Scaling Down

 

Image result for image of someone overwhelmed by too much stuff

How much stuff do you have? Can you even guess? I was right there with you! Now, take a step back, breath, and DON’T PANIC! Maybe you love having a device for each task performed in your home or owning every piece of clothing in every color. Well, if you hold no stress with that, then you do not need to read on (unless you want to just for fun). If you are, however, interested in learning how to lighten your load KEEP READING! Whether you want to tackle just one aspect of your life or ALL of it, you can apply these same basic concepts.

For a little background, Grant and I started in a 3 bedroom, 2 bath 1,500 sq. ft. home with every room FILLED including the garage. He loves tools and I worked at a thrift store. I HOARDED clothing, kitchen equipment, bags, shoes, and craft supplies. You can never have too many skeins of yarn! I think I spent half my paycheck just buying things that I definitely didn’t need. Thank goodness we saw that tiny house documentary or I don’t know where we would be. So how did we do it? How did we manage to get rid of 80% of our stuff and move into 220 sq. ft.?

Challenge: Step One: List all items in each room and consolidate duplicate/ like items to ONE room.

To start, I took post-it notes (or a notebook) and went through each room of the house one by one writing down what items were in each room. I didn’t consider key items like a bed or dresser. See my example below:

Bedroom

  • Clothing
  • Shoes
  • Linens
  • Accessories
  • Books
  • Craft supplies
  • Coats/ Winter gear
  • Skis/ recreation equipment
  • Jewelry

Kitchen

  • Scissors (x2)
  • Pots/Pans/ Plates/ Silverware/ Cups, etc.
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Towels
  • Office supplies: rubber bands, paperclips, pens, paper “Misc. drawer”
  • Food (obviously)
  • Cookbooks
  • Misc. appliances (write them out!)
  • Tape: scotch and packing

Office

  • Office supplies
  • Books
  • Movies
  • Computers
  • Scissors (x2)
  • Tools
  • Clothes
  • Paper shredder
  • Printer/computer
  • Tape/ stapler/ 3-hole punch
  • Exercise equipment
  • Knickknacks

Living Room

  • Electronics/ TV/ DVD/X-Box
  • Movies
  • Books
  • Blankets/ Linens
  • Knickknacks
  • Shoes
  • Coats

Bathroom

  • Towels
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Hygiene items
  • Curling iron
  • Straightener
  • Blow-dryer
  • Jewelry

Garage

  • Exercise equipment
  • Tools of all kinds…
  • Gardening supplies

And, the list goes on…

By doing this in each room and then comparing the lists you can pinpoint if you have duplicate items or if you are using multiple rooms for similar items. For example, we found out we had four pairs of scissors in two different rooms. What? Walk the 10 ft. to another room to use the scissors?! It didn’t cross my mind until we moved into the tiny house we only need one spot for a scissors thereby reducing our scissor total to one all-purpose pair in the office. I promise getting things organized and into a single place in your home will help eliminate the recurring question, “Where is it?”

Image result for looking for something lost

Challenge: Step Two: Room by room, toss anything forgotten or unused (And, by toss I mean donate to a second-hand store).

Perhaps you had clothing in three rooms. This could be a hint that you have TOO MUCH! The second part of this challenge will be to downsize to the point where all similar things are in a single room. I did one big sweep at the beginning knowing there were things I hadn’t touched in months/ years.

Rule of Thumb: If you forgot you had it or just haven’t used it in a year, donate it! Get it out of your house!

I was horrible at the “Well, I might use it someday” mantra everyone tells themselves. Do not question yourself. You have been telling yourself this too long. You obviously aren’t and won’t use it. Do not hold yourself back. It does not actually bring you happiness to own a sweater you never wear or a book you never read! Grab a garbage bag and start tossing!

Challenge: Step Three: Do it again. And again. And again. And again. 

The third and final step is continuous. After you have gotten rid of all the obviously unnecessary items it will be a recurring task to KEEP THE BALANCE in your house. Wait a month after completing step two. After some time has past, you will most likely have forgotten about a few items you still have lying around. Go back through EVERY room eliminating more items that have been forgotten or have not been used. Now, repeat this process weekly for the rest of your life. I can now keep tabs on everything I own. I can quickly identify when I really NEED something that is “missing” from my daily routine or when an item I have purchased recently just isn’t making the cut. Let go of the meaningless junk and hold on to the precious time we have. Use your money for something better (like a vacation)!

I learned these pointers and more from the wonderful bookThe 100 Thing Challengeby Dave Bruno. I know 100 things!! Sounds impossible! I’m still on my way to hitting that number myself.

Please join me in scaling down our lives and our stress levels. If you have any questions regarding how to achieve the steps mentioned above please contact me!

Think you are ready for the tiny life? View the next post: Tiny House Trailer Hunting.

 

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