Thursday, November 6, 2014

living with less

When you get married you get a lot of stuff. Cookbooks, furniture, money (the best), and bread makers that you will never in a hundred years put to use. There are gifts you register for, gifts you don't, and gifts that most likely were re-gifted at least once. We ended up with doubles of many things because people didn't bother with our registry and just went out and bought us random stuff.

But this is not a post to complain about excess wedding presents. Those additional gifts are able to be returned for the best gift (noted above); money! But what I'm trying to get at is that after the wedding you suddenly have loads of stuff. Some of it is necessary, but what I'm beginning to realise (5 years later while most of it sits in other peoples homes) is that most of it is not.

Before Kevin and I moved abroad we sold a lot of this stuff at yard sales. And yes, it was definitely hard to part with some of it. These were the things that made up our first home together. Dishes, bedding, chairs and tables and carpets. But in the end, it didn't make sense to keep it all when we don't know when or where we'll need it again.

Upon moving, we made the conscious decision to live simply. I believe this has always been our goal, but when you are gifted so many nice and beautiful things what are you to do? We moved here with 3 suitcases and a few carry ons. This forced us to be extremely intentional when it came to what we were bringing. We arrived with no furniture, bedding, appliances, or decor. It was like starting with a completely blank slate.

Over the past year we have made this work for us. Finding a furnished place was the biggest thing. And we have been able to add our own personal touches here and there. But when it comes right down to it, we could pack up everything we own in a matter of an hour or two and be on our merry way.

This has a lot to do with the fact that our home here is roughly 80 square feet. It basically one room plus a bathroom, and has been the perfect space for us to simplify. We have had to be very careful about the things we chose to fill our space with. This means getting books from the library or on kindle instead of buying them (which is hard for both of us book nerds). It means I only buy a new candle when the current one has burned out. It means washing our bedding in the morning so its dry by the evening when we need to put it back on our bed, since we don't have spare sheets.

These are all little changes that can be made to maximize space and efficiency. Food is another story altogether, as we need to go to the store multiple times a week since we do not have much room for storage. But this also causes us to eat fresher and better food in general.

I think so much can be learned by cutting things out of our lives. It has definitely taught me the difference between things we need (1 smell-good candle) and things we just want (17 smell-good candles). Most of our things used to be wants, only used to fill up space. When we first got married I think we had 10 or 12 bowls. This seems ridiculous now! We only re-used the same 2 everyday for cereal and the rest just sat untouched on the shelf. 

Life is busy and hectic and crazy enough without the extra 10 bowls taking up space. De-clutter and live simply. I promise, it's a good idea.

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