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#1 of 42 Old 06-10-2005, 12:16 AM - Thread Starter
 
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DH and I are having our house remodelled and all our stuff is squished in to a couple rooms so it is super noticeable.
Compared to most of America we have way less stuff for a family of four. We have a small house with no closets (until this remodel is over anyways) so all our stuff is out in the open.

We spent time in Mexico this summer and had no toys with us and actually only had 2 suitcases for all 4 of us. It was so wild living with less. We also just recently lived in a bus with only our necessities and it was great.

I wonder about throwing away all the toys sometimes and forcing my kids to play with sticks and rocks and get creative. I wonder why I have 5 coats for each of my kids, it's crazy! In the shed today I found dog medication from a dog my husband had before we met, 6 years ago! We're cleaning out in a major way.

I find it interesting how much crap we accumulate and how I'm so fearful of not having very much. I imagine it would be very freeing to have less.
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#2 of 42 Old 06-10-2005, 12:30 AM
 
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My life over the last 3 years has sort of forced the need to scale back. After my divorce, I went from a 1800 sq.ft home to an 1100 sq ft apt then to military housing that was 1000 sq ft. Each time we moved we found that we could deal with less and less. We're now in bigger housing and we have already started to see the "stuff" begin creeping back in, so it's time to stem the tide again.
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#3 of 42 Old 06-10-2005, 12:31 AM
 
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stretchmark, your username cracks me right up.

ikwym about getting rid of it all and giving them sticks. their toys are going untouched more and more these days...
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#4 of 42 Old 06-22-2005, 10:20 AM
 
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Love the name btw- stretchmark.

I agree- do we really need that much stuff. We have also gone thru a decluttering organizing phase and it has made life so much better and more simple. Because of this we are able to save time, money, have more room and more of a healthy lifestyle.

One thing we have done to help with stuff creeping back into the house is if one comes, in- a similar one goes out the door.

Example- DH was in dire need of dress shirts for work. Well with all the clearance going on, he has found 5 new shirts. He is now going thru the process of weeding out 5 of the worn out shirts. Also he bought two new pair of pants, so he will get rid of 2. We do buy the higher quality expensive brands when they mark them down because we find they stick around longer. Such as a pair of Polo dress pants he bought 8 years ago. They are still perfect and they were made in the USA. We bought 2 more pairs yesterday for $39 each. So 8 years plus- its less than $5 a year to own them.

"The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream. It constantly out distances us."
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#5 of 42 Old 06-22-2005, 11:50 AM
 
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We have gotten rid of so much stuff and I love living with less. We recently spent 3 1/2 months living in our travel trailer while we moved cross country, found a house, waited for it to close, etc. We had almost nothing with us (everything was in storage)and it was great. The only thing that got to us was that after a while we really just wanted to get away from each other. :LOL My DH and I didn't miss our stuff. Our kids did miss some of their toys.

We had done major decluttering before the move, and yet we are still finding things as we unpack that we don't really need or love.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#6 of 42 Old 06-22-2005, 01:17 PM
 
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I'm feeling the same way lately. The toys are getting on my last nerve! Two weeks ago I bought one of those jumbo sized rubbermaid totes with a hinged lid at the hardware store and put about half of ds' toys in it. The funny thing is they haven't even missed them at all. I feel guilty for giving away their toys, but they really don't need them. There is no way they can play with them all.

I've also been decluttering a lot of my things, clothes, linens, etc. It is freeing to have less. It is so much easier to put things away when there is actually room for them in the closet! DH cleaned out our garage last weekend and it looks great! We got rid of everything we haven't used in the past year. Boy, there was a LOT of junk in there! It looks so much nicer now. I actually smile when I pull the car in!

It is a little scary to get rid of things I think I *might* need someday... I'm slowly starting to get over it though.
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#7 of 42 Old 06-22-2005, 01:21 PM
 
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#8 of 42 Old 06-22-2005, 02:25 PM
 
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This has been stressing me out a bit lately. We went through a big decluttering this spring (and made $400+ at our garage sale last weekend). This was after having a huge sale last year (my husband never thought we'd have enough for one this year).

I know there's a lot more stuff that can go. So far, we've really mainstreamed kitchen stuff, my husband's clothes (we're holding onto mine for when I go back to work), and decorative things (so we have kept only what we use and really like). We have a bunch of stuff that my husband inherited, and a little I've gotten, but I don't think DH is ready to get rid of any of that stuff yet. He will be in a year or two.

Our big thing is toy storage. We have a decent toy stash that is neatly in the basement, but now that we've decided that my son will go to preschool a couple days a week, I feel like we don't need some of that stuff because he'll be able to use it at school.

Uggh. It gives me an icky feeling having all this stuff around. I've finally talked DH into moving, but we have to decide where and decide if it's really feasible. If we do, we'll get rid of a ton!
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#9 of 42 Old 06-22-2005, 03:19 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sarasprings
I know there's a lot more stuff that can go. So far, we've really mainstreamed kitchen stuff, my husband's clothes (we're holding onto mine for when I go back to work), and decorative things (so we have kept only what we use and really like).
You might want to rethink holding on to work clothes. If you plan on going back in the next 6-12 mos and just left within 12 mos, its worth it. But if its going to be a long while, clothes get dated looking real fast.

"The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream. It constantly out distances us."
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#10 of 42 Old 06-22-2005, 03:27 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SaraMama
...It is a little scary to get rid of things I think I *might* need someday... I'm slowly starting to get over it though.
This is my problem too. I have such a hard time getting rid of stuff - what if I need it, could I reuse it for something, etc.

I found a *box*of glass vases that you get with a flower delivery at my mother's house yesterday - I haven't used them in over 3 years but I can't seem to throw them away because they're still usable. BTW-we also have probably 6 crystal vases that we got as wedding gifts that I use a couple of times a years. I drive myself nuts!
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#11 of 42 Old 06-22-2005, 03:52 PM
 
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I am thinking more and more about how much "stuff" we need. For years now I have been trying to get stuff out, but somehow other things walk right back in.

The toy thing was driving me nuts as well. About three months ago I took al my DS's toysa and put them in the hall closet. I figure once he dosn't ask for certain things for awhile, i will weed them out. He only really plays with a select few things.

Another thing is my clothing situation. I am pregnant right now. Looking forward to getting rid of these maternity clothes once and for all (last babe) and slowly getting rid of the things that go with all that. Once I am back in real clothers again, I have this dream of having a "uniform" of sorts. Choosing a few colors and styles and going with them. I mean I really only look really good in a few things, so why not go for that all the time! The idea of looking into my closet and having it be bare, excites me, so I am planning on culling many clothes!

My kitchen is a whole other thing? Why do we need so many dishes? I mean there are only three of us (will be four) and why do I have crazy amounts of dishes? That is another place where I would love to stream line...

Well I have gone on and on...

Kathleen

Crazed life-learning Mom to DS 1 Augustus (02/00) and DS 2 Ben (08/05). Love my DH Tony . Full house 5 11 found our "purrfect". Lovin' life!!!!
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#12 of 42 Old 06-22-2005, 04:25 PM
 
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I'm anticipating a relocation next year. So I'm starting that process of "do I wanna move it" as I walk around the house. Often, the answer is no. I've donated a good bit and have a yard sale scheduled with a buddy. Wish me luck.


Beautiful or useful? Or am I just used to it all? Very cool to sort through all your stuff this way.
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#13 of 42 Old 06-22-2005, 05:47 PM
 
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I am constantly weeding out stuff,and then go to a thrift store and buy more. : I have sooo many books,I can't see getting rid of very many of them though. I really do use them. I think the thing that REALLY gets on my nerves are toys. I have one ds who doesn't play with toys at all,then another ds who collects EVERYTHING. I truly know for a fact that the more space you have in your home,the more stuff you acquire.
I was at our local thrift store the other day and couldnt believe my eyes as I drove away and saw at least 10 HUGE trash bins full of stuff. Not trash,perfectly usable items. I was ashamed of our society,ashamed of myself.
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#14 of 42 Old 06-22-2005, 06:25 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amys1st
You might want to rethink holding on to work clothes. If you plan on going back in the next 6-12 mos and just left within 12 mos, its worth it. But if its going to be a long while, clothes get dated looking real fast.
That is a good point. I got rid of a few trendier things already, but after 3 years, I would still wear all that's left. I was very careful when I bought things (I teach) and my wardrobe is almost exclusively very classic Talbots (thanks to an outlet -- most of it was 50-75% off 70%). I'll have to sass my wardrobe up a little when the time comes, but I have the basics.

ETA: correct spelling, mostly
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#15 of 42 Old 06-22-2005, 06:52 PM
 
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On our last move I gave away over 200 books to the friends of the library. The scary part was seeing how many I had left when I packed!!!!

I still haven't unpacked them. There are only a few that I miss -- I'm going to have to sort through a pile of boxes to find a book on nutrition by Dr Sears
.

I think that I will give more away to the library here in our new city. It's annoying that I can't find the book that I want because it is lost in a pile of boxes of books that I don't have any desire to look at.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#16 of 42 Old 06-23-2005, 09:37 AM
 
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We are starting the moving process, and I am going through this right now. There is so much crap in our basement that has not been used in at least a year........I want to just get rid of it all cause I know we don't need any of it. Dh is with me on the decluttering but is also reluctant. He grew up in a house in which his mother never threw away anything (his mother sent us a box of his things and in it was the crepe paper from his graduation party ). He is doing good, though. Anyway, I really like this thread

Emily SAHM to four unschoolers Olivia (9), Brian (7), Jack (6), and Liam (5)
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#17 of 42 Old 06-23-2005, 11:22 AM
 
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We're moving on July 12th to a house about half the size of this one (sorry I don't know the actual square footage.)

A few months ago, my Mom suggested I start packing up the stuff I could live without for a few months. My response was that, with the exception of winter clothes, if I can live without it for a few months why bother moving with it at all??

I've already given away tons of stuff. My Mom had collected outside toys from garage sales and stuff like that- I Freecycled most of them, all we have left now are a Little Tykes picnic table, a Little Tykes barbeque, and a Little Tykes Cozy Coupe- plus Hannah's outgrown bicycle (white and pink, with a doll seat on the back, but ds doesn't care so I have no plans to buy him a "boys' bike.") His "inside toys" can almost all fit inside this toy wagon he has- it's basically like a rubbermaid bin on wheels, with a handle and without a lid.

Unfortunately, the girls' stuff is another story!! We have SO MUCH packing left to do!! At least we've already given away the outgrown clothes and the stuff that may fit but they won't wear.

Ruth, single mommy to Leah, 19 (in Israel for another school year), Hannah, 18 (commuting to college), and Jack, 12(homeschooled)
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#18 of 42 Old 07-04-2005, 01:26 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Wow, I haven't checked this thread in a while.

Thanks for the name liking to those of you who mentioned it.

I just took an entire van-load of stuff to our local free-box and it was great. We probably have way less than most people do but it still iritates me how much there is. DH built 2 closets and things are finally getting organized.

Since the big declutter (which is still going on) my house stays cleaner for longer periods of time, I have more time to do things like read and garden and be with my family.
I NEVER thought it would make such a huge difference as it has.
We've downsized on everything:clothes, dishes, plastic storage, blankets, toys, movies, furniture, etc.
We have what we need and are being very careful to make sure the things we bring home are necessary.

I'm loving it!
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#19 of 42 Old 07-07-2005, 08:20 PM
 
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I really dislike clutter and apparently (according to my husband) I give stuff away that I really shouldn't. My thinking is that if I haven't used it in a year then we don't need it. For example, we don't have a single bed so I gave away the sheets for a single bed. I thought someone could put them to good use. But just the other day I was looking for single sheets b/c I was going away and needed to bring my own bed linen. Oh no! I was resourceful and just brought double sheets and tucked them in nice and tight. I still think that we need to declutter our lives. If you bring something into the house (like a new toy) then yes, you should look around and see what you can put away or give away.
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#20 of 42 Old 07-07-2005, 11:37 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bu's mama
I found a *box*of glass vases that you get with a flower delivery at my mother's house yesterday - I haven't used them in over 3 years but I can't seem to throw them away because they're still usable.
www.Freecycle.org is great for things like that. Charities, where I live at least, are getting quite picky and won't accept many things as donations. But it just kills me to throw anything away so I end up keeping things I don't want or use. Freecycle is terrific because somebody can always use whatever it is you don't need/want anymore. I actually had several people that wanted a shopping bag full of fabric scraps! How great!

Great thread btw
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#21 of 42 Old 07-08-2005, 12:22 PM
 
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I love this thread! I am always in the process of de-cluttering (either as I come across things or as a big project). I, too, suffer from the what-if-we-need-it-later thinking. What has helped me a great deal with this is belonging to both freecycle and craigslist, where I seem to be able to find just about anything I need or want, sometimes for free, and almost always used (which is good for my ecological soul).

The other big thing that has helped me is my ongoing search for a spirituality that I can feel comfortable with. A point of view I really like is that I live in a world of abundance and community and friendship. If I really need something, I am sure it will be provided to me somehow (or I'll find a creative solution like the person did with the sheets). This frees me to release the things so they can be used by someone who can use them NOW.

By the way, this is my first post, thanks for letting my join in. This is a great community!
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#22 of 42 Old 07-13-2005, 02:33 PM
 
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This is my first post--I just registered. What is a DH?

My husband and I are expecting our first child in October and having been on the move since July 2003 (grad school, new job, etc.) we have been decluttering since. And it feels great! Now with the addition to the family unit coming up we have decided to approach parenting with the "less is more" approach. We get the heebie-jeebies when we go to friends and family's houses with kids and see all the STUFF! How much of it is really that necessary??

We want to do as much attachment parenting as possible--including co-sleeping. But realize we have to be open and flexible to what our baby may determine their needs as...

So, with that in mind, if you had to pick just two items that you couldn't do without once the baby came, what would they be?
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#23 of 42 Old 07-13-2005, 02:48 PM
 
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Welcome Ladies!
DH- Dear husband or darling husband
dd dear daughter
ds dear son
mil mother in law
bf breast feed
LOL laughing out loud
AP attachment parenting
you get the idea...
Also check out questions sections to get you more up to speed.

Since you want to go the most natural way of parenting- ap I would look into nursing bras. Buy the most you can afford. My personal favorite from my nursing years so far- Bravado bras.
http://www.nestmom.com/
Also motherwear for great nursing tops.
www.motherwear.com

I could not have nursed dd for 31 mos without them. I would also check into a great sling/carrier that you can wear. There is never a fussy baby that is attached!

"The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream. It constantly out distances us."
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#24 of 42 Old 07-13-2005, 02:56 PM
 
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Welcome, jypsynic and lillyfish!

Quote:
Originally Posted by jypsynic
So, with that in mind, if you had to pick just two items that you couldn't do without once the baby came, what would they be?

I agree with Amy1st. So little is actually needed.
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#25 of 42 Old 07-13-2005, 03:03 PM
 
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Or, better yet - go braless and wear tank shirts/undershirts for layers!

One majorly crucial cannot-live-without item to suggest is a sling. Or maybe slings, because I used them so much with my babies that I needed extras for when one was wet/in the laundry/ etc. Plus I wore them out and had to replace them several times before we were done needing them!

I applaud your attempt to keep things minimal BEFORE becoming a mama. Most folks have to learn the hard way. .
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#26 of 42 Old 07-13-2005, 10:16 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jypsynic
So, with that in mind, if you had to pick just two items that you couldn't do without once the baby came, what would they be?
1. Cloth diapers
2. TOWELS! Babies are wicked messy.
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#27 of 42 Old 07-17-2005, 04:00 PM
 
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Ooh, i just stumbled on this thread, and I HAD to share our story!

2 1/2 years ago, we had a major financial crisis. The bottom fell out of the industry DH was working in, shortly after I was forced to quit doing child care in our home because our youngest was so extremely HN and sick much of the time. DH left his job (he was on 100% commission, so he was bring home MAYBE $200 a month for 40 hours/week of work) to go back to school, so we had Medicaid, food stamps, and a little student financial aid, but no other income.

So to survive, we sold everything non-essential in our house on eBay. We decided on a few "luxury" things ahead of time that we wouldn't touch - DH's bike, my computer, my treadmill, and the TV in the living room. Otherwise, everything was fair game since we decided that our first priority was staying in our home (we love it here, plus we didn't want our kids to have to go through the trauma of a move, with a change of schools, etc.).

It took us about a year to sell everything except a few albums of DH's that I still need to sell, but aside from the thousands of dollars we made (we had WAY too much stuff!), I am so happy with my bare-bones essential household now! Truly, in all that selling, there was only one thing that I regret getting rid of (a jacket of DH's that I'd like to have for myself).

I love living simpler. We don't miss the stuff, and we love all space we have. We literally have half-empty cabinets and closets all over the house, and it's great. Makes putting stuff away so much easier! We were able to get rid of (I'm not kidding!) FOUR dressers that had been jammed full of stuff. The drawers in the dressers we kept are easy to open and close because they are never over-full.

Now if I could just get DH to give up his Grateful Dead t-shirt obsession. :LOL Not gonna happen.

I had been thinking for several years that this house was just too small for 6 people (we have about 1850 sq. feet), and now I know that we could easily have 2 more children if we wanted to (we don't!). We had a friend and her baby stay here for several months following her break-up with her baby's dad and it was no problem. I loved being able to do that for her, and we couldn't possibly have done it pre-purge.

computergeek2.gif

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#28 of 42 Old 07-22-2005, 12:08 PM
 
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Thank you Amys1st, Sarasprings, May May, Icksause for the warm welcome and the tid-bits for limited stuff parenting. I have already ordered my Bravada bras, cloth diapers, and a sling....
I am also reading a great book: You are Your Child's First Teacher which seems to parallel the idea that less is more.
Great to meet you all!
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#29 of 42 Old 07-22-2005, 04:33 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by May May

I applaud your attempt to keep things minimal BEFORE becoming a mama. Most folks have to learn the hard way. .
Amen to that- we were those folks :

"The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream. It constantly out distances us."
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#30 of 42 Old 07-22-2005, 06:51 PM
 
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We are working on decluttering -- one room at a time. I notice I need to do it in several steps. I seem to get rid of more stuff each time. I have a rule. For every item I keep, I have to throw something away. DH likes minimalism -- I like stuff. It's weird how 'stuff' makes me feel comfortable. I guess I take after my dad. But I'm learning the benefits of not having much. I don't like to clean and clutter makes cleaning much harder. Besides I also notice how we seem to live just find on vacation with a minimal amount.

Two items we couldn't live without for baby? Bouncy seat (she had reflux) and the monitor. We still use the monitor and DD is 3.
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