Travis and I have moved around a LOT in the five years we’ve been together. We’ve lived in five cities and seven different houses/apartments.
A brief history of houses:
- *2 bedroom, 2 bath apartment with 1 car attached garage. Small balcony patio.
- *2 bedroom with added loft, 2.5 bath townhouse with 2 car attached garage, large back deck
- *parents house with full basement and yard
- *3 bedroom, 3.5 bath townhouse with 2 car attached garage, no outside space
- *2 bedroom, 1 bath house with small back yard and front porch, no garage, large shed (for several months we also had a downtown office for Domain51, including a full “lounge area” with tv, sofa/chair, mini fridge and extra desk)
- *Added: 1 bedroom, 1 bath apartment with no garage and small balcony patio (when Travis moved to Austin)
- *2 bedroom “loft style” townhouse, 1 bathroom, no garage, small backyard with deck
At the “peak” of house size we had a 1,600 square foot 3 bedroom, 3.5 bath townhouse with a large two car garage. We’re currently sharing the smallest place we’ve ever had (together) – a roughly 1,000 square foot “loft style” townhouse with no garage.
In the five years (and 7 houses) we’ve both purged and accumulated a lot of “stuff”. It seems like we never fully purge the old stuff/hobbies before we bring in new stuff. It hasn’t helped that we’ve always had a shed/garage to “ignore” stuff and that for the past 3.5 years we’ve always had at least 2 places (either 2 houses/apartments or a house and an outside office). It’s an insane cycle.
This year, I’m determined to accomplish “The Great Downsize”. I’m not interested in becoming an extreme minimalist, but there are definitely some areas we need to work on. I’m going to take the advice of some great minimalist bloggers and start with one small area, then move on to the next and the next. By 2012, the Swicegoods will be majorly streamlined and I’m going to blog about every single step we take to get there.
My simple rules for my downsizing:
1) If I don’t absolutely love it, it can’t stay.
2) If I don’t use it at least once a month, it can’t stay (the exception to this is seasonal items like winter coats, rain gear, Christmas tree, etc.).
3) Ditch the duplicates.
4) If it doesn’t have a permanent, easy to access home, it can’t stay. We can only keep what fits in this house.
5) 1 in 1 out. Every time we buy something new, something old has to leave (preferably something similar).
The areas that need the most love:
1) Outdoor equipment (camping, biking, yard, etc.).
3) Kitchen, namely storage containers and baking dishes. Our pantry is a little out of control as well.
4) Office – we have a lot of extra office supplies and whatnot. Buying in bulk isn’t helpful if we can’t store it.
5) Cords – we have an insane amount of “extra” cords.
6) Paperwork – I’m pretty sure I’m holding onto a lot of paperwork that doesn’t need to be kept. I plan on going as paperless as possible this coming year.
Some helpful downsizing articles to inspire you:
Decluttering as Zen Meditation
How to Setup an [ultra] Minimalist Kitchen
How to Setup a Minimalist Kitchen (Part 2): The Essentials & the Nice-to-Have
How to Stock a Minimalist Pantry
Purging Your Way to More Space
Deciding Where Stuff Goes