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Organize & Declutter > Simplify and Downsize...You can do it too!
Mom2Wilmo's Avatar Mom2Wilmo 10:35 PM 10-14-2006
I just wanted say that it has been so great to read everyone else's stories. You all are inspiring me to continue to declutter, destress, and focus on the things that matter to me.

nathansmum's Avatar nathansmum 11:10 PM 10-14-2006
Anyone else got sinusitus from stirring up all the dust in places that haven't seen the light of day in a long time?? I'm so blocked up after having rearranged our bedroom and sorting out our wardrobe this morning. I *think* that is the last place that needs doing...
litlwons's Avatar litlwons 03:08 AM 10-15-2006
Originally Posted by Delight View Post
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.
We do this as well!

sunshinegal's Avatar sunshinegal 04:09 PM 10-16-2006
Originally Posted by litlwons View Post
We do this as well!

Us too. It's funny because we went to my mother's house once and my dd asked what those funny pieces of paper were that she gave us whenever we ate. I had to explain to her what disposable napkins were!! They were really blown away by the paper towels as well.

I think my biggest issue is making this small space look pretty. I am terrible with decorating to begin with, but we can't paint our apartment and everything is sort of organized chaos . We have homemade shelving everywhere and we are able to keep things organized that way. But it sure looks yuky. After this babe comes, I think I will start trying to make this place a little prettier.

By the way Delight- thanks for the reference to the Not so big house (I think it was on your blog). I am going to get those books out of the library and make that our winter project.

sapphire_chan's Avatar sapphire_chan 04:19 PM 10-16-2006
Originally Posted by sunshinegal View Post
By the way Delight- thanks for the reference to the Not so big house (I think it was on your blog). I am going to get those books out of the library and make that our winter project.

Warning on that one, the pictures in those books are absolutely gorgeous, but they *are* architectural solutions and designs. Fabulous inspiration, but not exactly "how to" guides, especially if you aren't even able to paint.
phatchristy's Avatar phatchristy 05:09 PM 10-16-2006
Hey, beautiful pictures, very inspirational! I've lived everywhere from a 3500 sq foot home (growing up), to a 300 sq ft efficiency, to our current 1800 square foot home (no basements down here either). We luckily bought our home back before the big real estate boom in FL and since it has tripled in value. We do a 15 year mortgage because we want to get it paid off ASAP. We refinanaced it at the lowest time so that our mortage, insurance and taxes (when calculated monthly) is actually less than what it is to rent down here. I definitely applaud your efforts! I am all for living debt excited for when our mortgage is gone LOL.
sunshinegal's Avatar sunshinegal 06:01 PM 10-16-2006
Originally Posted by sapphire_chan View Post
Warning on that one, the pictures in those books are absolutely gorgeous, but they *are* architectural solutions and designs. Fabulous inspiration, but not exactly "how to" guides, especially if you aren't even able to paint.

Thanks for the warning , but I meant it more for our next place. We are currently bursting at the seams and need more space (it's about 430 sf), but we don't want to over compensate now that we have learned to live without. I am thinking about 8 months down the line and maybe move to 800 to 1000 sf. We aren't sure "where" (as in what state even!) we want this to be, so that has slowed us down. We aren't tied to anything here (well we do like the homeschooling laws- or the lack there of) but my dh is working for himself so that's portable. We originally started out trying co-housing with friends and ended up here in this little space. Now that the shock is over, we need to have some idea of what we want to do next.

I need a new vision. Do you think these books will help?

LionTigerBear's Avatar LionTigerBear 01:54 PM 12-19-2006
Hi Delight and everyone!


We found that our old apartment is giving DS1 lead poisoning, so that is our impetus to move when our lease is up in April. (We have the luxury of waiting out the lease because his levels are still low.)

Anyway, I need some tips pretty please:

1.) Delight, did you do a lead test on your older apartment before moving in, or did you just look for anapartment that was clean and freshly painted or what?

2.) Is it possible for us to move into a one-bedroom when we have two little ones? We all share one bed so extra bedrooms are not really necessary right now.

3.) Any other tips on looking for the perfect small (and affordable) space, and tips on radical simplification. We need to get rid of a lot more stuff before we can fit in a smaller apartment.

I wish I had a how-to manual with pictures! Preferably penned by Delight . . .
thomlynn's Avatar thomlynn 02:58 PM 12-19-2006
Hey, thanks for bringing this back, it's my favorite thread!!!

Delight is taking the week off, check out her blog, the link is in her siggy and she says why.

Good luck on your purge!!!!!
LionTigerBear's Avatar LionTigerBear 07:42 PM 12-19-2006
Thanks for the news, Lori! (And going computer-free for a week is another fabulous idea )

Well, anyone else have downsizing tips to share?

I am wondering if it is legal to move a family of four into a one-bedroom apartment? I am also afraid landlords might discriminate against us because they think it's weird or something-- we live in a fairly conservative, largely French-Catholic area.

thomlynn's Avatar thomlynn 08:28 PM 12-19-2006
We are getting ready for a major garage sale at the end of Jan. so I'm going through our stuff and trying to best to get rid of as much as possible. When I need encouragement I come back here and read some more.

We don't really have a space issue, I'm just tired of the junk. We also got a great deal on our house so moving, even to a much smaller place, would cost us more than staying here. So I'm decluttering just b/c I think we have too much stuff. Sometimes I pretend we're moving when I have a strong emotional attachment to a thing and it really needs to go, then I'm convinced.

I also think about the seven things thread and thay helps. I'll post a link.

Sometimes I just look at all we have and think how can we have all this stuff but hardly pay our bills, something has got to change.

I'm currently looking at the kitchen and thinking why do I NEED eight coffee cups when we hardly ever use more than four at a time. Four is enough. Same with towels. Same with bakeware, sheet sets, glasses, clothes everything. I love the part in Delight's blog about what would Jesus say if He looked in my closet, I have soooo much and others have none. I just apply that to whatever area I'm decluttering.

You have to find what fits best for your family. Everyone is different. I'll be back with the link for the seven things, good luck on your declutter!!!
thomlynn's Avatar thomlynn 08:31 PM 12-19-2006
mightymoo's Avatar mightymoo 02:04 PM 12-20-2006
I can just imagine the disparaging remarks that my mom would make if we moved to a 500 sq foot apartment. She already makes little comments on how she couldn't possibly live in such a small house about my house (1700 sq ft) - her house is over 4000 for just her and my dad.

Looking at those pictures though do inspire me to think I could stay in our current house for the long haul with some doable modifications.
Sihaya's Avatar Sihaya 10:44 PM 12-20-2006
I can't believe I didn't see this thread before! Thanks for bumping it back up, it is an amazing inspiration. I haven't had the time to read the whole thing, but I did read the OP's blog post and look at the pictures and I am in awe! DH and I have been lusting after a tiny house (we like the pople) for about six months since I first heard about them in some thread on MDC. The few people we have dared to tell about our dream think we are completely nuts, but this thread gives me hope and reassures me that it isn't impossible, or even a silly thing to want.

We're in a ~1000sqft 2br apt right now, just the two of us, and it is just too big. We really only live in the living room and kitchen and use the other two rooms as storage. I am working on decluttering and one of my goals is to inventory every item we own, then get rid of a lot of it. But it's kind of difficult to get rid of things when there's all this free space to put them in.

Well, I think I'll get back to reading this thread from the beginning.
LionTigerBear's Avatar LionTigerBear 05:13 PM 12-21-2006
Oooh, I love the tiny houses! I've never seen them before. I like the bungalow version. Again, is it legal to live in a one-bedroom house with two (or more) kids???
oldcrunchymom's Avatar oldcrunchymom 05:42 PM 12-21-2006
Originally Posted by Caitlin320 View Post
Again, is it legal to live in a one-bedroom house with two (or more) kids???
Yes, it is legal. You might be thinking of foster care or subsidized rent situations, which do require a separate bedroom for each kid (especially opposite sex kids). And some landlords are weird about renting to families where the kids share bedrooms, but it's not a legal issue as far as I know.
UnskulinMama's Avatar UnskulinMama 12:15 PM 12-22-2006
I just want to thank whoever bumped this thread... What a beautiful apartment! I've been meaning to do a good bit of decluttering myself but have been putting it off... This was exactly the inspiration I needed!

I worked on the kitchen a bit this morning... It's amazing how much STUFF accumulates there, even though I thought I purged before we moved this summer. (Do I really NEED a whole drawerful of tupperware? I swear the things reproduce in the dark...) Oh and I realized DS had 4-5 plates, bowls and cups with various characters on them (that people had given him as gifts... a spiderman set one year, shrek the next, etc). The only time he ever uses all of them is if I'm REALLY lazy about doing hte dishes, so that's a good reason right there to pass them on! Anyway, I asked DS if he wouldn't mind picking two of each to keep... He misunderstood me and picked two TOTAL (spiderman plate and bowl), but I figured there was no reason to correct him

Funny thing was... I thought he was going to have a hard time picking out what to keep, but he showed very little attachment to them. Guess it's just ME that has the problem (Actually I'm not THAT bad, but I have a hard time getting rid of things that were well thought-out gifts, even if I rarely ever use them...)
eldadeedlit's Avatar eldadeedlit 01:29 PM 12-22-2006
omg how nice!!! i love it! very inspiring!

our house is 1600 sqft and people say it is so small. i'm like ack it's not small! our living room is huge.
Learnintolaugh's Avatar Learnintolaugh 03:32 PM 12-22-2006
I am feeling so impressed and inspired right now. I live in a house that is maybe 1600-1700 sq feet and I've realized lately that we really don't need anything bigger, but I still struggle w/ organizing the clutter and looking at the pictures has given me some fantastic ideas. I am so inspired now, and hoping to really start loving the space I am in very soon.
MamasBoys's Avatar MamasBoys 07:06 PM 12-22-2006
Hi everyone!

On December 30th, we'll be moving into a 3 bedroom, 2 bath home that is 1100 square feet. 1100 doesn't seem so small, but we are a family of 5 with three little hyperactive boys! Also, with 3 bedrooms and 2 bath crammed into a tiny living space, it makes for very, very small rooms. The challenge? We had to rent a 26 foot truck to fit all of our material posessions in one load!!! Obviously, it's not all going to fit. I love Delight's pictures, blog, and inspiration. I also hope to start a photo collection from start to near-finish in our downsizing adventure. For now, here's a photo of our new home:

My first challenge: No garage and no outdoor storage area. We have camping/hiking supplies, lawnmower, gardening tools including fertilizers and the like, gasoline/oil, etc. We have been keeping a watchful eye on Freecycle and Craig's list for an outdoor shed. Can you think of any other options? What could I live without?
Mamma Christi's Avatar Mamma Christi 02:43 PM 12-26-2006
I have this thread on my bookmarks, I just love to look at the pictures and remind myself that I CAN simplify and my apartment CAN look nice without being full of STUFF.
Zamber's Avatar Zamber 05:23 PM 12-26-2006
Just had to share -
Several days ago I was looking at your beautiful pictures : , and I saw those magnetic spice holders. I showed the picture of them to DH and said "How cool are those? I would really like to get some of them when I get the chance." Well, you can imagine how happy I am that DH tracted them down for me for x-mas! They are right now on my refrigerator filled with my favorite spices. Now I don't have to dig through a drawer to find them!

Thanks for posting those pictures! They are a huge insperation to me. Now on I go to do some more decluttering...
Tradd's Avatar Tradd 10:40 PM 12-26-2006
Did any of you notice while reading Delight's (Sara's) blog that they've moved OUT of that cute little apartment! They're moving west...sold a lot of stuff, even their bed. Turns out they only lived in the apartment about two months!
mommaof3boz's Avatar mommaof3boz 10:57 PM 12-26-2006
I think Sara's blog is very inspiring. Not just about the apartment, the whole blog. When I feel stressed sometimes I just go thru her albums and enjoy the pics. I can't wait to see the setup in the new place. Especially starting totally over!
Emilie's Avatar Emilie 01:29 AM 12-27-2006
you have inspired me delight.
I went thru my kitchen today and ridded our lives of 3 boxes to go to goodwill and a whole bunch to recycle.
It is amazing how much junk mail I shoved into drawers.

Would you be open to helping me make better use of my space by looking at some pics?
I am artistically challenged.
Delight's Avatar Delight 07:10 PM 12-27-2006
Howdy simplifying mamas!
I've been missing in action for awhile...but I've still been reading all of these responses. It's so wonderful and humbling to know that our journey has helped so many of you.

Tradd is right...we have moved OUT of our tiny apartment, and have moved to Bozeman, MT! We were there for a very short time, but I still enjoyed every minute of it. I'm a firm believer in making your home YOUR OWN even if you are going to be there for a little while (we thought we'd be there at least a year, but plans changed).

We are currently living with family in a beautiful cabin at a camp in the mountains. You can see photos here and here. We have a job opportunity that we are waiting to hear the final word until then, we are in limbo. We'll be spending 2 weeks in Boulder, CO with friends in Jan. and then when we return hopefully we'll be in our OWN place.

We sold all of our furniture...and only kept our clothes, kitchen items, and adventure/outdoor gear, and toys. It fit into the back of a truck and a tiny trailer. If we get the job that we are hoping for, we would most likely live in a a small A-frame cabin. If not, we'll be looking for a small apartment in town. Either way, I'm super excited to start fresh. I want to take the "furnishing journey" slow and only find things that I ADORE. I will be finding everything 2nd hand/used, of course...and that includes antique stores I have seen some of the greatest couches at antique stores. The only thing that we may buy new is a new bed. I would love to go organic/chemical free...and there is a local organic futon maker that I'm going to check out. I will be sure to check back and update as we do more with our next home.

It's funny because even though we have so LITTLE right now materially, we feel like we have sooooo much stuff. I'm going to do more downsizing as we unpack.

The thing that has been a challenge is that when you move to a new climate, there are all kinds of new things you have the opportunity to buy! I am trying really hard to make do...but some things, such as boots, have been necessary. It's just so easy to accumulate more and more without realizing it.

Anyhoo...if any of you have asked me questions and I haven't replied...please don't be offended! I have trouble keeping track of questions within posts. Feels free to PM me or email me at msjanssen @ hotmail dot com.

Happy Holidays!
LionTigerBear's Avatar LionTigerBear 07:55 PM 12-27-2006
It's nice to hear from you Sara!

I just wish I had a mentor here to walk me through this! OR a book, could you write a book for us!

I KNOW I am still keeping too much stuff but I'm torn-- on one hand I want that streamlined life that isn't weighed down by STUFF, and on the other hand, I have so many excuses to keep things-- mostly fear that I'll regret it after I get rid of them, that I'll need them later . . .

I got rid of most of our dishes, I kept two toddler plates and two toddler bowls, and then four of everything else. On one hand I think this is still too much because there are only two adults in our house, but I was thinking how the baby and the toddler will eat off of them eventually. I have a hard time making these decisions.

Also, I have been afraid of what our families will think. I don't know how to explain it to them. How do we tell them that we don't need more stuff? How do we explain our new values and principles with out putting down their choices (which, in some cases, we greatly disagree with?) When I have tried to explain our downsizing philosophy to a couple of family members, they just look blank and then their responses reveal their complete lack of understanding. *sigh*

In the meantime, post-Christmas, DS1 now has, AGAIN, more clothes than he needs, more toys than he knows what to do with, and this is after clearing out one large trashbag full of toddler clothes and two large trashbags full of toys. :
kathirynne's Avatar kathirynne 08:09 PM 12-27-2006
Originally Posted by Zamber View Post
Just had to share -
Several days ago I was looking at your beautiful pictures : , and I saw those magnetic spice holders. I showed the picture of them to DH and said "How cool are those? I would really like to get some of them when I get the chance." Well, you can imagine how happy I am that DH tracted them down for me for x-mas! They are right now on my refrigerator filled with my favorite spices....
Where. Did. You. Find. Them??? I have been looking all over!!!! (I have a giftcard, and I'm not afraid to use it! )
mommaof3boz's Avatar mommaof3boz 08:54 PM 12-27-2006
Ebay has them usually. New ones. I think I also found them at Macys online. I know I'm not Sara but I thought I'd answer anyway
mommaof3boz's Avatar mommaof3boz 08:56 PM 12-27-2006
Sara I have to admit I'm a little addicted to your blog. It is SO inspiring and peaceful to explore. You have some amazing pics there. I can't wait to see your "new" house.
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