Thursday, August 19, 2010

Simplfying my Life

Since I found Headgates I have massively dejunked my house.   Since I never was a pack rat before and I was a queen of organization I was very surprised to see how many things we had that we really didn't need.  Too much stuff!!

The first thing I did was I got rid of all our extra stuff.  Everything from movies, spatulas, plastic plants, sheets, clothes to lots and lots of books and toys. Why did I have so much stuff?

Once I started getting rid of  our stuff I was finally able to give up so many things that I had emotionally been holding onto. In that process I learned to think about things in a whole new way.  I finally began to understand what it meant to simplify my life (which didn't mean reorganize my stuff) and I began to love it.

Some of the things I things I've learned include:
  • We aren't going to spend Christmas/birthdays on the accumulation of more things.
  • I don't want to spend my time dusting and cleaning. Read here.
  • I don't want to spend my time reorganizing my organized clutter.
  • We wasted too much time watching movies.
  • We had too many books that weren't good books. They were mindless books that brought no value.  Abridged books were the first too go.
  • I only want to buy quality products now that have lasting value.  I want appliances that I will take to a repair shop because they are worth repairing.  This contrasts my previous view of buying cheap stuff and throwing it away when it ceased to operate.
  • We only need one or two extra pair of sheets not a dozen.
  • We only need four of five pairs of pants and no more than a dozen shirts for everyday.
  • We only need a minimum amount of shoes.
  • We don't need a thousand paper clips.
  • We spent too much on junk from the grocery store.
  • Walmart is a temptation to buy things you don't need and are low in quality. Avoid unless needing the necessary things.  But then are those things really necessary?
  • We waste too much paper.  We now only use the minimum. Read here.
  • My kids are happier playing with their two or three remaining toys and playing outside than they were before with too many to count and pick up.
  • We don't need a play room any more.
  • My kids really do choose to read and learn in their free time now.
  • I study and am happier more now that I don't feel overwhelmed about organizing my stuff.
  • We spent more time together as a family.  We interact, we play and we talk.
I've learned a lot.  Who knew we could live with so few things?  I continue to get rid of more and more things on a weekly basis.  It's amazing to me how many things keep showing up.  I have definately learned to rethink my choices with what I spend Mr. Patriot's hard earned money on.  I ask myself things like, "Is this item worth one or two hours (or five, six....) of my husband's life working so I can buy this?"  "Is this something I really need?"  "What purpose will it serve?" "Will it help us come closer to Christ and to each other as a family?"  "Is it an item of quality or will it break easily?" "Is it easy to clean?"  These things have helped me to pare down what we have.

I can't not begin to really state how amazing it is to be free of so many idols, time-wasters, space-wasters, energy-drainers, and money-wasers.

Challenge: Take inventory of the things in your house. Do you really need it? Get rid of it all! That's what I did.  I learned I could live without so many things.  You'll find that it's all just stuff anyway!


Angela said...

We weren't big gifters at Christmas before, just two gifts each kid and a stocking but even that is changing. We're still not sure what we're going to do about stockings but I'd imagine it will be more hygene or art supplies they actually need, maybe things like socks. The gifts this year (our boys are 4 and 6) will be something from mom and something from dad. Dad will make either wooden swords or a rubberband gun, whatever it ends up it will be made by dad. I'm making them sleeping caps, we call them nappy nap hats. It is very silly but something they've been asking for.

Basically Christmas will be about giving a gift from the heart. Not about junk or candy or stuff in general.

Angela said...

Oh the other thing I meant to comment about was your mention of wal-mart...I have a number of reasons I don't want to shop there BUT since I stopped shopping there I've been able to reduce my grocery bill even further. Yes it seems strange since I now shop at the more expensive grocery store (we don't have other options here) but it is true. We went from 400ish to 250 for our family of four. A friend couldn't figure out how I was saving money at this other store and I couldn't tell her at first. Then I went with my sister to wal-mart while she was visiting and the one thing I was going to pick up lead to 6 or 7 til I just put everything down except the planned item.

By shopping at a regular grocery store I save money because I don't have everything at my finger tips. Some purchases get put off and forgotten about (not a real need). Some get put off and purchased online. I don't buy processed foods so a lot of the savings are lost. And most of all though in my situation this store has much better produce so I almost never have to throw food away and I'm always able to get the good produce I need. Sure it might be a little more but I'm still able to stay in budget with careful planning.

Anyway my family saves money every single month by not shopping at Wal-Mart and that simplifies my life.

crazy4boys said...

Thanks for the ongoing encouragement! We got rid of a TON of stuff and I'm working on getting the remaining stuff all organized and finding a place for it. I know I'll probably be getting rid of more soon. My husband commented the other day how it seemed to be taking such a long time to clean and we looked at each other and said, "Time for another purge!!!"

It is very freeing to spend less time cleaning and organizing. Even worrying about it.

My kids seem happier and are playing together more often with less fighting.

buzy bee said...

We gave up birthday's this year...okay, not entirely. We say Happy Birthday and they choose whats for breakfast lunch and dinner on their birthday and we sometimes go out to a restaurant or for ice cream on their birthday but that is it. We tell them we love them a lot and how glad we are that they came into our family, and something about when they were younger, or pull out the family movies, but no gifts. My kids are really okay with it...I have not heard any complaining or whining..the daddy has a problem with it. ....(insert evil laugh here) next I'm going after Christmas :) We decided we would spend the "birthday" budget to buy a pass to a museum or concert or play or a family vacation. It has lifted a huge burden for me.

buzy bee said...

On an additional note...I'm a bargain shopper, so if I'm out (which I rarely am) and I see a deal then I buy it, even if it won't fit my kids for a year or two...It all began a few months before I found out we were having twins and the Spirit told me that a 2 year supply needed to be of clothes and gifts also since I basically didn't leave my house for two years :)....anyhow..I've continued the tradtion but now I put them in a bin in the basement labeled by size. If they need clothes then they can go shopping in the basement. I don't have to worry about what fits which birthday or christmas time or which ones they might like or hate. I just send them to the bin and say...try this size and this size, and be sure to leave the store nice and clean and presto! I love simplifying!

Christy said...

Since reading "The Headgate" I am loving simplifying our life as well. I didn't think I had that much stuff either, but I am STILL, after 2 months, finding things to get rid of. It has been a slow, continual process.

None of my "in person" friends and family understand all of this simplifying, so I have loved reading about all of your simplifying. It has been a great inspiration. I hope you continue to write about it!