Whether it is stuff, finances, electric cars or even our own home, we’re fanatics about downsizing and efficiency. If we had to move out of our home in one day, we could do it–that’s how little stuff we have now.
When it comes to downsizing in the preparation for the move from a 1,500 sq ft house to a
546 536 sq ft house, there are a TON of steps involved, and more every day! Everything from banks to insurance companies to furniture are under scrutiny, thanks to our tiny house aspirations and J. Money’s Challenge Everything challenge. We’ve been able to eliminate a lot of stuff (or are in the process getting rid of it): clothing, shoes, bedroom furniture, an entertainment center, books, tools, chairs and even appliances. In the process of getting rid of clutter, we’re also looking to downsize all of our expenses, not just housing-related expenses. Once we move into the small house, we’ll provide a before/after comparison of our expenses.
By selling our big house, we can eliminate the mortgage, but there are many other associated expenses that will also be reduced or eliminated. Who knew that selling the big house would reward us in so many other ways? Our insurance, taxes, and utilities will all be significantly lower by moving to a house that’s one-third the size of our current home–that was obvious. And our overall carbon foot is smaller, too! But how else are we able to downsize? What are other opportunities for reducing the stuff (and payments) in our lives?
Related Post: Downsizing Clothing, Upsizing Self-Improvement
In the course of this selling/buying/building process, we realized we’ve been making strides in downsizing for several years, but not in a way that was immediately apparent. This kind of downsizing was slow, deliberate and has a long-term impact that we hope will be more significant than the budget improvements we’re making this summer.
While I have a ton to share on this topic, I think the Environmental Working Group has this covered in far greater detail and with more accuracy than I can recount. What I’m talking about are chemicals, and not just any chemicals, but the fragrances that are in our lives.
Several years ago, I discovered EWG’s cosmetics database, which has completely changed my life. I’m not being glib, either. My life before the EWG and my life today–unrecognizable. Before finding the EWG’s Skin Deep database, I was using some pretty toxic stuff: Paul Mitchell shampoo & conditioner, Dove body wash, Skintimate shave gel, Fantastik all-purpose spray, etc…the list was endless.
Within a day of using the EWG’s resources, I threw away nearly all of my personal care products, cleaning products and cosmetics. Why?! Why do something so impulsive?
Many of the products I mentioned contained “fragrance” or “parfum.” Fragrances were particularly offensive; as a result of eliminating them, allergy problems I had been afflicted with are nearly non-existent. Our home is no longer artificially scented with something created in a lab, so we can breathe deep without worrying about the harmful effects these products have on our health.
Here are some of the products we switched to a few years back in order to kick the fragrance habit:
Since it has been several years since we looked at the personal care and home products we use, we might be able to downsize further, especially because Dr. Bronner’s soap can be used just about everywhere. In fact, I’m pretty sure I can clean the entire house (and myself) with a combination of Dr. Bronner’s and baking soda. Ha!
Eliminating fragrance had a lot of unintended consequences, in addition to what I mentioned above:
- We spend less on personal care products since we buy fewer products (just end up getting washed down the drain anyway).
- We can buy biodegradable products in bulk (can’t get enough of “green” living).
- We support smaller businesses, lesser-known brands (just good karma).
- We don’t buy candles, air freshening sprays or perfume (less “stuff” and more $ saved).
If you have any thoughts on fragrance or other chemicals to watch out for, we’d love your feedback!
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