Simplifying is a process, a journey, a rediscovery of life and self.
One of the first books I read when I started thinking about getting rid of stuff was the 100 Thing Challenge by Dave Bruno. He, a father and husband, got rid of all but 100 possessions (with even things like a pencil being one possession) and purposed to live that way for a year. The book chronicles his experience and I found it fascinating. After reading the book I knew that to get down to 100 things was not a possibility for me at that point but I thought that if I could get down to just 100 items of clothing I would be making a good start! Over the past year however as I have continually parted ways with more and more of my things, I have discovered that there is not some magic number of items that one should strive to hit, but instead the goal should be to only have the things that you use often and absolutely love or cherish. For example, some farmers or tradespersons may have whole shops or garages full of items that at first glance may look a little excessive however the large majority of these items are essential to their livelihoods and so should of course be kept.
Rabbit Trail…Tools are a great thing to have around for DIY projects and maintenance of our homes and things like chairs so as to preserve their longevity. However, having every specific tool for jobs that perhaps you will only do once every 5 or 10 years might be a little bit of a waste. Why not share with your neighbors? I have witnessed how this works wonderfully. My parents live in a quiet small town where they make an effort to be good neighbors. One of the benefits of this is that they have often times been able to simply borrow a tool from a neighbor (for example a wheelbarrow, or extra-long ladder) instead of having to buy one and they have oftentimes lent tools to neighbors as well. This system of temporary exchange lends to healthy neighborhood relations (assuming the items are treated with care) as well as saving money and storage space.
Getting back to the process of simplifying though, I don’t believe I would have been very eager to move into our current residence of just under 500sqft if I had not first downsized to a townhouse with no yard from our previous large house/yard. This allowed an adjustment period where I came to the realization that though I thought I had downsized, I was still living in much excess! Now, as I have adjusted to a small condo and have truly come a long way, I still feel like I have too much stuff (specifically clothes and kitchen items…yes I know I should do more cooking and solve the kitchen issue) as I don’t see them being used on a regular basis.
I have become very intrigued by the tiny house movement which has captured my curiosity. I would love to be able to try to live that way full time, if only for the time before and after children and possibly rent it out in the in between years or use it for road trips and camping. To read a little bit about the tiny house movement and to see what these tiny houses look like, check out the following links: (The Leaf House is my absolute favorite and it is made/designed in Canada so it suits our climate!!!)
Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful. -William Morris
The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less. –Socrates
The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak. -Hans Hofmann
We go on multiplying our conveniences only to multiply our cares. We increase our possessions only to the enlargement of our anxieties. -Anna C. Brackett
You say, ‘If I had a little more, I should be very satisfied,’ you make a mistake. If you are not content with what you have, you would not be satisfied if it were doubled. -Charles Spurgeon
The intention of voluntary simplicity is not to dogmatically live with less. It’s a more demanding intention of living with balance. This is a middle way that moves between the extremes of poverty and indulgence. -Duane Elgin
If one’s life is simple, contentment has to come. Simplicity is extremely important for happiness. Having few desires, feeling satisfied with what you have, is very vital: satisfaction with just enough food, clothing, and shelter to protect yourself from the elements. -The Dalai Lama
You know you have reached perfection of design not when you have nothing more to add, but when you have nothing more to take away. -Antoine de Saint-Exupéry