Downsizing My Life
I was a college graduate that went straight into the workforce. My husband and I lived in a small apartment until we decided we wanted a house to have children in. All my life I dreamed of a large “model” home. The kind you see in Home Alone. Big spacious rooms. Maybe even a wrapping paper room. I then moved into an newer 1100 square foot house where I wanted to start my family. I tried to organize on the weekend but until I was a stay-at-home Mom, I realized that all my priorities were wrong.
I created this plan to clean a different part of the house every day. I created a spreadsheet, I put everything on there, then did it for about two weekend. Why would I want to spend almost every day of my waking life thinking about how I have to clean or cleaning?
While I love the tiny house trend, I think this house is a perfect size for us. I will need to do some creating thinking, and get away from commercialization but I think I can do it and I know you can too.
My goal is to get my house where I want it so I can spend time on the things most important to me. Relationships and experiences. That is where I hope to spend my time and money in the future. Stop buying stuff, stop cleaning stuff, stop organizing stuff and live your life!
Guests- While relationships are a priority, living your life with an extra room you don’t use, or things that may be used by a guest for three out of 365 days of the year is a waste. I am not saying you should not have people over. They can stay at a hotel if they want a hotel quality room, or borrow your things. Cost to stay at a hotel for 3 days a year. $300. Cost to have a room that you will need to heat and cool, furnish, and clean for 365… probably more.
· One Nice Set of Sheets– You only need one pair of quality sheets. When they get dirty wash them. Just buy what is most comfortable to you. You can spend a little more on good quality because you only need one. When you are done with them donate them and buy yourself once nice set of sheets.
· Once Nice Comforter- Do people still really change their comforter for the seasons? Then you would have to store this comforter. Get one that you can use all year.
· Queen Size Bed– Who needs a king? I like to feel the warmth of my husband under the blankets.
· Two Towels Per Person– I had a stack of towels that were falling over in the closet. Every time I would do wash I would have to stuff them in to where the pile would fall over. A person needs a clean towel and a dirty one. When the towel gets dirty, clean it.
· Cook Books- You don’t need them. Find the recipes online and bookmark them. They are taking up space.
· Organize Plastic ware- Don’t have a cabinet of take-out containers with the containers and lids thrown about. For about $15 you can buy a Handy Gourmet Swirl Around Food Storage Containers. This will take up 1 foot by 1 foot of your home. I know you want to save those other containers, but even though they were free, storing them is expensive. Recycle them.
· Start a Compost- Get a plastic container for outside. Poke some holes in it. Add dirt until about 1/8 or more full. Get a plastic container inside that seals so your kitchen does not smell. Put that one under your sink. Add contents to the container in the kitchen. If you are unsure what to add check online. This has helped me be more aware of what I eat.
· Start a Recycle System- Once you start to have a system to put your paper, plastic, and cardboard, you won’t even think about doing it.
· Call Trash Company- Now that you are composting and recycling, you probably have less trash. Call the company to see if your billed can be lowered. Many companies charge by the bag per week.
Set-Up House for Easy Clearing– My goal is to clean my house only one day a Month. That is 12 days a year, not 365! This is a challenge but mostly forward thinking. People may judge me, and our family may live in their own filth, but I will not be spending hours of my life doing something I don’t like to do. I even set up a day or organize a closet or drawer in each week. What a waste of time. If I don’t have the stuff to organize, I can spend my time elsewhere.
Don’t Buy the Walmart Special- I walk into Walmart, and I see the $1 rack. A shirt for a dollar, what a deal! I can’t wait to see if there is something in my size. I go over to the rack and get excited. Let’s talk about my closet a home. The small closet is overfull with clothes. I wear about 20% of them most of the time. I don’t need anything else. But the dollar rack! There is a shirt that may fit me but for a dollar why even bother trying it on. The shirt is a tee shirt that is just ok, but it is only a dollar. So I would usually buy this shirt, and get a little high from scoring a good deal. Then I would have to carry the unwanted shirt out of the store, carry the bag in my house, and remember to put the shirt away. I would have to put the bag away and receipt somwhere. Then stuff the steal in the full closet where it will get hidden, and I will have another shirt to organize in the future. WHY?
Decide What You Really Need in Your Closet– Let’s say you are going on a trip for a week to a place that has the same climate where you live. What would you pack? Only what you really needed so you don’t have to carry to much in your small suitcase. This is what should be in your closet. Doesn’t it feel great when you go into a hotel room. You know the drawers are empty. Organizing your suitcase in these drawers is easy and freeing.
Breaking Connections to Stuff- Imagine if you got the opportunity to move to Hawaii. What would go though your mind. How would I get my stuff there? This should not be your first question. I would like to know I could move anywhere without worrying about things. I hope to think were would my relationships and experiences be better for my family and I? Not about moving my clothes, dishes, and flat screen tv’s.
Take Pictures of Things you Don’t Want to Part With– Many people have collections. I had a sand collection. While I enjoyed collecting sand, I had not place to put the bottles. So I took a picture of them, and threw them away. You can do this too!
Get Rid of Gifts that are not Being Used– We created a wedding registry but people strayed from the list. We got 5 picture frames for wedding pictures. We did not need these frames but they were expensive. So I kept all 5 and used one. The others are sitting in a drawer. What is the point. I should just donate them to someone who can use them. Returning them is also an option.