One In, Two Out: February


I haven’t forgotten my commitment to track how much comes in, and goes out, of my home this year. We have a running tally on our chalkboard (just a sticker chalkboard as we’re renting and I’m loath to put holes in the wall) of the new shoes that come in, old shoes that go out, the never ending shifting of children’s clothing and the now very slow cull of other things from our home.

The goal was two out for every one in and we’re currently running at eight out for every one in. The Clutter Cleanse gave us an early lead and my guess is that we could finish the year with a four to one ratio.

What left my home:

Clothing! Mostly from the boys. With the three year age gap I have some extra motivation to not store too much from my oldest. It’s mostly jeans and outerwear plus shoes that we are storing for the younger brother. Currently reconsidering my love for/strategy of buying used shoes and storing hand-me-downs after reading a comment here about foot health. 

What came into my home:

Also, clothing. Some Christmas and birthday gifts for the boys of toys and clothes. New pair of shoes for my husband to replace a pair that have holes. Stamp set and stickers for Henry as we do a bit more ‘art’ at home. I gave my husband a FitBit for Valentine’s. We don’t normally exchange gifts but this year he gave me the ultimate experience over stuff present: a weekend away without the kids. Yes, I’m still glowing from the sheer luxury and joy of three days of uninterrupted sleep and not cleaning up banana bits off the floor.

Looking ahead:

Retiring my nursing tops and tanks as I’m nursing a lot less. Some of them look like they’re suitable for kitchen rags but a few will be stored as we’re not sure this is our last baby. I’ll need to replace the nursing tops with new ‘regular’ tops. The boys just got new toys from Grandma so we’ll be taking some toys out of rotation permanently to keep things in check.

And I’m still dragging my feet on eBay-ing or donating a few things. Fingers crossed I can get my mom to mule our North American DVDs back after her visit because they aren’t easy to sell over here.

Reminding myself, as always, there is no finish line for living with less. Particularly in this season of young kids that grow out of things in a matter of weeks. It’s not a done feeling I’m aiming for but rather a goal to create the habit of buying less and letting go of more. One in one out or for now, one in, eight out.

Has anyone counted the number of items they’ve shed so far this year? Brooke runs a nice decluttering series each year to get rid of things based on the number of the year. As in, 2014 things in 2014.

Living With Less Links

Sharing some interesting articles I’ve read recently about living with less stuff and simplicity.

  • Family of four living in a one room house. (link fixed!) Interesting read about choosing to live with no walls between children and parents. The family says they donated most of their things before moving into the home. While not a small home at 1200 square feet (with plans for an addition) the living in one open space concept, and benefits, were interesting to think about. Also, the aesthetic of the home is dreamy to me. Dreamy and crazy expensive.
  • The Joy of Living With Less. Got a mention along with a few other writers, in this article on Some good advice from Francine Jay of Miss Minimalist fame.
  • Simple Cornflakes. For design fans. Check out this minimalist take on several brands packaging concepts. I thought all of them were improved with a simpler design. Plus, Nutella!
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  • I ADORE this idea. Such a good way to keep track of items in your home. It’s a great thing for me to keep in mind with my youngests’ birthday coming up. I recently turned all their hangers around so I can get a better idea of which clothes they wear since they HAVE SO MUCH (thanks to grandma) and which ones we can donate. Thanks for the great tip!!

    • This is just me and it all depends on the age I guess but my daughter’s are 2.5 yo and 4.5 months old and I don’t’ hang any of their clothes up! I figure it takes extra time and really at their age isn’t needed. They have 1 set of chest of drawers between them (although the youngest’ is currently empty but that’s a long story) and whilst I’ve let it slip a fair bit lately, I try to follow Project 333 with them. Even having let it slip, my oldest’ drawer is full but not overflowing. There’s a pile for tshirts, jumpers and trousers or skirts. Yes I agree the hanger concept is easy when you wanna rotate clothing but it’s even easier for me not to use hangers in the first place! Obviously if either of them has a ‘special’ outfit or dress that’s different but right now even the few dresses I figure they wear and crumple so what’s the point!?

  • Would you ever consider doing a post on how you sell your stuff on e-bay? I have a bin of things ready to go but am nervous about starting the process.

  • I luv ur comment about it not being a finish line persay but a mindset. also I tried to click on the link for the family of four in a room house but it says link not found.

  • I wasn’t able to find the comment about not buying used shoes, but I thought I should share the research that I have done into the topic. There are some podiatrists that strongly recommend against it, but upon further questioning, several stated it was more an issue with older children who are wearing their shoes for longer periods and thus molding the shoe better to suit their different feet, and also, that there is an assumption that buying new will involve getting feet properly measured and buying quality — which isn’t necessarily the case. Even if you get your child’s foot measured, its being done by a person who likely had minimal training and not someone who is looking at how your child walks, where their arch is, etc, and then recommending specific shoes — they’re looking how long, if the foot is “wide” and then just telling you a size to grab.
    My new way of looking is if the shoes “looks” considerably used, we pass because it is likely “worn in”, but if it looks gently used, it probably was.

  • In all honesty I only save the expensive snow/cold weather boots from my oldest daughter if it’s been used gently. Otherwise most of their shoes end up pretty destroyed.

  • I would also be super interested in a post on how to sell hings using eBay—I have a bin of things to sell, but I don’t really know where to start! Thanks!

  • I should start keeping track! I am currently purging the house, mainly of kid’s toys and clothes too! There are several items I have hung on to hoping to find what toy they go to and never have. Those items are now in the trash! :)

  • What a great idea! I think I sometimes look at our overflowing donation bin and pat myself on the back for decluttering without actually taking into account the new things that come in due to birthdays (or my husbands finds on craigslist!) What a fantastic way to keep tally!

  • Great article on the minimalist family – I think a lot of people have very short memories and quite apart from the cultural difference, most anyone over 40-50 will have grown up a lot more simply than a lot of today’s kids, no matter where they grey up. Good for this family!!

    Also the design stuff – adore that 😉 Looks pretty Swiss, actually… ;o

    • Love Swiss and Scandinavian design.
      Yes, the article reminded me about my brother’s in-laws in Japan and how they use the rooms multi-functionally as living rooms during the day and multi-person bedrooms at night.

      • This is how we have chosen to live. We are able to live (family of three) in one-bedroom apartments because of it.

        In the bedroom, we keep all of our things — one dresser holds all of our clothing, and we have about 10 items to hang (shirts, dresses, coats/etc); we have a bookcase for our books; two army trunks for toys and related. the closet has a basket of pillows and linens, as well as our thai mats, which roll up simply and can be put on their edge. We also keep our vacuum cleaner in there.

        If Dh needs some quite time for reading or writing, he heads into this room and can close the door.

        In the main room, we have no furnishings at all by day, generally. I’ll practice yoga by the sliding glass door, grabbing my equipment from my bag (kept in the entry closet with coats and shoes, as well as DS’s backpack and DH’s gym bag) and putting it away when finished. DS will grab his toys or a few books from the ‘everything’ room, and bring those out to play. I keep crafting stuff in the kitchen, which I bring out throughout the day.

        We have tidy times before meals. Breakfast is usually already tidy, but the other two take about 15 minutes. Then, we set out a tablecloth and set our “table” (the floor), and then have our meals. We tidy that up, too.

        Before bed, things are put away, and the bedding is brought out to the main room, DS is still very young, so we all sleep together. But, I’m sure that, as he gets older, he’ll want his own space.

        The bedroom, then, is used for us for evening time (once DS is asleep) until we go to bed, in which time we join him in the living room. In the future, we may put him in the bedroom and then go out into the main living space ourselves.

        It really works nicely — and saves a lot of money allowing us to utilize a smaller space (about 500 sq ft).

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