The saying, “the more you own, the more it owns you,” has really resonated in my family recently. In August of last year, we moved to a new city for my husband’s new job. We went from living in an 890 square foot ranch to a 2300 square foot two-story house. The new house was more than double the size of our old house, and I kept asking my husband, “How on earth are we going to fill all that space? We don’t have enough stuff!”
I couldn’t have been more wrong. I have no idea where we put it all at the old house, but our new place is not only full, but bursting at the seams. We even donated about four vanloads of our things to the local Habitat for Humanity thrift store as we were preparing to move. Despite getting rid of things, cleaning out the garage, and going through the attic, every single one of the eleven (eleven!) closets in this house is filled with stuff we never or barely ever use. So much stuff to clean. So much stuff to organize. The more we have, the more we have to do with it, and we are fed up.
So, on New Year, my husband and I decided to set a lofty goal for our family as our New Year resolution. We are tired of “having it all” so we are going to “halve it all.” We are going to sell, donate, trash, or generally get rid of half of what we own. If a basket has 20 toys in it, we are going to give ten away. We feel like our time will be better spent as a family if we don’t have so many things. If we have less to distract us, we will have more time as a family. We want to make sure that the things that we do own are well looked after, solidly built, and long lasting. We want our children to have a healthy appreciation for their things and not have the mind set of “we can always get a new one.” We want to spend less time cleaning, de-cluttering, and re-organizing, and more time living.
By focusing our efforts on paring down our things, we will be saving money in the long run. Not only will we be able to make some money selling the things that we don’t use, but we will be saving money by not giving in to the consumerism mindset. We have the bad habit of picking up small items for ourselves or our kids every time we go to the store. Silly thing or big things, we always seem to come home with more stuff.
No more. We want to be practical in our purchases, stick to a budget, and only buy things necessary to life. If we need something, we are going to ask ourselves three questions before going to the store:
- Can we live without it?
- Can we make it ourselves instead of buying it?
- Is there anything we already own that we can use instead?
If the answer is no, then that’s ok. We aren’t anti-stores. Stores can be great for certain things. Where else am I going to get my quinoa and coconut oil that I love so much? It is important though to make sure that we answer yes to those questions as much as possible, and do what we can to utilize our current resources. Our resolution is more about having everything in moderation.
I will post pictures and updates periodically, showing the transformations in our home from too much stuff to just enough for our needs. Our goal isn’t to become one of those families that can list everything they own on one piece of paper. We don’t want to be extreme minimalists. We just want to live well on less and with less. We want to live within our means, and we don’t want to waste money that we could have and should have invested in our future and our kids’ future.