Sunday, February 8, 2015

Simplification: A Continuous Practice

My jewelry box was a thrift store find,
jazzed up with some paint I had around.
Even in a tiny house- there can be excess.

Dan and I have lived in the Pod for 15 months now. We can both easily say we have fully adjusted to living in a tiny house, but old habits and old notions can take time to fade. At times, we still find ourselves with chaos, disarray and a feeling of having too much crap. Life comes with a certain level of messiness which the OCD child within me has painfully begun to accept, but the day to day hustle and bustle of not putting away the pajamas as we run out the door to work, is not the same as having too many dang pajamas-- which I consider a different kind of messiness...usually goes by the name of clutter.

Maybe it's the new year; maybe it's just my typical pattern as I eagerly await spring, but I find myself wanting to weed out even more of the dwindling unnecessary. It's pretty remarkable that we have downsized our belongings by about 70% or more, and here I am still inspired to have less. Human beings have an astounding capacity to adapt. I've come to really enjoy the thrill and weight-lifting sensation that comes over me as I get rid of stuff.

Wow! I can actually reach in a pull out one piece
vs a knotted wad of chains and dangles!

I spent a lot of time toward the beginning of this journey getting rid of stuff. And at first, it was tough for me. But the more I examined the situation and asked myself what value the stuff honestly had, I found that it rarely amounted to anything that could deter my desire to be financially free and living a  simple sustainable life. It has been several months since I have taken stock of my belongings and asked those questions. In that time we have had holidays and other gift giving celebrations, and so surprise! Life just has a way of quietly tacking things on if you're not vigilant. 

I've realized that to live minimally, for me anyway, must be a constant practice and series of questions. How many purposes does this item serve? How often is this item used? How often is this item in the way? What sentimental value does it hold? A new rule I have taken on for clothing and accessories is "One in, one out". If I get a new top, I have to pick a top from my closet and donate it. If I get a new pair of boots, I donate an older pair of boots. This has been one of the most successful rules I've put into place. It allows me to gradually, perpetually update my wardrobe without it increasing in size. Recently I had an urge for a purge, and combed through my closet with far less emotion than I used to- quickly removing five items. These, I don't plan to replace, so I will be slowly downsizing my overall wardrobe as well! 

See ya later!

This weekend, I set my sights on my jewelry. I realize that I barely wear any these days, so there was no need to have a jam packed jewelry box- which is out in the open by the way. I moved through that quickly too, getting rid of about 60%. I set aside pieces that might be worth something at the pawn shop, and put the rest in a baggie to be donated with the clothes. 

Part of this was also inspired by a series of TED Talks I have watched, mainly about living simply and getting out of debt. Check them out! 

A Rich Life With Less Stuff -A story I can relate to..

Sell Your Crap. Pay Your Debt. Do What You Love.  -Really love this guy's message!

The Less You Own, The More You Have

The Ten Item Wardrobe

Checkout Project 333 as well! Very cool concept. I hope to get to that point soon!

Good luck to each of you making your way to a tiny life, whatever your inspiration or motivation may be! Start getting rid of your stuff and be mindful of gaining new stuff! You will be that much closer to your dream!

Thanks for reading!
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  1. These are great tips for reducing clutter, even in larger homes. My mother lives by the one in, one out rule and her small house is always tidy.

  2. Thanks! That's one of the things I love about simplifying- no matter what size home you have, you can benefit! That's awesome to hear about others using the One-in One-out rule too! :)

  3. Hi! I found your blog just a couple of days ago and started at the beginning of your journey.
    Ahem. I just finished! I think there may have been some child neglect today as littlest one was at home. But still, he lived ;)
    What an amazing couple you are. A.Ma.Zing!
    We live in an average size home in the UK and, frankly, I can't see us downsizing, but I definitely got more aware of environmental issues about 10-15 years ago and this rubbed off on hubby once we met too. We don't do as much as I'd like, but I've inspired at least two others to do something about their consumption in the last year, so that's good ;) We are definitely seen as slightly odd having used cloth nappies, we (I!) grow veg, we have 5 chooks, I'm always banging on about waste and cheap tat from China ('landfill fodder' I hate cheap throwaway toys *shudder*) etc.
    but you have inspired me! I'm trying to declutter the house. We will never be minimalist (ROFL!) but we have too much stuff and it's wearing me down. I had a push a while back but you've inspired me to get back to it!
    It's great that people all over the 1st world are starting to think. Maybe too late, but better late than never.
    Thankyou for blogging your experience over the last two years.
    I say again.
    I look forward to your future posts :)

    1. Thanks so much, Liz! It's always amazing to hear about the people that discover our blog and what there stories are like! With a family, I certainly get having a more traditional home. We know that if we have kids, we will need to transition. I've seen some families do it- but it's not something that's on my bucket list. haha I agree that it's wonderful to see more ears perking up and discussions building around subjects that should always rank higher than sports casts and celebrity fodder. I also agree that we may be a little late, but as you say, better late than never. I can't control the world, but I can control my own actions and choices...and hope to lead by example! Thanks so much for taking the time to write such a lovely note. It always gives me a boost that I can tap into on days when I find it hard to keep up the writing. Good luck to you on your journey - and no matter how small of an impact you think you are making- remember that EVERY BIT COUNTS! :)