Over the last several months, I’ve made numerous small changes in my life, and I am thrilled with the results. It all started last fall when I began making the bed every morning. I had never done that before (I used to make the bed about once a week, at best), but now I can’t imagine leaving the bedroom in the morning without making the bed. It was a small change, but my success with it was the catalyst for a lot of other small changes.
The most recent change I’ve made was to start appreciating the idea of living with less stuff. We have a 1320 square foot house (plus a full unfinished basement). Three people, a cat, and a dog, and somehow we had managed to fill not only the house but the basement as well. Just about everything we own was purchased used, so we didn’t have a huge financial investment in any of it, but our stuff was taking up way too much time and space. So I started purging. I’ve taken three full car-loads to the thrift store recently (I have a station wagon, so that’s a lot of stuff) and have avoided going into the store when I dropped stuff off.
I just checked out credit card statement, and so far this month, all that we’ve bought is food and irrigation supplies for our garden (my husband got the irrigation set up last week, and so far it’s working great). No toys, clothes, shoes, etc. Financially, skipping the thrift stores doesn’t make much of a difference. I would say that in an average month I used to spend somewhere between $20 and $30 at the thrift stores. I never shop at the mall, really the only place I shopped other than thrift stores was the grocery store. But while there’s not much of an impact on our budget, I can already see the impact in our house. Rooms are starting to look emptier, and take less time to clean (bare surfaces are a lot easier to clean than surfaces with a bunch of stuff on them). My craft area in the basement is much neater, as I cleared out about five boxes of material and supplies that I didn’t really need. It’s easier in general to find things in the basement now, as there’s a lot less stuff down there. Nothing is safe from my purging right now… if it hasn’t been used in the last year or so, it’s out. Decorative items are mostly out, except for a few things that we truly love. I’m finding that it’s much easier to get rid of things now than it was when I started. Things that I debated about a month ago are easy to toss now. I have empty space in the linen closet and our clothes closet. My sock drawer closes easily, and even the kitchen cupboards are emptier.
I used to go to the thrift stores just for fun. I would call my sister or my parents and ask if they wanted to meet me at Goodwill, and we’d just wander around for a while. Now I can call them and see if they want to meet us for a walk on the trail instead.