If you're following along with the zero waste challenge via YouTube, (Which you should be ;) you'll know yesterday's challenge was to declutter.
You can check that video out below, but don't forget to catch all of the videos here.
Many of you know, six months ago.... Justin and I moved into a tiny house.
It's not a traditional tiny home on a trailer with wheels. It's just a really small house. It's around 325 sq. ft. which according to the all-mighty google is a tiny home.
It's also doesn't have that gorgeous modern tiny home design with giant windows and a functional floor plan. It's kind of an odd bungalow from the 1920s.
We moved in knowing that eventually, we'd move back into a larger house.
I have no desire to live in 325 sq. ft. for the rest of my life.
I have kind of a love / hate relationship with living tiny. That's a blog post for later, but the main moral of the story is I NEVER want to live in any house over 1,600 sq. ft. EVER.
I don't want to live "big" but I certainly don't want to live "tiny." Because, I know tiny living isn't permanent, it's kind of like I'm living in limbo with a little too much stuff.
I own a lot of things that are important to me. I don't want to give them up because I know in several years, I'm going to want them when I live in a slightly larger space.
There's room for everything, but I certainly feel more crowded than I would like it to. My husband who loves stuff and bric-a-brac is in heaven.
I'm also sad, there wasn't room for most of the plant babies. But, downsizing has taught me a lot of important lessons.
focus on the benefits:
Any time I start feeling bummed, I think of all the benefits. You've got to stay focused on the positive, which is really a good life lesson in general. And, it's a great Bing Crosby song.
Moving into this tiny house allowed Justin to go back to school without us incurring any debt. We've been down to one income for almost two years. (It's why I still work my 9-5 job!)
Living tiny has allowed us to live alone!! For the first time in our relationship, we don't have roommates fairly important for newlyweds. And, OMG it's AMAZING. (Justin and I were living together when we met. You can read more about it here and also get a glimpse of our last house. RIP amazing windows, I miss you.)
It also allows us to focus on having creative careers. Justin is working on building his own recording studio, and I would like to get back to acting full-time.
When you're downsizing and decluttering, focus on all the freedom you're going to have. Think of all the physical and mental space you'll be gaining. Don't focus on what you're losing. Look at what you're gaining.
Anytime tiny living stresses me out, I think of all the amazing things we can do without a major rent payment. I suddenly feel very grateful, and my small space doesn't seem so bad.
get serious about what you need:
After going through a house fire, you quickly realize there's a lot of stuff you simply don't need.
I really encourage you to think long and hard about what you truly need. It's much easier to be strict when you have to purchase something. It's much more difficult, when you're giving away something you've already bought.
Focus on the positives you'll receive by decluttering, and be ruthless.
Ask yourself a series of questions:
- Would you buy this right now again?
- When's the last time you used this item?
- When's the last time you thought about this item?
- Can you use something else?
Dream about what you'll do with the space when the item is gone, even if it's just the peace of knowing you'll have more space.
find other spaces:
By living in a small space, it's become important for both Justin and me to adopt other spaces.
A small space isn't conducive to a lot of movement. There's just not that much room to move around. It's forced us to find other living spaces. Mostly, we get outside and walk a lot more!
Which is great for our mental health, physical health, and our relationship. We're out walking and talking to each other. We'll spend a couple of hours on the weekend enjoying each others company. Oh, and Nala enjoys it too.
We're homebodies by nature. We like to get involved in our own projects, and being forced to find new spaces forces us to connect with each other and our friends too!
use what you love:
When we lived with roommates, we had the good plates (one of my prized possessions that were off limits due to living with some clumsy people), and I had some mismatched plates picked up from the thrift store.
Moving into our tiny home, without roommates, allowed me to break out my favorite plates for every meal! Yes, there have been some cracks and chips over the past couple months. They are very delicate, but I love them so much.
Every time I pull the plates out, I'm so happy. By downsizing, there's only room for the things you love. It infuses joy into day-to-day activities.
go for the gold:
We know when something is good. We can easily identify something that makes us happy. We have trouble when it comes to things we feel mediocre about. Especially if that mediocre thing was given to us as a gift or has some memories attached to it.
If you struggle with letting things go due to gift guilt or memories attached to the items, you should read this blog post.
When I say, "Go for the gold," I mean go for the things you know you couldn't live without.
If you're going through your bookcase, ask yourself, "Which ones are my favorite?" "If I were on a deserted island, which ones would I have to have?"
You're going to pick out the gold. You know which ones you love. You know which ones you can't live without. You're probably thinking of those books right now. You KNOW the books. Keep those, and box up the rest.
I doubt you'll even think of them. Donate anything that's not the gold.
What's your top tip for downsizing or decluttering?