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<p>What steps did you take? Were there any areas of your life that were especially difficult to simplify?</p>
<p>Thanks for your insights!</p>
 

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<p>I read simplicity parenting several months ago and have tried to apply the concepts to all aspects of our lives. We're still in the process but are pretty far along. The first step was getting rid of stuff. This was great for us because we're getting ready to move. I just went around the house tossing stuff in boxes and bags then piled it up in the garage. There were lots of things, like a tv, that I had intentions of selling but decided that I wanted a simpler life and selling a tv would be a hassle, donating it also gives funds to the charity that picked it up. We ended up with a couple dozen boxes, a bunch of garbage bags, and several large items in the garage at which time I called for a pickup. It was great seeing all that stuff carted off. </p>
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<p>There were lots of things I decided I'm not yet ready to part with but don't need around. For these things I pack up boxes and put them in a closet or in the garage. Toys were a big one here. Even when the kids say they don't mind giving an old toy away I find it hard for me to do, especially with toys they played with a lot and treasured when they were younger. From the toys we ended up with a full bag of garbage, two donate boxes, and eight keep-but-packed boxes. I know eventually I'll weed through the boxes and get it down to one or two but I'm not ready for that yet. We have added some toys. A wooden play kitchen and food, nesting house, wooden cars, and a few other things. The playroom looks sparse by comparison to how it used to look but the kids don't seem to mind at all. They now have lots of room to play in the center of the room and pickup is no longer overwhelming. </p>
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<p>We got rid of lots of books. Textbooks from college, books we read and won't read again, and homeschool books we no longer use. We traded them in to amazon.com and received a $479 credit which has covered Christmas gifts for all four kids. You just punch in the isbn number, put it in a box if it's a book they accept (they tell you what they'll give you for it), print a shipping label (they pay the shipping), and either take the box to a ups location or leave it by the door if ups will be delivering something to you. The money was applied to our account less than a week after ups took the box. We've purchased kindles (e-readers) so we are able to read without bringing more books into the house.</p>
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<p>I've stopped buying so much food. I still try to take advantage of sales and stock up on things I'm sure we will use (like peanut butter) but I no longer buy meat and frozen veggies and things way ahead. Growing up my mom had a small pantry, walk in pantry, two regular fridges, and a giant deep freeze all filled with food all the time. It's been difficult for me to realize that I don't need to keep so much food on hand and that the store will be more than happy to sell me more whenever I want to buy it.</p>
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<p>I no longer drive much so a tank of gas in my minivan lasts nearly a month. We go for walks instead of driving. It helps that our family lives in other states and our friends are within walking distance. We're also in an area where there are few things to do. When I left the house it was almost always to go shopping because there was nothing else to do. I don't go out unless I really need to now, it's boring but it keeps me from wasting gas, buying things we don't really need, and bringing clutter into the house. I now buy most everything other than groceries online. 80% of our Christmas shopping has been done online, we buy diapers online, clothes, books, everything.</p>
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<p>We try to practice 'one in one out' for things like clothes and toys but aren't doing very well at it. We got rid of so much in the initial sweep that there are no spare clothes or toys. I think we will be able to do it in the future. </p>
 

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We are slow to simplify and are starting with toys and misc house things we won't use. I'm having a free cycle dpaarty, donating, and selling on craigslist.
 

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<p>Spend a lot of time outside,  This is what helped me have a clear mind, stronger intuition of what really matters, and helped shed layers of materialism.</p>
 

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<p>I just cannot stand to have a bunch of stuff lying around my house, so there really has never been much in that area to simplify.  I keep it toned down by cleaning out room-by-room every so often.  Like, after dd2 was born and it was time to put away my maternity clothes, I went thru all of my clothes and got rid of anything that no longer fit or that I no longer wanted.  I put the mat clothes that I wanted to keep in a bin in the attic & gave all of my mat and regular shirts to a friend who wanted them.  Pants went to the thrift store.  For my birthday, I bought some nice new shirts.  I only have about six pairs of pants, but that is all I really wear, so that is all I need.</p>
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<p>I absolutely feel no guilt about getting rid of things I no longer want or need.  It is my house and my life.  I do not want to keep a bunch of stuff just b/c I "should".  My grandmother has a bunch of stuff in her house and now my mother has a bunch of stuff in her house.  NO.  I do looooove to shop, but we really do not have any extra money anyway & I def do not want more things that I will have to clean up, lol!</p>
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<p>As for life in general, I work to cultivate an inviting home life.  I keep our house cleanish and try not to rush us around all the time.  We spend a lot of time at home and enjoy each other's company.  Do not overschedule yourselves.  Two or three activities per week is plenty for little kids.  Preschool counts as an activity, so if they are at PS three days a week, that is it for activities. I also often do the bulk of tidying up after the kids are in bed.  This way I am free to play w/ them more during the day.  I try not to be constantly working & to play w/ them.  This can be tough b/c there are always work things to be done, but playing is way more important!</p>
 

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<p><br>
 </p>
<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>momma_unlimited</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1283227/how-did-you-initially-simplify-your-lives#post_16091233"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>Spend a lot of time outside,  This is what helped me have a clear mind, stronger intuition of what really matters, and helped shed layers of materialism.</p>
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This is SO important to me.  I view the sun as a life force.  Something to soak up instead of hiding from with sunscreen and too many clothes (unless it's cold of course).  Truly, truly, the best way to cleanse out the forces of materialism and other dark forces in our life.</p>
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<p>What steps did I take?  Honestly:  moving into a 550 square foot mountain cabin.  You have to live simply with 4 humans and a large dog in that small of space.  After that little cottage, which I truly miss, we moved to a 3000 square foot house.  I was so unhappy and lost.  Thankfully, we only lived there a year.  What do you do with all that space I don't know. </p>
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<p>I would strongly suggest to OP (and anyone for that matter)  to read Simplicity Parenting as PP mentioned.  It is a wonderful book which will take you through the steps. </p>
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<p>For me the hardest to simplify is memories and the boxes of boxes of memory type items.  Too much!  I am paring down to heirloom items only and am still in that process.  Also, we moved 8 times in 10 years.  Considering we lived in that little cabin for 5 years you can tell we have moved A LOT.  Finally settling into a house is helping me clear the final process of simplification.  All those things we were saving for "down the road" are going because we feel we are now "down the road." If we don't need them now they are gone! </p>
 

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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>beezer75</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1283227/how-did-you-initially-simplify-your-lives#post_16093078"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p><br>
 </p>
<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>momma_unlimited</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1283227/how-did-you-initially-simplify-your-lives#post_16091233"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>Spend a lot of time outside,  This is what helped me have a clear mind, stronger intuition of what really matters, and helped shed layers of materialism.</p>
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<p><br>
This is SO important to me.  I view the sun as a life force.  Something to soak up instead of hiding from with sunscreen and too many clothes (unless it's cold of course).  Truly, truly, the best way to cleanse out the forces of materialism and other dark forces in our life.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>What steps did I take?  Honestly:  moving into a 550 square foot mountain cabin.  You have to live simply with 4 humans and a large dog in that small of space.  After that little cottage, which I truly miss, we moved to a 3000 square foot house.  I was so unhappy and lost.  Thankfully, we only lived there a year.  What do you do with all that space I don't know. </p>
<p> </p>
<p>I would strongly suggest to OP (and anyone for that matter)  to read Simplicity Parenting as PP mentioned.  It is a wonderful book which will take you through the steps. </p>
<p> </p>
<p>For me the hardest to simplify is memories and the boxes of boxes of memory type items.  Too much!  I am paring down to heirloom items only and am still in that process.  Also, we moved 8 times in 10 years.  Considering we lived in that little cabin for 5 years you can tell we have moved A LOT.  Finally settling into a house is helping me clear the final process of simplification.  All those things we were saving for "down the road" are going because we feel we are now "down the road." If we don't need them now they are gone! </p>
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<p>This is a great point. It was easy to be close when we were in a small apartment and our first, small, house now we have to work on spending time together now that we're in 3200 sq ft. <br>
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<p>Subbing for more ideas!</p>
 

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<p>LOL!  I've had the book since August and haven't read it yet!  Sounds like my simplify step #1 = UNPLUG.  (I really should just dump the high speed internet.  Then I'd quit vegging out on netflix and actually do things!) </p>
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<p>For the STUFF aspect it's a never-ending process.  I call for a good-will pick-up several times a year.  And over the last few years I keep finding new layers.  I find that the more STUFF I get rid of, the more reluctant I am to bring new stuff in--what comes in bettre be worth the space it takes up!  I keep picturing having to move it all again in a couple of years (I'm renting). </p>
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<p>For the LIFE aspect, my biggest thing so far has been to really resist the pull of the activities.  I know my family thinks I live like a hermit.  My sister almost gets defensive when she talks about babysitters.  (Her daughter had more babysitters in 2 months than my son has had in 4 years.  We both work full time, but she puts a strong value on keeping up her social life even after becoming a mother.  It was something she needed.  I chose to do things differently.)  I'm one of the few parents I know that hasn't enrolled my child in classes and activities.  I figure that he spends 9 hours a day in preschool...the weekends and evenings don't need to be scheduled.  When he gets older, I will probably let him be in an activity or two.  And since he's an only child, one or two (MAX) activities won't keep us running constantly.  But I'll still be leary of more than one after-hours obligation a week.  It's for me as well as him.  I'm single, I work full time, and I just don't have the energy or desire to be constantly scrambling to keep up with an activity schedule.  I may have some future battles since XH will want DS is every sport available.  But I'll deal with that when the time comes. </p>
 

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<img alt="nod.gif" class="bbcode_smiley" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/nod.gif"><br><br>
DD is almost 8 yo and we have her in 2 activities. If it were up to her, she'd be in 5.<br><br>
We live in a small home also and think seriously about bringing anything in here.<br><br>
We spend a lot of time at home and enjoy just being at home. We save a lot of $ and gas and car maintenance, etc. this way.<br><br><br><br><br><br>
 
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