Tiny House, Tiny Living, The Tiny Life.

Practical Tips For Downsizing….Everything Part 1

Stuff, we love having stuff, our culture tells us we need stuff, we need more of it and the stuff we already have isn’t good enough.  When it comes to downsizing you probably are thinking of materials things, they clutter our homes and they often end up in the trash or donated to goodwill.   But when I say downsizing I am talking not just materials things, but non-tangibles too!  Whether they occupy a physical space or weigh on our minds, there is a balance we must reach with stuff.

What are non-tangible things?  They can be things that are on our mind, that distract us.  They are goals and activities we want to do, but have yet to complete.  They are things that get in the way of us being the best we can be.

Some things are necessary, while others make life just a little bit easier, and then there are those things we just “need” for one reason of another.  So here are some quick tips that I have used in my life to really reduce the amount of stuff.Herald-MESSY-DESK

I decided to split this up over a few days because it’s so big and so you can take time to digest each one on its own.  Please feel free to share your thoughts!

The Box:

This is a really useful tool that I use allot and with great success.  Find a box, any box, size appropriate for your stuff of a certain area.  The important thing to remember is to tackle one defined area at a time, usually you can define an area by its function.  Your desk is a great place to start (then later move on to your clothes, then the kitchen, etc.).  Take everything and I mean everything!  Out of and off of your desk (with the exception of your computer and desk lamp) and put it into the box.  No cheating now, just do it, I want every drawer empty, the desktop clear and the floor clear too if you have stuff piled up.

Now once you have done this, write today’s date on it and take this box and put it under your desk or within arm’s reach.  That’s it!  No just kidding, as you begin to work and find that you need things go to the box and pull out that one single item.  If you need a pen, get one pen, not all of them.  If you need ruler, take it out of the box.  Continue doing this for a month, hence the date you wrote on the box.  At the end of the month schedule 20 minutes in your calendar to sort through the remains.

When you do this take your box and set your trash can right next to it and begin considering each item.  For 95% of all the things in that box, you will end up throwing away.  A few items will be something that you use every now and then, but with no consistency, but you feel that your really really really need.  Then ask yourself:

Is this something that I could borrow easily when the need arises?

Could you achieve this function of the item, in another way?

Is there something in my desk that can do this function?

For many things you will find that you can borrow them or you don’t really need it.  There are those things that you just have to have.  You emergency inhaler is a good example, however the snow globe that Deborah in accounting gave you 4 years ago and that has been sitting the back of a drawer is not.

Throw away or donate the remains and you will have an area that is cleaner and has the things that you need, now just want.

2 Comments
  1. This is a great tip to keep in your arsenal! I've used a similar idea, and had others do the same, where you clean off a shelf, putting everything into three boxes: dump, give-away, and keep. You then put the keep box into the corner of the room with the date on it and in one month whatever you haven't gone looking for goes.
    Same idea that can be used for other areas of the house.

    Great post!

    Jesse

  2. A great post, with a brilliant, logical, and downright practical process. I see to many posts like this, that say little beyond just "simplify, man!" But, you actually put in a process, and a good one at that.

    I'll throw in a tip, that has to do with my material weakness, media. I love media. I have so many little optical discs in my house, I could build a stack to the moon. If you're like me, try this.

    (1) boxes out, put everything into large (400 disc or so) CD wallets.
    (2) Invest in a good stoage disc drive, 1 terabyte minimum, ideally two or even three TB.
    (3) Learn how to rip. This will make all those music and movies super easy to deal with. Put them all in your drive from (2).
    (4) Store. Find a safe, climate controlled place, and put the CD wallets above in them. Even if it is the back the closet. Don't get rid of them in case you loose your data. These are your backups, but you most likely won't need the media again.

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