i am currently looking for a place in seattle. the prices are skyrocketing and the houses are teeny tiny. its kind of funny, living in the suburbs like we do right now and all that goes with it. everyone wants a huge house with a big backyard and a pool. an oversized suv. a bedroom for each kid so they don’t have to share. a playroom. an office. a movie room. it all makes me laugh. the rest of the world doesn’t live like this. the me just over a year ago thought i need the same thing. until i moved into 1819 sq feet with 4 kids a husband 1 dog and 6 chickens. yes i do have an amazing 1+ acre backyard and that makes up for a lot. but really i could never see myself living in a 3500+ sq foot house ever again. my sister sent me a picture of a pillow and i can’t remember exactly what it said but something to the effect of we don’t mind our small house we actually like being in the same room as each other. made me laugh so hard. she also lives in a small space in california and loves it. i think we all dream of having a little more room for that craft space or bigger laundry room. i’ve come to realize i don’t need all that extra “stuff”. you know the stuff that sits around and never gets used. the “nice” stuff and the “everyday” stuff. i caught myself not using the serving dishes i really love and saving them for special occasions that happened twice a year. what a waste! when we moved from our last house we lost almost 600 sq ft but gained a lot more yard which meant a lot less time cleaning and a lot more time playing with the kids outside. a lot more picnics under the eucalyptus trees. i got rid off all the junk we didn’t need, the toys that didn’t get played with. the clothes that didn’t get worn. the ugly dishes. anything i didn’t love or use everyday went. i can’t tell you what a burden that extra stuff puts on your life. it feels amazing for everything to have a spot. no junk drawers. no closets full of clutter. if it doesn’t bring us happiness it doesn’t stay. that also means i don’t just buy to buy. i weigh my decisions. do i need it? if not, it doesn’t come home with me. this will save you a lot of money and even more regret and waste. here are a few tips that helped me break free of all the clutter.
– evaluate what you have. do you need it? do you love it? start by getting rid of anything broken or that has missing pieces. next if you haven’t used it in a year it goes. if this is hard for you, box it up put it in the garage. if you don’t open that box in a year take it straight to the goodwill. no need to even open it again, you already know you don’t use it.
– i stopped reading websites/blogs that tell me i need to buy. consumerism gets the best of all of us. everywhere i turn i’m being told how great the newest hair, shoes, clothes, cleaning products are. how they will change my life only to be told a month later how great the latest product is and how mine is now junk. they are paid to tell you that. they received that product for free and are paid to promote it. which is fine but im not taking it as their real opinion. i’ve fallen into this in the past and i end up with 10 different kids of hair smoothing serum, non were great. i however do love an honest favorites list. somethings work better than others and i like getting my moneys worth.
– realize whats important to you and work on that first. is it having a playroom? then maybe having two kids share a room is worth the trade off. we don’t need huge homes we need our current home being used in the most functional way possible. our home is three bedrooms + a large playroom. our kids share a bedroom and they love it. it keeps them close and keeps the toys out of their bedroom.
-everything has a spot. if you don’t have a spot for something you either need to get rid of it or get rid of something else to make room. when toys are arranged nicely on a shelf they are more likely to get played with. this makes cleaning up easier. i like to keep crayons/markers + craft supplies in nice jars or containers. i do the same with my pantry. oxo makes great airtight stackable containers. this keeps things neat a tidy.
– keep up on decluttering. this is a weekly/monthly chore. weekly, get rid of extra school papers + mail + trinkets from birthday party’s or mcdolands toys. monthly, go through closets + drawers and anywhere clutter is starting to pile up.
im not a minimalist in the sense of having 20 items of clothes and 1 blanket on my bed. i do keep “things” to a minimum to make room for memories. i spent a lot of my childhood cleaning. i remember most saturdays not getting to go play because we had to clean. it was bizarre as a child, i remember a friends sister saying “yeah right! you always say you have to clean. you guys are not cleaning that much.” we were. my mom has too much stuff. she holds onto stuff instead of memories. she still does and every time i talk to her she tells me how overwhelmed she is. how messy her house is and how she has to spend her weekends cleaning. no amount of cleaning will help with the clutter. get rid of things. enjoy your life and have fun with your family. you don’t want your kids to say all we did my whole childhood was clean!