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Decluttering and Minimalism

 
pollinator
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I thought this might be a good topic for this part of the forum.  I've been working hard at decluttering my house for the last year or so, and it has helped a lot with making the house easier to clean and more comfortable to live in.  There are a number of good books on minimalism -- I'm not going overboard in that direction, because in order to live the 'homesteading/permaculture' lifestyle, there are things we need to own that someone living in a city apartment might not need -- like milking equipment, and canning equipment, and so on.  And we need work clothes as well as going to town and going to special occasions clothing.  But I still read the books on minimalism for inspiration and to keep me going.

There's also a book called How to Manage Your Home Without Losing Your Mind by Dana White of A Slob Comes Clean.  That's been very helpful to me; I plan to get copies for my granddaughters and my nieces (and maybe my grandson, too, LOL!).

Knowing how to clean things is important, but it is very helpful to reduce the cleaning to an irreducible minimum, and only have things that you really need or want to keep.

Kathleen
 
pollinator
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I completely agree fon't stuff your 2000sqft house to the point were only the garage feels like home.
Don't slave away working two jobs for a 2,000sqft house with 1,000 acres when 900sqft and 15 acres would do fine.
Life should be about living and doing interesting/fun stuff and not busy work that we don't enjoy.

I have found the things that make me most happy/excited/etc doesn't require hordes of possession or tons of money when compared to the "Jones' across the street.

It's usually the simple stuff, like hanging out with friends/family, learning something interesting, getting a project done, challenging my body or just being one with nature/self/being present.

Alot of times it seems like we have been brainwashed to buy too much and then we end up doing so little living that we horde everything we used on say the only time we ever when on a camping trip 15yrs ago. No nee to horde it, just live more.
 
pollinator
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I like the humor in her writing style.  She came out with another book specifically geared toward clutter called "Decluttering at the Speed of Life" that was also helpful.

I like to read books on getting rid of stuff as motivation to stay on top of things too even if I don't always apply it!
 
master pollinator
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We just decluttered and moved into a Tiny House (Husband/Wife with 4 kids ages 5-14). We really like it.

Unlike our sprawling other house, it forces us to be a family, and forced Katie and I to really look at our possessions because having a place to put things meant it was easier to hold on to them. We are minimalist by nature anyway, not to mention 39 and 44. As was always said, "Up to age 40 you acquire things, and after 40 you spend all your time trying to get rid of them!"

Right now we have a lot of stuff in storage in our barn, but if our home sells, we will inevitably have to reduce that down as well.
 
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I would buy her book, but I have no place to put it! LOL Actually, I may just buy it for my partner. I tend to be the type who does get rid of "things" and live a decluttered existence while he tends to be the type who collects...everything! For me, if I haven't used it in 6 months, don't plan to use it in the next 6 months, and don't know why in the world I'm hanging on to it, it goes! We actually had a conversation about this yesterday while I was tossing some useless things that have been in my workshop for a while, and some useful things I don't use but someone else might be able to. I opened a draw with old door hardware. ME: "Why are we holding on to these old brass plates and glass door knobs?" HIM: "In case we get some doors." ME: Why are we holding on to these 3 old, rusted out lanterns?" HIM: "I like them." ME, "But I can use those hooks to hang tools that I use and have more room on my bench." HIM: "But I like to look at them." ME: ~Just shaking my head~
 
Posts: 125
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Someone who is good at hoarding is able to use their valuable products and has no need to clean them when they are being stored. Some people who do not hoard tend to buy more cheap low quality products and throw them out. If you have the space you should consider keeping everything that is potentially useful or at least find a home for it.

I often find really good stuff in bins and tips. I found a $200 led light and aquarium 6 months ago.
 
Travis Johnson
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Jim Guinn wrote:For me, if I haven't used it in 6 months, don't plan to use it in the next 6 months, and don't know why in the world I'm hanging on to it, it goes!



My wife and I are like this as well, but there are two exceptions for us: Tools and Kitchen items. Neither one of us collect this stuff as a passion (I prefer hand tools over power tools), but it might be a long span of time between projects. For instance the last time I built kitchen cabinet was two years ago, but in a few months when I buid new ones for this Tiny House, those tools will be really needed. It is beyond having used thm in the last six months rule, but considering a human can barely stand on two feet, and needs tools to do anything, it is imperative that we have them when we need them.
 
Jim Guinn
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Have to agree with you on that one, Travis. Tools are the exception.
 
master pollinator
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Decluttering is my goal for the new year.  I've seriously decluttered my dad's house, now it's time to work on my own spaces.  Unfortunately, for me at least it's much easier to declutter someone else's stuff than my own...I instantly fall into the "this might be useful some day" trap.

 
Chris Wang
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Tyler Ludens wrote:I instantly fall into the "this might be useful some day" trap.



There is a good chance it will be useful, if not for yourself for someone else. Some people do have real problems with hoarding, but most people I know who would be considered hoarders are actually people who have the brains to use most of stuff they have. I'm very much pro hoarding, unless it becomes a health problem.
 
gardener
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I tend towards hoarding myself. Keeping it under control has required a combination of strict rules about never bringing anything home if we don't have a "put in place" for it.  For some items that requires a one in one out strategy.  

As an good example from yesterday, I found a nice large crystal bowl at the thrift store. Next time I go there I will be donating an old decanter I've been carting around since my teens.  That created a big enough hole for the new bowl to fit on the serveware shelf.

As a bad example, I was at the store to find a shelving unit that we could use to store canisters of dehydrated foods. Without more storage we had no good place to keep the foods after we dried them.  For 10 dollars we found a short pine shelf.  With some scrap materials and brackets we turned it into one table holds the dehydrator and storage canisters. Much better than the folding bistro table from the yard.
 
pollinator
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I have read and employed strategies from

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying by Marie Kondo

A short read, with good advice. Boils down to; we have too much stuff, get rid of lots of it, then organise what is left well. Many of us end up with houses dedicated to storing crap rather than living.
 
pollinator
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https://www.amazon.com/Organizing-Inside-Out-second-Foolproof-ebook/dp/B00268EVLS/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1546359687&sr=8-2&keywords=organizing+from+the+inside+out+by+julie+morgenstern

This book taught me the need to think like a kindergarden class room,   a place for everything, and everything is in it's place.   Some wood shops in high schools have an outline of the tool so you can look up and see if anything is missing by the outline of the tool.

Creating zones in your home helps to identify where things go, as a sleeping zone, cooking zone, entertainment.    So everything goes where that activity happens.





This guy deals with the trap of "Sentimental items"....     you keep all of your homework from the 4th grade thru high school,   Why???   because when you die someone else will haul it to the garbage dump.      Sad but true, I have started to look at the things I have in terms of how long my working lifespan is ( the time before I goto a nursing home ).      If we think in terms of what the end game is then we can see a better perspective of what happens to my junk after I die.     Do I want my kids to deal with this ?    

Another point he makes is to have the things around you, you love, so quality over quantity.




I myself, struggle between being a prepper and a miniminalist, I want to have everything for when things go wrong, but I want to also be able to walk thru my home.  :-)

The struggle is real.
 
Tina Hillel
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After the struggle to clear our parents house, both my sister and I have been tossing a lot of our own.

I have been trying to pare down to one bin of my sentimental items. My goal to finish that project this year.

I have two zones basically. Our 800 sq foot house as living space and the hoarding shed. If (when, realistically) something happens to my husband and I, my sister will just burn the shed as we live pretty different lifestyles 😀
 
S Bengi
pollinator
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I think a true prepper is someone who could be dropped in 1707 and still survive.
I just don't see those folks with alot of 'prepper equipment'.
What they did have is skills. They knew how to:
1) identify wild edibles and medicinals
2) forage and grow medicinal mushroom and edible mushroom
3) knew how to purify water with good microbes beer/cider/kefir/etc
4) they knew how to make a crossbow and a fishing rod
5) they knew how to hunt duck/turkey/bird, how to fish, how to hunt+dress a deer
6) they knew how to farm and preserve food
7) they knew to be a field EMT and make emergency shelters

None of the things listed above require alot of pepper equipment.
When SHTF I don't need 20yrs of car parts or parts for fridge.
A simple Toolbox+camping gear+medic kit is all that is really needed.
I refuse to give Bill Gates and his rich multinational friends anymore money for prepper stuff, that isn't 80% skill based.
 
master steward
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When we sold our homestead to move into a tiny house, I had to declutter and get ready for a minimalist lifestyle.  There were thing to get rid of, things to store (very little) and a whole lot of things to sell.

What helped me most was I found Fly Lady.  Her principles and advice made it so easy for me to accomplish what I had ti do.  Mostly she helped my learn how to get it done.

Back then, she recommended putting your shoes on before you to anything else.  That is the one thing that stands out that I think helped me.

Even today, I look back at that time and am so glad I found her group on yahoo.

The she helped me get organized.

Here is her playlist on Youtube:  https://www.youtube.com/user/TheFLYLADY/playlists

 
 
Tina Hillel
pollinator
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Years later I still get her calendar! Only one I could fit our whole life on including my planting and harvesting notes.

Following her plan made a huge difference in simplfying my life. I still use a version of her am/pm routines.

Great suggestion Anne!
 
pollinator
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Tina Hillel wrote:After the struggle to clear our parents house, both my sister and I have been tossing a lot of our own.


Oh yes. Just cleaned out my mother's house (and 35+ years of clutter) this summer, when I got home I was ruthless in my own house. I am NOT doing that again, and I don't want to put anyone else through it (my mother is still alive- she sold her house but couldn't face cleaning it out, she was literally going to pay movers to pack it all up and store it somewhere. The clutter was mostly just junk, nothing valuable. We might have made 2000$ from the good furniture/appliances, MAYBE, the rest was all crap.)

The best part of this forced march (I had 3 weeks to get everything out of the house and have it shipshape, in a rural area with no trash pickup or dump it was a real challenge) was that I had a garage sale and decided to charge practically nothing. "Oh, how about a dollar for all of those longaberger baskets?" I had a fabulous day because people were so happy, and the things got a new home.
 
Kathleen Sanderson
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My mother and step-father are hoarders. They live in a 1700 s.f. four bedroom home that is literally so full you can hardly walk through it.  My step-father has turned the living area into his office and has at least fifty file cabinets stacked up to form the walls, and filling the space (he researches forest fire lookouts and has a huge website on the subject).  My mother has three bedrooms and a bedroom-sized pantry, all so full of stuff that you can barely get into them.  You can't see the kitchen counters because they are so stacked up with stuff.  That's just in the house.  They have twenty acres, and there are two forty-foot shipping containers in the yard, both full of stuff.  There are a couple of old travel trailers, full of stuff.  There is a covered area (two or three Costco carports together) with more stuff in it.  There are two Wells Cargo trailers full of stuff.  And there are piles of stuff on the ground.

I've moved often enough in my life that I've learned to go through things periodically and get rid of anything superfluous, but Mom's house has been my real inspiration for decluttering.  I dread the day when we have to clear her place out so it can be sold.  Actually, at this point, it will probably be mostly my two younger sisters (who are in their fifties, but don't have bad backs like I do).  But anyway, having a hoarder in the family is a real inspiration to NOT do that to my own home!  My mother was born in 1936; I have a theory that growing up during the Depression and WWII has something to do with certain people growing up clutching their possessions so tightly.  
 
Travis Johnson
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Kathleen Sanderson wrote:My mother and step-father are hoarders. They live in a 1700 s.f. four bedroom home that is literally so full you can hardly walk through it.  My step-father has turned the living area into his office and has at least fifty file cabinets stacked up to form the walls, and filling the space (he researches forest fire lookouts and has a huge website on the subject).  My mother has three bedrooms and a bedroom-sized pantry, all so full of stuff that you can barely get into them.  You can't see the kitchen counters because they are so stacked up with stuff.  That's just in the house.  They have twenty acres, and there are two forty-foot shipping containers in the yard, both full of stuff.  There are a couple of old travel trailers, full of stuff.  There is a covered area (two or three Costco carports together) with more stuff in it.  There are two Wells Cargo trailers full of stuff.  And there are piles of stuff on the ground.

I've moved often enough in my life that I've learned to go through things periodically and get rid of anything superfluous, but Mom's house has been my real inspiration for decluttering.  I dread the day when we have to clear her place out so it can be sold.  Actually, at this point, it will probably be mostly my two younger sisters (who are in their fifties, but don't have bad backs like I do).  But anyway, having a hoarder in the family is a real inspiration to NOT do that to my own home!  My mother was born in 1936; I have a theory that growing up during the Depression and WWII has something to do with certain people growing up clutching their possessions so tightly.  




My parents are the same way. They have never had a mortgage, but instead of doing something meaningful with their savings, they just bought more junk. Their house is almost 6000 square feet, and they have garage space for 8 cars. My mother or father will go to town, buy things, and years later it is still be in the unopened package. It is absolutely insane.

It is 100% because of this that I am a minimalist. I do not want that, and like you, dread the day I have to swamp out their house.
 
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