbs all the way up to 220lbs when 9 months preggo! What if that happens again next time? It was really expensive buying all those clothes. Same issue with the huge tubs of baby clothes we have already.

 

We also are very committed to our home library. That is not a place that can be minimized. We'll buy more shelves first, lol.

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#23 of 26 Old 09-10-2011, 05:16 AM
 
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Oh heck yes, I have so much time for so many other things.  I have a couch, three beds a dining room table/chairs and TV... that's it.  If it can't fit into our walk in closet and that's clothes for all of us then it gets bagged and donated.  The only thing I still hold onto is my books.  Though I will go through and reread them all and loan them out as well. 

 

 

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#24 of 26 Old 09-10-2011, 07:53 AM
 
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We are minimalists and both of us have been for our whole lives.  It's not something we learned as adults, it's just part of who we've always been.  It was actually one of the things that attracted me to dh.  Our home is simply and tastefully (if somewhat outdated) decorated.  No curtains, but designer blinds, simple bedding.  Our furniture is all simple, European (mostly Danish), clean modern designs made of naturally stained cherry wood.  Hardwood floors and simple rugs that are easy to maintain.  A few things on walls, and some pictures on a book case, but no tchotchkes sitting around gathering dust.  The nice thing is that our house is always tidy (except for dh's study, which is his domain and I rarely touch because he's a university professor and it's his second office).  I like clean lines, clean surfaces.  Like the OP, my dad was a Navy man, and my mother kept a very tidy house.  I can't live in clutter and housekeeping is important to me.  Our house is still inviting, I think.  It's not stark or antiseptic... just not cluttered or busy.  I will also add that I absolutely ABHOR shopping.  I don't go into a store to look around (and thereby acquire thing I don't really need).  I go in, get what I need and leave.

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#25 of 26 Old 10-01-2011, 08:50 AM
 
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I am IN LOVE with this thread...as I'm tripping over laundry and books. Let's see if I can switch up this lifestyle for a minimal one. I'll start with our main room I think.....thanks for the motivation!

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#26 of 26 Old 10-01-2011, 04:18 PM
 
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I will also add that I absolutely ABHOR shopping.  I don't go into a store to look around (and thereby acquire thing I don't really need).  I go in, get what I need and leave.


One thing I have discovered to my delight, is that it is possible to go from loving shopping to not loving shopping. I used to really love spending hours browsing stores, but since I have been doing so much decluttering in the last 18 months, I really don't enjoy it anymore... unless I have a particular thing I need to buy I don't go to the shops just for the heck of it. I get very uncomfortable in shops now and I find all the stuff around me saying buy me, buy me, is just plain irritating.
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