7 Things Living Minimalistically Has Taught Us

minimalistic-living-lessons

 

It’s official.  We are now residents of Florida.  We have Florida license plates and driver licenses, the kids are enrolled in school, the moving truck has come and gone and today the last thing of our move went away…

   the 16 foot Pod we had filled up before putting our house up for sale.

Pods-moving

Pod advertises that a 16 foot pod will hold 3 to 4 rooms of furniture.  Since our house has 9 rooms, this was essentially just less then half our house worth of items we had been living without for 3 months.

In addition to filling the Pod, we had also donated  alot to Goodwill and kept the garbage man very busy as we got our house ready to sell, so it seemed to us that we were living living minimalistically.  Now this is not Tiny House minimalism since there are seven of us in the house and there is no way we could live in 200 square feet, but definitely living minimilastically for us.

Now that the Pod is unloaded we are actually all feeling a bit overwhelmed by all the items and realize that living minimalistically not only allowed us to sell our house quickly, but has taught us some important things as a family.

#1 Knick Knacks Don’t Make your House Warm & Cozy

I used to think that  houses that looked like showroms all the time lacked warmth, and that pictures and knick knacks were necessary to make a house really a home.  Well after the last couple months living without all the pictures and knick knacks I have changed my mind… well at least partially.  It’s not the things that are in your house that make it a home, but the people.  We all felt every bit at home without the majority of the  items.

Not only was the house still home without the items, it was also less cluttered and therefore less stressful.  Less time dusting and rearranging those items.  Also less worry about the kids breaking some of those items.

So now while unpacking the boxes from the Pod (there were 51 of them) I am seriously considering what to keep and what I should donate (In the past I would have stored the extras in the attic or basement, but we don’t have that in our new house so it’s definitely time to clean out house.)  I mentioned I changed my mind partially.  The item I did miss seeing were some of the  family pictures.  However, I think I’m going to scale back on these a bit too so that my table tops and shelves are a bit clearer.

#2 Keeping the House Clean is Much Easier with Half the Stuff

When I asked the kids what their thoughts were on the last couple months of not having half the house they all replied it was easier to keep clean.  I definitely have to agree with this.  Not only were there not all the knick knacks to pick up to dust, but having less made it easier for the kids to keep their rooms and play areas clean.  There was literally a place for everything and things weren’t just stuffed in places.

A prime example of this was my oldest’s bedroom.  It used to be a complete disaster.  Many times you couldn’t see the floor, desk or anything else. While I don’t have a before picture, because it would just be too embarrasing, here is what his room looked liked while we were selling the house.

Can you believe that was an 18 year olds room?  Even his closet was clean.  That was another area that we had cleared out and placed some items in the Pod in in vacuum sealed bags. (I highly recommend Ziploc over store brand.  I bought both and the store brand came unvacummed and some even ripped during the time in the Pod.)  My oldest daughter loves to organize closets and drawers, so she did his room and he was told to put everything back in assigned places and he did just that – in big part thanks to having less.

#3 We Enjoy the Floor Space we Have Without All the Furniture

Not only did we put 51 boxes in the Pod, but also quite a bit of furniture of pieces – 3 desks, shelves, chairs and more.

After the Pod was packed my 13 year old commented, boy this house seems huge.  Another daughter said, “look at all this room we have to dance.”  It was the same house, but to them it seemed like a brand new house – just because we had cleared out some things.

So if you ever think, my house is too small.  Look at those items you might not really need and donate or sell them.  You will probably be like my children and have a new found appreciation for the space you have.

#4 We Don’t Need a Bunch of Toys

Before we loaded the Pod, I had my 5 year old go through the toys in the family room with me and told her we had to narrow it all down to one tote bin of toys.  This was a big challenge because our family room was play central  However, she was excited to get to help and we were successful in narrowing it down to one bin and allow our family room to no longer look like this.

toys-before-minimalizing

 

but intead like this…

minimalistic-family-room

 

Just a wee bit different right.  That basket in the middle of the room held my daughter’s dolls and then we had one tote bin that got put in the car when we would show our house.

I thought for sure that the kiddos would tear open the toy boxes when they arrived, but I was wrong.  They were perfectly happy playing with what they had been playing with the last 3 months and those boxes have just sat up in the loft waiting to be unpacked.  Definite surprise and proves to me that the kids definitely don’t need so many toys, so it’s time to scale back even more.

#6 I Like Empty Counter Tops

Before the clean out I will admit my counter tops in the kitchen were never clear.  I had my crockpot out, the toaster, coffee pot, canisters and more on top of them not to mention a bunch of papers.  To me it was just the wasy of life.  I figured as long as I had some room to put together dinner, I liked the ease of not having to put appliances away all the time.

Getting the house ready to sell changed it all.

minimalistic-kitchen

 

For 3 months I lived with almost empty counter tops and I loved it.  It definitely reduced the stress and made cleaning the counters off so much easier.   Even more important,  I found since everything had a home due to the clean-out, putting things away wasn’t hard at all.

This concept didn’t only apply to the kitchen, but also the master bathroom.  In the past my bathroom counter top help many of my toiletries.   Things like my makeup, face cleaner and contact solution were always left out.  I can tell you that is not the case anymore thanks to our period of minimalism.  Now everything is put away after using it.

While I haven’t quite reached the empty counter tops at the new house yet since we are still unpacking, it is definitely the objective and I’m working to find a place to put everything because I do like living with clear counters.

#6 I Don’t Need A Toaster, But I do Miss My Pressure Cooker

Part of clearing the counters included putting some of the kitchen appliances in the POD for a time being.  I learned that some appliances are more important to me than others.

While I didn’t put the toaster oven in the pod, it did get put in a cupboard where it was difficult to get out.  So when I made myself eggs in the morning, I would simply toast my bread in the pan I was cooking the egg in.  If I needed toast for more people, I did it in the oven.  So the toaster wasn’t a definite necessity.

However, I can’t say the same for the Pressure Cooker.  I had kept out my slow cooker, but the pressure cooker got put in the Pod.  I will say I definitely regretted this and it was one of the first items I unpacked after the Pod got emptied.  In fact it has been used twice just this week.  I love how fast you can make food in it.  That’s why this busy mom will make sure I am not without my Pressure Cooker again.

 

#7 I Miss My Coupons

Four months ago as this journey to Florida began, I shared with you that I was going coupon free for a while.  While I didn’t break the bank without coupons thanks to the stockpile and Aldi, I learned that I miss coupons.

After being in Florida for several weeks I have had a chance to scope out the stores and learn the coupon rules at Winn Dixie and Publix.  I can tell you the majority of my shopping will continue to be done at Aldi, but I am going to start couponing again so that I can restock some of my stock pile.  Especially those toiletry items like hand soap, laundry detergent and shampoo.  These are items that I am so used to not paying much at all for that even Aldi’s prices seem high.  So the coupons are definitely coming back!!

 

So that it.  What we have learned from our time living minimilastically.  Am I ready to get rid of everything.  NO.  There are items we are glad to have back.  I asked the kids what they were glad to have back and here are some answers:

  • 5 year old – her kitchen set
  • 10 year old – his legos
  • 18 year old – some of his video games

and I of course am happy to have back my pressure cooker.

However, we have been clearing out still.  In fact, I made my first trip to Goodwill yesterday with some furniture items that we have realized we just don’t need.

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