why I don’t live in a tiny house.

less is the new more

When you want to change your life, you first have to accept where you are right now. I talk a lot about my goals to live zero waste and become more minimalist. While I’m not perfect, those two goals have shaped most of my decisions and efforts for more than a year, and that alone is progress.

However, I don’t want anyone to think I am hiding anything or being hypocritical. I don’t want the fact that I don’t yet live like a minimalist to detract from talking about my eventual goals. We all have to start somewhere. I’ve read about couples who decide to become more minimalistic and one day they sell most of their possessions and move into a tiny home or an RV. I read their blogs and follow their Instagrams! The beauty is they can work less, and live more. It sounds like the dream. I live vicariously through these bohemian spirits from my big ol’ suburban rambler and wonder why I didn’t find this inspiration earlier.

But I think the thing is, you have to have an “enough is enough” epiphany. And usually to get there, you have to have hit a point where your life just doesn’t FIT YOU anymore. And then, when you share that life with others, you have to compromise until those others have the same moment (if ever). It will be a long process for us, and I am accepting that.

So here’s the deal.

I have a 3400 sf house in the ‘burbs. Because a couple of years ago we finished our basement in time for my brother-in-law’s family to stay with us, we now have 6 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, and 1.5 kitchens. We have a 3 car garage, two vehicles, a big fifth wheel camping trailer, and 3 tvs. We are not exactly living the minimalist lifestyle I daydream of constantly.

Believe it or not, though, it was actually a practical decision to buy this house. Our mortgage is now our only debt (as of last year). This house was government-owned when we bought it, and needed a LOT of love (despite being a few years old). But it was steal, we had equity from our last fixer-upper, and we knew it was a good investment. I don’t think I ever thought we’d live here for long. But now that we are closing in on our house being “finished,” and realizing that with a finished basement, this house is ridiculously huge for us, we’re in a weird place. At least in our area, we cannot downsize any time soon, without paying MORE. We could downsize and downgrade, yes, but ideally we would want to live in a smaller house with a bit of land, in a safe neighborhood. That criteria doesn’t much exist unless we wanted to have a larger house payment than we currently have. It doesn’t make sense for us any time soon, because we are in such a good situation financially with our too-big house. It’s a weird (First World) “problem” for a wannabe minimalist such as myself.

I think we’d make the switch for the right place. Even if we weren’t getting the square-footage bang for our buck we have with our current home, we’d do it if we loved the house, neighborhood, school district, etc. At least I would. But so far we haven’t found that. Perhaps one day.

In the meantime, I don’t want to feel like I can’t still chip away at my goals of having a simpler life. Just because I have more house than we need doesn’t mean I need to fill it. When we finished our basement, we doubled our square footage, but we only bought a couple of items; and I’m even in the process of selling off some small furniture pieces we have had stored away. We will have two completely empty bedrooms, and many of our other rooms will be pretty sparse. I’m ok with it. I like the space, and feeling like everything can breathe.

Even though I get overwhelmed and impatient sometimes, I like the process of easing into a more minimalist life: decreasing our possessions, increasing the value of our home with our DIY-spirit, committing to less, focusing on our long-term financial goals. All of those things will make us more free to jump on an opportunity to downsize when the time is right, whenever that may be.

my minimalist dining essentials

So earlier I blogged about our kitchen revamp and some plans for minimizing and streamlining my cooking and baking supplies. I am back with a post on my minimalist  dining essentials. Until I started listing all my kitchen items, I never realized how much I still have! Since my last post, I’ve unloaded about 10 more items (through donating and selling locally).

Everything on my dining essentials list, and my last post about my minimalist cooking and baking essentials, are of the “buy once” mentality. The idea is if you invest in good quality, timeless stuff, you won’t have to switch out and upgrade constantly! As things in my kitchen need replaced, I am replacing with the mindset of only replacing it this one last time – so I’ll invest in things that will last forever.

It’s so easy to go overboard collecting dishware. It’s functional art, after all. If you love it, keep it. But if you are out of space or don’t use half of your stuff, it’s always a good challenge to pare down. A good tactic may be to pack up anything you aren’t sure about, and if you don’t retrieve anything from the box in 6 months to a year, consider selling or donating it.

Here is my absolute dining essentials (these are not the exact items I own, this is just my #goals collage):

mnmlst-dining

  1. Entree plates and dessert plates (mine are Fiestaware and I also have a “set” of mismatched thrift store plates and dessert plates for when I have a lot of people to feed). If it did it over again, I’d forgo the Fiestaware; while it’s fun, I actually find the rainbow explosion of color kind of limiting when I’m trying to go for a minimalist aesthetic..
  2. Wooden serving utensils.
  3. Cloth napkins. I only have everyday ones, but I plan to make or buy a set of nicer napkins for entertaining.
  4. Stainless flatware.
  5. Basic (nesting) small glass tumblers that work for water, juice, and cocktails. (No fancy bar ware collection needed.)
  6. Soup bowls.
  7. Stemless wine glasses. (These copper ones are amazing! I’m not sure if I’d miss the clear glass; currently I just drink my wine from small jelly jars, but I may start acquiring proper glasses.)
  8. Mugs. I’d love a collection of handmade mugs. Boo to perfectly matching mugs.
  9. Serving bowls. The soup bowls and a nice mixing bowl can also perform the job when entertaining and serving multiple dishes.)
  10. Large platter. (Extra dinner plates, a wooden cutting board, and small prep bowls can be used for serving appetizers.)

I listed most of my additional kitchen goods in my last post, but I didn’t mention that I also own the following serving/dining items (the asterisk (*) means they are on the chopping block):

  1. Gravy boat*
  2. Nesting bowls*
  3. A long melamine platter*
  4. 2 misc serving bowls
  5. Stainless ladle
  6. Stainless serving spoons
  7. Stainless serving spatula
  8. To-go dining items like stainless water bottles, stainless coffee cup, metal tiffens, glass food containers, bamboo utensils, and a stainless lunch box. This kind of stuff is pretty critical to minimizing trash, but does tend to take up real estate..
  9. Toddler food dishes, utensils, and cups (I could further pare down the cups). We are using RePlay brand dishes which are sturdy and made from recycled milk jugs. In hindsight I wish I’d have invested in stainless dishes, but I won’t be upgrading, as ours are perfectly functional for as long as we will need them.

This post (and my last) are the kinds I wish I’d seen when I first began to set up a household. Do not trust the wedding registry suggestions, the “off to college” guides, etc, unless they were written by minimalists! Had I invested in good, classic, multifunctional cooking and dining items 15 years ago, I’d have saved myself a bundle of money, not to mention all the resources. For example, now on my 4th set of skillets in 15 years, I finally invested in cast iron, which means this set will actually outlive me.

What’s on your must-have list?

a fresher, lighter kitchen

Fun news: we are revamping our kitchen this month! We moved into this house 6 years ago, and we always planned to make the kitchen nicer. But I am weird, and I settle in/nest where I am, and have been perfectly content with its imperfections. But now that we are rolling, I am really looking forward to the new-and-improved space! On the agenda is staining the cabinets, replacing the tile, tiling a back splash, and getting solid-surface counters. My husband is doing all the work (minus counter installation). For the sake of later comparison, here’s what the kitchen looked like (this was a while ago, but the finishes are the same):

kitchen2

While our kitchen’s torn up, we have moved into the basement, where we have a second kitchen area with some refinished secondhand cabinets. (My brother-in-law’s family used our basement for a couple years while they built their house). The basement kitchen is much smaller, so I am taking this opportunity to pare down to the very basics for now. This means fewer place settings, only a handful of gadgets, utensils, and bake ware, and a pared down pantry. (The irony is not lost on me that I am striving for a minimalist kitchen while having TWO kitchens in my house, trust me).

downstairs-kitchen

Right now I LOVE my smaller, efficient kitchen, multi-tasking tools, and simplified menu plan. It’s a great lesson to remind myself how little I really need to cook for our family. I’m always happiest when I can simplify! It’s inspired me think about how I’d set up my kitchen now, knowing what I now know. Obviously it’s not practical to just discard and replace everything I already have, when it’s all perfectly functional. But I am definitely thinking about my eventual goals for our kitchen, especially now that it will be spruced up and sleeker. So my plan is to keep everything additional packed away (except for food), even after we move back in upstairs; I will get out other items as I need them, but if they are still packed away in six months, I’ll seriously consider parting with them (some maybe sooner if I can sell them).

I thought I would do a few posts on setting up a more minimal kitchen, if doing it from scratch. Today I’m focusing on just the cooking-related items. I will do a later post for dining essentials and cleaning essentials! Here are my essentials for cooking (I don’t own all of these exact items – this is just my #goals collage):

mnmlst-cooking

  1. A nice wooden cutting board.
  2. Wooden cooking utensils, a silicone spatula, and a metal whisk.
  3. Kitchen scissors for cutting greens, herbs, etc.
  4. Three good knives.
  5. Stainless measuring spoons.
  6. Stainless measuring cups.
  7. A box cheese grater.
  8. Glass prep bowls. I have various sizes from a thrift store and I use them all the time.
  9. A medium cast iron skillet.
  10. A graduated, pouring measuring cup.
  11. A heavy mixing bowl.
  12. A metal colander.
  13. An enamel Dutch oven. I have this exact one from Lodge, and I love it. I use it all the time.
  14. Salt and pepper grinders.
  15. Mason jars (and other glass/stainless storage) for pantry item storage, produce storage in the fridge, leftovers, picnics, taking food to people, and to drink from when hosting large groups (so you don’t have to store more glassware).
  16. A good food processor. I love my 9-cup Cuisinart. I’ve had it for almost 10 years and I still use it regularly.
  17. Stainless pots. I have 2, but 3 would be more practical.
  18. A glass French press. I love my Mr. Coffee, but French pressed coffee does taste better..
  19. A Vita-mix or other blender. I use ours almost daily for smoothies, and also to make almond milk, peanut butter, dressings/sauces, and grind coffee beans.

And my baking essentials:

mnmlst-baking

  1. A half sheet baking sheet (and cover)
  2. Cooling rack
  3. Rolling pin
  4. Silicone baking mat
  5. Baking dish
  6. Loaf pan
  7. KitchenAid stand mixer
  8. Bread machine (yes, I really do use mine weekly!)
  9. Silicone muffin cups

I own far more than those items. I also own the following probably non-essential items (the asterisk (*) means they are on the chopping block):

  1. A toaster*
  2. A juicer*
  3. Deep fryer (given to us, never used)*
  4. Yogurt maker*
  5. Electric mixer*
  6. Tea kettle*
  7. Second 9×13 baking dish*
  8. Tart pan*
  9. Multiple loaf and mini loaf pans*
  10. Mini muffin pan*
  11. Tortilla bowl makers*
  12. Ramekins*
  13. Stock pot*
  14. A citrus juicer*
  15. Sifter*
  16. Tortilla press*
  17. Pizza stone*
  18. Nesting mixing/serving bowls*
  19. Mesh strainer*
  20. Salad tongs*
  21. Multiple silicone spatulas*
  22. Dough scraper*
  23. Cocktail shaker*
  24. Tea ball*
  25. Sun tea jar*
  26. A toaster oven
  27. Belgian waffle maker
  28. Crock Pot
  29. Kitchen scales
  30. Immersion blender
  31. 9×9 baking dish
  32. Muffin pans
  33. Donut pan
  34. Large cast iron skillet
  35. Cast iron pizza pan
  36. Second cutting board
  37. Tile trivet I use as a cutting board for garlic
  38. About 10 various knives
  39. Vegetable peeler
  40. Can opener
  41. Jar opener
  42. Ice cream scoop
  43. Small metal colander
  44. Silicone tongs
  45. Pasta server
  46. Ladle
  47. Silicone flipper
  48. 5 cookie cutters
  49. Pastry brush
  50. Cork screw
  51. Wine stopper
  52. Various BBQ tools
  53. Cooking thermometer
  54. Mortar and pestle
  55. Nut milk bag
  56. Silicone bowl covers (to replace cling wrap/tin foil)

I wouldn’t consider any of the above items to be critical to a kitchen, but many are really nice to have for my particular cooking habits (like the second cast iron skillet, silicone bowl covers, nut milk bag, and cork screw).  But looking at the list, there are plenty of duplicate-function items. Silicone muffin cups eliminate the need for muffin tins; we don’t need a toaster AND a toaster oven; we don’t really need two colanders AND a mesh strainer AND a nut milk bag; I can boil water without a kettle… The trick will be figuring out the most versatile items to keep.

What do you think? What’s in your ideal kitchen? Am I an insane person for listing out what I own? (Don’t actually answer that).:)

1-in-2-out

closet

Last year, I blogged about my zero waste habits quite a bit, and mentioned I have a 1-in-1-out document on my computer to be accountable for my consumption. This year I have decided I am not done minimizing, so I am doing a 1-in-2-out rule. This means that for every (non-consumable) item I bring into the house, I must part with two items I already have. Ideally, the items I give up will be along the same category lines as the item I am bringing in (one book for another, for example), but sometimes that isn’t always feasible.

I keep a box or bag (or whatever I can round up) in my office, and add donation items to it regularly. With a 1-in-1-out rule, I realized I may be doing this FOREVER. But if I’m getting rid of things at twice the rate I am bringing them in, I may eventually be where I want to be. It’s a rather fun, creative exercise.

Just last week, my basement tenants (my brother-in-law’s family) moved out and into their new home. This means we acquired an additional 1,500sf, 3 bedrooms, another bathroom, and a kitchenette, for our use. This is a RIDICULOUS amount of space for our wannabe minimalist family of three, I know. (Someday I will post about why we are in the big home we are in, and may not leave it for a long time, despite my wanting to drastically downsize.)

In the past I’d have already been making a gigantic shopping list of stuff to fill all our new space, obsessing over how I want to decorate it. But I have evolved as a responsible consumer. We have plenty of stuff already. We moved a lot of furniture and other items from our upstairs living area, office, and bedrooms downstairs. Yesterday, we purchased a couch for our living room (since the couch and loveseat moved downstairs). My husband also really wanted a TV, and something to warm up the space, so we bought a TV stand with an electric fireplace. So while we did purchase a few big items, my goal is not to buy a single other item for the basement for at least 60 days. In addition to my 1-in-2-out document, I will be keeping a 60 day list. We may find we need a few other things eventually, but I want to live with what we already have for a while and really decide, as well as take the time to find what we may want/need secondhand. But my 1-in-2-out rule will still apply. There is really no need to accumulate more, just because we have the space.

In 2016 I got rid of so much stuff; and only 17 days into 2017, I’ve gotten rid of 67 items (and counting) just by going through our storage area! One day I may have a smaller home (I hope so!) and we will have to half our possessions again, which would be ok with me. While we still have plenty of useful stuff, I am not attached to much of it at all. I’m loving all the breathing room in our home these days!

library love.

location-of-the-library

There are so many good reasons to should use and support your libraries. They are amazing! But I was talking to a friend the other day about a documentary, and I mentioned that I had borrowed it from the library. She was surprised – “they have new movies at the library?” It made me realize that not everyone treats their local library as an extension of their home like we do in our household. Especially since striving for zero waste and more minimalist, the library is really one of our favorite resources.

This post is absolutely written from the perspective of someone who has access to great libraries. It’s one of my favorite things about my community – it really invests in libraries. Sadly, not all are created equally, but you should still not neglect even the shabbiest. Support it! Visit and use it, vote YES on measures to improve it, donate to it, and advocate for it! They are super important to communities. And if you don’t use them, you could be seriously missing out.

Here’s my list of our favorite things to do at our local library:

  1. Books-books-books. We always check out oodles of books. I read to Hannah every night at bedtime, and often during the daytime, too. I can only handle reading the same books so many times before I lose my mind – so I love having a new stack every week to rotate through. And I generally grab a few, too. I at least glance through every homesteading/gardening/food preservation book I can get my hands on, and I am always reading one or two novels at a given time. I add my name to the wait list for popular books, and eventually will be notified when I’m up in the queue- I love this service. (This and this are the books I’m currently reading).
  2. Research. Not just for students. When I want to learn how to do something, I hit up YouTube and the library. Since I switch interests weekly, it only makes sense to “get my learn on” with free resources.
  3. Audio books/ebooks. I borrow audio books for car trips, and can borrow ebooks for my Kindle from the library website without leaving the house. It’s the BEST.
  4. Music and movies. Our library has a great selection of both. I love picking up a few CDs to listen to in my car for the week (lately I’ve been picking up 90s rap) and a movie or two. Sometimes we never get around to watching the movies, but at least there’s no guilt over a wasted rental fee.
  5. Toys. Our library has toys you can borrow! They are pretty much limited to educational toys for babies and toddlers, so eventually they won’t be of any use, but for now they are great. Borrowing and returning is clutter-free, and a great way to gauge what your child finds interest in and what they don’t, without buying something.
  6. Kid play/Socialization. Our library has a great kids section with fun, good quality toys (wooden dollhouse, legos, magnatiles..). We always sit and play for a bit when we visit. It’s good for socialization/sharing teaching for our only child. They also host a “Discovery Time,” a teacher-led activity time with songs, books, and active play with the group. We have been quite a few times and it’s really fun. A great wintertime activity (or those hot hot summer days).
  7. Pre-preschool curriculum. I’ve just started to use the library to assemble very informal “curriculum” on a various subject or theme. One week I’ll seek out materials on a specific topic (both fiction and nonfiction). We will look at those books together and discuss them. (I’ll also try to come up with or seek out ideas online for activities that reinforce the topic). I will be doing more of this now that Hannah’s closer to 3. (I also discovered my library has books of curriculum in their resources, so I won’t even have to do all the work myself to put this together!)
  8. Meet ups. My mom’s group meets up for play dates at the library really frequently (after Discovery Time). It’s the perfect venue because it’s free, the kids love it, and we can return/pick up books while we are there.
  9. Quiet work space. I work from home, and when I can sneak away for a few hours on the weekend to work from the coffee shop or library to get some done, it feels like a great luxury. My library has a café, so that is my spot of choice. (I also take the opportunity to leisurely browse the non-kid stacks while I’m there and end up with a pile of books for myself).
  10. Teaching responsibility. One thing I love about the library is that it provides a great opportunity to teach your little ones how to take care of things. I teach Hannah to treat the library items carefully so other kids can enjoy them later, and she’s always been so good about this (of course, when she was a baby we only brought home the sturdy board books).
  11. Yearly book sales. Admittedly, I haven’t really taken advantage of this. We went to one recently, and while the selection/prices were great, I didn’t prepare for the time it would take to dig through boxes and wait in the checkout line! With a toddler in tow, it wasn’t reasonable. Next time I’ll plan accordingly and go by myself – it seemed like a real goldmine for used books!

How about you – are you a library lover? What are your favorite things about your libraries?

zero waste bathroom

Sorry for the lack of postings! I have over a dozen almost-ready drafts I have yet to publish, because I seem to never get enough consecutive minutes. I sure have missed blogging! I hope to be back more often now, with holiday-related posts and plans for 2017 (I love a good resolution plan).

My 2016 has been a rocky road to zero waste (with plenty of detours), but I’m as committed as EVER. I can’t wait to take it all even further in 2017, as so much of 2016 entailed using up what I still had! It took me 10 months to use up the gigantic bottle of shampoo, conditioner, and body wash I already had before starting zero waste. I was chomping at the bit to make the zero waste switches, but of course wanted to use up the old product responsibly first. It was actually really nice to have the luxury of time to research zero waste options, though. While I was kicking butt in the kitchen with zero waste, I was kind of nervous and at a loss with how to replace toiletry items (and TBH I still am stumped over a few).

But I’ve spent the past months following zero waste bloggers and Instagramers, reading books, and just doing research on some of my options out there. A big goal of mine is always to consolidate products as much as I can, so I didn’t want to swap one-for-one if there was a better alternative out there that can multitask.

This is the extent of what I use body and hair-care wise (though after creating this collage I also began using a Lush conditioner bar and love it, too).

zero waste bath and body1.Lush shampoo bar // 2. Lotion bar (shown is Lush but I make my own) // 3. Stainless safety razor // 4. Lush deodorant bar // 5. Lush tins for the soap, shampoo, and conditioner // 6. Coconut oil (as a leave-in conditioner when needed, and as body lotion), and 7. Lush soap (I also use the soap to shave.)

I chose LUSH products because: they are organic, cruelty free, and naked in packaging.

I have to say it took a week to get used to the shampoo bar, but now my hair looks and feels the same as before. I’ve been using a conditioner bar after each shampoo as well, and I use coconut oil – a tiny amount – as a leave-in conditioner about once a month. That’s it! To extend the life of the bars, I let them dry before putting in the tins, and I keep the tins in a cabinet between showers.

One of my favorite zero waste switches BY FAR is my stainless razor. I now only have to replace a blade occasionally (dirt cheap, packaged in huge quantities in cardboard). The reason I love this so much is that it’s going to save me SO MUCH MONEY over time. The price of razor cartridges for those girlie razors is out of hand, and the packaging is awful. I feel like I’m giving Gillette the middle finger every time I shave my legs.

drawer

This is a (terrible) picture of my bathroom drawer. In it you see: glass jars of ACV (for toning) and coconut oil, a jar of my homemade toothpaste, sustainable toothbrush, various dropper bottles of face oils like jojoba and rose hip, (trying to find the right combo for winter..), reusable eye makeup remover pads, Lush deodorant bar in a mason jar, Lush hair honey in a tin, Burt’s Bees night cream and day cream* (the day cream in plastic:(), homemade lotion bar, glasses, contacts, and contacts case. And a comb and pins/elastics I’ve had for years.

In addition to these items and the shower items, I have a few things under my vanity: a small cosmetic bag with makeup* (most pre-ZW, as I’m trying to use it up responsibly), one (metal) can of hairspray*, sunscreen (in plastic*), contacts solution (also plastic**), hair styling heat tools, a few headbands/headscarves, a small stash of nail polish (trying to decide if I can part with this!) and manicure supplies, a luna cup, and 5 washable menstrual pads. That’s it!

*I’ll be phasing these all out in the coming months..

**There is no avoiding the trash generated by my bad vision, and for that, I am so sad. To cut back on the packaging I do try to wear my glasses more often (so I don’t have to change contacts as often or use as much solution). I also think they make sustainable contact lens cases, but as most solution comes with a plastic one, purchasing additional ones would be redundant. One day I’ll get LASIK, but for the next many years it will probably be my last bit of remaining plastic in the bathroom. 😦

Still, I’ve come so far! I love my new regimen – it all feels so simplified and freeing. I’m completely marketing-proof when it comes to the beauty industry, and I love that because they are the worst. Best of all, I generate so little trash in the bathroom. A big future goal needs to be to convince Hubby to make some switches, too… a post for another day!

a thrift haul, & 1-in-1-out

I have been paring down and donating so much this year, so it feels weird to bring much back IN to our house. But my shopping habits, even when thrifting, have changed a lot. Everything has to be functional and plastic-free. I keep a second-hand wishlist where I write down anything I want to shop for. I always refer to it before shopping. Some of these items weren’t on the list, but they are still pretty and functional (and plastic free/zero waste).

I love a good thrift haul, so I am going to start sharing them here. This week’s latest haul was a big one – $71 – which is a LOT for thrifting. But I brought home lots of good stuff:

FullSizeRender(2)

On the list:

  • 15 dinner plates & 20 dessert plates – all mismatched, yes! However, I decided that rather than buy disposable dishes for entertaining (when we need more dishes than the 12 place settings of Fiestaware that I have) I would keep a collection of funky, mismatched dishware to use for this purpose to mix in with my existing dishes. I just picked all neutrals, blues, and greens and I think they are so beautiful. I have a couple of parties in the works, so I’ll put these to use soon!

IMG_6138

  • Two pairs of pants to replace my work pairs that looked just horrible (they were once secondhand as well and have seen way better days).
  • A pair of flannel PJ pants I am going to cut up for a project/gift..
  • A dress to wear to an upcoming wedding (my original Ebay’d dress didn’t work out. Always a risk to order clothes online that you can’t return – oops!).

Not on the list:

 

  • A big basket – because who doesn’t need another basket? This wasn’t on my list, but I liked the size and handles. I will probably stain it with a slightly darker stain. (If I can’t find an immediate use for it, I may use it to hold a gift for Christmas or something. The thing about thrifted baskets is they are cheaper than a new paper gift bag – and obviously way more reusable!)
  • A big wooden bowl and a small wooden pillar holder. These weren’t on the list either. These are just for year-round seasonal decorating purposes. I thought I’d put mini pumpkins from my garden in/on them this fall, then possibly plant succulents in them later. I’ve gotten rid of SO many decorative items. Now I just want to rotate a few seasonal items from nature (compostable) or plants.
  • A wooden bird house. Total impulse buy, but a fun one (for $2). Hannah and I love looking at the bird houses at the Nature Center, so I thought she’d like working on our own. We will paint it together and maybe glue on some random costume jewelry I wanted to upcycle rather than donate, then we will donate the finished bird house to the Nature Center next spring!
  • A cute silky kimono. I’ve been wanting a kimono since the trend started, but they are always sweatshop made (or I can’t afford them). I was stoked to find one secondhand. It’s be favorite new item (even if I do need to fix a seam first..).

I keep a “1-in-1-out” list on my computer. Whenever I bring in a new item, I add it to the left. Items going out are on the right. My “out”list is MUCH longer, currently. But I do still try to get rid of one item for each new item anyway – I am still wanting to pare down our items, not just maintain the number of items we have.

However, I am not going to try to get rid of 35 items to make up for the dishware! They are solving wastefulness of disposable items, so I’ll just count it all as one item. I am also not counting the PJ pants, since they are just to use as the materials for a gift. So, I have 9 items to part with after this trip. Those are:

  • My two pairs of old work pants I was replacing (2)
  • A dress I originally bought for the wedding (reselling on Ebay) (1)
  • Two clothing items of Hannah’s (not in great shape, but donating anyway..) (2)
  • 1 plant pots I haven’t used (1)
  • 2 picture frames (2)
  • A decorative item (1)

I keep a box or bag in my office to accumulate these items, and make a monthly donation run (except items I am selling or giving to people I know, which I try to deal with within a week if possible). So far I’m loving this method for controlling clutter. It keeps my impulse-buying in check, as I have to think about what I want to get rid of at home in place of a new item. I also rather love that I am getting rid of more than I accumulate overall, and want to keep it that way for a while! I still have some areas of the house yet to tackle so my “out” list will be growing again soon; my eventual goal is to only have what I use and love in my home.:)