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Molly
10-1-16, 5:40pm
We are empty nesters and will be downsizing from a 2300 square foot home to maybe 1500-1800 sq ft. I started clearing out things I have not used in a year or more, and darned if I didn't need a couple of those things I donated about a week or two later!

Has anyone had experience with this? It killed me to have to go out and buy another of something I just gave away.

How do you really know what you will need or not?

I am really craving a minimalist lifestyle. I like space around me, not stuff. We have 30 years accumulated, and when we move, I don't want to cram a lot of stuff in small spaces.

I would love to hear your experiences.

Chicken lady
10-1-16, 6:04pm
How long until you move? My plan for the new kitchen is to leave everything in the old kitchen and move it when I need it. By the end of the year, it should be pretty clear what goes and what stays.

ultralite angler posted about a "packing party" which is sort of a more extreme version of the same idea.

razz
10-1-16, 6:13pm
I watched what I needed over a year and chose those items, found new homes for the balance. Sometimes the new replacement does many jobs rather than having a number of items. It helped that my new kitchen had a very limited amount of space in cupboards and drawers. Go into some container stores and see what is offered there.
From 2300 to 1800 sq ft is not that big of a jump down. You may be surprised how little you end up reducing.

sweetana3
10-1-16, 6:31pm
Mostly don't get rid of things you use. Get rid of things you only look at. Get rid of duplicates and become an expert at making do.

Example: I don't need a chopper or food processor or any gadget that cuts things. I use a good knife and cutting board.

Another example: I use rice bowls for almost anything from soup, to nuts, to ice cream to ingredients needed in cooking. I store leftovers in them with a plastic cover. I find them cheap and use only white dishes. They are endlessly useful. I use pie plates for all kinds of cooking. Even got the last two at the thrift store.

Another one: A silicone spoon/spatula is what I do all my stirring with. Wont melt, does a good job scraping without damaging pans, large enough to work well.

I have two pots with lids (a small and large stock pot) and do most of my cooking with those and two sizes of saute pans.

19Sandy
10-1-16, 7:09pm
It sounds like you are losing a room or two along with closet space.

I like Marie Kondo's books Spark Joy to downsize.

Moving is time-consuming, expensive and stressful - don't wait until the last minute to declutter.

If there are fewer bedrooms, then get rid of bedroom furniture.

Get rid of books, knickknacks, artwork and stuff that you have not used.

Holiday decorations might need to go.

Ultralight
10-2-16, 8:57am
Molly:

I tell folks interested in minimalist that it is like the sport of boxing -- 10% physical and 90% mental.

Some folks misinterpret this to mean they can just hold the minimalist philosophy but keep 90% of their stuff.

But what it really means is that if you get your mind right about minimalism then you are 90% of the way there. The 10% is just the jettisoning of stuff you don't use/want/need.

I have an extreme minimalist friend -- Richard. He drives a little Honda Fit. He can squeeze everything he owns, minus one chair and a chest of drawers, into it.

And this is something he often says:

"If you are a cyclist and you have a road bike that you love for racing or touring, a commuter bike that you love to take to work and the grocery, a mountain bike you take on your vacations out west, and a unicycle you take to ride around outdoor festivals then minimalism does not mean getting rid of any of these bikes. But it probably means getting rid of those skis you have had hanging in your garage that you have not used since 1997."

Ya dig?

:)

Ultralight
10-2-16, 9:01am
We are empty nesters and will be downsizing from a 2300 square foot home to maybe 1500-1800 sq ft.

This could be a fun right-sizing!

Some may try to zing you and say 2300 to 1500 is not that big of a jump down. But it actually is! This is especially true if you consider that you want a lot of open space. You will likely be tossing half your dang stuff!

Again, this should be mostly fun! But the best part of minimizing is being done with minimizing -- enjoying the space, the peacefulness of mind, the calming simplicity, and the freedom. :)

catherine
10-2-16, 9:17am
Molly:

I have an extreme minimalist friend -- Richard. He drives a little Honda Fit. He can squeeze everything he owns, minus one chair and a chest of drawers, into it.


In my family there are 5 Honda Fits (DH, DS, DD, DDIL, and DDIL's father), and if you're a minimalist who wants to stuff all their stuff into a car, the Fit is the right car for the job! It's great.

But on the topic at hand, when I took a personal "time-out" by renting a furnished home near the beach for 6 weeks, I intentionally took very, very little. I think I had 3 outfits and my make-up. Then there was one plastic tub of work-related material I needed (it was kind of my portable office). I also brought my computer and phone, of course, and (my daughter thought this was really weird) my favorite grains and spices. I also chose, for a personal touch, a painting of the sea my brother had made me.

My stuff took up maybe one drawer in the bedroom. There were 3-4 hangers that were used in the closet, and I had maybe 2 pairs of shoes.

In the six weeks I lived there, I never wanted for anything. I had remembered all the important stuff for that particular time. Obviously, the easy part was knowing that all my other stuff was still safe an hour away--like a big security blanket, but it reinforced for me that not only do I need far less than I think I do, but I felt so peaceful there. It was a tiny place (probably about 400 sq ft) but I felt great. It was just the right size for me.

Ultralight
10-2-16, 10:42am
In my family there are 5 Honda Fits (DH, DS, DD, DDIL, and DDIL's father), and if you're a minimalist who wants to stuff all their stuff into a car, the Fit is the right car for the job! It's great.

But on the topic at hand, when I took a personal "time-out" by renting a furnished home near the beach for 6 weeks, I intentionally took very, very little. I think I had 3 outfits and my make-up. Then there was one plastic tub of work-related material I needed (it was kind of my portable office). I also brought my computer and phone, of course, and (my daughter thought this was really weird) my favorite grains and spices. I also chose, for a personal touch, a painting of the sea my brother had made me.

My stuff took up maybe one drawer in the bedroom. There were 3-4 hangers that were used in the closet, and I had maybe 2 pairs of shoes.

In the six weeks I lived there, I never wanted for anything. I had remembered all the important stuff for that particular time. Obviously, the easy part was knowing that all my other stuff was still safe an hour away--like a big security blanket, but it reinforced for me that not only do I need far less than I think I do, but I felt so peaceful there. It was a tiny place (probably about 400 sq ft) but I felt great. It was just the right size for me.

Excellent Lifestyle Experiment!

And this brings up how lifestyle experiments (LEs) can really help you figure out what is best for you - 15 things, 100 things, 1000 things? Not counting things but just going with your gut feeling about "enough?"

I am continually surprised by how I can feel content or even quite happy with very, very little. I did an LE a few times where I lived on $1.50 of groceries a day for a week. While I felt a bit listless and hungry at night, my overall happiness stayed the same. And the first few days I felt really good because I tend to overeat anyway. haha

So I learned I can be quite content the vast majority of the time on simple, inexpensive foods. But it does take discipline and focus. And a big ass bag of rice! :)

Currently I am seeing just how minimalist I can take my favorite (at the moment) hobby -- fishing!

I sold my canoe and keep my waders in the closet. I fish just a few of the smaller lakes in the area from my rubber boots. My tackle box fits in the back pocket of my blue jeans. You get the idea...

And I still have plenty of fun! I still catch plenty of fish -- yesterday I caught 4 crappie, a perch, and a 20 inch channel cat. All great-eating!

But it involved very little gear; it was minimalist fishing at it funnest!

So consider some LEs. They might give you insights on your right-sizing goals and techniques.

JaneV2.0
10-2-16, 10:51am
I've downsized a couple of books that I've had to rebuy, but so far that's it. I did just snag a collapsible colander set out of the "to go" box when I realized two of them would be perfect accessories for my Instant Pot. Good save, Jane.

Molly
10-2-16, 11:11am
What is a Lifestyle Experiment? Sounds interesting and worth trying.

I just got back from a week at a national park. Of course I needed very little. I'm guessing a Lifestyle Experiment is more than that? Do you have to move out of your house for awhile?

As for books, I own very few. I am a retired librarian and people are usually surprised I don't have more. But I know I can always get what I need at the library without having to take up space in my home.

Ultralight
10-2-16, 11:25am
As for books, I own very few. I am a retired librarian and people are usually surprised I don't have more. But I know I can always get what I need at the library without having to take up space in my home.

I have a massive collection of books. You have probably read some books from it. I keep my collection in all of America's public libraries. ;)

iris lilies
10-2-16, 12:58pm
I have a massive collection of books. You have probably read some books from it. I keep my collection in all of America's public libraries. ;)
Me too. About 40 years ago I decided not to buy books. That was after moving a couple of times. I, too, worked in libraries for decades.

now, in retirement, I find myself backsliding and buying a few digital books. They dont take up physical space. I like savoring a couple of them for months, so I dont have to worry about returning them on time to the library. Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch is one I am savoring.

Teacher Terry
10-2-16, 5:46pm
We downsized from 1800 to `1400 sq ft and got rid of a ton of stuff including furniture. We no longer had a formal LR and family room, etc. I have never had to rebuy something I got rid of. WE got rid of furniture, books, nik-naks, art work, clothes, porcelain dolls, etc.

freshstart
10-3-16, 1:45pm
my goal when my parents die is to get a 2 BR condo. So much will have to go, especially furniture. I already downsized to buy this house with them. The only thing I had a hard time getting rid of was my modern DR set. It was not expensive but I just loved it. It was miles too small for the DR here. I ended up selling it in pieces; chairs, the glass table top and I hated that. But the base never went to the dump and I think I may keep it because I'm sure it would be the perfect fit for a condo-sized DR.

I think I could live quite happily in even a one BR condo and I look forward to not being surrounded by stuff. The hard part will be physically getting rid of what is here now. I wish I felt better so I could start.

Float On
10-3-16, 2:10pm
You may find that you do have to replace some things. Large overstuffed furniture does a great job at filling a large living room with cathedral ceilings but a smaller living room with 10' ceilings calls for more small framed furniture. Took me a few tries but I finally found the right small sized rectangle shaped table to fit my eat-in kitchen in my 1500 sq ft cabin. Round and Square just didn't have enough room around them. Took me a while to find a smaller framed recliner that would fit our living room. Still thinking about changing from sofa/loveseat/recliner to 2 chairs and loveseat.

Be kind to yourself in discovering what works. Be willing to say "I thought that would fit but it doesn't". Be willing to use things in rooms they aren't intended for. Since I don't have a real dining room my buffet is lovely in the living room. The chiffarobe from my childhood meanwhile does fit in the kitchen/dining area corner by the back door and makes a great place to store gadgets, batteries, gloves, games, etc. We had 4 small bedrooms and I was willing to turn one into a laundry/sewing and it holds organizers for clothing that don't fit in closets (no dressers in the kids rooms). My smallest room is my kitchen so I have very little that other's would think are needed. No big fancy knife set - I get by with 3. No salad spinner (local board joke), the dishes I have are used year round (use to store the china in the buffet in the living - but sold the china).

Ultralight
10-3-16, 2:53pm
Worrying about needing things later can trick you into keeping many things you will never need.

LDAHL
10-3-16, 3:25pm
Worrying about needing things later can trick you into keeping many things you will never need.

I know a farmer who has every car and truck and farm implement that he, his father and his grandfather ever owned rusting away on his land in case he ever needs them for spare parts. It's sort of weirdly beautiful.

Ultralight
10-3-16, 3:32pm
I know a farmer who has every car and truck and farm implement that he, his father and his grandfather ever owned rusting away on his land in case he ever needs them for spare parts. It's sort of weirdly beautiful.

Lemme zing you with an uncharacteristically right-wing zinger:

"I bet he could get a National Endowment For The Arts grant for that project." :devil:

LDAHL
10-3-16, 3:42pm
Lemme zing you with an uncharacteristically right-wing zinger:

"I bet he could get a National Endowment For The Arts grant for that project." :devil:

He could call it "Rust Belt Requiem Number 4".

Ultralight
10-3-16, 3:46pm
He could call it "Rust Belt Requiem Number 4".

I lol.

greenclaire
10-3-16, 3:55pm
British houses are on the average much much smaller than North American ones, I think the average here is only around 800 sq ft. So to me, even 1800 sounds enormous! What I would say is that even in my tiny English house I have a lot of space so it is possible to live in a smaller house comfortably, you do just have to be more selective and not have replicas of anything. Yes there is always the chance you get rid of something that you may find a use for in 10 years time.....but think of the 10 years living in a clutter free environment you've gained by getting rid of that item.

Ultralight
10-3-16, 3:58pm
British houses are on the average much much smaller than North American ones, I think the average here is only around 800 sq ft.

Here in the US we call that a "walk-in closet."

Float On
10-3-16, 4:00pm
British houses are on the average much much smaller than North American ones,

I've been watching some episodes of various British shows that feature "council housing" and make mention of "bedroom tax". Sounds like they don't want you to have the typical American thought of "we've got 5 bedrooms even though there are only 2 of us because we've got hobbies and home offices, workout rooms, etc". Is the bedroom tax only on council housing or all housing?

greenclaire
10-3-16, 4:04pm
I've been watching some episodes of various British shows that feature "council housing" and make mention of "bedroom tax". Sounds like they don't want you to have the typical American thought of "we've got 5 bedrooms even though there are only 2 of us because we've got hobbies and home offices, workout rooms, etc". Is the bedroom tax only on council housing or all housing?

The bedroom tax only affects people who claim housing benefit (government help with their rent and council tax due to disability or a low income). In the past people could claim back rent for massive houses so the government capped how big the house was that you could claim for. The bedroom tax isn't really a tax per se but a deduction in the benefit based on spare rooms in a house.

Teacher Terry
10-3-16, 4:30pm
I agree with using pieces in other places like Float on suggested. In our house I have the buffet in the living room even though we have a dining room because it is low and long and i have a perfect spot in he LR. In the dining room I have a wall that needs tall and high and I have an antique oak dresser. It looks great. Also sometimes a few large pieces in the LR will look better then all small furniture. i read that in a magazine, have tried it and it can work too.

19Sandy
10-3-16, 6:35pm
I used to have hundreds of books but now only have a few on a shelf and a few rather degraded childhood books in a tote container.

After having the flu for a week I think my fuzzy brain and wozziness are gone so maybe I can get back to decluttering this week using the Spark Joy method.

The weather here is lovely though so I should take advantage of it before winter arrives.

I don't like having a lot of knickknacks around either to dust but do have a few for a homey appearance. I grew up dusting all the time as the only girl in the house and don't want to spend my golden years doing that.

Getting rid of big stuff is an issue when there is no one to help carry it down stairs and outside. None of the charity organizations pick stuff up and I can't afford to pay for the job.

Last year, I spent a month slowly taking apart an ancient entertainment center shelf that was designed for large tvs and stereos. But, the wood was degrading and getting an odd odor and the finish was awful. So, I took the thing apart piece by piece for disposal. I don't miss it at all either.

I have an old dresser that I might do the same thing to but it looks like a more difficult chore.

Most of what I have is not worth spending money for moving - in fact most of my neighbors place stuff in the dumpsters or leave it in an apartment rather than moving anything. I guess that makes a throwaway society but moving companies charge too much to move things.

Tammy
10-3-16, 9:20pm
Could you give the dresser away, with the condition that the recipient moves it?

mschrisgo2
10-3-16, 10:02pm
Don't know where you are, but if you have a local Freecycle you can advertise even big things you want to get rid of. The "taker" has to do the removal/moving. It's way easier to have a friend over for coffee while someone comes to pick something up, then to ask a friend for help to move it out!

Gardnr
10-3-16, 10:53pm
you don't say your timeframe for moving. I suggest: get boxes and pack away what you THINK you can live without. Label them (kitchen, spare room, our closet et). Stack those in the garage now.

live in this space without those things and see how it feels. Look around. Remember, you are reducing 1/3 your living space. Is there enough open space to accommodate that and feel this open and comfy?

You can have an experiment right where you are. Personally, I would move furnishings and see how it feels. Is it too big or does it fit? We did that when we moved here in 1991. We didn't replace anything for the first year. At that point we knew the things that were not right size.

food for thought.

19Sandy
10-4-16, 12:03am
No freecycle in my county and we are not on craiglist. Listed it on a bulletin board and just got weird phones calls.

So no - not going to work - didn't for the entertainment center either. People buy furniture here - use it for six months or a year and toss it in the trash.

We can't sit things on a curb either - huge fine for doing so.

With bedbug issues - most people don't want used furniture anyway. (I don't have bugs but wouldn't want used furniture - heck you can get those from new stuff)

Not going to impose on anyone cause a stranger can kill two people as easily as one.



I will take it apart eventually and trash it.

Chicken lady
10-4-16, 6:59am
Sandy, I am curious about where you live (generally). Somewhere with apartments and curbs in the boonies? I live in rural Ohio, and what form your plan to move is in (I want to move someday, actively searching, have a location in mind...)

pinkytoe
10-4-16, 11:29am
We are still in the middle of the great downsizing experiment. The house we sold was 1600 sf and full of furniture, books and everything else one acquires over many years. Through garage sales, Craigslist and donating, we eliminated down to what would fit into a 10 x 10 storage unit. A bed frame and mattress, some family heirlooms and boxes of misc. I can tell you that several months later, we haven't missed a thing. It has made us very resourceful trying to figure out how to get by without some kitchen gadget, etc. that we thought was necessary. We are in the middle of buying another house so will thoughtfully replace those items we find that we need as time goes by. The whole process is both freeing and unsettling but as they say "you can't take it with you."

Teacher Terry
10-4-16, 2:04pm
CL: I am surprised to hearing you talk about moving considering all the work you are doing on the house, etc. PT: WE bought a bred machine and i used it a lot for a year and now not at all last 2 years. I did need to get a food processor because my shoulder was getting way too sore from all the chopping. I typically don't like to have a bunch of kitchen gadgets either.

Chicken lady
10-4-16, 2:23pm
No, no! I am not moving!

i was throwing multiple choice options at sandy!

I do NOT intend to move!