Tag Archives: Goals

Things I Learned by Downsizing – Part Two – Books, Clothes, Household Items

Previously you read how I minimized the papers in my life. I hope that my story and tips help you reduce the amount of dust that collects in your attic. Today we’re looking at how to reduce the amount of books, clothes, and household items we have.

Books

My treasured possessions were my books. Boxes in the attic, stacks and shelves in the house and the garage. Books were everywhere! I figured it best to begin with the hardest things to get rid of. So, one night I set up three long tables in my living room, and my friend helped me stack those tables high with books. I invited people over to take whatever they wanted. I wondered if I’d regret letting my precious books go. After the last friend left with a book bag full, I packed up what remained and donated them to a local non-profit the following day. I felt lighter.

Clothes

Just today I dressed for a meeting, looked in the mirror and said to myself, “Nope. I don’t love it. It’s outta here” and I tossed it in a box. Project 333 helped me reduce my wardrobe.

Now I own about 60 pieces of clothing, half cool weather and half warm weather clothes. So far, no regrets about anything I gave away or sold at garage sales.

Unexpected benefit of owning less clothing: less laundry! I don’t know any woman who wouldn’t like less laundry.

Household Items

Bowls, plates, glasses, sheets, towels, blankets. We had WAY too many of these. My new kitchen is half the size of the previous one, so most of the superfluous items found their way to the driveway at the old house and were sold at garage sales.

Closet space is scarce at the new house, so I kept one spare set of sheets for the beds and one set of towels for each bathroom. Simple feels so good!

The greatest blessings of downsizing:

  • Friends adopting books I gave away
  • Thrift store owner loading up old patio furniture to resell
  • Children who spent their shiny quarters for board games, toys and books
  • Friends who repurposed framed art and wall décor
  • My kids furnished their homes with pieces from our house
  • Handyman using our old fence boards for projects

Thanks

I have so many people to thank for enduring this process with me: Serena, Kelly, Glenna, Silva, Bonnie, Carrie, Shawna, Dot, Aaron, Michelle, Lauren, Loren, Marisa, Toby, Fran, Joann, and the good folks at Neighborhood Thrift store.

To my dear husband: Thanks for putting up with my recovery process as a former pack rat. I love our smaller home, simpler life…and, you!

In the letting go, I was blessed to see the joy on all of these faces as they relieved us of our possessions. Switchfoot singer/songwriter Jon Foreman asks, “do you posses your possessions or do they possess you?” How would you answer that question?

Helpful links:

How The Minimalists began minimizing

If the House Burns Down Tonight – Switchfoot

Clean Out Your Closet – Project 33

Neighborhood Thrift

 

Things I Learned by Downsizing – Part One – Papers     

 

I’m back to blogging this week–finally! This last move into a smaller home has been the biggest task of my life. Impacting my thoughts, emotions, and body has been a good transformative process and I’m thankful to be settled now.

The downsizing process began a couple of years ago by reading “Everything That Remains” in two sittings. My thoughts about stuff will never be the same.

Since moving into a smaller home a few months ago with one-third less stuff, here are the things I learned about purging the papers in my life:

Kids school papers

Everything from math fact worksheets to book reports cluttered our attic. Multiply this by three since I kept schoolwork from all of my children. Instead of keeping all those papers, send them to grandparents and special people in your lives or use them to make an envelope or wrap a gift. Take photos of their artwork, they’ll be digital and last longer.

Pay stubs, bills, and receipts

I cannot tell you how many boxes of this stuff I found in the garage and attic, including paycheck stubs from my first job in the 70s and receipts from a zillion places for things we don’t even own anymore. I tried shredding and burning it all myself, but it was taking ages and burnt out my shredder. My friend offered to take dozen boxes off my hands and had them shredded for me.

Journals, recipes, letters

Hysteria erupted when my husband found my diary from high school and saw all those tear-stained pages of my true loves lost! I’m so glad we found all my journals. Now, they are together in one box, a collage of my thought life.

The butter-stained recipes written by my mother, grandmother and precious friends are in a separate box together. Maybe someday I’ll compile a book of these handwritten recipes.

My grandma wrote to me weekly when I lived out-of-state for a couple of years. She passed away nearly 30 years ago, but I have all of those letters in a special box now. It felt like a warm hug to read her words. I’ll do that again someday when I am missing her. I’ve added cards and letters from other grandparents and loved ones to that box. A separate box holds the cards and letters from my two best friends I met in first grade and we are still best friends today.

Cards

So many boxes of cards! Some of those are in my new garage waiting to be sorted. I saved the ones with heartfelt notes inside and the ones my kids made all those Mother’s days ago. Though, most of the cards landed in the recycle bin.

Rewards of purging paper

The rewards are too numerous to mention, but the greatest is how much lighter my life feels. I felt buried underneath all of this paper/memorabilia and I’m glad it’s almost all gone.

Tips for a successful paper purge:

  • Hire a professional organizer. My favorite organizer works locally here
  • Keep your children’s original writings and art
  • Don’t buy storage containers–you’ll have plenty once you start getting rid of stuff
  • Follow “minimalist” types on social media
  • Keep receipts for big items, like furniture, vehicles, and home improvements

Is it time for you to shred, box, give-away, or recycle some papers?

Come back next time for tips about clearing out books, clothes, and household items.

Happy Birthday!

Today is my husband’s birthday. When I think about him, my mind is flooded with memories of all the places we’ve traveled. Here are a few:

  1. Rome
  2. New York
  3. Charlottesville
  4. Lakeside
  5. San Francisco
  6. Glacier NP
  7. Seattle
  8. Portland
  9. Cambria
  10. Yellowstone
  11. Calistoga
  12. Death Valley
  13. Sacramento
  14. Morro Bay
  15. Monterey
  16. Coarsegold
  17. Yosemite NP
  18. Kings Canyon NP
  19. Sequoia NP
  20. St. Augustine
  21. New Orleans
  22. San Diego
  23. Monticello
  24. Thomas
  25. Cancun
  26. Palm Desert
  27. Boston
  28. Bryce Canyon NP
  29. Phoenix
  30. Houston
  31. Brazos Bend
  32. Nacogdoches
  33. Chicago
  34. Fountain Valley
  35. Laguna Beach
  36. Cayucos
  37. Bass Lake
  38. Shaver Lake
  39. Paso Robles
  40. Lake Tahoe
  41. Zion NP
  42. Colorado
  43. Williamsburg
  44. Philadelphia
  45. Glen Allen
  46. Anaheim
  47. Buena Park
  48. Garden Grove
  49. Clovis
  50. Selma
  51. Oakhurst
  52. Memphis
  53. Tupelo
  54. Kauai
  55. Iguazu Falls

We’ve driven and flown thousands of miles, kayaked, swam with dolphins, hiked, and walked in the sun, rain and snow.

So, here’s to many more years of life as we continue this journey together, side-by-side.

Happy Birthday, Honey!

 

Two Questions

But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.  James 1:5-8 (NASB)

calendar graphic

When making a decision about what and what not to do, ask yourself these two questions:

1)  Does this support my life goals?

2)  What difference will it make a week, a month or a year from now?

These questions may help you discern if a volunteer opportunity, job, or relationship supports your overall purpose. For instance, I essentially have no known or recognizable musical talent. So it’s easy for me to skip try-outs for any instrumental or singing gigs. However, if someone needs prayer or help writing a letter, I’m the girl for the job.

God can stretch us and challenge barriers we set up for ourselves, but if we have a sense of who we are and where we’re going in life it makes it easier to say no to certain things and not feel bad about it. Most importantly, wisdom is available to us in whatever circumstances we encounter. We must confidently ask God for wisdom in faith and without doubting. Habitual doubting keeps us from moving forward. Be single-minded and seek wisdom.