There it is, that perfect point in life where you have just the right amount of everything. Is it even possible? When it comes to things or stuff, I think there is. What is the right amount of stuff for one person will not be right for another. This is a personal journey and only you can decide what is perfect for you. But in general you know you have the right amount of stuff when you can find exactly what you need when you need it. You don't have to go digging through piles of junk, clothes, accessories...whatever. Having the right amount of stuff is freeing. You feel good when you open a cabinet or drawer and you can see everything you have. It really is such a luxurious feeling. Have you ever gone on vacation and taken just what you need and you think to yourself, wow this is so much easier than when I'm at home? It's that feeling only every day you feel like that. It's getting ready in the morning and not having to go round and round about what to wear. Everything you have fits just right and is flattering. No more too tight or too loose clothes. It's opening your closet and knowing exactly what is in there and being grateful for it. It's opening the refrigerator and liking what you see. It smells good in there. Nothing is shoved in and spoiling in the back. It makes you want to cook! It's opening your medicine cabinet and being able to reach for exactly what you need without everything falling out. All the makeup you own makes you feel good putting it on. Same with hair products. You know you have the right stuff when getting ready doesn't take forever and you look pretty and fresh when you step outside. The right amount of stuff feels good, it doesn't feel like a burden. So you see it's really not a specific amount of things but rather the perfect amount for YOU. Some people say my house is minimal and others laugh at that idea. But it's perfect for ME. And that is what counts. My turning point came about 15 years ago when I couldn't do any of the above and I was sick and tired of living that way.When we first got married we had just enough and then our jobs got better and so did our stuff and the amount of it Why did we do that to ourselves? Getting back to enough didn't happen overnight but it did happen, slowly but surely. I started with my closet and then went from there. Eventually, when the youngest left home we were pretty poised to downsize. But even with all the prep I still had to let things go. And you know what? I can barely remember what I got rid of. I'd have to think long and hard and try to come up with what I tossed. And why waste energy doing that. It's gone. For good. Why lament that? It starts with one small step to get to enough. Just one small step. And you know what? I still work on it. Things creep in and stick around until I realize I'm off my path. I hop back on and it's all good. The reward is that luxurious feeling that I took for granted and somehow let slip away. That feeling of just enough.
I was intrigued at the .99 cent store with their lavender scented epsom salts. I had a big bag of plain epsom salts and decided to make my own. It was easy. I just filled a big jar with the salt and added about 2 Tablespoons of chopped fresh lavender. I sealed the jar and within 24 hours the scent was amazing. I use about 2 cups per bath. Epsom salts have a long history of being detoxifying and also soothing to sore muscles. The store bought scented salts have a heavy perfume scent to them and I'm not of fan of that. There is one drawback besides wanting to take 3 baths a day...after the water has drained the residual bits of lavender remain but i'm ok with that b/c one, it's a small price to pay and two, another bath is just around the corner.
As promised, lets start a little series this month and try and get our houses organized. If they are already please chime in on the comments and let us all in on your secrets. Again, I am not an expert on this subject but I am willing to share my own home and what has worked for me. Downsizing of course forces organization so I had that on my side. I thought we'd start with the living room because that's probably the easiest room in the house to organize. So if you are interested, let's go.
When you step in our house you step right into our living room and dining room. There is no entry so I like walking in and seeing clear surfaces. I like some breathing room. This is where we relax and I don't find clutter relaxing.
Before moving to this small house my idea of organizing/decluttering meant moving my things around and around putting them in closets, drawers and pretty storage boxes. Now with very little storage space every drawer/closet counts. All my available storage is used for what we use everyday, not for what if's or extra's or things I can't let go of. Those days are long gone. Every single thing in every single drawer or cabinet is used on a regular basis or holds enough personal worth to us that it is not buried in storage. The value of these objects is in the using. Since there is only one closet in the whole house you see where my philosophy comes from.
That large basket on top of the armoire is an antique laundry basket from England. It holds an extra blanket or 2.
Inside the tv armoire is our small movie collection and small cd collection. Also, the tv, Bose, ipod, DVD player and cable box. The drawer to the right of the cable box is where I keep my camera when I'm not using it. To be honest, I'd love to get rid of this whole thing and put a fireplace in its place. But that isn't happening anytime soon.
On the other side of the room is our dining area and it isn't very complicated either. The china cabinet holds my buffaloware dishes. The 2 drawers contain cloth napkins and candles for dining. The garden cloches on top of it hold bird nests that I've collected over the years. The record cabinet holds a few very select records.
My small but mighty record collection.
This situation really doesn't change because this is the only place that RL book fits and I look through it all the time.
I am not comfortable dictating how you should live or that the way I live is in any way better than the way you do. I adore M's house even though our styles are different. But I suppose you are reading this because you are interested in living with a bit less. So to you dear friends, your assignment, if you want, is to see what is laying around that is not useful to you in any way. What's cluttering your space and ultimately cluttering your mind? What have you been moving and shoving around instead of donating? What is stopping you from taking action? Is there someone who could be benefiting from stuff that is stagnating in your home? Remember it is just stuff. Maybe you are a person who loves clutter and this kind of talk bothers you? So many questions! In the end, we get to choose just how we want to live, it is what makes the world so interesting. And that's nice.
$99.40 is the total I spent on groceries for the month of February. I'm happy with that. My goal is to spend no more than $100 a month and so I just made it. What is so strange to me is that even though I'm spending less than half of what I normally would, I have more food in the house and we are eating better than ever before. I have to hand it to the blog for this because of the accountability factor. Another thing I've noticed this month is that things are getting easier, or maybe I should say things are falling into a groove. Before if I was missing an ingredient for a dish, I'd run to the market and get it. I'm just not doing that these days. I improvise or just wait. I would always run into a store for one thing and come out with 3 or 4 or more even. That added substantially to my grocery bill and oftentimes led to waste. Another thing is that I feel we are eating a lot healthier. Eating fresh food prepared at home just can't be beat. At times even the best restaurants disappoint. So again, win win. I haven't been tempted to buy much of anything either. I hope that continues. Our overall goal is to pay off the mortgage in 5 years so we are now 3 months closer to that. I know it seems like an eternity away and lots of things can go wrong that would derail us but staying the course is the only way this is going to happen. I have to stay focused and that's where the blog is helping the most. Lots of you have sent me your grocery receipts and say you are motivated too for lots of different reasons, that in turn inspires me to keep going.
During the month of March I'd like to continue the grocery shopping accountability but I will be posting the receipts at the end of the week. That way if we were to be out of town I won't be announcing it to the world beforehand. You know what I mean? Also, during March my goal/hope is to do a series on organizing the house. A lot of you have asked for that and I will do my best to deliver.
So have a decent weekend and see you soon.