Friday, March 21, 2008

Simplify my existence!

I have written on my efforts to live more sustainably and frugally, but not so much on simplifying my life. Living frugally and green has simplification incorporated into it, but it does deserve to have time devoted to its own discussion.

I have been selling items I no longer use, or purchased and just have not used. My primary motivation for going through my possessions and trying to sell them is to bring in a bit more money to add to my found money savings account. However, the side effect of this behavior is to simplify my life. I am choosing to humanely dispose of items that no longer bring me joy or are useful in my day-to-day life by finding a home somewhere else. Sometimes people pay me for the privilege of taking my stuff; sometimes I have to give them away. Either way, my house is a bit lighter for the removal.

To that end, I have been looking over the various items I own and wondering what else I could do away with. Getting some monetary compensation is nice, but I am realizing that getting rid of stuff is its own reward. My jaundiced eye is even considering getting rid of books, an item I am particularly possessive of as I have spent time collecting novels by authors I enjoy. However, I am one of those people that once I start a collection, I have a hard time stopping even if it is no longer worth my effort (and money). Therefore, it is time to cull the book collection. My goal: reduce my need for a bookshelf by one unit. Granted, it is a small, three-shelf unit (and not full), but one step is better than none!

I have also cast my eye on my CD and DVD collection. I have goals for these as well, but is more challenging because I have CDs from a subscription and record my own (to archive downloaded music) as well as purchasing new albums. I also find myself emotionally attached to my DVD collection so I will have to work hard on these too. While some people have found satisfaction selling DVDs on or, I do not see enough money to make it worth my effort.

Clothing is also tough for me to reduce. I do not need ten sweaters, but darn if I like them all and do not want to eliminate any of them. Being ruthless is not in my personality, but my wardrobe is one place I can do it productively. My closet and my dressers will thank me for the breathing space. Yes, I do have two dressers for one person. My excuse: I have no linen closet and need to store clothing in the off season. Do not even get me started on my pantyhose collection!

I start thinking about all the things I no longer need or use and the list just keeps getting longer. There is old software, stashed magazines I have not looked at in years, videotapes I have recorded but sit collecting dust and even items in the kitchen. Many of these will need to be purged not sold for money. Regardless, it is a task will need to be done. Fewer items in my home means less time dedicated to storing and cleaning them. The time for purging will be difficult to find as spring means planting, mowing and cleaning up the yard, not to mention home maintenance (I am painting part of my siding this summer).

Writing this post reminds me that I need to make lists and organize my time to get some of these new tasks done. I spend time balancing my checkbook, subtracting money spent from my spending plan and ensuring my automatic transfers are where they are supposed to be, but need to set aside time for other more financially indirect tasks as well. Here is to purging stuff and simplifying my life!


  1. Good post. I'm in the same boat, trying to find the time and motivation to go through stuff that I no longer need. What a project! I am an all or nothin gal. This project is too big to be an "all" so "nothin" gets done. I find that if I break it down into easy steps that only take 15 minutes I get more done and feel better about my progress. I'll challenge myself to clean out on drawer or a set of drawers or one closet. I'm finding that I have a ridiculous amount of stuff. Thanks for the great post

  2. I do not think I have a ridiculous amount of stuff, but I realize I collect a set of items and then wonder why am I doing it? I have not mastered the 15 minute interval of cleaning. However, going through a closet or a pantry will make it onto my to-do list eventually. I just have to stay motivated!

    Thanks for reading and commenting.