Monday, November 15, 2010

more on less

my friend kathie posted a link to another blogger who is into non-consumeristic living (and is much more successful than i!). this post had me nodding my head the entire time i read it. in fact, most of the 14 suggestions i do myself.

i have been eyeing some great upcycled clothing on etsy and it is inspiring me to start sewing my own clothes again. i really want a serger to create some of the looks i like and have been shopping around. i was suprised to discover i could purchase one for about $200. i had always assumed they were much more. i realize this goes directly against what i am writing about but i think i would make more use out of the piles of old clothes i want to get rid of...i could create lots of clothes for myself and my kids. even though there's an upfront cost, the cost i would save in new clothes by sewing our own would be a great savings. even though 99% of our clothes come from thrift shops, i still can spend quite a bit there when i'm in the mood!

to make my 5 year plan an easy transition, i've been slowing purging items from our house. i have several boxes in the dining room that i need to load into the truck and drop off at a thrift store soon.

reasons/excuses i have for not purging more are:

-it's really hard to purge when your kids don't want to let go of anything. i am going to implement a 2 for 1 rule for everyone in the house: for every 1 thing you bring into the house you have to give up 2. i figure i'll start there and then try to increase the number over the next year or two.

-it is hard because as a homeschooling mom, i like to hang onto things that we could find useful in our schooling such as crafts and empty containers and boxes.

-i hold onto packing peanuts and bubble wrap from incoming packages to use on outgoing packages. i used to mail a lot of stuff with selling my herbal products, not so much anymore so hopefully i can let go of those through freecycle.

-i tend to buy too many books at thrift stores because they are cheap and they are great for homeschooling. i use the library a lot so i just need to trust the library can get me what we will need. it's been a huge resource so far and there are truly few books i needed to purchase that i couldn't get through them and needed for a resource. part of this is i had a lot of books around to read at my leisure as a child and i want the same opportunity for my children...we even went to a library weekly as i do now to get more books.

i think one thing that will be freeing of all this stuff, at least for me, will be the fact that i can't fit it all into  a tiny mobile home so it will either have to go in storage and be dealt with later (ugh!) or i can start letting go now and feel better.

it truly is hard to downscale when you live in a larger home though. i went from 900 sq. ft. for myself and my 2 kids to 2000 sq. ft. with 6 of us here the majority of the time and another 2 part time. but, even with the increased amount of people, i feel we have accumulated too much. even worse, we have a few outdoor sheds that double as storage units that are full of crap. when something breaks down or we get a surplus of furniture, instead of getting rid of the old, we move it to the sheds. why?! why don't we just get rid of it?! we'll never use it again, it is just nuts!

my goals for the next year include:
-gather all the old electronic equipment (old dinosaur computers, printers, etc) and take them to an electronic recycling center

-clean out the storage shed and freecycle/craiglist as much as possible

-develop better habits about dealing with papers

-finish cleaning out the basement

-downsizing the homestead items (like the cream separator that i will never use)

-continue to not shop at thrift stores (i used to go weekly) and don't take the kids when i do go! the problem with thrift store shopping is if i see something, i can't do the 'i'll wait 30 days and see if i still want it after then' because it will be gone so i tend to get things even if i've already got 5 of them at home.

does anyone else have plans to purge or are you already purging and simplifying your life? what tricks have you learned in the process to making it easier?


Anonymous said...

I like the 2:1 idea. Two girlfriends of mine passed along some clothes for me to look through, keep what I could wear, and then pass along what I could not. For each item kept, a current item went into the giveaway pile; We are in a 1:1 trade-in atm.

Kathie said...

I go through phases of purging where I'm absolutely brutal and tons of stuff goes, but then I tend to hang onto things I think might be useful too - jars, equipment, etc. I struggle with that whole "feet in both worlds" idea. I worry about what I might need after the crash, etc...

Keep an eye out for used sergers in your neck of the woods - people get frustrated with them super easily and sell them quickly, I've foudn.

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