Confession: I know I mentioned in last week’s post that I would have a low-carb granola bar recipe for you, well that turned into an epic fail so I am perfecting the recipe and will have it for you soon, promise!
This week I wanted to share some eye opening revelations I had over the weekend. I was inspired after watching Minimalism, a documentary on Netflix. If you haven’t seen this yet I HIGHLY recommend it, it is a total game changer, actually…a LIFE changer.
It follows two best friends, Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, as they explore the lives of minimalists from all walks of life—families, entrepreneurs, architects, artists, journalists, scientists, and even a former Wall Street broker—all of whom are striving to live a meaningful life with less. (They’ve also written a few books.)
I like to think I live a generally clutter-free life. When new stuff comes in the house, I get rid of the old stuff, but in reality, that isn’t always the case. In the 7+ years my H and I have lived together we went from a pretty bare house to every room and closet filled with stuff. Man, it just creeps up on you! Sure, we do a spring clean every year, donate old clothes, sell a few things, have a yard sale (we are far from hoarders) but after watching this documentary a light bulb came on.
If it doesn’t add value or functionality to your life, get rid of it. It’s about filling your life with experiences, not things.
That’s a bold statement, I know! And waaaay easier said than done.
Just before watching Minimalism, I had also joined a Find the Money Project Challenge on Facebook because I really want to buckle down and pay off our remaining debt in the next two years. I’m not talking about house and car payments, this is line of credit debt that my H and I accumulated over the past decade or so of our lives. We already managed to pay off over $10,000 and I wanted to keep that momentum going. I was really keen on going through our stuff and selling what we could to make some extra money.
These two things sent me into a decluttering frenzy. For real, just ask the H (I’m pretty sure he thought I was losing it), but after I encouraged him to watch the documentary he was totally on board!
(Should I mention we’re also obsessed with the show Tiny House, Big Living on HGTV?! I would LOVE to be able to live like that but honestly, I think that’s even a bit too extreme for me.)
If you’re anything like me I’m sure you’re thinking “YES! I want to declutter my home, but where do I start??”
Here’s where I began…
The easiest place to start would be your closet. Go through all of your clothes and decide which ones to donate/give away and which ones to sell. There are many resources online where you can sell items: Kijiji, Craigslist, Facebook Groups. I found the best one was Facebook. Search for a local buy and sell group in your area and get selling!
While you’re at it you might as well go through your linen closet. I couldn’t believe how many extra pillows we had! It could have made for a rad pillow fort, but instead those got tossed. I also decided to only keep two sets of sheets for our bed, one for the guest bed and one extra set for our blow up mattress, for the one time we may have that many guests in our house! I’m sure we could get away with only one set of guest sheets…baby steps.
“If these things haven’t delivered on their promises yet, it may be time to let them go.” ~ Frances Jay
CDs are quickly becoming obsolete with iTunes, Spotify and Google Play there is almost no need for them. You can carry literally thousands of songs on your phone. You can also “rip” the songs from your favourite CDs onto your computer as MP3 files. It takes a bit of time but will save you from purchasing them again. CDs have definitely lost a lot of their value but you can still sell them for $1-5 each.
We are huge movie fans and had grown quite the collection of DVDs. We decided to only keep BlueRays and our absolute favourite DVDs (that we actually watch), like Christmas movies and classics. Again, with streaming services such as Netflix and Crave you can really scale back your collection. We set aside a huge pile for the yard sale.
Onto video games. My H has scaled back big time in this department. He usually plays games on his PC and we only have one gaming console, a Wii. He kept a handful of games and the rest will be sold.
You don’t need more space, you need less stuff.
I used to be one of those people who felt like they had to hold onto collections of books, but this time around I got rid of every single book that I have read. I was also holding onto my books from college because #1. I paid a lot for them and #2. I thought I actually may use them again. But in 10+ years, I have never touched them.
If you have a series of books that you really LOVE and read over and over or would like to pass on to your children, by all means, keep them! They are clearly adding value to your life. But I am a strong believer in passing on the book once you’ve read it, let someone else enjoy it.
I am a self-procliamed product junkie! I have drawers in my bathroom full as well as a shelf (or two) in my linen closet. It was definitely getting out of hand. Go through all your make-up and beauty supplies and decide what should be tossed.
(Image source and more tips and tricks here.)
Next, do NOT buy any new products until the ones you have are all used up. Yes, I’m talking about those samples you got at Sephora that have never been opened. That’s free stuff, use it up!
Check out this video from Top Knot on Facebook for tips to stretch your dollar and get the most out of your products.
“It’s not about having less…it’s about making room for more: more time, more passion, more experiences, more growth, more contribution, more contentment. More freedom. Clearing the clutter from life’s path helps us make that room.” ~ The Minimalists
One of the tips in the Find the Money Project Challenge group was to eat ALL the food in your house before buying any new groceries. This one was hard. I definitely do not want to live off of beans and rice! I decided to really scale back though and use up what is in my freezer and only buy fresh produce weekly. It turns out I do have quite a bit of dried beans and rice, but since going low-carb I rarely eat those anymore, guess I’ll have to pawn them off on the H. Our freezer is actually not all that full. We buy fresh meat and produce weekly and always end up consuming it, so we rarely throw out spoiled food.
I did decide to go through all of my spices, flours, oils and vinegars and clean things up/toss stuff. I also went through my utensils, dishes, cookware and Tupperware and added more things to the yard sale pile.
I quickly realized I am one of those people who holds onto items “just in case”. For instance, I had a coffee maker sitting in my cupboard that I never use, since it’s just me who drinks it, I use a French press. I was holding on to it “just in case” company came and I needed to make a big pot. Well, besides the H’s parents coming out to visit, we’ve had no company in the past year…womp womp. So buh-bye coffee maker! **Sorry future guests, we will have to take turns sharing the French press.**Have less, live more. Tips and tricks to declutter your home. Click To Tweet
Those are just a few areas that you can start with. My tip would be to start small and then create a plan to tackle one room/area in your house every weekend. Designate a spare room or area for all the items you plan to sell, donate and throw away. Divide it up into those three sections. Once you are complete or if the piles start to get too big, begin making trips to your local dump to throw stuff away or your Good Will/Salvation Army to donate items. When you are left with all your sell items, plan a yard sale or post items for sale online and wait for the $$$ to roll in.
I’ll be sure to keep you updated on our progress as we just started!
In the meantime, here are some more resources and inspiration to help you declutter, have less and live more.
I’d love to hear your tips and tricks too.
Have you decided to scale back?
Could you live a minimalist lifestyle?
Would ever go so far as to living in a tiny home?
What’s one room you wish you could wave a magic wand in and have completely organized?