Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Simplifying

Over the last few months, I've been thinking about and reading about several topics that feel interconnected to me -- decluttering my life/my possessions and taking control of finances. I want to pass on good habits to Little Bit. I want him to have the things he needs, but to also know that "things" aren't the goal. I want to have saving, investing, and living well below your means to be a part of our lives.

I have been a bit of a pack rat for awhile, so it's going to take some time and work to declutter. Things that can stay have to be useful, beautiful, or loved. Those criteria will help me decide what to keep or what to get rid of. I know that there are some things that I won't be able to part with yet, even though they aren't used. It will be an ongoing process. It only took me about 10 years to get rid of some notebooks full of class notes from college!

As part of keeping the clutter out of our house, we can decide not to buy frivolous things and not to buy on impulse. That will help with the financial goals as well. We have a list of purchases that we are budgeting for in the next 4-6 months. A little fun money every month for each of us will be a good idea, too. That way I can pick up a few books at Half Price Books without feeling guilty.

I started decluttering in my closet this past weekend. Everything that I do not love went into the charity donation box. Things I haven't worn in months (or even years!) went into the box. I did keep a few things that don't currently fit me, but I'm going to limit how many I keep. I still need to drop the box off at Goodwill, but I already feel a little lighter for having let go of those clothes.

The front room which we use for a music room and Little Bit's playroom works so well right now. There isn't too much stuff for the room, and everything has a place. We have Little Bit play "pick up!" often, so it doesn't get out of control.

3 comments:

Betsy Talbot said...

I love your criteria for decluttering - "useful, beautiful, or loved!" We are doing a 90% declutter in preparation for a trip around the world, and that includes some pretty tight budgeting as well.

One rule we have for decluttering is that for everything we bring into the house, something has to leave or be sold (usually through Craigslist). So I bought a book at the used bookstore today and gave one I already owned to a friend. If we can't think of something to get rid of, we can't bring anything in.

Best of luck on your decluttering efforts!

Avonlea said...

I've seen that criteria a lot in my reading recently, so I'm not sure who originally came up with it. The "useful, beautiful, or loved" criteria can really help in deciding what is clutter that needs to go. Even if it was a gift. Even if you paid a lot of money for it. Even if you want to hold onto it just in case.

The rule to have nothing coming in unless something goes out is a good one, too! I'm going to donate a fair amount to charity, but we also have the neighborhood yard sale day coming up next month as well.

Thanks for commenting, Betsy!

Amy @ Milk Breath and Margaritas said...

I got all tough and fearless on my closet a few weeks ago and then lost steam just looking around the massive amounts of stuff in the rest of the house.

I feel like I'd need to take two weeks off to make a dent.