reduce :: my longest post yet!

Since my corner is my little place to share stuff,  I felt it was time to start doing that, more than my weekly self portraits, my reading or gardening adventures.

Here is a little background, but I wasn't sure how much I should share, so let me know if I seemed to have missed something major.

I am the home learning mama of 3 kids, wife to a very patient husband, and mama to 4 pets. We have lived in several places over the years, actually we have moved 8 times in the last 15 years. This last move, two years ago, was one that we thought would be a great one. We were moving closer to a lot of family and moving to a less expensive real estate area. We did cut down on our mortgage which was nice, but the family thing didn't turn out as nice. My husband ended up changing jobs, resulting in a substantial pay cut, but in a much better suited company for him, which is essential.

We don't follow the rat race. We own one car. Our girls share one bedroom. Our children don't attend organized sports, ballet classes, or music lessons. There √≠sn't money in our budget for those and we also don't agree with rushing here and there for all these activities. We instead spent time together, bike or walk together around our neighborhood or in nature, play games together, talk, basically hang out. We watch what we spend on groceries, clothing, etc. We reuse when we can and buy used as much as possible. It's been that way for many years. It's just the way we are and what allows our family to have one parent at home. We also recycle a lot, donate what we don't need anymore, or reuse. It breaks my heart to see the amount of garbage bags on our street every week for collection. There is no limit in our area, recycling only every two weeks and no green recycling.

A couple of weeks ago, I made a pact of not buying anything that is not essential from now to the end of this year. I told my children about it. We don't buy much already, but we sometimes purchase a video game or a movie, or I will pick up some special snacks, a book, magazine or a small toy. I just felt that we could do more or in this case, less spending and also simplifying our lives even more in the process. I also believe that it is a good lesson to teach to our children by simply doing.  

There are some very simple "rules" to follow when trying to reduce spending:
  • ask yourself "do we really need this?"
  • do not buy on impulse, wait a certain amount of time, days preferably before purchasing the item
  • think about the effect and cost on the environment (production, use, disposal?)
  • the cost to you "can we truly afford this?"
Pretty simple. I have been and will continue to follow these. The purchases that we will continue on making will be for food, household necessities, and basic clothing. My girls often receive hand me downs from relatives and I have saved my oldest daughter's clothes for my youngest. The only one that I usually have to buy for is my son, and I know he will be needing running shoes for this fall, and probably snow shoes for the winter. Those I call essentials and will likely be new (along with socks and underwear), but his other clothes won't. We usually are able to find most of his pants and shirts at thrift stores. 

I have found a few websites about this topic, and there are many about simplifying our lives as well. Decluttering, donating, passing things on, all those things help us live a simpler life.

The compact: to go beyond recycling, to reduce clutter and waste in our homes, to simplify our lives. (also has a yahoo group).

Step 1: reduce from the Global Stewards site ; all environmental tips here.

I love this post. I save all our out of season clothes in rubbermaid bins and go through it all every change of season, but I really like the idea of doing this with our closets once a week. The giveaway drawer is also wonderful.

I have found many others that are taking on a challenge of living with less, simplifying, de-clutter, or even selling it all and hitting the road! Are you? What are your goals?

Comments

  1. I love shopping thrift stores! I get excited finding things I really love for a fraction of the cost and not creating a demand for it by purchasing retail. Our children always have hand me downs and we, too, have committed to purchasing only necessities both out of financial need at the moment and also as a good practice of living simply and being kind to the planet. I think it sets a great example for the whole family and creates a space for creativity. :)

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  2. We are doing very similar things (if not exactly) and have been since I've been at home (part of the deal for coming home). I've been blessed to have hand me downs since the very beginning for my girls and just recently my son. We pass and swap things between several families in the area. We all chip in for the older children's things and then over the year or so they start getting passed down as they're out-grown.

    When we have to shop, it's at a thrift store (the one here sells clothing for $.75 a piece!!). I am always amazed at just how many BRAND NEW items (with tags still attached) I find there. Just goes to show you that people have entirely too much stuff.

    I will definitely take a look at the links you've shared. It's nice to know we have something else in common! :D

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  3. What a wonderful post! Thank you for sharing this. I love hearing how others live their lives. You and your family are very inspiring!

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  4. I've been reading about simplifying as well. We are getting rid of stuff and will likely be downgrading our house or roadschooling, but I don't think we could do without sports or dance. LOL! We love it too much. Good for you for doing what you believe in. I think that if we all sat down and really thought about the values that we want to follow in detail more of us would be doing the same things. And according to statistics, more of us would live life with more happiness and contentment.

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  5. yes, we too are working on simplifying. I have given myself the challenge of simplfying our home in 365 days. We'll see if I can make it.

    www.sandersmemoirs.blogspot.com

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