5 Things To Downsize Today

We all have it: Stuff. And Americans are hoarding more and more of it every day. Take a look around your hometown. How many new self storage places are being built? Downsizing is no easy task and many of us, whether we are going to live in a tiny house or not, are looking for ways to simplify our lives. There are plenty of things that you need to get rid of as you go small, but there are also a few things that you can get started on right away before you get into the time crunch of having to move into your tiny house. Here are five to help you downsize today!

Media

downsize today - mediaFor the generation that is arriving into their teenage years, this is a non-issue. But for the folks that are a little older, this is GIGANTIC. For some reason, older people have the need to hang on to tangible goods to know that they own them. My brother ripped his CDs into his computer and then hung on to the actual discs for five years afterwards. “Well, you never know if your computer dies on ya, you’ll lose the whole thing. Nice to have a backup,” he said to me.

Music, movies, books and pictures are all kept in the cloud now. There is no need to hang on to the physical items unless there is a real sentimental value attached to them. I have my mom’s first edition Robert Frost poetry, a couple of leadership books and the Harry Potter series. Beyond that, it is in the cloud.

Read More: Downsize and Simplify by Going Digital

Housewares

How many pictures do you have on each wall? If you are feeling a little claustrophobic in your own home, freeing up some wall space will certainly help. Try to bring each wall down to one focal point per wall. IT can be a collage of six small pictures, but it is in one place therefore one focal point.

The same goes for your shelves / tables /mantle. If you look on a shelf and there is more than one thing to lift to dust around, you have too many things on that shelf. Obviously longer shelves may have more, but you get the idea. If you have candles on display that aren’t getting used, either use them or get rid of them. Recently we moved all of our old candles to the back deck for mood lighting during parties. They are getting used now and they don’t take up two sconces, the mantle on the fireplace, the coffee table and the centerpiece for the dining room table (ok, so the wife went through a candle stage – let’s be honest, we all do).

Kitchen Stuff

I am going to say it and it is going to be tough to hear: “You have too much kitchen stuff.” It doesn’t take much to figure out. Go into your cabinets and find the things you use once a year. If you have a need for that fondue set that you only break out on New Year’s Eve, just borrow one from a friend. Unless you are making bread more than once a week, find a way to bake bread in the oven. If there are things out of reach, above the refrigerator or in the closet somewhere, you aren’t using them enough to keep them. I always borrow my sister-in-law’s Bundt pan and roasting pan as I use them really about once a year. Also think about the uni-taskers in your kitchen. If the tool doesn’t do more than one thing, get rid of it.

Clothing

downsize today - clothesThere is a lot of clothing that we hang onto for a bunch of rationalized reasons. Maybe you think, “I am going to fit in that again real soon.” Or “that is a great t-shirt from a great time that I had and I want to remember it forever.” Or, “well I need a set of work clothes, painting cloths, and around-the-house cloths so I can keep all three of these t-shirts that have holes in them.” Stop kidding yourself. I have seven dress shirts and I haven’t worn most of them in three years. If I do put a dress shirt on, it is once or twice a year and once in a blue moon do I need those two days in a row. Five of them need to go.

These are the conversations you need to have with your clothes. You have brand new clothes in your closet that you have never worn. Get on Craigslist or one of the countless apps and sell that stuff and take your closet space back!

Hand-me-Downs

This is always a tough subject to tackle because this is where real sentimentality comes in. So I will start from speaking from personal experience. When my parents died, I inherited a ton of “stuff.” We have other words for it in my household, but being in mixed company we will call it just that. This “stuff” had a lot of meaning to me. Every time I would look at my Dad’s yearbook, it spoke to me. It reminded me of my father and how I didn’t get enough time with him before he died. I had notes from my Mom’s grammar school buddies that said goodbye to her when she moved out of state. Those were just the tip of the iceberg and I couldn’t part with anything. So everything went into Rubbermaid containers and went into the attic. Slowly over the next couple of years, I started to go through it. I scanned what I thought was memorable, took pictures of the things that were cute and that my nieces would maybe want to look at in the future and disposed of them. This was not an overnight process. Each year, I would ask myself, “Why am I keeping this?” to a bunch of items that I couldn’t possibly have parted with the year before. What I am saying here is that it gets easier.

The same thing goes for the stuff that you are hanging onto for the next generation. Do you know that wedding dress that you are hanging onto? You don’t need to hang onto it for your daughter because more than likely it will be out of style and she will not want it. By you presenting it to her, she is going to feel obligated to wearing it, or using it to make her own, when really she just wanted to get something that said, “Her.” After all it is her day, not yours. The same thing goes for tools from dad, games and books for the kids, and more.

I know what you are saying, “My kids aren’t that way at all, and they will want all of this stuff.” Ask them if they want to play with your ball and paddle or their PS4?

In Conclusion

Obviously, it is super easy to say all of the above than to do it. It did take me ten years to go through 27 Rubbermaid containers. But as you start to downsize and your desire to live tinier grows, so will your ability to part with the excessive parts of your life. What are you having a hard time getting rid of? What steps are you taking to go tiny? Let me know in the comments below.

9 thoughts on “5 Things To Downsize Today

  1. Beth said:

    We are moving into our Tiny House that we built this weekend. Most of everything we will use is already inside of it. Except for ….. My sewing and craft supplies.. Sigh! I have gone through them several times and have gotten rid of a lot but I still have more than I could probably use. Here is the problem…. I have a small shop on Etsy and I use my supplies to make things for my shop and sell them, I have a 4′ x 2′ place in our Tiny House for my sewing. I have created wall space above my machine and storage for my fabric in a bench. But I know once I start putting my supplies into the tiny house I am going to have to part with a lot of it. Not sure how to pick what I need and what I want. Wish me luck!

    • LaLa said:

      Beth,

      The main reason I will never truly “Go Tiny” is because I am an artist and my art studio is larger than 2 tiny houses put together. I can live tiny but, I can’t create tiny. My art materials, supplies, tools, and machines are a major investment. The art I create is my livelyhood. Some things just don’t fit into tiny living.

      I wish you well in your endeavor! I admire your committment!

      • Patti Griffin said:

        But you could live tiny and perhaps have a small studio for your art someplace else. I love living tiny and downsizing was a breeze for me. But, that’s just me.

      • Joanne said:

        I have a friend who lives in a 24 foot tiny house. She has a home business that is also her sole source of income. She solved that one by building a studio on wheels with rustic wood, and a wood stove, even before she built her house. It works well for her and she’s been living there happily for a few years. Now, she has self built a “camper” that can be pulled by her car…and also acts as a trailer for towing her display, and merchandise to craft fairs to sell her stock. Maybe you could have a mobile art studio next to your tiny house. Maybe a little storage shed for extras…if you need it. Don’t let your art be an excuse not to live tiny, if that’s what you truly want! Or rent studio space and live in a tiny house too! Or maybe a vintage camper/ art studio might work as well. It’s your dream…but don’t give up till you think through every scenario that might work for you.

    • Pat Dunham said:

      Supplies like you speak of, don’t have to be all together. You can itemize them and draw a diagram of where you have placed different items. You can place these supplies around the house, noting where you placed them so you can easily find them. Soft materials like yarn and fabrics can be stored inside of decorator pillows or pillow shams. The best pillows to use are the ones with zippers. Remove the inside pillow and stuff your supplies inside.

      • CathyAnn said:

        What a great idea! I have a lot of yarn that I’ve given away – about 8 large boxes the size of a large case of copy paper. Now, I have one large plastic bin of my best yarn left. Now I know how to store it! No room for a bin. Thank you!

  2. Pamela Olivetree said:

    Great article, and great response to your last commenter about using pillows to store things!! My husband and I live in a tiny house, and blog about it at Our little eden .com and it’s a challenge of course to best use space. As far as media … one idea I use is to throw away the plastic DVD cases (or I have another idea that can be utilized) and put the discs in paper sleeves. Saves TONS of space. Well, not tons, but you know, :) and put them in a shoebox kind of thing. I have a couple hundred in my shoebox, I think! You can even save the paper inserts that show the movie info… altogether those only take up 2″ of space on my bookshelf. Love your blog! Great ideas, and wish you all the best.

  3. Bryan K said:

    HI!
    Our family of 5 is building a THOW, starting next month (FINALLY!, after many, many months of derailing- long story). We’ve been simplifying, using the “sparks joy”/ minimalism concepts and as a result are happier than we’ve ever been, even though we’ve gone through some incredibly difficult times over the last year, now living in a small, one-room yurt in the Northern New Mexico desert. We’ll be moving into a 2 bedroom adobe house next month where we will be able to commence our build, and will be looking to finally go furniture free entirely and at the same time, resisting the urge to put decorations or whatever we find along the way in the house. It helps to know that we will be moving into our THOW when we complete it, by the Spring.
    My main point: WE are happier than ever, with less than ever! YOU ARE NOT YOUR STUFF!
    Or, more eloquently, leave it to Tyler Durden:
    “You’re not your job. You’re not how much money you have in the bank. You’re not the car you drive. You’re not the contents of your wallet. You’re not your f***ing khakis.”

  4. Aurora said:

    I’m just starting out and this will be my first time living alone, so i dont have a lot if dvds yet or kitchen utensils. I pretty much have to buy all new, although I do have stuff my mom put away when she bought something new. But the best thing for dvds, is I have Youtube TV for my cable service. They let you record just like a cable box, but you have unlimited space. The recording lasts for a while, but as long as it comes back on tv again, no matter the channel, it will rerecord. I’m slowly building my disney library. The only downside is having to fast forward through commercials.

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