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How many of you are embracing minimalism?

Read today that the average American household has 300,000 items!  Don't have anywhere near that amount, but recently married and moved,  and my husband and I discovered we had more than we needed. There is a real freedom getting rid of what you don't use.

 

Would love to hear other minimalists stories.

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Here's an idea that helps me when paper needs to be GONE...place the papers in the sink, thoroughly soak them till they nearly dissolve, squeeze out the excess water. Now no one can read them and you didn't inhale paper dust. Doing large batches at a time, you're done in no time rather than spending hours in front of a shredder.   Now you can toss them or turn them under in the garden and the worms will love you for giving them bedding to rest in.    

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Stop most snail mail advertisements by contacting http://www.directmailpreferences.com/.  There may be a small fee, but the time you save will be worth it.

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I process my mail every day, keep a donation box available at all times, hold a garage sale each year.  And in September 2020,  I went through my clothes closet - donating anything that didn't fit (size wise or lifestyle wise), then I turned all the hangers in the opposite direction that I normally hang them. When I wear an item, i hang the hanger in the opposite direction.  In September 2021, any hanger that is not reversed means I didn't wear that item of clothing for 1 year - into the donation box it goes!

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@Rhymesometimes wrote:

Deah, Now that's embracing minimalism! My husband and I just bought a new house and moved in yesterday ( 4/16/21 ) and we are going to be very intentional about how much we put on walls, and not over load with furniture.  Glad we decluttered a lot before move, but more to go.  Christine


Congrats on the move.  When we moved we were also very careful about what we kept visible. Our home looks quite decluttered and even minimalistic. It's very open, bright and modern with home colorful touches.  Because we intentionally separated out our living quarters from most of our storage - we can have both lots of stuff and a very decluttered living areas... except our bedroom. The master bedroom is small so our bed, two night stands and our dressers make it look cluttered 😥. I wish we could expand it but it's about 10th on our list of possible projects, mostly because of the cost. That and being asleep most of the time when we are there. 

 

 

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I process my mail every day, keep a donation box available at all times, hold a garage sale each year.  And in September 2020,  I went through my clothes closet - donating anything that didn't fit (size wise or lifestyle wise), then I turned all the hangers in the opposite direction that I normally hang them. When I wear an item, i hang the hanger in the opposite direction.  In September 2021, any hanger that is not reversed means I didn't wear that item of clothing for 1 year - into the donation box it goes!

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@notauser17 ,  That is awesome!  If we only wear 20% of our clothing 80% of the time, I bet it would be quite a shock for those that try your idea for the first time.  Eventually, the idea is to get to the one in one out stage.  I always tell people that if they let go of something, the new idem is an "upgrade."  Easier to part.  Also the old item can bless someone else.  Thank you for your contribution on The Girlfriend form.  Always looking for more contributors.  Christine 

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I'm a staunch believer in the minimalist lifestyle but haven't come around to practicing it, yet. 

Wanjiru Warama
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@WannjirusBits, Forgot to add that wanting to start is the first step. Now just put it into action.  Look forward to hearing more from you, and your progress.  Remember, baby steps! Also, celebrate each of those baby steps, then you will get more momentum.  You can do it!  Christine

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@WanjirusBits,  I say start small so you are not overwhelmed.  That junk drawer we all have is a good place to start. Or even a shelf.  Would love to hear more from you on The Girlfriend forum.  Christine

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I avoid clutter by not allowing anything to accumulate. While I probably keep more "may be useful later on" things than necessary, everything has a place where it belongs. I am currently selling some books from my three bookcases to make room to display photos.  I also donate regularly to Goodwill and Habitat for Humanity, my favorite local charities.  The latter will take off-beat items such as doorstops, screws and other hardware as well as soft home goods like linens and tablecloths.  Now if only there were a magic way to go through all those old photos and slides...

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@bj445 , I'm not a great tech kind of person.  But there must be a way to upload the photos.  Culling the duplicates, out of focus ones would be a good way to start. We are trying to get more contributors to The Girlfriend forum, if you have something to post or more great responsses, would love to hear from you.  Christine

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I participate in my local Facebook Buy Nothing group. I get good feels to see my well loved stuff go to younger families for their use and enjoyment in my own neighborhood. Makes me take a critical look at what I (don't) use.

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2 tips:

If going through area, have small plastic grocery bag, I put items in to donate. It immediately goes into car so can drop it at nearby donation centers as quickly as possible. Not holding until have 'a lot' to donate at one time.

Friend always gives lots of 'stuff' for Christmas, birthday. While I adore thoughtfulness...many times just too much. I quickly do a 'photo day'. Stage each item (using neutral background), take picture then place in in 1 of 3 piles: donate to specific charity, donate to general charity, really have space for item. I then download all photos, they have appropriate names, into one file. I can then do slide show of those items on my computer at any time, and think about the great friend that gave them to me. That could also be done if helping family member declutter...it is often more about the memory of how the item was acquired, not the item itself. The 'electronic picture show' takes up so little shelf space!  

 

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@JanM680120 wrote:

2 tips:

If going through area, have small plastic grocery bag, I put items in to donate. It immediately goes into car so can drop it at nearby donation centers as quickly as possible. Not holding until have 'a lot' to donate at one time.

Friend always gives lots of 'stuff' for Christmas, birthday. While I adore thoughtfulness...many times just too much. I quickly do a 'photo day'. Stage each item (using neutral background), take picture then place in in 1 of 3 piles: donate to specific charity, donate to general charity, really have space for item. I then download all photos, they have appropriate names, into one file. I can then do slide show of those items on my computer at any time, and think about the great friend that gave them to me. That could also be done if helping family member declutter...it is often more about the memory of how the item was acquired, not the item itself. The 'electronic picture show' takes up so little shelf space!  


I've followed your first tip since we moved. I always used to put a big box somewhere for donations, and it never seemed to get filled up or taken away because I would forget about it. 

Putting a bag or small box right by the door has worked wonders and I am so glad you posted about it. We pass by a donation station on our way to shop once or twice a week, so we'll drop even one item off. I second your tip enthusiastically.

 

I also adore your tip #2. I wish wish wish I knew you earlier. We are somewhat new to where we live and have new friends who have brought little gifts over when invited for dinner or a party and I forget who gave me what now.  And I'm sure soon I'll be donating a few of the things, or wanting to re-gift them. but if i don't know who gave them to me... YIKES.

 

 I probably will just take a quick snap shot and save it to Evernote with the person's name, because evernote will automatically date it. But it's a wonderful, caring and brilliant idea.

 

THANK YOU

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@JanM680120 , You are rocking it!  Keep those creative ideas coming on The Girlfriend forum.  Christine

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@ JanM....  WOW!  That is positively AMAZING to me that you gather up the gifts you don't want to keep, actually stage them (I know how much work that takes, believe me), take photos of things that you then download, and place them in files.  I think I would perhaps keep one item (if I needed to remember the person who gave me something), and immediately donate what I didn't want or like.

For me, it's not sweating over keeping things, but all the damnable (can I say that here?) paper that accumulates that I don't know what to do with.  Some is super easy to throw away ASAP, while other things I don't know what to do with.

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OMG you are hired when can you come to Boston MA and start inventory on my house. 

Great idea. 

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I don’t have to clear clutter because I don’t accumulate it.  Keep things up to date year round and there will be no need to "de clutter"!

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@2Papa You are who I want to be in my minimal journey, super disciplined! Christine

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Oh my! How I admire you. I'm a chronic clutterer of clothes and papers

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@2Papa  That's great, if you have the time to sort through all the paper that comes your way in the course of a day.  Unfortunately, not only do I get tons of it in my personal snail mail, but in my business mail as well.  And I mean TONS of it!!  WOW!

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Stop most snail mail advertisements by contacting http://www.directmailpreferences.com/.  There may be a small fee, but the time you save will be worth it.

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Great resource, thank you for sharing that.  Keep the good ideas coming at The Girlfriend.  Christine

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That website is not found.

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@bj445   Living in a rural area, we get LOTS of little shoppers in our mail. I have BEGGED the mail person not to leave any here, but they say they have to because the post office has to distribute them.  I have even called the shopper mailing companies themselves, and they say they can't stop them from being distributed to individual households because they are mass mailings.  So I'm afraid direct mail preferences is not going to help me.  But thanks much for the recommendation, bj.  Much appreciated.  🤗

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If something has accumulated a heavy layer of dust since the last time I used it, or the batteries are dead ~ out it goes!  😀

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@ BertyBGone....  Hahaha!   I like the "or the batteries are dead."   Cute!

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I periodically try to clean out my closet by giving to the Salvation Army the clothes that I no longer wear.  My youngest daughter is the best. Her friends ask her to go to their house and "throw" the clothes they really don't wear anymore but can't bear to get rid of.  I know she would find lots of things still in my closet that I should donate.

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It really helps to research the places/organizations in your area that can use, resell, or otherwise employ your discards--then you don't feel quite so bad about getting rid of a still- usable item! Clothes and working household items are kind of no-brainers (Goodwill, ARC, other thrift stores, homeless shelters); books can usually be donated to either thrift stores or your local public library; office supplies can often go to schools. Some towns have organizations that are dedicated to repurposing in order to keep material out of the waste stream (e.g., Colorado Springs' "Who Gives a Scrap"), and these may take stuff you never dreamed you could donate! It's well worth an internet search to see what's available locally--if you know someone will take it, it's easier to give it up!

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Goodwill is listed as a profit-making charity and is not preferred for us to give donations. Salvation Army is very good, as the CEO makes very little. Purple Heart good. Hospital thrift shops also good in my experience.

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Goodwill is a nonprofit organization and provides a lot of good programs in every community. It also provides jobs and is where I purchase a lot of the 300001 items I possess.

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@KSAA676329 ,  300,001 hmmmmm.  That makes you ABOVE average. lol 

 

I love me a clothing haul from Goodwill.  But definitely getting more choosey about the quality, and take extra time to look over the material for stitching, stains ( especially underarms ) and "piling" that comes from wear and tear. My favorite clothing to get at Goodwill, would include leggings and workout tops. 

 

At one point, Goodwill was sponsoring a free computer lab at a women's organization I volunteer at, and that has helped countless women get back in the workforce.  Priceless!  If you have good quality work clothes, you can donate to a women's  organization to help wardrobe for interviews.  Christine

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@. The owner of Goodwill is making a fortune off people who leave their unused items there.  He doesn't have to spend a dime for all the merchandise he gets, plus he makes money off all the sales.

PLEASE reconsider, and donate your items to a homeless shelter or the Salvation Army.  People who pick up items don't have to pay anything for them. And trust me when I say they will be most appreciated for your donation!

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