Simplify & Minimize Your Home: Your Life w/ Printables

Over the last year I’ve been simplifying and minimizing our household. It all started when we were going to move. I read all of the “how to sell your house fast” information and the one thing all of the experts agreed upon was that if you wanted to make your home more appealing to buyers you needed to get rid of the clutter.

I didn’t realize how silly that statement was until I had done it.

I made myself comfortable on the sofa and just took in my surroundings. I wasn’t really prepared for how I felt. As I laid back, enjoying my home free of burdensome, dust ridden knick-knacks and stuff I’d probably never use an overwhelming peace came over me. I was enjoying my home. I had not done that in a while.

That’s probably when it hit me. The fact that I was only content in my home when I’d prepared it for someone else. And, if I was able to live without this stuff for the duration of our home being on the market then did I really need it? If getting rid of all of that made my home more appealing to others –and me– then why keep it?

When we decided not to sell right now (hey, the market isn’t what it used to be) instead of bringing all of that stuff back from storage we went through the liberating process of going through it and getting rid of most of it. Then we took it a step further. We went through the stuff that was still here and got rid of a lot of it too.

I feel free.

Most of our clutter was easily eliminated by changing my heart and perspective on a few issues. I’ll share them with you.

a pile of unmade decisions – That is what God showed me about the overflowing “stuff” basket on the counter. You know you have one! Each piece of mail was a decision unmade about when to open it or file it. Each pen was an unmade decision to put it away. Each invitation was an unmade decision about attending the function. We had procrastinated making decisions for so long that it had become a countertop mountain. Once we were done tackling that mountain we realized that it had only taken us a little over 10 minutes to make every decision the basket held. We don’t procrastinate decision making any more. Before we decide to pile it we decide where it should really go and don’t put off doing it.

don’t plan to be broke – God has a way of speaking to me through others and this day was no exception. Grandma was listening as I ranted and raved about having to move all three boxes of baby girl clothing yet again because we had no room to put anything anymore. We’d make room in one area but only because we sacrificed another part of the house to store things. “These girl clothes,” I explained to her, “are for my future daughter — if I ever have one I’ll need them.” The words that came out of her mouth left me stunned. She said, “Amy, why do you plan on being broke? You’ll be able to buy all the clothes you need when and if you get pregnant for a little girl. There is no reason to keep that stuff.” She was right. I planned on being broke or unable to purchase things in the future. That isn’t how He wants us to live. We have to trust in Him and have faith that He will provide. I also realized that there was someone in my community, right now, who needed those clothes. Had I buried them in the attic then I would have been another lazy servant like the one described in Matthew 25:14-30.

buy for purpose, not potential – I have creativity ADD. That isn’t a real diagnosis. It’s just one I’ve given myself. I see things and I immediately think of 7 different projects I can make with them. I buy it for the potential and not for purpose. Once I pulled out all of my craft supplies I realized that I had so many things that I was overwhelmed. I’ve learned that the key to true creativity is simplicity. I have donated more than 3/4 of my craft supplies to local schools, churches and outreach charities. Since then I have not stopped creating. I have room to create and I am not limited by the things that were surrounding me. Now I only shop for things at the craft store that I have a purpose for. If I see something that I think has potential then I take a photo of it with my cell phone and email it to myself. Then I file it away for the future…in case I ever decide there is a purpose for it.

We won’t even talk about the amount of homeschool curriculum I had. I only have one child that I still teach at home yet I had 5 large boxes full of homeschool texts, guides, kits, books and media.

I am thrilled to say that after four months of simplifying our home that we have donated 3 truckloads of boxes and items to Goodwill, 13 boxes of craft supplies to local schools, churches and outreach organizations, provided 9 expectant moms with clothing and other baby items and enabled 4 families to homeschool their kids by donating curriculum and other supplies to them. I’ve never been happier about the condition of our home and in fact, I’m still simplifying. I’ve discovered that I like space more than I like stuff.

I created some one sheet printables to help through the sorting process. You are welcome to download them: Declutter (Give Away, Throw Away, Put Away, Donations Printables). Happy Simplifying!

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Comments

  1. Jennifer says

    We were forced by situation to do this very thing when we prepared to move to Ireland. We got down so scything we owned fit into 11 suitcases. Not bad for 4 people! Ok, there were a couple of boxes of our childhood stuff, but we didint bring that with us (yearbooks, etc). I, too, felt free. Unencumbered. But, wouldn’t you know, after living here 3 years, we’ve piled up the stuff again and most of it sits untouched, unused. Time for another purge, methinks!

    • says

      Wow. 11 suitcases? That is awesome! Crazy how the piles sneak up on you again though don’t they? I’m constantly purging things now to keep the clutter to a minimum.

    • Sharon says

      Jennifer,

      I can so relate! I did a missions internship for a year and shared a room with 3 other girls. We did not have much room for extras in our luggage or in our room. When I got back home to the States, I purged a bunch of stuff. But, over the years I have accumulated too much once again.

  2. sarah says

    Wow. I need to take this to heart – beginning to think of packing and moving… how different life could be if I de-cluttered my heart as much as my ‘stuff’.

  3. Chris says

    ive been decluttering for the past 2 to 3 weeks. and finally got rid of so much clutter! it is really liberating! :D this is a great post. it serves as a reminder to me!

  4. says

    Those are some great points! We recently decided to quit storing all our children’s clothes, and it has been liberating for me. I never considered the idea of “planning to be broke” but that is a great point by your grandma!

  5. says

    Amy – you rock! ♥

    I am going to write down your three points and commit to applying them in the coming weeks. There is such wisdom in your words. Each one was a revelation for me, and I’ve already read all the organizing books. All. of. them.

    Thank you for sharing vision and mission!

  6. Melinda T says

    Wow! What your grandma said is right! I’ll keep and hold on to things, thinking I’ll need it later. Gonna clear out my closets and donate my girls clothes and toys. Thank you for this post!

  7. says

    This is so timely! We just signed papers today on the sale of our home (praise God!) and I am ready to get rid of EVERYTHING I don’t love…even the boxes of curriculum for those “maybe I’ll use this someday” moments. Decluttering is a constant process that I have to keep on top of. My mind is so much more clear when my home is clutter free! Thank you for reminding me of the things that bring contentment in a home – and the fact that someone can benefit now from the things I save for ‘someday’. Loved Grandma’s words of wisdom!

  8. Sharon says

    I have been working on de-cluttering our house for the past few months, but still feel like I have such a long way to go! My husband is a “keep everything in case we need it in the future” type. I love the way your Grandma dug deeper into what that actually means when we think that way. I can relate to feeling like you made your house nice for someone else. We made all kinds of upgrades (new windows, roof, garage door, paint) to our first house (mainly because our HOA required it) and then wound up moving a few months later into a house that needed a lot of the same upgrades! But, now we don’t have the money to do those.

  9. Jill G. says

    Amy,

    Thank you SOOO much for this post! It is EXACTLY what I needed to read, TODAY! There are 4 of us in a tiny 2 bedroom apt. and we are moving in May. I keep telling my hubby that my goal before then is to completely declutter and simplify, and donate/sell at least 1/3 of what we currently own. This is motivating in the right way, and what I keep telling myself is that it isn’t my stuff anyway, it’s God’s stuff, and we all know how easy it is to give away things that aren’t really ours to begin with! Anyway, thanks for the inspiration! I can’t wait to get started on our simplifying!!

  10. says

    This is beyond true. I am so a less is more girl. In all areas–even blogging. I want to get the most out of my choices. I have to say the purpose buying has caused me to think even a little harder and purge a little more. This is a great addition to any financial post as well as organization.
    Thanks.

  11. Jennifer says

    I love it. Your grandmother’s words are wise. I didn’t plan on having another child when my son was small, so I gave away all of his baby clothes as he outgrew them. I did keep a couple of the ones I absolutely loved as keepsakes (but only about 3). Now he is 4 and I am hoping to convince my hubby that he needs a little brother. Money is tight, but I am not concerned that we wouldn’t be able to clothe (or feed, diaper, care for, etc) another child. And what if I had kept all his boy clothes and then our 2nd child is a girl? I’d still have to buy all new clothes. However, that being said, my husband’s cousin had 3 boys and thankfully for us kept all their out-grown clothes, their youngest outgrew his clothes just as my son has been growing into them, so we have gotten a lot of hand-me-downs that they have kept in excellent condition. And I am paying those forward too, as he outgrows them.

  12. says

    Amy,
    Thank you so much. I really needed to read this. We keep talking about this process and have yet to attempt it, mainly because I find it to be overwhelming and daunting. “don’t plan to be broke” that was a good one. It is a great viewpoint that I needed to see. The pile on the counter… yup, have that too. And those craft supplies??? I’ve been hoarding them for years, for the same reason! I have a huge box of crayons that I have literally shipped around the world and back again… and have never been opened! Ugh.
    I remember reading about Hudson Taylor (missionary to China) and how if he didn’t use something in 6 months, he would give it away. His motivation was that someone else needed it and he was being unloving (essentially) if he kept it when someone else could put it to good use. That God gave it to him so he could be a conduit and give it away.
    Thanks for the encouragement to move forward on downsizing.

  13. Tabitha Dumas says

    Love it! I am having ladies over tomorrow so I’ve been de-cluttering and sprucing up and it feels so good and the house looks great–so why not EVERY day??? I know I still ned to simplify MORE! I have been discovering it, too–I like order and space more than stuff! Thanks for a great article!

  14. Probablytracy says

    Exactly! This is how we live normally as a military family who move a lot. But as the years have gone on, I realized there are still things that I have held onto, just because we always get rid of everything. This last move we REALLY purged everything….its so freeing! Makes life easier, cleaner, neater and less burdensome. Great article!

  15. S H says

    Goodness, the second article I’ve read on this blog & have been cut to the quick! …”don’t plan to be broke”. It’s crazy to even think that its possible to do, but I’m doing it! Please thank your grandma for me :) & thank you for writing this post!

  16. Vickie says

    We’ve been doing the same thing all summer. It is a freeing experience and I feel good about the “stuff” we’ve given away, donated, blessed others with, or simply put in the dumpster. I have one more pile of things to go thru and it feels good to be down to just that one more pile.
    My kids still at home are adopted, and having lived in the foster system, moved around a lot, and having to leave things behind, they are hoarders and have a hard time throwing anything away. I can’t blame them. I didn’t grow up like that but I still had a hard time. Them watching me go through all my treasures and making a decision about them, has helped them to go through their stuff and do the same thing.
    Our house isn’t small by any means but it was closing in on us. The kids make comments all the time about how much space we really do have. Now…to make myself go through that last pile of treasures and make a decision.

  17. Sacha says

    Oh my goodness. This was so helpful for me! You described the indecision in exactly the way I needed to hear it and the craft supplies… Yes. Thank you so much! I’m off to fill some boxes.

  18. Christy says

    I came across this article long after it had been posted, but in perfect time for me! I had a flood in the basement and when the RotoRooter guys showed up I found myself apologizing for the mess. My home was BEYOND cluttered! As I put away Christmas decorations I boxed up items that hadn’t been put out in the past two years…and couldn’t stop! I have since loaded my minivan with my first trip to Goodwill, and have quite a task for the garbage man on Monday! Why in the world did I keep so many things thinking I’d fix them “someday”! Thanks for this perfect and timely article!

  19. mreeanne says

    Wow- what you said about not planning on being broke really hit home. I most certainly do not want to be like the lazy servant in Matthew 25!

Trackbacks

  1. […] Simplify and Minimize Your Home January 18, 2012 By Amy Bayliss If you're new here, you may want to subscribe to my RSS feed. Thanks for visiting!I’m over at The Better Mom today talking about how to simplify things in the home. We went through a year of purging and repurposing and we have found som much freedom from it. I’d love to share it with you so meet me here: Simplify and Minimize Your Home. […]

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