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5 Reasons You Should Start Owning Less

I did an earlier post where I listed five reasons for wanting to live a simpler life.

Then I told you how to clean out your closet.

What I didn’t do, however, was focus on why I believed owning less is beneficial for you.

I probably should have done that first, since owning less is one of the steps towards a simpler life.

Here are my reasons, based on my own experience:


1. Better control over finances. 

Things cost money. Less things means less money spent and more in your wallet. Having less things also means it costs less to maintain your stuff. Have you ever noticed that the more things you have, the more things you need to buy to store them in (whether it be a box, a storage unit, or a house)? Then you need to pay for any repairs, cleaning [supplies], replacements, and so forth. Things drain wallets and put you in debt. Do you really want to acquire something that you will be paying off for the next ten years or incur more credit card debt?

2. Environmental impact.

Less stuff usually means less waste. Too many things these days are made to be disposable, and a lot of people buy in bulk because things can be quickly used and thrown away. Not only that, but many items are packaged and wrapped in paper and plastics that get tossed immediately. Cutting back on these items cuts back on the amount of waste. I highly recommend checking out The Story of Stuff video if you haven’t already. In the video, Annie Leonard goes in depth on what really happens behind the process of making and trashing/recycling our stuff.

3.  Less pressure to keep up with the Joneses. 

Often, our buying habits are fueled by others: our friends, families, and the media (advertisements on television, in magazines, on the internet). We see something cool or beautiful somewhere else and think, “I’ve got to have that!” And why? Why do we think we need that? Some things may be necessary but most things aren’t. Clothes change with fashion. A new phone seems to come out once or twice a year. Cars are updated. Homes are renovated and decorated. But do we really need it all? Who are we trying to impress?

4. Less clutter.

Nothing is more irksome than tripping over a pile of clothes on the floor or losing your bills in the big pile of junk on your kitchen counter. Or how about trying to find space for the third china cabinet that you’ve acquired? Soon your home is filled with stuff hidden in every nook and cranny until you don’t know what to do with it anymore and just keep adding more! Visual clutter contributes to mental clutter. How do you feel when you have an empty shelf? A clean counter with one lone candle? A spotless floor? You feel calm, relaxed, peaceful. 

5. Freedom.

Less means packing a lighter purse, backpack, bag, or none at all! While I do have a purse, I love sticking my wallet in my pocket and running out the door. Owning less also means you can pick up and move quickly. As someone that has moved seven times in the last four years, I know what a pain it is to pack and move. I also know how awesome it is to have less each time and friends remark, “I can’t believe how little you have!” You also don’t have a burden of worrying about taking care of your things (should they break or you’re out of town or whatever). Having less makes you free.

What are your reasons for wanting to own less?

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Laura Norcross is a twentysomething woman that lives an ever-changing life and writes about it over at this luminous life. With a BA in Creative Writing and Film Studies and a Master's degree in teaching, she currently works in the special education field. Besides chatting about tiny homes and simple living, Laura enjoys devouring books, drinking tea, hooping, and creating happy every day moments in life. Laura and her husband currently live in a studio apartment outside of Chicago, IL with two cats, a rabbit, and a bearded dragon.
{ 45 comments… add one }
  • Daniel
    March 2, 2013, 10:57 am

    What I always say: live simply so you–and others–may simply live.

  • Nadine
    March 2, 2013, 10:58 am

    These are all good points. I am really working on decluttering. People love me right now! I want to go to a small home instead of our old trailer without carrying too much.

    • March 2, 2013, 12:18 pm

      Some people seem to declutter overnight and toss out everything they own without a second glance; however, it was a longer (and never-ending) process for me. I’m glad people love you. 🙂

  • Cahow
    March 2, 2013, 1:03 pm

    Well, to paraphrase a popular phrase, “One Wo(man’s) Stuff is Another Wo(man’s) Necessities.” I declutter every single Winter but that sure doesn’t mean that I’m living off of a duffel bag and sleeping bag. My hobbies are weaving and baking, so I need LOTS of “stuff” to do both hobbies. I weave rugs, blankets, placemats for gifts and also our own use. My loom was made by my Grandpa in 1902, from wood he harvested and planed himself. I have an entire room (8’x10′) in our 800 square foot cottage dedicated to my Arts & Crafts. My husband designs stained glass windows for fun; he keeps his massive set of supplies in the barn, where sharp bits of glass and metal don’t harm anyone inside the house. Regarding baking, I bake at least 3 times per week and gift away almost 90% of it. Just for cake pans alone, I have over 23 different styles that I’ve collected for decades. There is a Senior Centre a mile from our cottage, and twice a week I bring them a from-scratch cake to enjoy. Sometimes it’s heart-shaped, sometimes it looks like a rose, sometimes it’s a triple layer cake. Our 8’x10′ pantry is dedicated to an upright freezer, the frig and my baking supplies.

    We also have all the family antiques in our wee cottage, that our 3 children already know “who inherits what”, so there will be NO fighting! Everything from jewelry to rare books to whatnot is already listed and agreed to. When my husband and I are both gone, our family’s history will continue to live on, in our children and their children. Already, some of the older grandkids have bugged THEIR parents (our children) with “I want X and I want Y when I grow up.” There’s great joy in knowing that our family tree has deep roots.

    We went from a 3,000 sq.ft. home to the 800 sq.ft. home, giving 3/4’s of the ordinary things to our adult kids: beds, bedroom furniture, etc. We kept the antiques and high end furnishings. For us and our lifestyle, losing 2,200 square feet IS downsizing to the MAX!

    I read most of the Tiny House talk emails but what strikes me the most are three things: 1) No one has any hobbies! Hobbies need space! and 2) No one has any ties to their past, via inherited books, furniture, a handmade quilt, etc. and with rare exceptions, 3) Hardly ANY of the Tiny House people love to cook/bake! I’ve watched countless youtube videos created by tiny-tiny house people and if they have a microwave, they count themselves as complete. Some have zero running water, some have no bathrooms. One famouse tiny house person lives off of soup. Wow. Seems that for some of these people, ended up stripping SO much from their lives in the name of “less stuff” has also given them less of a life, by many people’s definition. Guess they won’t be hosting any Thanksgiving or Christmas get-togethers in THEIR 80 square foot “house”. 🙁 But, I guess that’s what MOM’S houses are for! LOL

    • March 2, 2013, 2:46 pm

      Cahow downsizing is not for EVERYBODY. You lifestyle is in itself your workspace. Most of these micro home are for people who need to get away from stuff…kinda like apples and oranges, or in my case blackberry’s.

    • Marisa
      March 2, 2013, 4:11 pm

      I totally agree with this! We are a family of 6 and we run two businesses from home. I have lots of hobbies that I love, (photography, sewing, playing guitar, having a great home library) and we homeschool. I could downsize a little more, and I’m in love with simple living in general, but it’s important to define for yourself with how many possessions are right for you. The key is mindfulness and owning with intentionality.

      • March 3, 2013, 9:22 am

        “The key is mindfulness and owning with intentionality.”

        You got it. 🙂

    • Alynxia
      March 2, 2013, 10:36 pm

      Just for the record – I’m a knitter, crocheter, spinner, weaver, cross-stitcher, needlepointer with 2 spinning wheels (including a full-size walking wheel), table loom, a keyboard and 2 vintage sewing machines (including my great grandmother’s Singer Treadle). Not to mention my craft library. All but one of our furniture pieces are antiques from before 1940. And it all fits into our planned 83 sq ft off-grid Vardo. It just takes a little imagination and creativity. 😀

      • March 3, 2013, 9:23 am

        I’d LOVE to see the plans for your house to contain all of those! Amazing! I’m a lowly knitter and just have a little basket full of yarn. Haha!

      • Rhonda
        March 3, 2013, 1:53 pm

        I would love to see how you did it as well. I had been thinking the same about what if you have hobbies? Or a big screen tv you don’t want to give up…and I have beautiful paintings from my beloved mother…I would love to see your plans as well or pictures!

    • March 3, 2013, 9:21 am

      An 800 sqft house sounds just perfect for you. I’m so glad to hear that your family bond is strong. And you have amazing hobbies. Can you bake something for me? 🙂

      I’d like to address your good points:

      1) I have seen hobbies with tiny house dwellers — but most of them require little space (reading, writing, painting, jigsaw puzzles, etc.), being outdoors (walking, cycling, rock-climbing), or somewhere else (sailing). Some tiny house owners also have a shed on their land for wood-working hobbies and things of that sort. I know my husband’s hobby (working on cars) posed an issue for us so we planned to have a garage on our land for him. People with hobbies that take up more space are usually creative with their ways or choose to live in a space that isn’t a tiny home. And that’s perfectly OK!

      2) If I receive any exquisite inherited items, I’ll keep them! Some furniture (chairs, bookshelves), and definitely books and quilts, can still fit in a tiny house. It’s just about being creative. But who knows what people do with those things– that is definitely a topic to explore!

      3) My friends Andrew and Crystal Odom are building a beautiful gourmet kitchen in their tiny home. Check it out! http://tinyrevolution.us/ I’m personally against microwaves and told my husband we have to have a fully functioning stove, fridge, etc. in our home! I’m also a foodie and love to eat at new places — so perhaps may tiny home dwellers do the same thing.

      You’re right — holiday gatherings will probably be at the parents’ houses! Haha! But, depending on weather and house layout, people can also gather at a tiny house indoors or outdoors. I definitely want to take advantage of outdoor living space!

      Thank you for sharing all your thoughts! Cheers!

    • March 3, 2013, 10:23 am

      Cahow- I used to have the same concerns. But I am a weaver (inkles+table looms+a floor loom), knitter, crocheter, and leather smith. I weave for a living. I also do soapmaking, batch cooking for family members, and gardening. My husband repairs old electronics and is a musician. He is also building us a tiny house (exterior is completed!). We’re planning on tons of storage and since we both work from home with those businesses, we might even be building a second tiny house for a workspace in a year or two. That will equal under 300 s.f. for both of us; in the beginning, it will be 200 sf for all of our hobbies and our living.

      I think you can fit whatever lifestyle you want into your tiny space, no matter the size. As for entertaining, move someplace where you can do that year-round outdoors where there is unlimited square footage. But I think 800 s.f. for two people is tiny in its own way. It’s not a competition.

      • Ann
        March 3, 2013, 11:39 am

        some places a single building on your property is taxed according to a different rate than several buildings on the same property; they call a huge house a single dwelling, but several little houses or buildings might be classified as an estate and be taxed at a higher rate.

        So check the local tax codes before splitting needed square feet into separate buildings.

        • March 3, 2013, 12:15 pm

          Thanks, but we’re building both on wheels! Good to keep in mind anyway.

    • Jenifer
      March 4, 2013, 2:23 am

      First, that is a big down-size, so awesome job on that.

      Second, what I think is important in the process of downsizing is being honest with yourself in terms of what you need — how you work in your life, in your work, in your hobbies and interests.

      With this, we have very different hobbies than you. Our indoor hobbies include reading, watching movies, writing — most of which we do on our computers. Everything stores very easily for us in this way. DS loves lego and card games (easy to store!). We also use the library, and have a small collection of our favorite books.

      But most of our hobbies are outdoors. And most of those are simple — go to the beach, go for a hike, community gardening, laughter yoga club (which we also do at the senior center — which is just as nice as taking them a cake, don’t you think?).

      We are not suffering or living less of a life. We live a wonderful, full life. It just doesn’t require as much equipment as your hobbies. And that’s ok, right?

      In addition, not having “things” from the past doesn’t mean you lack connection. My family doesn’t have heirlooms other than jewelry, and I have a piece or two. But, my husband and I created a family stories book — pictures, the old stories, and so on. It’s an e-book form, and we gave it to our family members. We add to it on-going. It’s a combination of biography, family tree study, and also scrap-booking — but it doesn’t require any “stuff” other than our computers. And, it’s backed up, too.

      So, we have in 480 sq ft the same connection to family, enjoyable hobbies, and connection to community that you have. We have less stuff. It’s ok. We are different from you. Our lives are ridiculously full and happy. We have the space that we need (for me, probably more than we need). And we have a dream of taking a year to RV US/Canada when DS is old enough to really enjoy that experience. So we will have our time even smaller.

      And we’ll still be happy, have full lives, and plenty of space for how we live.

  • Erik Marksu
    March 2, 2013, 2:34 pm

    Scaling down can be difficult.
    I’ve been there.
    In 2010 I lived in 900 s.f., 3 bedroom, mobile home with a shed. There was not a lot of room to move. It was well organized, but there was a lot of stuff for one person. It has been like this most of my life and I’m 45.

    I remember reading Jay Shafer’s advice that it will take time, maybe a year or two. I thought, I could do it in less time. It did take me a year and half, in all fairness. Good call Jay.
    It’s about adopting an attitude that will stick with you permanently. It’s not just a matter of thoughtlessly disposing of some material items. Which just about anyone can do. The problem here is, that doesn’t change the behaviour that amassed all the posessions and one can expect to quickly regain all the clutter
    For me, I had to be comfortable knwing I was recycling items, the best way. That meant give away stuff to goodwill or listing on CL, which is a HUGE help. Stuff that could be sold was listed and sold. Stuff that was garbage was recycled or thrown in the garbage.

    I started by going through boxes and saying, ‘just pick a few things that can go’. You have to rationalize. Be practical. Also, be prepared with empty boxes and containers to put the items no longer needed in. In short time, you have 3 -4 boxes/bags of stuff that can go.

    One of the luxuries of the internet- Craiglist. If the items can go (not be sold) , I would spread them out, take pictures, and post them on Craigslist in the FREE section. You don’t even have to explain what the stuff is, the pictures do that. I would always ask people to tell me what items they were interested in and name a few times that are good for them to pick-up.
    Then the people who need these items will come and pick them up, meaning you don’t need to take things away. It’s so nice knowing you are helping people directly. They always arrive with a positive attitude, and you know that you becoming free of the items.

    If something is of value, sell it, but don’t try and make big money. Be realistic. The VCR and TV you paid 2500 for in 1999, isn’t worth anything, today. Let it go for free. If you have a pair of tables you foolishly overpaid $500 for 4 years ago, you list them for $250 and someone offers $100. Let it go.

    Unless it’s got some ridiculous monetary value, look at things as physical, utilitarian objects and how they will serve you. When you hold onto something because “I paid $XX for that” , that is not a reason to keep something. That is giving control of your life, to money. Take the control for your life.

    One fear I had, when I started- I thought I would miss things I got rid of . After the first batch, in Feb. 2011, I found I didn’t miss anything
    I felt liberated, free of the responsibility. I knew if I found later I needed anything I gave away, I could always get more. But to this day, I don’t miss anything, no regrets. I feel empowered knowing I won’t have THINGS controlling me.

    A few months later, you repeat going through boxes and getting rid of items you don’t need. At first you think, but I’ve already done this, but you will be amazed, suddenly things you thought you needed, you realize you CAN do without. And in short time, you have more boxes of stuff that can go.

    At this point, I could move everything I have, in 4 car loads in my compact car. Plus the mountain bike and washer. I do not yearn for a bunch of stuff and I’m always aware, do I need that. Its like when something new comes in, something else goes out. I live in a 225 s.f. Tiny house and I’m not cramped.

    If you have items your holding onto for the memories sake, but you really don’t need, those are valid thoughts. Memories are precious and will most likely always be with you.
    That dining table your grand mother had, the old pool table, the bed hutch, numerous books, magazines, pictures, your favorite clothing from 10 years ago, etc.
    Try taking pictures, lots of pictures from all angles. Perhaps even movies.
    Then back-up, back-up, back-up your picts. Flash drives, email, the cloud storage, etc. Your favorite pics are most likely, easier to view from your computer, than trying to access something in a cramped storage unit.

    Don’t let money drive you to hold onto something. Even if you bought it last week. If you don’t need it, get rid of it. You’ll learn to question yourself when you’re there, in the store, making a purchase. ‘Do I really NEED or want this?’

    Check out the movie “The story of stuff” on You-tube and in other places. It tells about the materialistic culture that has been thrust on American people since, at least, the 1930s, and how Americans are paying a huge price because of it.

    Sometimes, holding onto just one or a few items from a collection, is enough. For example, if you have 200 beenie babies, take a picture of the entire collection, then keep 5 of them, and get rid of the rest. You’ll most likely not feel any loss, and in fact, feel you’ve gained freedom.

    Don’t be afraid to question what you see in an item: child hood memories, social acknowledgement, mothers love, professional achievement, etc. The answers are personal and may help you to prioritize.

    Always be prepared with empty boxes, labels, empty bags, magic marker, scissors, garbage cans, etc. for sorting. Even make temporary signs labeling “keep”,”archive”,”recycle”,”give away”,”sell”, etc.
    When a box or bag gets full, be quick to remove the full box/container and replace it.

    I wish you the best of results in freeing yourself from the clutches of “things”.

    • March 3, 2013, 9:10 am

      Your process sounds very similar to mine!! It has been slow, and deliberate, and conscious. One step at a time. Love your tips too — with taking photos of items and keeping a couple things out of a large collection. The Story of Stuff is a fantastic video.

  • Bobbi
    March 2, 2013, 2:59 pm

    I like the idea of have less. I was listening to a presentation about materialism, when the speaker mentioned that at the turn of the last century, the average needs of a family numbered 92. Now the average needs are in the thousands. I understand the what Cahow concern for enjoying hobbies and needing workspace. I hope that the size of the small house movement will begin to address these needs. I think that it takes time to learn how to size the amount of space needed to dwell in comfortably.

    I am an interior designer, hence I have been paying attention to the designs render by the company Dwelle. I love the floor plan, and I think there is room for improvement within those floor plans for move living space.

    As for the need to have hobbies and collections for inheritance. I see nothing wrong with those pursuits, however, it is futile to think that the family will keep those items. The truth is it is impossible to control material things when you are dead. When my parents died I kept keepsakes of a few (very few) items that they either enjoyed or that gave them joy or pleasure. I have them displayed in my home. But, I did not keep most of the items that they had. You see, to me I have their memory, and when I die, I do not know what will happen to the things I possess.

    I have down sized considerably. I live in a one bedroom apartment, with small rooms and a dining room converted into an office. I used color blocking methods to define the open living/dining open floor plan. I can really use an office, but the view is beautiful as I do not have a view of another apartment building facing me. So I am in the process of down sizing again.

    My massive dining table for 6 now has only 4 chair (which gave me 3 ft of extra space), and I am considering letting the 2 chairs that are stored at a friend’s house go for good. I have a small dollhouse in my bedroom but I want to sell it because it will free up a lot of space.

    In closing, it is not easy to downsize, but the benefits are great. I have less stuff to look at. More time to enjoy life. I have cut down drastically on the hobbies, which give me more free time to enjoy others, and I like not being a slave to changing styles.

    I am not there yet but post like these is helping me to shed more pound of stuff everyday.

    • March 3, 2013, 9:07 am

      When my grandmother passed away, I did grab a few things from her house to keep. They were few, but they were useful and always remind me of her. My parents kept some items and furniture, too. Everything else was cleared out. If you go to estate sales and resale stores, you’ll see a lot of donated items from people that have passed away. When I noticed this, I realized that there wasn’t much of a need to hold onto things ‘for your kids’ because they probably won’t keep them. Just a few items.

      Good luck on your journey! Just find what makes you happy. 🙂

  • March 2, 2013, 3:36 pm

    The author is a young woman, once you are several decades older with a lifetime of gifts, and Christmas presents, birthday presents, and other household acquisitions under your belt it is a much bigger project.

    At age 50 I bought a small cottage, 1100 sq ft…it was still too big for me , but I ran a book business from the sun room and converted mud room for 13 years…my place has always been so cluttered…but mostly with books. Then I started salvaging free clothing and kitchen stuff..and donating it to the poor and groups who give to them…last year I sponsored two complete kitchen setups-absolutly everything, plus bed linens- with all the free stuff. I collected 46 men’s good jackets and gave to the vets organization for distribution, I hated to see good wool jackets go to landfill! So now that I am fully retired..and most of the books are gone, with boxes and bubblepack, etc. too I am slowly clearing out my house. I also have a 13’x20′ old redwood barn that is now one story tall…I pulled all the heavy redwood 2″x6″ old growth wood in the ceiling (for supporting hay) for making a 260+ sq ft deck ( in progress). I found it very difficult to JUST GIVE most special stuff away…so MY solution is to take several nice storage boxes (free) and put all the small treasures and most special things in them, out of sight for now. Just rotate them each season and it feels like new, and I still enjoy them. Voila’ the house seems so much more spacious already with less eye clutter. Next is to give away some furniture and house hold items I will not need, plus clothing not worn. Most people will find it is a laborious process…and like the lady above with great hobbies, you do need some stuff….but if it gives you joy then keep it.

    The “Your money or your Life” folks from the early 1980s said the same thing…keep only the most special things, don’t buy plastic stuff, and you’ll be free-er and happier for it. (About the New Road Map Foundation – http://www.financialintegrity.org/index.php?) They started ALL this ‘simple life’ way of living. Check out their methods to actually earn less and enjoy life more, it all fits together.

    • March 3, 2013, 9:03 am

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts and details of your home. It sounds lovely! And you are so right — no one should ever feel like they have to give their nice, cherished belongings away. If there’s a special meaning behind them, and they bring you happiness, then by all means — keep it!

  • Erik Markus
    March 2, 2013, 3:55 pm

    Scaling down is difficult. I went from 3 bedroom, 900 s.f to 225 s.f. Tiny house.

    I thought I would miss the items I freed my self of, but I don’t.

    • March 3, 2013, 8:56 am

      It IS hard. But it’s doable. Funny how we don’t miss the things we thought we would once our lives shift.

  • Ann
    March 2, 2013, 4:07 pm

    I love these. ALL of them are so very very true. I’ve been struggling with the downsizing for years now. In fits and starts I figure out what matters and get rid of more of what does not.

    That said, I have books inherited from three previous generations AND I am a scholar and so have a lot of books. I have musical instruments and I sew.

    That said, I can see myself getting rid of a lot from the kitchen before the next move. The past two years I have been working on how we cook, and evaluating what we own for cooking. I even have been watching carefully how we use the counter space. What I have discovered is that I would rather have a big pantry and a big butler’s pantry and a more compact kitchen. I also have dishes I never use, and silverware I never use, and my next kitchen day I plan to box up what I think needs to leave home for good and put it in the garage for awhile. If I can cook for a year and not miss it, I can donate the whole box without looking back. Since some of our cooking is seasonal, I need to go through all the seasons to know if I have indeed boxed up un-needed items. I think I’d like to be rid of our kitchen table, but hubby likes it.

    But even my library is subject to regular pruning. My next home will have more space for sewing, music and the Library, and a smaller kitchen.

    I think I am more into right sizing for MY life and not as close to tiny as others. But this blog keeps me thinking, and helps me evaluate, and I like how clever the tiny homes can be.

    I think the tiny house dwellers can do it because their lives outside of work and sleep are lived in other places than their homes. Many young people I know are involved in hobbies but those hobbies are not taking place in their homes. It may be more lifestyle differences, and not lack of hobbies. After all, hiking and rock climbing don’t require much space in the house. 🙂

    • Erik Markus
      March 2, 2013, 6:13 pm

      It’s a process. I don’t think one goes from 1200 sf to 250 sf. in one week. It took me 1 1/2 yrs.

      I live in my tiny house and work here. I love it. love the location. Just came in from a 3 mile bike ride. I have all my stuff here, though it took time to down size media, like books, movies.

      • March 3, 2013, 8:56 am

        It’s still a process I’m going through, too. I’m glad you love it!!

    • March 3, 2013, 9:01 am

      The kitchen is definitely one place in the house that has a lot of hidden items we don’t need anymore! We use a lot, but there’s so much tucked away in the cabinets that we overlook. I think it’s great that you’re evaluating your kitchen habits. As for downsizing/living in small spaces — it’s all about finding evaluating what you use and finding out what you’re comfortable with. I spent hundreds of dollars (and years) collecting DVDs and books, thinking I would never part with them. When I downsized, I looked through all of them — kept only one shelf of books I cherished, and 1/4 of the DVDS (and put them in a booklet). I donated the rest to friends and family. I do miss some of the DVDs on occasion, but I can always run to the library. The library is a godsend!!

      • Ann
        March 3, 2013, 9:50 am

        I started years ago with my closet. I gave away anything that did not fit, was a bad color on me, or that I simply did not like and did not wear. I discovered that my regular every day clothing did not need much of a closet. My garb for SCA events takes up as much room more, but I don’t keep a lot of that either, preferring to give away pieces when I have made something better.

        I discovered a lot about my own personal style with that closet clean-out. At the moment, my clothing is stored in neatly folded piles on top of the dresser that is shared by myself and all my kids at home. ONE dresser. 🙂 My toddler has a larger wardrobe than do I and this makes me quite happy.

        I can see that our kitchen has a LOT of unused items in it. Things that someone else might use. My drawer with the big spoons and whisk etc in it is over-full. I think that one drawer will be my first kitchen project. I think if I put everything I don’t use regularly in a box, I’ll never miss it and will be able to give it away later.

        I have found I enjoy giving away those things I do not need more than I enjoyed buying them. I also find I no longer go shopping just to window shop– what is the point? I don’t WANT or NEED anything!

        I’ll probably always live in a house with more room than a Tiny House person, but the whole movement has done me many favors and I hope we see zoning changes that allow for Tiny homes– on small lots a tiny home would end up with a really wonderfully large yard.

      • Stacey
        May 12, 2015, 11:42 am

        As for the DVD’s and Books I’ve collected hundreds of dollars worth myself mostly old black and white movies I plan to put them on an exteral harddrive that will hook up to the tv and the books I’m finding in digital format for my Nook.

  • alice h
    March 2, 2013, 4:54 pm

    I’m building an 8×20 tiny house but my sewing hobby is definitely coming with me, serious fabric and craft supply hoard and all. The key to having a lot of useful stuff is being organized. If you don’t need it, fine, but if you do, find a way to keep it, keep it organized and keep happy. If you live way out of town either you have a lot of useful stuff on hand or you go to somebody in the area that does. Either way somebody has to have collections of useful stuff on hand. We can’t all be minimalists or we’d be too dependent on buying new stuff in town every time we need to make repairs or create something.

    • March 3, 2013, 8:55 am

      Organization is definitely key!! And you’re right, it’s healthy to have a balance of just enough. Just what you need. People need to share more, too. I definitely borrow clothes from my sister on many occasions because I never saw a point in buying a fancy dress when I could just borrow it!

  • Jerry
    March 3, 2013, 12:51 am

    For me, it’s because less = less. By that I mean, if I need less, I have to work less, and I have less stress. I have no desire to continue to slave away 60 hours/week to continue to live in a mcmansion with virtually no yard. I realize I’m trading one form of work for another, but the stress of getting a garden to grow enough to feed me is a lot less than the stress of a full time job! Take away the stress of dealing with a mcmansion, and perhaps I’m delusional, but I think I’ll find my tiny slice of heaven here on earth!

    • March 3, 2013, 8:53 am

      I never did quite understand why people love having large houses with no backyard. I don’t care if you have a large house, but you’ve got to have some space to run around outside or you’ll go crazy! At least I would. There are definitely different stress levels that come with different lifestyles and tasks (some people love being busy and working themselves to the bone). Not only are you having ‘less’ but you are gaining ‘more’ – more freedom, more time, more happiness, more life.

  • March 3, 2013, 3:50 pm

    I really want to have less because I hate moving with all the packing and hauling stuff to and from your new place. It is such a pain in many ways.

    • March 5, 2013, 9:37 am

      It IS a pain. It’s easy to accumulate things if you’re staying in one place for awhile, but easier to get rid of things if you’re constantly moving around.

  • Amy
    March 4, 2013, 9:33 am

    I agree with a lot of your points, and I’m lucky to have discovered the truth of them because simple living is, honestly, the only way I can live.

    I used to have in my mind a future ideal for myself – I would eventually live in a house of a certain size, have certain kinds of cars, a certain number of bathrooms, all kinds of storage space, etc etc. It has taken nearly 20 years of adulthood, a divorce from a financially irresponsible man, and a lousy economy to force me to look at things differently, and see a different, and quite honestly better, future for myself.

    I live in a small house – a little farmhouse built 85 years ago now in a quiet neighborhood in a lovely small town – with one itty-bitty bathroom, a tiny kitchen, no garage, and virtually no storage space. It’s a fixer-upper that I can’t afford to fix up at more than a snail’s pace. After the divorce I determined that I couldn’t afford to sell the house, so I would have to make do.

    I also had a lot of debt, and a LOT of, just, crap. STUFF. Stuff I’d bought that I couldn’t really afford, in an effort to help me feel better when I was unhappy with my marriage and my life; stuff I had accepted from family members because I felt I couldn’t say no and cause the thing to leave the family. SO much stuff.

    It has taken a couple years of self-evaluation and of financial scares and embarrassments, but I’ve reached a point where I know that what I need is rarely stuff. Actually, what I need is:

    1. To have enough money set aside that surprises (medical, home and auto repairs, child’s school/extracurricular-related) don’t make my heart stop and my stomach fall, because I can pay for them.
    2. To have few enough things that I don’t have to spend a whole lot of time cleaning, and can instead spend time with my son, and relaxing.
    3. To have just the things my son and I will use and that mean something to us, and not worry about what anyone else has or what anyone else might think we should have.
    4. To enjoy that fact that I actually live in my dream house – it’s a sweet, cozy old farmhouse! With original architectural elements! And a huge yard! And a view of the river from the front porch! Yeah, I really don’t what I’ve been complaining about all these years. 🙂

    So basically, I have discovered that owning less mostly means less stress, more time to spend with family, and more opportunity to enjoy what I have. Knowing myself, I don’t know if I could have discovered this without being forced by circumstances, but I am so incredibly glad I did.

    • March 5, 2013, 9:40 am

      Your house sounds wonderful!! I am happy to hear that you’ve taken time to figure out what you really want financially and in a home. 🙂

  • D Stickney
    March 6, 2013, 11:50 am

    One of our central reasons for adopting ideas from the Tiny House Movement is a combination of your reasons 1 and 5. Basically, we purchased a Tiny Studio (189ft²) plus a parking/storage box (150ft²) just outside of Paris where real estate prices are sky high. Instead of indebting(/financially enslaving) ourselves for decades, we chose a perfect little studio which we can repay in 3 years. After that we will have very low monthly costs which allows my girlfriend and I to never work full time again (and we are a pretty young couple). This path to freedom which we chose will also increase our quality of life, and give us time to live and dedicate our time to relationships, projects and movements which are dear to us. We always say, “Live full time, work part time.”

  • November 14, 2013, 5:29 pm

    The best way to downsize is move into a motorhome and hit the road because you will have no choice. 13 years ago we had a garage sale on a Saturday, on Sunday whatever was left went into a 6-metre garbage skip. Job done.

    We now own land again and have two shipping containers and I confess they are filling up with stuff. A few days ago I took a pickup load of books down to the local op shop, that’s a start 🙂

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