Making The Most Of Our Small Space

Sunday, October 30, 2011 0 Comments A+ a-

Our Small Home
I live in a small house by American standards. Yup, 1,092 square feet. It was fine when it was just the hubby and I. We made adjustments when Phoenix was born, and now we continue to make adjustments with Ariana. We had entertained the idea of the two kids sharing a room, so we could still keep our computer room... but that didn't last long. We soon realized that it would be good for Phoenix & Ariana to each have their own room... and another stage of living with less had begun.

It's no small task to clean everything out of a computer room to convert it to a bedroom. Oh, and not just one, but two computers. I soon realized that we could put one computer desk in our bedroom, and I would just get a laptop, so I wouldn't need to have a computer desk anymore. So, we're in the process of converting the computer room into a bedroom for Ariana. Part of it looks good, but there is still plenty of work that needs to be done.

Wardrobe Downsizing
I like the idea that everything should have a place. So, to make room for some of my stuff that was in the computer room, I'll need to get rid of other stuff. And, right now, one of the easiest things for me to get rid of is clothes. Yup, clothes. Instead of having a closet packed full of clothes I hardly ever wear... I'm doing some major downsizing. Anything that I love and wear on a regular basis stays. The rest is being donated to Goodwill. If you've ever been pregnant, you've likely survived around 6 months on just a few articles of clothing anyways... and, it really wasn't that big of a deal. You just wore what fit. Well, keep that same mindset. Wear what fits. Wear what makes you feel beautiful. Get rid of the rest. It really is as simple as that.

The Gift Of Giving
I used to hate getting rid of things. But now, I actually love it! Will I be happy with just one white tank-top instead of eight? Of course. Seven tank-tops for Goodwill. Do I really need to keep those hand-me-downs from what's-her-name that I never wear? Nope. Five shirts for Goodwill. Those pants that I spent a small fortune on that make me feel frumpy whenever I wear them... what about those? Directly to the Goodwill pile. Oh, and there are those sweaters that shrunk a bit too much when I put them in the drier? Three sweaters to Goodwill. Aah. And, with each piece that goes into the Goodwill pile, I feel a sense of calm. A sense of release.
  
Less Is More
I still have a long way to go, but I'm making progress. And, now, when I peek into my closet, I'm greeted by my favorite clothes that I wear on a regular basis. And, even after downsizing considerably, I still have plenty of clothes to wear! It's amazing once you organize your closet - you can really see how many clothes you really have.  I had no clue I owned so many t-shirts. And, jeans... I thought I only had 2 pairs, but I was able to find 5 pairs! That's more than enough... especially since I almost always wear my favorite pair wherever I go anyways!

My newly-simplified closet. :)
To be fair... I do have a few shelves to the left that I have my work pants, gym pants, and sweatshirts on.

Quality Not Quantity
In addition to getting rid of things I don't love, my new downsizing goal is to really place emphasis on quality... not quantity. For many things, one is enough... especially when the quality of that one is amazing. I'm getting rid of all my ratty old purses, and just keeping  really nice one that I won in a contest a while back. There will never be an instance where I'd choose to carry a ratty, frayed purse when I already have a stunning leather one.

I also currently have two black turtlenecks, which both need to be thrown out & replaced with a nicer one. The one I always wear keeps on getting holes around the neck area, and the other one is just an unflattering cut on me. They were both purchased for around $12 each... but now I know better. Sometimes you need to spend a bit more to get better quality clothes, that will in turn last you longer.

Decluttering & minimizing always seems to be a never-ending process, but it's one that that I really enjoy. :)

I'll leave you with a little story I posed before, but it really gets at the heart of this whole idea.


Releasing the Cows - Told by Master Thich Nhat Hanh 
One day the Buddha was sitting in the wood with thirty or forty monks. They had an excellent lunch and they were enjoying the company of each other. There was a farmer passing by and the farmer was very unhappy. He asked the Buddha and the monks whether they had seen his cows passing by. The Buddha said they had not seen any cows passing by.
The farmer said, "Monks, I'm so unhappy. I have twelve cows and I don't know why they all ran away. I have also a few acres of a sesame seed plantation and the insects have eaten up everything. I suffer so much I think I am going to kill myself.
The Buddha said, "My friend, we have not seen any cows passing by here. You might like to look for them in the other direction."
So the farmer thanked him and ran away, and the Buddha turned to his monks and said, "My dear friends, you are the happiest people in the world. You don't have any cows to lose. If you have too many cows to take care of, you will be very busy.
"That is why, in order to be happy, you have to learn the art of cow releasing (laughter). You release the cows one by one. In the beginning you thought that those cows were essential to your happiness, and you tried to get more and more cows. But now you realize that cows are not really conditions for your happiness; they constitute an obstacle for your happiness. That is why you are determined to release your cows."


What about you? Do you enjoy decluttering? What do you think about releasing a few of your own cows? What's more important for you when it comes to clothes... quantity or quality? Leave a comment.

This post was inspired by http://www.theproject333.com/ & http://www.bemorewithless.com. There are a lot of great articles and inspiration at those sites, and I highly recommend them to anyone interested in simplifying their life.
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