It seems everyday that we battle the amount of possessions we have. We sort, toss, organize and yet, it still seems to be overwhelming. The closet that once was empty is now filled with canned goods because we ran out of pantry space and I got tired of looking at the clutter on the floor.
But we gave some items to a relative:
And changed the area around, which has made a large impact, like our new dining table, it’s an old typewriter table, (the sides fold down and it’s on wheels so it become half that size)?
We even sorted through all our games, this shelf was just crammed, nearly to the ceiling, this is what we have left of them. We have more work to do on this shelving unit. All the discs you see are headed to become digital and then we will give them or sell them to some one else.
There’s still a bit more sorting to do. We are actually contemplating a very small two bedroom where the second small bedroom is a library. We have a lot of reference materials and collections we’d like to keep. But perhaps that’s part of the issue, hard to let things go. I think in time this collection will dwindle, it’s just about taking the time to adjust to the idea then we can give it to a good home? Let’s hope. Other wise we will be living a situation just like we are now, and that will not achieve our goals!
Thanks for reading, if you have questions or thoughts, feel free to share! Also, my next post will be on tiny houses we love and hope to immolate when we get around to designing ours!
You wouldn’t think two people who don’t sew much to collect so much fabric! However, we’ve been known to sew a quilt or three in our time as well as pillows, crafts along with teaching children to sew. It also helps that my mother-in-law is a master seamstress and glorious quilt maker. She is an inspiration to us and so, we started collecting fabric in hopes to do projects with her. She’s such a joy to work with and so knowledgeable, helpful and very patient.
Before starting we had to make some tough decisions. While owning a sewing machine is on our priority list, did we really need all that old fabric? If so, why? Through our sorting we found that much of it was kept for a project we either finished or realized we honestly were not committed to actually doing. To be truthful, admitting this was very hard to do. We are passionate about so many things, it’s hard to pick and choose. But ultimately, it came down to the question, “Where do we want to spend our time?” And we decided that we want to spend our time doing projects we LOVED and we didn’t want to spend our time lugging around an anchor. So, as hard as it was we let 75% of our fabric, dream projects and hopes we had for all of it -GO… It was so relieving. I felt so much better because those undone items weighed on my mind every time I saw the sewing machine or fabric box. Now, I get to spend my time where I want to spend it NOW, not where I “hoped” to spend it a year ago. We realized that year to year our tastes and priorities change, and we have to be willing to change with it. It doesn’t make us failures, it makes us human. And we do get some projects done, but not all of them. We keep trying, and now we can enjoy working on them instead of being overwhelmed by them!
The fabric we did keep were the kinds that were versatile for many projects, mainly large pieces, or were set aside for an item we really wanted to accomplish by the end of the year. This was a great opportunity to set goals for the remaining of the year.
We started with so much, there were three different tubs, a cardboard box hiding here, another there, it was all over the house… Here are the photos of the mess we had on our hands!
That which we tossed was so old it was too worn to be used for anything solid, it no longer had any life in the fabric. The stuff we decided to sell were things like extra quilt blocks from previous quilts we finished, curtains I had hoped to make a belly dancing skirt from, lace curtains, upholstery fabric we decided we weren’t going to actually use, all of our buttons, and yarn.
As we sort through what we ‘need’ and what we ‘want’ I got to my craft box in the closet… Some things got ‘re-homed’ because they didn’t belong in it like markers and colored pencils (we have an art studio area for these items), others given away. But I did this project a few weeks ago and I’m sitting here thinking, you know honestly, I don’t think I ‘need’ anything in there.
I kept some stamps to make the usual cards: Happy Birthday, Congrats on your Wedding, Thank you, Thinking of you. But honestly, I buy them now, cheap and it’s been so long since I’ve made a card or wanted to, do I really need to keep that?? I kept some nice colored card stock, glitter glue, glue sticks, for the same purpose.
I decided to hold on to all my embroidery supplies in hopes to finish up my second ever project. A friend bought me these supplies as they decided they wanted to teach me how and I was interested. My first project was easy, my second was quite large and I’d like to finish it as there’s just a little left to do. Then I think I will be done with it. I really enjoyed it but as time went on, I realized that with the problems I have with my eyes, it’s just not good for me. Sure I could do 10 minutes at a time, but it takes about that long to pull it out and get set up! So, I’m still searching for a hobby to have in my tiny home – thoughts?
After is the clear box:
So, after this post, I’ve decided to find a new home for my craft box, keeping only what thread I need to finish that project. I have a good friend who has children interested in these things and I will pass it on to them. I do their art teaching as they are homeschooled, so it will be like donating supplies to the ‘classroom’!
I’d like to thank you sincerely for reading my blog. I know I have inspired others, which brings me such joy to know I’ve been of help to you! Who knows, without you, maybe I would have quit by now. I’d like to think not, but knowing I have people wanting to read keeps me going. It gives me a sense of accountability to keep sorting and sharing with you! Also, I love how you send me notes and news articles about tiny living and organizing to read that are really helpful to me too!
Please feel free to ‘Like’ comment or reblog! Thanks again!
So, here we are preparing for tiny living and I have 3 totes of photos and random memorabilia. I worked on sorting it all. I started out with 3 totes of things, and got it down to 1!! I had a tote of old photos, one of photo frames and albums and a tote of random items like large photos, X-rays, used check books and empty cardboard boxes, presumably kept for a later art project.
Things I kept:
~X-rays, medical files
~Picture frames (headed for garage sale)
~Photos: I only kept those where I could name who was in the picture. They also got sorted into these boxes I got at my local “Mart” store for 94cents! Larger pictures were sorted to lay flat on top in the bigger box. I sorted/categorized the photos under the following headings: wedding/honeymoon, high school, my family, Steve’s family, friends, Italy, Australia, Germany, misc. (aerial views, farms), stuff (we are artist and take pictures of things for inspiration). See pictures below:
Things I tossed:
~Old receipts/paperwork (some were from 2002!)
~Broken picture frames
I couldn’t believe how many items we have carted from one house to the next. One of the totes had a shoe box full of random paperwork, I swear this is the stack of paperwork that was on the kitchen island in our first apartment that we swept into a box when moving into our first home in 2002!!
I even found a MRI radiology report from 2000! Which I needed in December!
This was very eye opening as it pointed to our tendency to collect, store and keep unnecessary items due to laziness or just being overwhelmed with what to do with things. And the disorganization of it all made it impossible to find that report when I needed it. So, I realized that I need to stay up-to-date with what’s in my file boxes. I don’t need anything older than 7 years old. So, now I can get rid of old direct sales receipts from the ‘at-home’ business I ran. They are in the back of my file box for safe keeping. With a little more effort and tad more attention, I can get my paperwork under control, be able to find what I need, when I need it!
The same goes for photos, it is such a relief to have them sorted. Now when I want to show off my wedding photos, or old high school pictures, I know where to find them, quickly and easily.
This was an excellent project. I do apologize that I didn’t have photos of all the things I tossed. But know that it was junk I always intended to “fix up” and use or do projects with. I carted most of it for years and I feel like it’s ok to let that go. The stress of it has been lifted, I no longer feel like a failure who didn’t get to my projects. Instead, I made room for new dreams, new possibilities!
Paring down to live the tiny life has been so liberating. Do we have lots to learn? Yes. Do we still have loads of things to sort through? Yes. But we are so much closer now than we were just 6 months ago! As our motto states, “Little by little, bit by bit, a new found freedom we WILL get!!”
Thank you for reading, if you are inspired, let me know! Please share your sorting story below and pictures really are worth a thousand words!
Here it is! Finally, the long awaited Tiny Life Christmas post! We kept the tree small. It is an old fiber optic tree given to us from a family member. I loved it, the colors changed and we didn’t have to twirl it to put lights on it!
We kept the decorations on surfaces that were otherwise, white and unused. This allowed us to jazz up the house for the duration with out feeling overwhelmed.
However, I must say that the greatest thing I’ve enjoyed about tiny living Christmas, is that when it was all over, everything fit into ONE rubbermaid tub! (The tissue box is there for size reference) AND I didn’t feel like I was loosing out or sacrificing anything. It was a joyful Christmas! The less fussy decorating was much appreciated.
This included our little snow man. The globe changes color, I LOVE this little guy!
2 Wreaths and lights. (front door wreath not pictured)
Decorative wooden cranberry beads and bows.
Also, while decorating our tiny tree, we realized we had too many ornaments and some too large to go on it. This is even after we sorted through and only kept those with special meaning and those that we truly LOVE. So, we used them to decorate the rest of the house. (see cranberry beads too)
Last year we made these neat fabric, restickable decorations that can go almost anywhere. They get stored on wax paper, then folded to about the size of a Christmas card.
And now, it’s all in that one tub! Voila! No clutter. OH WAIT… Except the wrapping paper mess….
This is what it looked like at first.
To keep it organized I put a paper bag over the rolls.
That helped it store easily onto the top of our closet shelf.
We are working our way through all the wrapping paper and bows. Oh, how I love to decorate the packages so prettily! By time we get to actual tiny living we will have much less. We will buy only what we need and limit wrapping products to ribbon and three tubes of paper for birthday, misc (plain color) and christmas. Which we will find space for in the Christmas tub.
Thank you for reading! I hope you enjoyed this installment of Living the TIny Life. Christmas is such a big part of our cultures and traditions, it would be difficult to give it all up. I hope you’ve been inspired to pare down your things the way you would like. To only have those which make you very happy and bring you joy with out feeling a void.
Please post and let me know how you handled Christmas or would like to this year!
Wow! Where to start. I don’t want to overwhelm you with photos (those will come later) but we have been working on trial and error style living. This included things from using up what we already have, limiting counter space, changing behaviors and so much more.
As you saw last week in Vertical Space, we’ve moved the towel drawers, but they got repurposed for our tea collection. We are trying to use up all that tea and get rid of the drawers permanently and stop purchasing so much! But we LOVE tea!
*We have taped the counter tops to replicate what we expect our counters to be – 18inches rather than the normal 24inches.
*We set our toaster oven on the counter top to see how that will work. We have decided we want to get a Convection Oven/Microwave combo that is mounted above the stove so it wont take up the precious real estate of the counter tops.
*We are also trying to change the way we do dishes to suite a one sided sink style of doing dishes by placing a tray over the other side to immolate what we plan to have. The plan is to have 1 sink tub with a dish pan inside of it. Fill the dish tub with hot,soapy water set it on the counter top, wash the dish, rinse it in the empty sink tub then put on the drying rack. (in the tiny house, the drying rack will be where the dishes are stored as well (see lower photo).
We are thinking to have it in front of the window like the one on the left but have it as a rack, like the one on the right. The neat idea would be to have translucent, colored glass dishes so when the sun shines in, it would look like a stained glass window! I’m completely in LOVE with this idea. What reality is, I don’t know.
*We are also working on buying only what we need at the grocery store in order to get used to smaller cabinet and fridge space. The cabinets are improving but not quite where we want to be yet, as seen in, Organization, the same with the fridge. I keep adding empty boxes to the fridge to reduce the space, but we still seem to fit a bunch in there!
Let me know what you think about our progress and ideas! I would love to hear from you!
Thanks for reading, please be sure to share, comment and start a conversation.
I never realized how cluttered clutter could look, simply by not being organized. Now, I see that I can keep a lot more important things just by organizing through consolidating, condensing and containing!
We are practicing tiny living in our current apartment, so we have been cutting down on cupboard space! In the first picture all that empty spsce was made by moving it to the tall pantry. What’s left are our medicines which need a better place, for now they will stay. The bowls and mixer were moved to the corner cabinet. Where the cookie sheets are (see Paring Down Part 2: bakeware)
Thank you for reading! Please share/comment!
NOTE: Sorry this post is a bit lacking, I’m doing it from my phone, from the comfort of my sister’s hospital room, she’s doing fine. 🙂
I want a simpler life, really, I do! However, I’m struggling with going through and picking out what to keep, toss, give, recycle,etc… We went through the easiest part of the kitchen, next will be the cookware/utensils… and you know what?? I DON’T WANT TO! I don’t want to choose how many cookie sheets to keep or whether or not to hold on to 1 or 2 of my beloved 13×9 baking dishes. What if I want to make a casserole and a cake in the same day? See the problem?
Paring-down or as I like to call it, “smart-sizing,” isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Our first sorting session that I posted about in the kitchen was quite easy. Now the real challenge, for me personally, will begin. I love to cook and bake. I like my tools and utensils. I have fear of getting rid of something and really missing it or that its absence will make my life harder. This would go against the idea of living the tiny making my life easier.
At this point I must explain that there’s a certain amount of introspection and psychological digging we have to do to find out WHY we want to keep our things, what purpose do they serve? Do we really NEED them or is it just more stuff, do I seriously need two baking dishes? And in the end, will tiny living really be a life we can ENJOY if it means giving up so many of our possessions?
So, what’s a girl to do?? My plan? Well, as I’m writing this, it occurs to me that I will be putting these things in storage and not yet giving them away, just as a test. That perspective might help to make it easier to part with some of my items, knowing they are not far away if I find that I really NEED them.
Another aspect to take in account is that in my tiny home, with less things, organization will be key. As you can see these cabinets are awfully messy, but the space is not proper for good organization. One of the things I look forward to most is customization for what things we have decided to keep, even it it is both baking dishes.
I hope by next week, these spaces will look very different as I continue to come realize this is just an experiment for now, nothing is permanent and I can always go back. But the hope is that I won’t need to. Wish me luck!
Thanks for reading, please be sure to subscribe so you will know when a new post goes up. Also, please leave comments/tips on how you have or would handle this issue!