Our Journey to Own Less Stuff After 6 Weeks Without Our Things
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We all know that we have too much stuff…
But, we just don’t want to deal with it because it is too much work, way too time consuming, and you would rather be doing something else.
I am human, too, and have fallen into the same trap. I get it. Over the years, we have accumulated way beyond what our houses can hold, more things than we need, and so many duplicates that we can’t even count them. We talk about getting rid of things, but then our crazy schedules take over and the last thing we want to do is declutter.
That was us. UNTIL…
We did a massive remodel on our home.
Oh, and to also point out, it happened at a forced time because our dishwasher broke and the dishwasher I wanted was too tall for our existing kitchen cabinetry. Seriously, wish I was joking on this one, but it is the complete truth. We went without a dishwasher for 5 weeks while we figured out our remodel plans and hired a contractor.
At that point, we had to move everything out of our upper level and main level of our home. We packed up all of our belongings and stored them in the basement and garage. It was like we were moving, but we had nowhere to actually go with our stuff.
The main reason for needing to move every single item was that lovely 70s trend of popcorn ceilings (AKA worst idea ever).
We packed up our suitcases and lived in a hotel for 10 days.
Let me tell you… living a regular life in a hotel room without all of your stuff will truly show you how much extra time you have without all of your stuff.
Then, we were able to move back into one room of the house. Within 3 weeks, everyone was back in their own bedroom room. At this point, it was living with just our mattresses and the basic clothes we needed. Due to a remodelin
On a side note, we didn’t DIY the removal of the popcorn ceilings. We have seen too many ceilings that looked worse after the popcorn was removed. Yes, we could have saved money, but doing it right the first time made more sense. In the end, I did end up painting the majority of the ceilings once the popcorn was removed because our painter’s schedule and my desire to stop living in a hotel.
Why less things are better?
Some people will argue with this one. But, less is better.
Having more things won’t make you happier or fill a void. The reason why is there is a deep seated need that is being unmet. You need to figure out what that is because more stuff, things, clothes, or food won’t stay fulfilling for long.
If you have less things are you a minimalist?
That is a good question. Personally, I don’t think we have paired down to a complete minimalist lifestyle. We do embody many of the minimalism traits. To become a true minimalist, I believe we would have to tackle those problem areas like the extra boxes in the basement. It is on my list, but I would prefer to spend time with my family for now.
Have you found less things are better?
Oh, and the biggest reason to own less stuff is the financial impact.
You are able to save so much money by not buying things. Some people think we are always on a no spend challenge.
Reasons to Own Less Stuff
This is what I learned without our stuff for almost 6 weeks. Okay, in all honesty, it was probably 3-4 months before we got through everything, which meant we donated what we didn’t want back in our home.
If I would have known what I learned without our stuff beforehand, I would have been living my life differently.
Our experience was an eyeopener for me.
Here are they key lessons I learned…
1. Don’t Need Much
Very quickly…it came really apparent what we needed and what we didn’t need.
For six weeks, we lived without 95% our belongings.
And did we survive? Yes, absolutely. Was it difficult? Probably when cold weather kept moving in and we packed up our winter clothes. Did we make due? Yep. Did I wish I left out one more long sleeve shirt? It would have made me more comfortable.
The funny part is before the remodel started I thought we have already decluttered and purged a good majority of our house. We already took plenty of trips to the donation center. For instance, I already got rid of 1/3 of my clothes and countless kid’s toys.
Then came living in a construction zone and our stuff in boxes, that taught us we needed even less than we thought on a daily basis.
Unpacking Rule: Once we were finally able to move back in, we only brought in what we needed first. Then, we brought in the things we wanted and missed. Everything else was packed up for a donation pickup.
2. We Have Too Much Stuff
This one is pretty obvious.
There is no getting around that one.
We were guilty just as every other American family. We had too much stuff. Thankfully, we loathe storage units (yet, I want to own one and make money off of it). So, storing extra items in a storage unit wasn’t an option.
We were being swallowed alive with the amount of our stuff. It was absolutely ridiculous.
Life is such more much materialistic stuff!
Even though I have previously written about decluttering and clearing the clutter, we still had too much stuff in our house. And I didn’t realize until we lived without all of our stuff for six weeks.
3. Life is Easier with Less to Manage
Since I wasn’t constantly picking up stuff or asking the kids to pick up, life was less stressful. For 10 days, we lived out of suitcases. Even after a month, we still didn’t have access to much of our stuff (including our couches).
Did we hate not being able to find things? Yes, nothing had a home since our house wasn’t our house, it was a construction zone.
But, still life was easier because we had less to manage. Less stuff to clean. Less stuff to figure out to do with.
To be honest, it is hard to keep the excess out of our house. The kids come home with more things like always and we consistently have to be diligent in clearing out the excess.
4. More Family Time
During the remodel, we shared a lot of time in close and cramped spaces. There were days when we could only stay in our rooms; other days we completely had to be out of the house.
That meant time to play games, head to the park, read together, or watch TV together.
Was it ultimate family time? No. It was difficult because we didn’t have a routine and needed to show flexibility. My daughter’s good morning wake up was me starting to cook breakfast in her bedroom. And hope I didn’t trip the circuit breaker AGAIN! #truestory
That honesty being said, we had more family time to spend chatting with each other and just being together.
5. Able to Bless Others
Once we got the necessary items moved back in, I didn’t want the rest back in. I liked our house with less stuff.
I wanted to throw it all away and get rid of it.
Over the six weeks, I learned how little we actually needed to live on. So, what we didn’t want back in the house was given to organizations to help those struggling to get back on their feet.
It was easier to let go of everything we purchased over the years because we knew it would bless others.
6. Less Stuff More Freedom
Oh my, this is one of the best reasons to own less stuff!!
Without less stuff, you have more freedom to do what you want when you want.
You can say yes to friends because you don’t have to clean out the clutter or basement.
You can say yes because you have more money because you spent less money.
Owning less stuff means more freedom. Did you know? It will help you on the Money Bliss Steps to Financial Freedom, too!
7. Choosing to Live with Less
After we lived without most of our stuff for over 6 weeks, we have made the conscious decision of choosing to live with less.
It is something we have to be mindful each and every day. It is easy to get wrapped up and start living like the rest of society.
Ways we are choosing to live with less:
- Buy less clothes
- Finding ways to use up what we have
- Seeking like-minded friends
- Using Buy Nothing groups for things needed
- Consistently clearing out what isn’t needed
- Focusing on the blessing around us
Overall, we know that choosing to own less stuff and live a thrifty lifestyle will greatly impact our finances as well as how we raise our children.
Financial Impact of Owning Too Much Stuff
This is the one thing most people don’t realize until they need to move, getting their parent’s house ready for an estate sale, or seeing hoarding in full action.
The more stuff you buy = the more money you spend = less money you have for other things (like saving or experiences)
If you are debating decluttering and beginning a minimalist lifestyle, but are held back by the idea of actually doing it. Then, consider the monetary impact of buying less stuff. That is a simple place to start with minimalism is to stop buying items.
1. Wasted Money
Oh, man…this one makes me sick.
Boxes and boxes of stuff that we purchased and never really used dropped off for donation.
Honestly, this is the reason it took me so long to get rid of stuff. It was a tough pill to shallow on how much we paid for that over the years.
We wasted so much money on stupid things especially in our 20s. It was one of my biggest regrets.
Related Reading: 35 Ways You Wasted Money This Year
2. Lack of Savings
This one is another gut punch. Every dollar that I bought something and didn’t use it was a dollar that couldn’t be saved.
The lack of savings is a critical reason for the amount of debt in our society.
The price of goods has become so low that we don’t think twice about buying something. Also, many times, we would rather pay the price of convenience.
Either way, spending money means a lack of savings is happen. The best way to overcome it is to prioritize savings first.
Save Money Resources:
- Important to Know How to Save Money Each and Every Month
- Handpick the 52 Week Money Saving Challenge for You
- How to Save Money Fast – Save $1,000 in a Month
3. Spending Issues
Another honesty moment… I had a spending problem before I met my husband. I truly believed that going to the mall and shopping for clothes was completely necessary duty.
Right then and there, I had to stop spending money.
Thankfully, I have overcome my spending issues by having a shopping ban. But, I had a lot of guilt for everything I bought, struggled to manage the extra stuff in our lives, and felt guilty giving it away.
Nowadays, we have adopted a thrifty lifestyle. The issue with buying too much and spending money as a habit is gone. Now, we prioritize our spending on what matters most.
Tips to Spend Less Money:
- The Vicious Cycle- Learn How to Stop Spending Money Now
- 175+ Simple and Easy Frugal Living Tips to Save Money
How to Own Less Stuff with the Kids
I was surprised how they handled life without their stuff.
Even with all of their toys packed up, they still found ways to entertain themselves without the need for electronics.
The battles to pick up was G-O-N-E!! As any mom can relate, that is a battle that can exhaust you and make you want to give up on a tidy house completely. That is until you step on a Lego. Yet, we still allow our kids way too many toys.
My kids easily got rid of half of their toys.
That was their choice. Not ours.
Just like us, they brought in what the toys the missed and then the rest was given away. Just like the adults, they didn’t want to deal with the extra stuff in their little lives either.
How do you stick to a spending ban?
For us, personally, I was sick and tired of stuff. Plus everything came at a cost.
If I stuck to a shopping ban, then I would have less stuff in my house and more money in the bank.
That right there is the way I stick to a spending ban.
My smart financial goals keep me in check. I am like a mom on a mission! I want less stuff and more money. That is enough motivation for me!
How to have Less Stuff at Home?
Hopefully, our personal story inspired you.
It is possible to have less stuff at home.
You just need to find your personal motivation on why you want to live with less stuff.
The journey to less stuff at home is a process. No one became minimalist overnight. Even this guy who has swept the country with his story on his journey of finding minimalism took months. You can read his story here.
So, how to have less stuff at home?
You have to start.
Put on a new set of eyes to view your life and how it looks differently from what you imagined.
Pick a room and begin your process of owning less stuff.
Here are more minimalist home stories to inspire you.