Living simply in the wild

Simplify: Your unused items

After spending the past 9 months purging, selling our stuff, donating countless bags and boxes of ‘stuff’ we don’t need or use i am amazed at how much stuff we brought along that we haven’t used yet! I have things in the kitchen i haven’t touched, and let’s not even talk about what’s under the bathroom sink or the boys toys. If you’re my friend on facebook you saw when i was packing that I desperately tried to make it so we had only ONE plastic tub per room to bring. Of course the kitchen and bedrooms were an exception. The boys had one tub of toys to bring, which i am now finding out that it was probably 1/2 a tub too much since realistically they only play with half the items we brought and have learned that a cardboard box makes a great barn and an oatmeal container makes a great Silo.

We are really trying to live consciously and i guess you could say ‘minimalist’. Although i have a slight aversion to that word and the stigma that goes along with it, so i try to avoid that word. I like the word ‘simplist’ instead.

So how can you get rid of the stuff you NEVER use and just keep around ‘just because’. You’re in luck because i have some tips!

Clothes

Take a few minutes and go into your closet and turn all your hangers ONE direction. Sounds kind of silly i know. Each time you wear an item put it back in your closet but turn the hangar the opposite direction. Now just go about your life. In 6 months come back to your closet and every hanger that hasn’t been flipped around, consider getting rid of those items. You’ve not worn them in 6 months!
OCD Hangers

If your a thrifter for clothes try heading this advise: It’s quality not quantity. Yes those shirts you can pick up for $1 are a great deal, but if you never wear them you’ve just waisted your money. Invest in a quality item rather than the fact you scored a drawer full for under $20, that you probably won’t wear anyways.

Take a little time and go open your dresser drawers. Those items on the very bottom in the way back? Those items that have been folded for years and never touched? You know what i’m talking about. Those 16 raggedy T-shirts you keep around for cleaning and painting…how much painting do you do that you need that many grungy t-shirts? Keep 1 or 2 and toss the rest.

Bathroom

This one is pretty easy. Condense! Go ahead, marry those bottles of shampoos. Combine those bottles of soaps. As long as the smells don’t clash your good.  Put your band aids in ONE box. Of course you can get creative and find fun little containers to organize with if your heart so desires. Now go look at your towels. Do you really use all of them? And do you really like washing all those loads of towels once they are all dirty? I’m guessing not. We are a family of 4 and have 6 towels. End of story.

Organic cotton towels

Toys

Cringe! The thought of stepping in your kids playroom makes you want to run away screaming. The key is to set the scene for the kids. At dinner talk about children who do not have toys. Plant a little seed in them. Later that day or the next, don’t wait too long, kids have extremely short memories it seems when it comes to certain areas. Go grab two big laundry baskets and have them play a game. One basket is for trash, yes trash. You’d be surprised how many scraps of paper or headless army men you come across. The other basket is for Giving. Have your children go through their own toys reminding them about the children with no toys and how nice it would be to give a little boy or girl a few of their toys. You’d be surprised how generous kids can be! This is a great life lesson time as well. My Jace usually puts his favorite toys in the donate basket and i remind him that we are giving these toys in that basket away and not to be upset when he can’t find that toy later. Sometimes he’ll change his mind, other times he’s exited to give things away. I find if you give the child the choice and let him be in control of it, they usually make a pretty good decision.

Keep track

Just keep a mental note of things you have not used in a few months. If you notice you haven’t used something in a while and can’t think of the next time you’ll need it…toss it.

There’s a few starters for you. There is a PLETHORA of info online about how to de-clutter and organizing. Just google away and you’ll be bombarded by a sea of websites. It’s hard to implement everything! But these couple of tips are a few tried and true things i do every so often to stay on top of the clutter. I wasn’t expecting to have to do them again so quickly but since we recently moved it is easy to keep a mental note of what we have or haven’t used since we’ve been here. By the time we head off to Lake Chelan i’ll really have a good idea on what we can get rid of. If we haven’t used it in two months…is it worth keeping around? More than likely not. Unless its expensive to replace or something we can’t improvise on.

That should get you started. Good luck! Remember if you have any other tips i’d love to hear them.

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