We’re downsizing all of our stuff, our space in an effort to have only that which we need.
Downsizing to only two coffee mugs is just the beginning. When we started purging stuff from our closets several months back, we found a lot of stuff we just completely forgot we had. Here’s an example of some of the “treasures” stored in our closets:
- An overcoat worn one time, 15 years ago (donated)
- Scrap metal, dozens of pounds accumulating in the garage over a period of years ($)
- Welder and helmets ($)
- A collection of Philip K. Dick novels ($)
- Lamps, one table and one floor ($)
- and so much more stuff sold or donated or just given away to passers-by…
Craigslist and eBay are beautiful inventions as they provided opportunities to sell things that we don’t need to people who would put them to good use.
And there is still a ton more that we won’t need once we move to the small house, including mattresses, a TV stand, dining room table and chairs, etc. We can further reduce the number of kitchen appliances and gadgets we have by eliminating them or opting for smaller versions. How many times we have cooked two baked potatoes in a full-size range I may never know, but it was a terrible waste of energy. *shudder*
Investing in quality, energy-efficient items that we’ll keep for the long run is what we’re about, including those that protect our investments. For example, we took advantage of a deal with Verizon when the iPhone 6 was released; Garrett bought a new iPad (work expense) and we got a new iPhone out of the deal for FREE! To protect our investments, we purchased higher-quality (aff link), lower-cost cases that may not look as attractive but provide protection and peace of mind.
We’re also striving to make better financial decisions, like paying off our debt and cutting our cell phone bill. Downsizing our space and our stuff has led to a whole lot of good personal finance decisions.
AUGUST 2015 UPDATE
Protecting the few things we will keep in our small house, and then subsequently, our tiny house, is part of the minimalist mindset we’ve adopted. The new, minimalist approach to stuff is fourfold: shop less often, purchase higher-quality stuff, protect our investments and eliminate waste. No more buying cheap and replacing with cheap.
In fact, reducing waste has extended to the manner in which we go about our shopping trips when they do occur. Shopping less and on specific days has made a big difference. We group errands on the same day each week. We eat all of the food in our fridge, so we don’t shop nearly as often as today.
While getting rid of stuff to optimize our lives was difficult at first, it became easier as time passed because with each item sold and we’re a little closer to financial freedom. But then getting rid of stuff became difficult again. The most difficult part? Challenging the notion that this was stuff we needed. I wouldn’t say it was an emotional connection we had to our stuff, but that’s about the best way I have of describing the feelings of panic and worry that accompany the purging of clutter.
In the original post, I think I made it seem easier than it really was to get rid of stuff. Sure, the 15-year-old coat that’s in amazing condition was easy. But now, we’re eliminating stuff that is somewhere between that old coat and “we use this every day and can’t live without” French press. Books that haven’t been read in 10 years should probably be donated (but I loved them when I read them that one time!). This part is difficult. This part is where it gets interesting.
Downsizing every aspect of life to get to tiny living involves leaving no stone unturned, so we’re looking at our physical stuff and our financial stuff. Gotta keep our eyes on the debt-free prize, and making these small, insignificant-in-the-big-picture sacrifices will be worth it.
MARCH 2017 UPDATE
We’re completely, 100% debt free. We paid off all of our debt, including the tiny house mortgage.
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