There was a time in my life that I thought having things was what I wanted. I kept everything just to make sure my house was full. I kept everything “just in case” I needed it down the road. Honestly, I think I just wanted people to think I had a lot of things. Regardless of the cost of those things, the amount still added up to me having more than others. My homestead journey didn’t change that at first. I started to change things like my cooking and hobbies first. Then I felt another shift and it happened shortly after we moved. I realized, after a great deal of thought, I wanted to simplify. I needed less in my life. So, if you’re here, you most likely are feeling that urge too. Here’s some methods you can use to simplify your home too!
Where to Start
I had no idea where to start. It seemed rather overwhelming. I think part of the reason it was overwhelming is because I had to make decisions about everything. I had to decide if something was worth keeping. Every item I looked at needed to have a decision made about it. I don’t like making decisions!
The best thing to start with for me seemed to be things we haven’t used. We had just moved so I had a unique perspective. I could look at an item and question if we had used it at our old house. I could then question if we needed it at our new house. Most of the time if we didn’t use it in the old we didn’t need it in the new. Even if you haven’t moved this principle can still apply. If you haven’t used it in 6 months to a year, ask yourself why. Question if it’s really needed in your home.
My Clean Outs
I had a gigantic DVD collection. This is one of those things I thought made me look like I had money. People use Netflix anyway so I’m not sure who I was fooling. Truthfully, I acquired most of these while I was single. I was deeply depressed and enjoyed joining another world for a while. Now, we’re more busy and I’d much rather read a book or work on a sewing project. Don’t get me wrong, I still love a good movie night. However, we still have access to be able to rent one if we want to and it’s definitely cheap enough for how often we do it.
I genuinely watched majority of our DVDs to decide if I should keep them. On most days, I kept one on in the background while I was working. There were 2 criteria that I used here. First, was it something I wanted people to see when they walked in my home. Would I be proud if Jesus walked in my door and saw my DVD collection? If the answer was no, it was gone. The second was what did it portray. Did what it portrayed align with my values? Were the scenes appropriate? Was the language appropriate? They go hand in hand. Watching them helped me dive deeper in to see and judge just what I was letting enter my home.
We are the keepers!
I have and had a lot of books. This is one thing that I don’t skimp on. I read nearly 50 books each year and that doesn’t just happen. Sure, I could rent them from a library but I haven’t done that in ages. I also don’t like to be held to timelines on reading. Sometimes I can finish them in a day but sometimes it will take me nearly a month. Plus, I read more in the winter when we don’t have outdoor projects and work. I don’t like leaving the house much in the winter.
It’s okay to keep books and I think it’s okay to keep a lot of books. Personally, I do not like electronic books. You’re looking at a screen and that takes away the benefit of the book. I might as well be looking at my phone and doing whatever else. Anyways, I digress. I was keeping books I knew darn well I would probably never read though and that’s not okay. At this point in my life I know what my interests are. Yes, I do keep a variety still but they are things I know in my heart I would pull off a shelf and give them a chance. If you’re keeping books just to keep them I would suggest letting them find a way out of your life.
This is one big way you can simplify your home. Are you keeping clothes just in case? I definitely was. Just in case I had to go to that party. Or just in case I was going to do an activity that required them. Then I got over myself. If that party came up I could find something to wear. That activity would work just fine with the options that I had on hand.
This is an easy one to use the one year method. Have you worn it in the past year? If not, you probably don’t need it (with certain exceptions). There are some people who even turn their hangers around at the beginning of the year. Then as they wear items they will turn them right side out. If anything is left backwards it is gotten rid of.
The one thing to note here is that I don’t keep up with styles. I don’t update my wardrobe often. I try to keep clothes that will stay mostly in style even with time. Honestly, they are pretty simple and that suits me. Basics never go out of style!
I’ve also changed my options to be more modest. As I got older, I got more self respect. Really though! My values changed significantly when I “settled down.” I had some rough years but, ultimately, changed myself and my style. Would that item give others or myself impure thoughts? What is the purpose of the outfit? The clothes I wear give others a gateway into who I am and what I stand for. What do you stand for?
Things I Didn’t Simplify
I didn’t simplify my decor. I don’t have a ton of it to begin with and it’s all pretty simple. Most of it has been gifts or it has been thrifted. Plus, decor makes our home feel warm and cozy. It makes it feel like home. I’d say don’t overdo it but it’s totally okay to have home decor. Remember, is it how you want people to think of you?
Food Preservation Supplies
I have an extensive amount of preservation supplies, tools, gadgets, and gizmos. I’m constantly getting more too. This is one thing that I would suggest you don’t simplify. These help me be more self sustainable. They help me to provide for our family and they would be useful if an emergency occurred.
Warm Weather Gear
We don’t get rid of mittens and gloves. They get lost and they get lost very easily. For that purpose, we tend to actually collect hats and gloves. They might not get used year round but for those few months of winter they are used constantly.
Take a look around your home. Start asking yourself the question- what purpose does this have? Am I okay if someone associates me and my character with X item? Have I used this lately? There are so many ways to simplify your home!
The most important thing is just that you take the first step. Make the decisions. Tell us, what is the process you use to simplify your home? How did you start?