minimize, minimalist, reduce clutter, early retirement

See The Skeletons In Our Closet

She said: As we discussed before we are in the process of minimizing our home. It is definitely a process, and a never-ending one at that. There are also a lot of different techniques you can use. Some people box up everything they own and take out items as they need them. Anything that is left in the box after 6 months has to go. Some people go room by room and get that room totally minimized before moving on to the next. We have created our own 3 step plan for minimizing that is working well for us.

  • Step 1- “Easy To Get Rid Of.” We also call this the spring-cleaning and getting organized round. Throw out trash, broken items (why do we keep broken things!?), and stuff that you find and say “oh, so THAT’S where that has been,” because you obviously didn’t miss it that bad. This is also the round where you get rid of excess décor in your house. Remember when you had an empty shelf, so you went and bought something to put on that shelf? That item means nothing to you, it’s just a space filler. Get rid of it! I can’t tell you how many knick knacks, vases, and “pretty” things we got rid of in this round. And I don’t miss any of it! Sometimes you’ll hesitate to get rid of something because you REALLY like it. That’s ok, keep it! This is round one. If it isn’t easy for you to say goodbye to, you don’t have to. After this round is done your house will be cleaner and more organized, and it will be so motivating to keep going!
  • Step 2 – “But I Really Like It.” This is also known as “the round where you will argue with your spouse.” This is where you get rid of the items that you hesitated on in the first round, but STILL haven’t used. Those books/movies you love but still haven’t watched, those shoes that are so cute but you still haven’t worn, or that picture that you don’t even notice but it’s just so pretty. This round is harder, because it’s forcing you to get rid of things that you really do like. You have to keep asking yourself questions like am I really using it, does it bring value to my life, would I rather have this item than an experience with my family? If the answer is no, let it go. I mentioned that you may have an argument with your spouse, but it’s also helpful to have a partner in this round. “L, get rid of the John Wayne movies. We never watch them (because they’re freaking boring!).” Or in my case “S, you haven’t worn those shoes in a year (plus you have 50 more pairs).” Let your partner talk you out of keeping things, this is the round where you start to see the free space in your home, and in your life. It feels amazing, and I promise you really won’t miss any of those things! And when the day is over, make up over a bottle of wine in your calming new environment.

He said: 

  • Step 3 – “Does It Serve a Purpose?” The last step is where you narrow it down to things you use and things that add value. EVERYTHING else is gone. This means the furniture you have in the extra room that no one sits in is removed…hint hint S. But wait doesn’t that leave you with an empty room? Yes, which means you don’t need that room and its time to downsize your house and save money on mortgage costs, taxes, utilities, etc. So Step 3 for us means the items hanging on the walls are things the kids made or family photos, things that are valuable to us. It means our basement is virtually empty because we were only using it as storage space. It also means everything we own has value or brings us happiness. We are no longer tied down by extra crap and we have more time for what matters (see previous blog). Speaking of which, as this process goes on we spend a lot less time cleaning this place. The whole process leaves us more organized, free from clutter, and more relaxed.  Another benefit to this is the ability to buy less and to purchase higher quality items. Because we own less stuff we are able to buy higher quality things. An example of this is appliance replacement. When an appliance goes out we are able to replace it with a high quality appliance, while still paying cash. This ensures reduced energy costs, long appliance life, and an increased resale on the home. I guess that’s just another way that owning less crap can save you more money.

I will be honest; I have never missed a single item we have gotten rid of. I may be reluctant at the time but I have never regretted doing it. Also, don’t tell S this, if I had it my way we would live in a “tiny” home and own almost nothing. Actually do tell her and try to convince her to do it! Anyway, get rid of your shit, you will love it.

We said: To prove that we’re walking the walk and not just talking the talk, we’re prepared to show you the skeletons in our closets. Lately we have been minimizing cabinets and closets around the house. We’re currently on step 2, and we already have so much more space! Here is underneath the sink in our bathroom, and our kitchen cabinet with our dishes.

minimize, minimalist, reduce clutter, early retirement

Our challenge to you this week; choose a room and go through step 1. Then, sit in the room, and take a deep relaxing breath! It is difficult at first, but it gets easier so keep going!

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