A spring-cleaning discovery

It's amazing the number of things we can throw out and not miss.

I do not wish to backpack through Third World countries living on a dollar a day, I hate the tiny house fad, and I am staunchly against miserliness, but I have to say: I find the slavery of things to be more of an encumbrance every day. Really. I've had it with things, and I'm starting to detest them.

Well, almost all of them. I just realized I really love my couch and the big TV. My wife and I are movie maniacs, and the lovely screen and a Blu-ray player beat the chaos of movie theaters. Also, we're attached to our laptops (they are indispensable for work). But just so you don't think we're total couch potatoes, we also use things like yoga mats and weights, for fitness and whatnot.

‘The art of losing isn't hard to master'

Shedding possessions these past few years has been like peeling the layers of an onion.

Three years ago we moved from a three-bedroom house to a one-bedroom apartment. Downsizing was a huge relief and a triumph of good sense, especially in the face of financial meltdown.

After dumping all of our stuff into three separate storage units, we eventually sold our old things at the flea market. Amazing what people will take! Someone even paid me a dollar for a ratty old pair of hippie-looking sandals. (What they did with them, I do not know — but they paid.)

The one-bedroom place was more manageable, but it got crowded, too. So much so that I ended up renting a storage unit for our work gear (we made videos, and the equipment is bulky). And inside the apartment, personal things also began to accumulate, inadvertently.

Things changed again when our storage unit was burglarized last year, and there went most of our professional equipment. Unwilling to start shopping all over, we reorganized our business. Now, more than ever, we are focusing on our core competency and outsourcing the rest. Yes, we still need some tools, but fewer of them, and they are easy to replace. That's like making not just lemonade, but lemon meringue pie out of lemons.

The last step

I had mentioned this in one of my first articles here: next month we'll be moving temporarily to an artist residency that will last us through the spring. We'll get a furnished house and a studio, and we need to bring nothing except some personal items and our work tools.

In anticipation of the move (it's not time for the actual move yet), we got rid of all the inessentials in the apartment earlier this month. Just to make things easier when it's actually time to go.

We packed away books, CDs, records, the record player, idle kitchen utensils, forlorn clothes, redundant furniture, a rusty bike, a portable grill, and countless other things. We boxed and moved everything to our country hovel (we have a country hovel, like in a Russian novel, in the middle of nowhere) where the stuff will await our return.

Except that now (doh!) I realize we should have sold the stuff instead of moving it.

I love what we've done with the place.

Here's the wonderful thing about this removal of dispensable items, which we realized a little late (but better late than never): we don't miss any of what's gone.

With 80 or 90 percent of our stuff out of here, we're as comfortable as we've ever been in this apartment. There is space! And it feels great!

The towering storage units (drawers, shelves, and more shelves, and shelves on wheels, and shelves within shelves) are all gone. The file cabinet remains until I can digitize the important stuff and throw out the rest. Two suitcases sit in the corners of the room, and only a few things still hang in the closet (and we nevertheless manage to dress adequately for all occasions).

We also got rid of the outdoor storage, which held mostly junk (neglected tennis rackets, unused car oil, random wires, abandoned gardening supplies, a fishing rod I last used two years ago, and various other “just in case” nonsense). I put this in boxes on the sidewalk, with a sign that said “free stuff,” and within the hour everything was gone.

I love the freedom and comfort of a clear space. It's so calming. There is no confusion. I'm even enjoying the slight reverb in the acoustics of the place.

An 80/20 rule?

I don't know that we perform 80 percent of our activities with only 20 percent of our things, but I think it must be something close to that. Maybe it's a 95/5 breakdown in our case, and for the remaining 5 percent, we can usually improvise with what we already have. Beyond a few crucial things, I realize most of our possessions are superfluous — and I don't mean that in a moral or spiritual sense. I mean it practically and materially and hedonistically. (Yes, I love pleasure, and I have no guilt.)

My books got little use this past year. The dictionaries, which cost a mint in their day, have been replaced by the Internet. Even as I kept only my most prized books at home (the full library actually resides in the country hovel), I rarely opened them. And when I can't borrow from the library, I have been buying digital books lately — they are cheaper, they live right in my laptop (the indispensable tool), they are easier to search and quote, and there is no waiting for them to arrive on the mail.

Times have changed since my college days, and I have to admit that my reverence for the book object and for physical libraries is more superficial than I had realized. Ultimately, I am a mercenary when it comes to reading. I just want the words.

Same thing with music. Yes, vinyl records are gorgeous, delicious, and thick with sound, but I have been using online music services to play the same music I had in the records. Having a portable player with a few music apps hooked to the stereo makes audible pleasures and exploration so simple to achieve that sticking to my records is not just a waste of effort but a limitation of my horizons. Technology will solve the audio quality issue without the added weight. (Yes, I have become that which I hated. Sue me.)

In the kitchen, I've gotten rid of knife blocks, redundant cast iron griddles and an ice cream machine that was supposed to save me money. My utensils now fit in a single cavernous drawer, and I have more room than ever to actually work. We've kept the juicer though — fresh juice is like nothing else. And the popcorn machine gets used constantly. (Who would have known?)

This month, I've discovered that for me most things are valuable for their function, and whatever sentimental attachment I may have for objects is ultimately trumped by laziness: keeping stuff requires work and expense, and I don't want to perform unnecessary work or waste good money in containers and storage.

Most of our days we work with a few specific tools, use a few specific items, wear a few specific items of clothing. The rest of our possessions just sit there, “in case” of something, just maybe, some day… but eventually it all becomes clutter (even if you love it) and clutter ends up as junk. Why wait until that day arrives?

A question, an experiment, a challenge.

Yes, you have a discerning taste and a refined sense of aesthetics, but when is the last time you used the [insert noun here] that's right in front of you? Seriously. Look at it. Is it really necessary? Or is it just taking up space?

I know this exercise isn't for everyone, but have you considered making an honest inventory or what things you really use, and what things are just… stuff, kept around to sooth improbable anxieties? What essentials would you actually take with you if you had to relocate in a hurry? What things do you use over and over, and what jilted objects do you keep around for no other reason than having dust accumulate on them?

Without deciding to dump or sell or donate things just yet — would you consider putting some of your unessential things away, maybe in boxes, maybe in storage, and observe how you fare without them? Would you try it for fun? Would you do it for self-discovery? If you are trying, or have tried, or will try — please tell us how, and what works for you and what doesn't.

Me, I'm absolutely loving it.

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Jon @ MoneySmartGuides
Jon @ MoneySmartGuides

When I was cleaning out my house a few months ago to move in with my girlfriend, I was shocked at how much stuff I had! I slowly sold/donated many of the things and never thought twice about them. It’s funny when you see something that you think you have to have and then years later find it and wonder what you were thinking at the time of purchase!

Jane Savers @ The Money Puzzle
Jane Savers @ The Money Puzzle

I am attempting to dump a lot of my stuff. I am filling my dining room with stuff to sell at a yard sale when/if spring ever gets here.

I will be happier with less stuff because stuff needs to be cleaned or moved to clean behind it. Less stuff means less cleaning and anything that means less cleaning is a good thing.

Paula
Paula

Thank you for sharing your downsizing efforts with us. I’m sorry your storage unit was emptied by thieves. Your story is encouraging to me. I am in the process and I’ve got a massive load of books in my car and today they are going to The Friends of the Library. Our downsizing began last year and my upstairs is nearly finished; got rid of extra dishes and kitchen stuff, apparel and accessories. The downstairs is being done with linens next and finally my husband’s “collections”, and decorative junk. My office looks much better and we are selling the treadmill.… Read more »

Phoebe@allyouneedisenough

I always get the same feeling when I go on vacation. I pack the essentials and I am quite content with my limited set of possessions and wonder what on earth I need everything else for.

You’ve inpsired me to go through my basement again and make another trip to Goodwill! Thanks!

Peter Brülls
Peter Brülls

Hi.

While the sentiment is probably correct, vacation isn’t probably the best benchmark, though. Too many other variables, more willingness to eat out and experience other stuff one doesn’t do – at least not to that extent – outside vacation.

Debi
Debi

I’ve never been a “keeper” so we’re frequent visitors of the Goodwill drop off window. We’ve found that the Habitat for Humanity Restores take almost everything else that Goodwill doesn’t want. They’ll take partial cans of paint, carpet remnants, used building supplies, etc. If there’s one close by it’s worth a visit to see for yourself.

William Cowie
William Cowie

Thanks for sharing. The amazing thing we discovered (as you are, too) is not just that you can get by with less stuff, but that feeling of freedom, lightness, that comes with “de-stuffing” our lives.

Holly@ClubThrifty

Over the last few years, we have definitely gotten rid of more things than we have brought into our house. My house is uncluttered and easy to organize. I even have a few empty kitchen cabinets!

My kid’s play room is still overflowing but that is a work in progress. Thankfully, it has a door.

Matt Becker
Matt Becker

This is something I’ve been wanting to do for a while. One thing I’ve always had trouble with is selling stuff. For whatever reason, in my limited experience I’ve never had much luck with craigslist, and I don’t have much experience with other avenues. What advice do you guys have for selling the things we’re getting rid of?

Elizabeth
Elizabeth

Have you considered consignment shops? You won’t make as much money as if you sold items yourself online, but it can take the hassle out of the selling process. There are a few in my area I’m considering trying this spring.

There was a good post on the pros and cons of consignment on
http://jlcollinsnh.wordpress.com/2013/02/19/consignment-shops-best-business-model-ever/ a couple of days ago.

Kathy M
Kathy M

I take my clothes to the consignment shop every season or so and end up with $100+ 2-3 times a year.

Ms. W
Ms. W

Over the past 10 years I’ve downsized multiple times, going from a 2 bedroom townhouse with basement and attic, to a 1 bedroom apartment, to a smaller apartment, then to a 630 sqft house. The house is older, and I’ve been remodeling and updating it room by room on my own. I’m continually amazed how I can box up the contents of a room and 6 months later still not miss most of the items, even after having paired down multiple times. It’s also lead me to some surprising conclusions, like that I don’t really need cable. When the TV… Read more »

Babs
Babs

“Sometimes you learn the most about yourself through change!”

That is an excellent point of view! Things change all the time. Much better to go with the flow instead of digging in your heels.

Thanks for this!

Kathleen, FrugalPortland
Kathleen, FrugalPortland

It’s an ongoing process for me. I go through my apartment once a month with a bag out for Goodwill. Some months I’ll tackle the kitchen, some months the bedroom closet. It often helps to pretend I’m dead, and only leave behind the things I’d want someone else to have.

Alison Wiley @ Diamond-Cut Life
Alison Wiley @ Diamond-Cut Life

Great post. Ironic that we all read this blog to get better with our money, yet we all seem to share the problem of having too much stuff, all of which cost us good money. My latest post is a 64 word ‘brief guide to life’. If I follow it consistently, I will master my stuff, create an abundant retirement, and have warm relationships with all.

Elizabeth
Elizabeth

I think there’s a difference between having too much stuff and buying too much stuff. I find some of the hardest items to deal with are ones that were gifts or things I inherited. I can be ruthless when it comes to getting rid of things I’ve spent my own money on. I also think it’s impossible for every purchase to be a “forever” item. Our tastes, lifestyle and circumstances change. Some things are useful for a while and then no longer useful to us — does that mean they were a waste of money? I don’t think so, but… Read more »

Beth
Beth

I absolutely have a hard time parting with gifts, too. I think it’s because many of these gifts were given to me/my family by a certain relative who “takes inventory” of our stuff. You might know the type – “Oh, whatever happened to the [useless] Gadget 3000 that I gave you?” or “Where did you put that [ugly] painting I gave you for your birthday?” So I feel like I have to hold on to the stuff, even though I hate it or it no longer suits my family’s needs, because the giver will have a hissy fit if I… Read more »

LeRainDrop
LeRainDrop

Morbid but apt!

Debi
Debi

“Pretend I’m dead” That’s a great idea! My mother did that several years ago when she downsized from the family home to a smaller condo. She told my sister and me to take what we would want now so that we could enjoy it longer and held a gigantic yard sale to get rid of the rest. She said that she didn’t want us to have to sort through “all that junk” after she was gone.

Sheryl
Sheryl

There are plenty of things that I’m happy to live without, but a recent change in living circumstances that has my husband and I in my mom’s basement with all our stuff packed up in the garage has really reminded me that there is stuff I do treasure. For myself, I’m miss my library and music collection acutely. I miss the tools I’d carefully cultivated for my kitchen based around what I actually use. There’s a lot of stuff we’ll probably junk once we open the boxes again and get set up in our own place, but there’s no denying… Read more »

Elizabeth
Elizabeth

I can relate to much of this post — I hate the guilt of owning things I don’t use. Right now my downfall are the things that only get used once and a while that would be difficult to borrow or expensive to replace. Right now it makes sense from a financial point of view to keep them, but when I have to pay to move them — well, that changes the equation!

My Financial Independence Journey
My Financial Independence Journey

When I left my apartment after grad school, I was amazed at how much I had accumulated. I donated/threw out so much stuff. Ever since then I’ve tried to keep my possessions down to only those that I am willing to lug across the country.

victoria
victoria

This is a timely read for me — I’ve been reading The Vivienne Files and decided to make a list of what I wanted to keep in my wardrobe, figure out what I had that matched up with what I wanted in the long haul, and get rid of everything else.

So yesterday I went through closets and drawers and got rid of about 80% of my clothing. It felt pretty terrifying but I am feeling reassured that I’ve done the right thing.

Shari
Shari

I am trying so hard to get rid of all the excess stuff in my house. Unfortunately, my three kids and husband don’t share my hatred of clutter and they aren’t willing to give up anything, so the only thing getting cleared out is my stuff–only 20% of the total possessions in our house. I also have hobbies that require a lot of “stuff” (scrapbooking and painting) that I don’t want to give up. I keep those things confined to my hobby room, so it’s not so bad. Just wish I could get the rest of the family on board.

Anne
Anne

Shari,

I actually discovered a trick to this years ago. If you ask family to decide what to give up, they will want to hold on to everything. It’s the emotional decisions they don’t want to deal with.

However, if you empty out their room/closet/dresser and ask them what they want to KEEP, then they HAVE to make decisions, and they will.

Julie
Julie

This didn’t work for me. My oldest son would simply reply that he wanted to keep everything.

Peter Brülls
Peter Brülls

It’s probably better to ask a classmate, friend, colleague or neighbor who is both willing to spend the time and trustworthy. They are usually emotionally detached and can challenge the “I gotta keep this”-excuses.

Laura
Laura

Same here.

Shari
Shari

I did have some success with one technique: I got a large plastic bin and told the kids I would give them $10 for filling it up. They were saving up for a new game system at the time so were highly motivated. They filled it up twice with things they didn’t want anymore. It felt a little like bribery, but it worked and I was getting kind of desperate.

Chase
Chase

I have been meaning to go through all of my things, not to get rid of stuff, per se, but to take an inventory for insurance purposes.

I’m planning on doing it in Google docs. I have a feeling that once I know how much “stuff” I have, it’s going to to get pretty easy to start getting rid of it.

EMH
EMH

I really like this idea. I don’t feel our place is cluttered but I know there are items that I wouldn’t replace if lost in a fire or burglary so why keep them now? I know my weekend project. Thanks!

Simple Economist
Simple Economist

I love the 80/20 rule. I find we are probably higher than that like you. I find we use about 5% of our stuff 95% of the time!

We too have gotten rid of lots of things but we still have a ways to go.

We started using the 1 in 1 out rule and our goal every year is to end with less than we started.

Milly
Milly

I recently cleared out my mother’s house and after a week of getting rid of stuff, I realized the house was fully functional and good-looking with a couple drawers and shelves full in the kitchen, a few items in each bedroom closet, and much of the furniture gone.

It felt very light, and was quite a revelation.

jxm
jxm

I never really had a chance to accumulate a lot of “stuff”. Up until recently, I would spend a day purging things, donating and tossing them out accordingly. This happens maybe once a year. After moving back home from college, I bought IKEA furniture for my bedroom. Since moving out, the furniture remains for guests to use when they visit. My mother has also been sleeping on my bed. Awww! That’s all the furniture I’ve ever bought…ever. I have boxes of memorabilia that are stored in a shed in the backyard. I imagine that I would go through them in… Read more »

barb
barb

While not a hoarder I am also not a minimalist. Were i to answe your questions my answer would be yes at least half the time. I did use that second set of dishes last week, i do use all the qulting fabric in the huge closet eventally, I read real books and I nused my kitchenaid yesterday. Sigh.

Anne
Anne

Well, I often find people who tout minimalism have no physical hobbies or no children. (Some have children I know.) I like having a mixer and a cuisinart. They make my life easier and fun. But we deliberately created a kitchen with less storage. So I am forced to constantly re-evaluate things. I really want a bread maker, but I need to find a space for it before I can buy one. That means something has to go. (or many somethings). I just read an ebook and the most amazing advice she gave for clutterers is to declutter the open… Read more »

SavvyFinancialLatina
SavvyFinancialLatina

I’m a minimalist.I always get rid of stuff when we move.

Abby
Abby

Last year, my husband and I spent about 2 months going through our entire house and purging things that we didn’t use on a daily or weekly basis. We ended up getting rid of about 75% of our stuff. Not only do we have a lot more space now, but we also have more time and money. We don’t have to spend as much time cleaning and organizing because there isn’t much stuff to clean or organize, and we rarely go shopping for new things unless they are necessities that are replacing something that is worn out or broken. Occasionally,… Read more »

PB
PB

We are going through two downsizing projects. The first is clearing out books at home so that my husband can bring his enormous office collection of books to the house when he retires in a year. It is not easy to get an academic to give up his books, but he is doing very well. The second is the basement, which had some light damage during reconstruction to another part of the house and so is being rewired, rewalled, and refloored. I doubt we will put back half of the stuff we took out. Purging seems to go in layers… Read more »

Betsy
Betsy

My husband and I recently got rid of 90% of what we owned in preparation of a move from Minnesota to Kauai. When we arrived in Kauai, we had a week’s worth of clothing and a few other things. The stuff we mailed ourselves, ostensibly to arrive within a few days, took a month to get here. We didn’t really miss it. Now we’re in a rented, furnished house a ½ mile up from the beach on a jungle road. It’s an amazing life and stuff has so little to do with that.

HappyFund
HappyFund

What part of Kauai? I visited that island this past Christmas, and I dig the vibe. Reminds me of where I grew up but still with enough modern amenities.

Betsy
Betsy

We’re on the North Shore, west of Hanalei, but before the road ends. 🙂

HappyFund
HappyFund

Haena park, tunnels…mmmm. Enjoy!

lucas
lucas

Totally agree. We have been downsizing for the last couple years and are doing well. In addition to downsizing we are building/creating more efficient storage for the things that matter to get rid of the clutter. Having less stuff definitely helps you enjoy life more.

Priswell
Priswell

Definitely need to get rid of some stuff. The kid is grown and so now would be a good time to do some real spring cleaning.

HappyFund
HappyFund

When we moved to my current home, we only brought a few things with us. We slowly started to fill the space. Now, it’s about keeping the space and getting the accumulation under control. At some point, I will probably establish a house rule that if we buy more stuff we have to give up something in return to reclaim the space.

Important question: How do you feel about selling gifts that you rarely use?

Winterlady
Winterlady

I do all the time but I will try and exchange for cash or credit first. Then I look to regifting, providing it something that someone else may want or need. And if none of the above works, I sell it off Ebay, Craig’s list etc. I have taken to giving people gift cards (Amazon is my favorite as you buy anything off that site even food)or cash. So I have made it simple and left their lives less cluttered.

Winterlady
Winterlady

A woman who I worked with years ago told me to buy and own what I “treasured’. What wisdom. So yes there are things that bring us joy and that we should lovingly own but the rest should and can go. I hold those words close to me every time I am thinking of making a purchase. The question is-will I treasure this? If not and I still think I need it I get it out of the library, rent it, borrow etc.

Kate
Kate

Maybe I’m an outlier here, but I moved away from home for a temporary work assignment three months ago, and I’m amazed at how much I miss my STUFF. I obviously miss my husband and dog like crazy, but I also miss the art on our walls, all of my kitchen equipment, and my other clothes. Oh, and my books! They are all hallmarks of my life… I love to fiddle in the kitchen, to read, to peruse bookshelves, to lose myself in art… I’m living a different version of my life here, which is admittedly a neat experiment, but… Read more »

Deacon @ Well Kept Wallet
Deacon @ Well Kept Wallet

We did this a couple of years ago as well and just got rid of everything that we didn’t use. We used Craigslist for the big items and Ebay and Amazon for the smaller items because it cost less to ship those. It is one of the best things we ever did. Now our home is pretty much clutter free and we made a little extra income on the side.

Ely
Ely

My biggest curse is paper. It accumulates; I don’t know what to do with it, and then it’s out of control. Interesting info, business cards, credit card terms & conditions, all that crap.

I also have an emotional attachment to my books. I love paper books, especially used books that have so much character. But I have some I have not opened since I finished my linguistics degree eight years ago. I need to let them go, and only accumulate the ones I’ll read over and over again.

Laura
Laura

This sounds like me. For paper, I strongly recommend getting a scanner and scanning your documents. I keep all sorts of stuff (including credit card terms) on PDF’s. They fit nicely on a USB stick and by using decent naming conventions, I can usually find anything I need without too much trouble. That really cuts down on paper. For books, I use three criteria: – For books I’ve read, will I ever realistically read it again? If the answer is no, away it goes, no matter how much I enjoyed it. (Sadly, only about 10% of what I read falls… Read more »

Anne
Anne

There is little need for a scanner these days. Most bills and documents can be received by email or online directly.

WWII Kid
WWII Kid

I rent rooms from a family member who I suspect will be foreclosed on any day now, so I have been faced with the prospect of moving whatever I value very quickly. When I look around, I see very little that I couldn’t live without. A pair of jeans, a clean tee shirt and underwear and I’m a happy camper. I’ve gone back to doing something I’ve done on and off for years (and have been encouraging others to do) – I go through my things and pull out that which I haven’t used or worn or that which is… Read more »

DJ - HireMeHigherEd
DJ - HireMeHigherEd

It is an incredibly freeing feeling just to purge stuff.

My wife and I recently had a baby, and it is incredible the amount of “stuff” that accumulates in your house in a very short amount of time. Purging this stuff, makes it much easier to cope with, and generally gives your living arrangements a more peaceful presence.

Toni
Toni

While I agree that we definitely need to clean out and get rid of things that aren’t used, I’m in a house with plenty of space, and there are things that I like to hold on to for their once-a-year use. I do a lot of canning, so I hold on to my jars and canning and juicing equipment. As an avid gardener, there is a lot of stuff we use for planting and maintaining a garden. I don’t think we have to get rid of everything. I live with my parents and there kids, and we don’t plan to… Read more »

Jamie
Jamie

I’m so glad you wrote this! My dude and I are trying to get rid of stuff and this was a nice encouragement to keep going. We had an A-ha Moment the other day when our internet went out and neither of us could STAND to watch any of the DVDs that we already owned. There went half our DVDs. We did the same things with books. We have two large bookcases full, but most of the books fell into one of four categories: (1) I really want to own the book because I love it, (2) I intend to… Read more »

Nick @ ayoungpro.com
Nick @ ayoungpro.com

I also have an aversion to “thingitis”. We are moving into a new house in May so we have been getting rid of a lot of “stuff”. It has felt great! 🙂

Alan
Alan

I bought a miata when I was single, I got married and my wife had significant credit card debt and a car loan. I sold the miata and bought a much less expensive car. I used the difference to help pay off her debts. The miata is the only thing I miss that I don’t have anymore.

Everything else that I’ve owned and gotten rid off, I’ve never regretted.

jazzycat
jazzycat

I have been working on this for about a year now and my last primary challenge is jewelry. Any suggestions for getting halfway decent prices for selling jewelry? Neither Ebay nor Craigslist seem to be very good for this. I have everything from diamond engagement ring to nice but inexpensive costume jewelry. Some I am giving to family and friends as gifts. Some I have taken to a consignment store. But I still have way too much!

Any ideas?

Beth
Beth

If you know it’s truly good stuff, you might have luck selling it to a jewelry store. If you have old family heirlooms that you want to unload, you can try taking them to an antique store that specializes in jewelry.

If it’s more like Avon/Stella & Dot/etc., then I’d just continue to give it away.

jazzycat
jazzycat

good ideas, thanks!

Laura
Laura

For the non-valuable costume jewelry, is there a local theater troupe or high school drama program that might want them? Otherwise there’s always Goodwill. Or you could try selling them on eBay but as a batch item instead of individually. Good luck!

KSR
KSR

I’m excited for you! Not just for ditching your crap–but diving into whatever opportunity this is that’s moving you to an artist residency. I hope you write something about it. I do have to add that— ya probably should have held on to those hippy sandals to blend into the new art colony. Ha! Congrats! And… may the country hovel *never* be burgled.

Kristin
Kristin

I love downsizing and getting rid of things I don’t use. Sometimes I think I love it too much. I often find myself in situations where I wish I would have held onto something that I threw out. But overall, I’m with you, Nerdo–I love the free feeling of not having a bunch of stuff to be responsible for!

Babs
Babs

After being scared straight by a friend who was cleaning out at least 50 years of junk from a house AND barn that her hoarder parents owned I started pitching stuff. I just do a little bit at a time but I have removed 200+ boxes from my home plus some furniture after the kids moved out. I miss exactly none of it and I am constantly get rid of more. I buy less now so I know I am saving money.

Congratulations on the Artist grant! That is really cool!

James @ Free in Ten Years
James @ Free in Ten Years

I have been on a quest lately to reduce clutter. I’ve done it by selling unnecessary items, like my xbox, dvds and games. Things I wasn’t using anyway. I’ve also given away huge amounts of clothes in an attempt to simplify things.

I find that the simpler my life (fewer possessions) the less stressful it seems. It’s weird, but has worked wonders for me.

Holly Thrifty
Holly Thrifty

Toss is liberating. Try this…. 1. Don’t food shop for a month and eat out of your existing pantry, fridge or freezer. 2. Throw something away each time you buy something new. 3. Clean and organize closets and drawers–you’ll see what you have and can pitch what you don’t need. 4. Organize your space/room/storage as the way you want it. Make that promise to yourself. You’ll be forced to prioritize and get rid of things you don’t really find important. 5. Take a picture–really. Remind yourself of your hard work to get the space looking that good and be motivated… Read more »

taryl
taryl

Look’s like you’re preaching to the choir!Every 6 months our neighborhood holds a garage sale. I’ve participated so many times I’m starting to wonder where all this sellable “stuff” is coming from. Why, oh why did I spend all of that money 🙁

Meghan
Meghan

My stuff has been in storage since Dec. 21 and I miss it but I miss having a home even more! All of my possessions, which include an extensive set of tools and outdoor things fit in an 8′ by 16′ pod and my car so I don’t have that much. Once I get settled, whatever doesn’t have an immediate use in the new place gets donated though! (And yes, I did quite a bit of donating to get things to fit in the pod. Habitat for Humanity will take tools and lawn equipment off your hands if you have… Read more »

Hill Roger
Hill Roger

Exactly, we do not use much of our stuff all times, and for that we have keep our living place clean and tidy. The things which we aren’t using must not be messing around here and there.

DG
DG

My wife and I have been on the road since October. She’s taking a 6-month leave of absence, and I work overseas, so we meet up during my time off wherever she happens to be. Meanwhile, our house and stuff are sitting where we left them, not being missed whatsoever. The plan has always been to sell the house when we get back this spring, and along with it, all the crap that we don’t require. Because it’s not the physical clutter that bothers me. It’s the mental clutter that goes with it. Own a house, you have a yard.… Read more »

Becky+P.
Becky+P.

fresh air, exercise, contact with nature….get away from cyber–stuff and in contact with “real” physical things like leaves and dirt. 🙂 I have to smile at all these types of posts (as in the original post, not the poster replying). It is almost like some people would like to live in a hotel–that spare. For you, I say, “go for it” but not everyone wants to live like that. I am always glad, after travel, to get back home to my stuff that makes life a lot easier and a whole lot more fun and enriching than living in a… Read more »

Laura
Laura

Great post! I love the balance you have where you enjoy your home theater system, but still need to downsize on other things that aren’t important to you. My fiance and I have been trying to declutter room by room. My 88 year old Chinese grandma lives with us. She was raised during an era where she had nothing. So now she wants to keep everything. She uses cardboard boxes, old sticks, and cut up clothing for her garden. She has 3 televisions and three armchairs in her bedroom simply because other people offered them to her. She absolutely fights… Read more »

Linda
Linda

El Nerdo,
Don’t I just love you and your posts?

Anne
Anne

I really like your perspective! Yes records are nice, but if you aren’t using them, what’s the point. We try to use ours, but not as often as I would like. Still I like that my children will see records and know what they are. I find unlike many people, I never used the music on my phone. I would download playlists and albums and never use them. So I stopped. I realized I can stand a few shelves of cds, but I had the digital clutter. I give my children permission to throw everything I own away. (Hopefully when… Read more »

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