Downsizing Part 2: Out of Sight, Out of Mind

The purge continues.

In my previous post about our downsizing, I mentioned sorting our belongings into three categories – keep out and accessible, keep but pack for storage, and toss.

We are sorting and packing up things we know we want to keep, but don’t need to have out. These are getting ready for storage. In the short term, this will be one empty room. Longer term this will be a storage pod or storage unit.  We are looking to do some serious downsizing so this process is part of our bigger plan. 

We have emptied an entire room at this point, and as we sort, things that we are keeping with the intention of being stored are getting packed up and put into this empty room. We are really wanting to empty the rooms so we can move into the next stage of our downsizing plans.

We have also scheduled a yard sale for July to try and sell a lot of stuff we don’t use anymore  and we are also posting some of our items online to try.

Things that we are actively sorting and packing away:

Files

This is an ugly beast that rears its head every few years. We have a ton of paperwork that has accumulated over the years. I am trying to stick to the “seven year” rule with financial paperwork and so have already had plenty of stuff to shred. But there is plenty more sorting to go. Financial records, medical records, it piles up fast. Ultimately I would love to scan everything and shred most of it. A document scanner would be awesome for this process (the kind where you feed sheets of paper in like a printer, rather than a flatbed scanner where you scan one at a time). But for now, we will end up with a few banker boxes that need to go to storage at the end of this process, and there will be a file drawer of current files that stays accessible. My ultimate goal is to scan everything and file it into Evernote so I can retrieve information using tags, but that’s an even bigger goal than just getting everything scanned. Baby steps…

Kitchen

It doesn’t seem to matter how much kitchen space I have, it’s never enough. I am constantly having things fall on me when I open cabinets. But I love to cook, so there is a limit to the amount of downsizing that can occur in the kitchen. While I try to avoid single purpose gadgets and trendy gadgets that I really have no use for, I do have a cabinet full of equipment that I use fairly regularly that I can’t envision doing away with – my crockpot, dehydrator, blender, food processor, Kitchenaid mixer, even my steamer. So I am looking elsewhere in the kitchen for downsizing opportunities.

Glassware – I have an overabundance of mugs. Somehow along the way in my life travels, I have collected more coffee mugs than I really need. Some have sentimental value but I need to to take a hard look at what I have and what I need. While some will get tossed (yard saled, not trashed), I have put together a kitchen box of items that we don’t need for a minimal kitchen but that we might want in the future. I’ve kept out a couple of coffee mugs, cups for the espresso maker, and a couple of drinking glasses. I kept only one tea pot out. All of this fits on one shelf of the cabinet! The top shelf houses canning jars at this point. This will (hopefully) force me to adopt a wash-as-you-go attitude in the kitchen and help keep me from being overwhelmed by dirty dishes.

Plates – I have two partial sets of bowls and small plates that I typically use, and so I decided to box up one of the sets. Anything miscellaneous has been boxed (like random soup bowls with handles) so now everything fits on a single shelf neatly.

Tupperware – A source of stress in my life for sure! I am constantly searching for lids that fit and deflecting falling items. I finally sorted my tupperware and kept only the nesting Rubbermaid sets I have, and everything else went into the recycle bin. All together, my containers and lids take up less than one shelf in the cabinet.

Cookware/Bakeware– I do a lot of cooking and have built up a nice collection of pans. I do most of my cooking in cast iron, and a lot of my baking using stoneware, so I don’t see much downsizing here. But I’m sure I can look through and find stuff that doesn’t see a lot of action.

Books

This is always a tough area. We have done a couple of book purges over the years. It is always a stressful process, because we are academics at heart. I love my books, and they are one of the few things that I see the value in, even if they sit on a shelf not being used. I have downsized our collection quite a bit already, and certainly do a lot more reading on my Kindle, but I know I need to go through the process again. I don’t mind putting books away for storage at this time, but I want to commit to getting rid of at least a small box.

A couple of years ago, when I started thinking about downsizing, I wanted to really make the effort to reduce the numbers of books we were purchasing. I think we have done alright for my husband and me – I have only bought reference types and have even stopped buying cook books like I used to. But now that we homeschool, I am buying books for our personal school library. While we get a ton of books from the library on a regular basis, I think it is important to have a personal reference library for the kids. I tend to buy reference books to go along with our curriculum. So far these take up less than a full shelf and I think it is worth the space.

Clothing

This is another tough area for me to work on. I am always afraid of being overzealous and then regretting getting rid of something. This will fit again, or I will need to wear that someday… I think this downsizing process is important though and I have to make tough choices here. I can’t just put everything in storage!

And then there are the kids clothes…

We haven’t sworn off having one more kid, so I am hesitant to get rid of the kids clothes yet, but I am at least going to organize and pack them up so they take up minimal space. We have used many of the same clothes from our first child on the younger two, so I know this is worth the space. But, my bins have gotten pretty cluttered over time and definitely need to be repacked.

I think we are making a lot of progress in our downsizing. I think attitude is a big part of the process. We may still be in the sorting stages, but our willingness to part with some of our stuff is progress in and of itself.

 

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