“It is amazing how little you need to be happy.”
–Gilda at Traveller Interrupted
As part of our “Simplify Your Life Series” we’re sharing fascinating stories and thoughts from great bloggers who write about their lives and adventures across the globe. What do they have in common? They have all simplified their lives … or are in the process of figuring it out.
Last week we shared the 7 changes we made to simplify our life. And we invited you to join in and tell us the things that you have done, or would like to do, to simplify your life. Your response was fabulous – resulting in wise tips, ideas, quotes, and real-life stories.
Some of you have already made huge life changes – you’ve climbed the mountain and come down on the other side. Check out these 10 Sage Simplicity Stories – an inspiration to anyone planning to take the leap.
“Then suddenly Life happens and things change,
making intangibles much more valuable than stuff
… Ultimately, simplicity is the answer.”
—Gail at snapshotincursive
1. Beth’s Story
“I got rid of everything I didn’t need or love, sold my house, paid off debts, moved to my daughter’s house while waiting for a small condo I wanted to go on sale. I’m closing on it tomorrow with a small mortgage and no other debt.” —I didn’t have my glasses on …
2. Darlene’s Story
“We moved to Spain from Canada 4.5 years ago. We got rid of 75% of our belongings and have seldom missed any of it. Which makes me think why did we have it all in the first place.”
—Darlene Foster’s Blog
3. Fi’s Story
“I sold up and downsized when I emigrated to the far side of the World 7 years ago and that was great. However, I’ve gradually acquired more and more stuff again which I’m torn about.”
4. Gilda’s Story
“We downsized from our large family home and gave away most of our furniture. I retired early from a job I loved, but it was necessary in order to have total freedom. My husband also retired and we now we live most of the time in a motorhome touring Europe.”
5. Susan’s Story
“We moved from 2400 sq ft to 600 sq ft seven years ago, debt-free, with most of our ‘things’ sorted out and given away. We are on the cusp of another move, and are trying to figure out why, in our mid-sixties, we haven’t yet ‘settled down’.”
—One Small Walk
6. Mike’s Story
“Florence and I downsized before we traveled and lived abroad for three years. It took a couple of years to sell a house, two cars, furniture and all our beloved keepsakes. What we couldn’t sell, we donated. In the end, we got everything we needed into a suitcase and a carry-on apiece.” —Applecore
7. Alison’s Story
Over my adult years I’ve divested myself of virtually all my possessions 3 times. If there’s one thing I’ve learned – stuff is easy to come by. Don and I downsized to a 500 sq ft rented apartment after we stopped being nomadic, we’ve only ever had one checking account, one credit card and an emergency spare, and for years I’ve moved stuff out as new stuff came in. I’ve always lived a simplified life, the opposite of a hoarder, and nearly 6 years being nomadic taught me how very little I need or want. I must sound annoying self-satisfied, chuckle 🙂
—Adventures in Wonderland
8. Liesbet’s Story
“I’ve been a minimalist and traveler my entire life … I feel downsizing and simplifying my life has always come easy. Never really a plan. It just happened and – I never followed the normal path, where one works hard and buys lots. I never owned a house, a car, had a mortgage, etc. I always worked to travel and lived simply and cheaply to achieve that goal, my entire life, but – even now, when all our belongings fit in our camper van – I just love to get rid of things I have no use for. It’s so liberating. And, honestly, you don’t need much to be happy (and see the world).” —Roaming About
9. Brenda’s Story
“We have downsized our house by half and gotten rid of more than half of our “stuff”. We still can improve on it. We kept our favorite things…gave away so much of our furniture to family and friends in the midwest (since we lived near them when we sold the bigger house). Now we get to visit them and also visit our furniture! We still have some things to shed, but we are working on it.”
10. Peta’s Story
“Our first and biggest move from the U.S. was to Nicaragua, where all the stuff that had accumulated from my children’s childhoods was finally given away or re allocated. It was the start of the feeling of freedom. At that point, we packed up the stuff we wanted shipped to Nicaragua … It took four months for our ‘stuff’ to arrive, and just before it did, we wondered what could possibly be in there other than our piano and couch that we needed. We LOVED living with less and opening those boxes was a lesson: you actually need WAY LESS than you think you will.” —Green Global Trek
“Life for us is about friendships and experience.
You don’t need a lot of material stuff for that.
Oh, and sunshine… of course.”
–Jo at RESTLESSJO
Others of you offered sage simplifying advice on topics ranging from decluttering and downsizing to changing jobs and considering what “home” really is. And each quote, tip, or thought is based on your personal, real-life experiences.
11. “Spend time working with those in need in your community. Homeless shelters, food banks and the like. Returning home to your ‘things’ one can see how frivolous objects are in life. Basically it gives perspective.” —Sue at Travel Tales of Life
12. “We’re currently spending the summer parked on family property and I’m helping them with purging and organizing … I basically asked her two questions when she was having trouble letting go of things. 1. Is this something you plan on moving to your next home? 2. If you passed tomorrow, what do you think your loved ones would do with this? That seemed to get the ball rolling.” — Ingrid at Live Laugh RV
13. “The longest trip I’ve ever taken was six months across eight Asian countries back in 2015. Toward the end of the trip I was longing for a place I could call home, so I settled back in Jakarta. Now I’ve been living in this city for 11 years, and I’ve been wondering whether I should buy a house and settle permanently or invest the money for something else. Your post helped me think of my priorities, which in the end will determine what I should do next.” —Bama at What An Amazing World!
14. “Asking yourselves what is it that you really want/need at this point in your life. For us travelling is a priority at the moment.” –Gilda at Traveller Interrupted
15. “Our first piece of advice would be to write/draw/discuss what ‘downsizing’ looks like. Do this individually and then compare. Best to be on the same page before the process begins.” — Sue at Travel Tales of Life
16. “We went through a major simplification when we first started our travel years … Knowing your priorities (and updating them periodically) is rightfully at the top of your 7 invaluable steps.” –Joe at Month at a Time Travel
“I have learnt over and over to let go of material possessions
and value experiences over stuff.”
–Peta at GREEN GLOBAL TREK
17. “I guess it helps that I’m just naturally not a clutter bunny. Whenever I’m in a closet or drawer and encounter something that I no longer need/value I pull it out immediately. I keep a box or bag in the basement where rejects get dumped. When the bag or box is full, it goes to a donation centre.” —Joanne at My Life Lived Full
18. “For the longest time, I viewed my success by my possessions. I also hung onto business awards, etc., but after seven years, I managed to purge and donate a whole storage unit and feel lighter for it. I took photos of all the “Oscar” type of awards and plaques that I had received and then tossed.”—Ingrid at Live Laugh RV
19. “What we learned when we boxed things up was, if we didn’t open a box for over a year, we didn’t need whatever was inside.” —Mike at Applecore
20. “We completed 30 years of photo scanning when hurricane Irma was beating down our door. It was a mad dash to complete a project started a year earlier, however, it has ended up being one of the best things we ever did. We now have albums online and enjoy them so much more.” —Laurel at Little Black Domicile
21. “I took a lifetime of photos and moved them from albums to shoe boxes. We just purchased a rather expensive photo scanner, and now those photos will be saved in digital form. When we are through, we will give the scanner to a local museum for their use.” —Ray & Alie at Ralie Travels
22. “One thing I did to simplify was to be smarter about what I kept – so rather then keep 15 scrapbooks – I went thru them pulled out what was really important – it took time – but moved those into four bins of stuff.” —Yvette at Priorhouse Blog
23. “We’re de-cluttering too. Not downsizing yet, because too many people troop through our house. De-cluttering is so satisfying.” –Peggy at Where to Next?
24. “I also deposed of my possessions just over four years ago, pretty cathartic although I kept the shell of my past – the house which I let… Somehow I have not yet been able to let go of that. Although it is a definite tie with having tenants, it also gives me something solid to come back to in case things don’t pan out as planned.” –Lieve at Lieve Round The World
25. “My intention is to declutter and downsize, and I have been doing that (Marie Kondo’s book provides motivation as well), and find that sometimes it is easy, and other times it is really hard!” —Bertie at Crea2010
26. “The key is to start. I see that in my sister-in-law. She did a lot of talking about doing this or that but was so overwhelmed she didn’t know where to start. I started her with one kitchen drawer, then two and now she’s doing a little purging every weekend. She told me yesterday, that she feels less stressed. Amazing!” —Ingrid at Live Laugh RV
“We are now at a stage in our lives that less is more.
Having a lot of stuff is just suffocating.”
–Gilda at Traveller Interrupted
PLAYING THE ZERO-SUM GAME
27. “If I buy a book, I have to get rid of one, if I buy a pair of shoes, I have to get rid of a pair etc.“ —Darlene at Darlene Foster’s Blog
28. “We also live by the “one in-one out” rule. Waldo (our RV) is only 400 sq. feet so everything has a place – no room for extras.” —Laura at The Wandering RVer
29. “I have long been a “zero-inboxer,” keeping my electronic clutter to as bare a minimum as our physical possessions. … It’s a relentless purging of anything useless or too frequent. I immediately unsubscribe to anything I don’t want regularly, knowing I can always go to a website if I choose to; this alone keeps my daily new mail down to mostly personal correspondence or things I want to see. Because I now have it so stripped down, I can deal with each thing that comes in quickly. I do not let things sit in there! I respond quickly, and if the topic is fully covered, the email string immediately get archived, trashed, or put in a folder.” —Lexie at One Foot Out the Door
30. “One thing I learned when we were downsizing was terminology is key when planning. Have a “yard sale” on Fri, Sat and Sun and you will do OK. Have an “estate sale” on Wed, Thur, Fri and Sat and you WILL clean up! Then you have one more sale, a “moving sale”, at that point everything left goes for next to nothing. The $100 coffee pot – $5! Let it go! Craig’s List is a great place to advertise, but don’t forget to look at the Wanted section. Those children’s clothes you have packed in the basement could go to someone who truly needs it.” —Laura at The Wandering RVer
“Less stuff, less stress.“
—Darlene at Darlene Foster’s Blog
31. Beth just bought the little condo of her dreams. She says, “Next up, repaint in calm colors, take out carpeting, sit in it and see what the space feels like and fill it with only the special things I really love.” —Beth at I didn’t have my glasses on …
32. “Shane & I have simplified our lives and we love it. I left my lab job and we moved to a small cabin on 100 acres. We make less money but have fewer expenses and many more experiences now. We both work less (hence the less money) but we love it … Since moving out here I cook the majority of our meals and we save a ton of money (and we eat a lot better). I do not feel like we are sacrificing but instead choosing wisely where our money goes. I say we live rich lives just not in a monetary sort of way. Spending time doing the things we love and with the people we love, it’s worth it!” —Amy at f-stopmama
33. “I recently reduced my work hours to help with my mental health … I dropped a day per fortnight which might not sound like much but has actually made the world of difference to me. I’m a contractor though which probably made the reduction a bit easier than as an employee.” —Fi at Misty Nights
34. “Many readers have focused on downsizing, which we did a few years ago with great happiness. My husband took a much less stressful job with the move, and I too reduced my hours and commute by a lot.” —Lexie at One Foot Out the Door
CONSIDERING WHAT HOME REALLY IS
35. “In simplifying life, I think what you consider ‘home’ is a key issue. We’ve been in our simplified version of life for seven years now, and have been content … ’Home’, to me, included my entire collection of puzzles, plus a select bit of travel mementos, and closeness to our son, who had moved to a different state. Like you, we evaluate as we go, and change when we must. ‘Home’ will move with us, and continue to be a simplified version of what we lived before we retired.” —Susan at One Small Walk
36. “We discovered the joy of renting over owning. SO much easier … And we use the house to do home exchanges so that when we travel we don’t stay in hotels and we don’t pay for our accommodation.”
–Peta at GREEN GLOBAL TREK
CHOOSING A GREAT LOCATION
37. “Make sure if at all possible, we each live in a home that is within a 15 minute walk to store, bank, a park, community centre. We have biked and lived our car-free life over the last quarter century.” –Jean at Cycle Write Blog
38. “For us the biggest change was to move into a place with a communal garden and never have to deal with garden issues again. We had a very high maintenance garden that drove us to despair. Our home now is a lock up and go property.” –Gilda at Traveller Interrupted
39. On her new small condo – “Less to take care of, small garden, short walk to town, short walk to river and woods, 1 block to my daughter’s house.” –-Beth at I didn’t have my glasses on
“Smaller spaces also help encourage getting rid of stuff
that no longer serves your greater good.”
—Amy at f-stopmama
DOWNSIZING TO A SMALLER HOME
40. “We downsized six years ago and Dave and I retired about 18 months ago. … For us it meant leaving a huge yard and home to an infill in inner city with a tiny backyard as we don’t enjoy yard work. We got rid of so much furniture and assorted household goods. However we still have a garage, a basement and two stories. For us it is more space than we need obviously but far less than we had.” — Sue at Travel Tales of Life
41. “It took us a little while to get used to 700 sq ft. as we kept tripping over each other, and then we got a dog! Fortunately, in Spain, we have a large outdoor patio and spend a lot of time outside.” —Darlene at Darlene Foster’s Blog
42. “Moving to the small cabin (700 sq ft) was a challenge, but a good one. It was the first big step in simplifying our lives. We rent our cabin … and would not have it any other way. If we decide we want to move later on, no biggie. No house to sell and less stuff to move. A win-win. Downsizing was the best thing for us. Now we think carefully about all of our purchases. Never buying things that will not add value or improve our lives. We fix things instead of buying new when something breaks.”—Amy at f-stopmama
“Life certainly forges its own path, regardless of our plans.”
–Lieve at Lieve Round The World
43. “Keep out of debt. Do not pay by installments. If you cannot afford it do not buy it. One credit card to a family.” —Sharrumkin at Notes From A Traveller
44. “We are not financially independent, but we live on a tight budget. As one of my blog readers currently commented “We spend small and live large.” … Downsizing is liberating and being able to ‘love what you do and do what you love’ brings us happiness, despite still needing to work and facing many challenges that come with the lifestyle. I’ve never known financial wealth or a “normal life”, so my choices have come easy to me.” —Liesbet at Roaming About
45. “For me, managing debt has been the greatest stress reliever … Paying off all credit cards, car notes and student loans is a real blessing.” –Heather Jo at Food Lovers Workout
“We all change all the time, it’s a challenge,
but continually asking yourself what you want/need is a good thing.”
–Tracey at Wondering Woman
MAINTAINING A SIMPLIFIED LIFE
46. “It does take discipline to not fill up space. We have closets with nothing in them and it’s important to not start collecting again just because you have the space to do so.” — Sue at Travel Tales of Life
ANTICIPATING A CHANGE
47. “We are giving thought to changing our living situation, most likely a downsize, but are still in the process of asking ourselves, what does that look like?”
–Lynn at Life After 50
48. “I read this post nodding my head and agreeing. I have a large home and lots of work ahead to simplify. I wish I had bought a smaller home but that was 1992, so no use worrying about it now.” –David at Life and Random Thinking
49. “I would love to be able to do this … but in my case, my other half isn’t ready. He’s still very much attached to his job and this house. I’m waiting for him to catch up with me!” —Joanne at My Life Lived Full
50. “I’m downsizing and simplifying to head towards retirement in a couple of years. Frees me up to travel, wander, hang out with fam and friends and no stress. Happy.” —Beth at I didn’t have my glasses on …
DEALING WITH GROWN KIDS’ STUFF LEFT AT YOUR HOUSE
The #1 concern we heard from SO many people was, “What do I do with my grown children’s belongings that they left at my house when they moved out? We would love to know what you think. Lexie shared her solution:
51. “Simplifying is important to us, too, and our last move (after 26 years in one place – yikes!) was just the impetus we needed to really clear out some things that had built up (despite my anti-clutter philosophy all along). We had a dumpster delivered and told our kids that if it didn’t go in the dumpster, it had to go with them. Of course, we had to follow that rule ourselves also, and after a week of major cleaning and then a big sale, we left the house with less than half of what we had in it all those years. So freeing. We still have more than we need, but we are committed to not refilling!” —Lexie at One Foot Out the Door
TOTALLY CONTENT JUST THE WAY THEY ARE!
Not everyone wants to simplify their life. Things are going good for them, and they’re happy. We think that’s great … and we’ve all probably been there at some point. Thanks to Steven for pointing this out.
“Annie and I have no interest in downsizing – where would we put all the pictures and things we collect during our travels. We’re running out of wall, shelf and table space as it is!!! And where would everyone stay at Christmas? Of course I’m writing this while every muscle in my body aches from working outside adding brickwork, fixing the sprinkler system and painting for the past 2 weeks. Ah, Home Sweet Home.” –Steven and Annie at The Overseas Adventures of Steven and Annie Berger
Deciding to simply your life is a deeply personal choice. Everyone does it in his or her own way. There is no correct answer, except that we think Yvette summed it up beautifully …
“People before stuff.”
—Yvette at Priorhouse Blog
Thanks so much for all of your fabulous thoughts, inspirational ideas, terrific tips, and memorable quotes – you totally nailed it.
Terri & James
Photo Credits: 2, 8, 14. lisaleo, 3. earl53, 4. Erean, 10. Ben Chun, 12. pippalou, 13. jari 15. elke101
Thanks for the mention. I have so many blogs to go take a nosey at now 😁
You’re welcome, Fi. The response was fantastic – with so many interesting solutions. Hopefully they inspired new ideas for some folks. ~Terri
I loved reading everyone’s stories and experiences. thank you so much for including me as a part of it -)
We were so happy to include your great ideas, Beth. So how are things going in your new condo? Are you at the “ripping out the carpet” stage yet? ~Terri
they are in the process of ripping out, ripping off a mirrored wall, painting and adding a few details. almost there
Oh yes, those lovely mirrored walls. You think they would be so easy to take off – hammer in hand and goggles applied. We learned that they’re not as easy as you’d think. Is yours coming off? ~Terri
I hired someone. It took 2 people, 2 hours. And a lot of hard work and sweat. Now to repair the wall -)
Beth, you were smart to hire someone. Hopefully they are going to repair the wall, too. 🙂 I look forward to seeing pics of your new home. ~Terri
The painters will be doing that part, right now I’m project manager, which is not my forte, but I have met some really great people and hard workers along the way. Looking forward to my quiet time, just sitting in the stillness.
What a great list of different perspectives on simplifying. Thanks for assembling and sharing. 🙂
Hi Cathy, I’m so glad to hear from you! I’ve been looking all over for you. Your new blog is beautiful. Congratulations on creating a unique space all your own. I love your focus and can’t wait to catch up with your travels. Where are you based these days? All the best, Terri
Thanks so much, Terri! I’m glad you like my new blog (although it’s not so new anymore) and thanks for following. I’m happy to be in touch again. I’m still living in northern Virginia. My next trip is to the Dakotas in September. I don’t plan to work abroad again, but I sure wish I could live abroad for long periods of time! Maybe once my husband retires. 🙂
Sorry I lost track of you, Cathy. So glad that you’re thriving. Hopefully your husband will decide to retire soon so that you can live abroad – without work responsibilities! 🙂 When we worked abroad we rarely got to enjoy many of the places we went to for business. Now we love going back just to see them through different eyes. ~Terri
I hope he will too, Terri, but it realistically won’t happen for another year. I look forward to seeing what retirement years and travel have to offer!
This is so great. Thanks so much for including me in this collection. It was wonderful to get the thoughts of everyone else too.
Darlene, the number and wide variety of tips and responses confirm what a popular topic this is. In our experience, the expat community is fertile ground for folks who have gone through the process and are true believers. Do you find that most of the expats there have downsized, or do they have storage units full of stuff back home? ~James
There is a mix of expats here. Many are from the UK and have a place there as well, filled to the brim. One couple has a house in Dubai, one in England and one in India as well as one here in Spain! Others have been here a while so have managed to accumulate stuff. Others, like us, have downsized and are happy about it!
Darlene, It seems to me that you have taken the perfect approach! 🙂 ~Terri
What inspiring stories! We’re only beginning in this quest for simplicity, and these testimonials provide much food for thought. Thanks for sharing the responses. And thanks for your leadership in recognizing how to create a movement to a more peaceful, less cluttered lifestyle.
Many thanks, Rusha. It seems to be a topic that’s on many peoples’ minds – How do I simplify my life? Some folks totally have their acts together, and others (like us) are still feeling our way through it. When James and I started the process, it took lots of conversations to figure out what we wanted to do. Is it the same for you and Bert? ~Terri
Thank you for including us in this awesome post! You truly have some insightful readers! The responses/quotes/stories are inspiring. We love our downsized life!
You’re very welcome, Laura. We love your idea on the “estate sale” vs. the “yard sale.” How clever – and a trick I wish I’d known sooner. Did you also use any of the online services like Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, or Ebay? ~Terri
Great post with thought provoking insights. Thank you for including me. I look forward to checking out some of these inspiring blogs. 😊
It was our pleasure, Ingrid. Your suggestions are so helpful – and I’m sure your sister-in-law would agree! 🙂 I love that you encouraged her to “just start” somewhere – in her case, a kitchen drawer. Brilliant – and advice everyone can use! Maybe you could incorporate the concept into your wandering RV style – “The Traveling Simplifier “- advising people along the road! 🙂 ~Terri
Great post with nice photos, thanks for sharing!
Thanks very much! So glad you stopped by. 🙂 ~Terri
Thank you very much!!
Okay, okay. I need to declutter. I know it, but hearing SO MANY people talk about how freeing it is is something I can’t ignore. I’m trying to declutter a little every day, but it may be time for an overhaul.
Juliann, you are too funny! 🙂 Congrats on decluttering a little every day. I think that’s fantastic! I seem to go along fine – and then I hit a stumbling block like old photos – and it throws me off track. I finally had to set that project aside so I could continue. 🙂 ~Terri
excellent post with ideas and inspiration all through it
Thank you, David. We really appreciate your honest contribution. I think a lot of people could truly relate to the situation you described – especially us! 🙂 All the best, Terri
What a wealth of wisdom! So many great ideas and examples of how people are changing their lives to be happier and freer! Thank you for sharing these amazing posts, James!
Many thanks, Anita. We were so excited not only by the great response, but also by the wealth of ideas people shared. It’s always reassuring to know that you’re not going through something alone – there’s a whole bunch of other people out there trying to figure it out, too. 🙂 Is simplifying something that you’re considering? All the best, Terri
Hello Terri. I’ve been downsizing/simplifying for years, but no where near the degree these post reflect! I am in awe!! 😁
Congrats Anita, that’s great! We’ve been working on it a while, too. It feels really good to look back and see that we’ve actually made progress. 🙂 ~Terri
At a time when people are downsizing I’m contemplating putting on a addition. Our son who is living with us at the present time has taken up so much space I have no where to paint. It’s very frustrating.
I know how much you love to paint, Leslie. I had a painter friend in a similar situation, but she already had enough bedrooms, so she decided to come up with options for WHERE she could paint. Her list was long, but she whittled it down to: 1. Convert their unused dining room to a studio, 2. Join an artist’s collective that had room in an old warehouse, or 3. Buy a “She Shed” and move it to her property to become her private studio. In the end she chose the “She Shed” because it was on her property, but slightly removed from the hustle and bustle of family life – and it was very affordable. She’s so happy and amazingly productive. 🙂 I don’t know if any of those ideas help. ~Terri
Thanks Terri, I was painting in the laundry room but it has been taken over. Peter and I have joined the Art Association of Oakville so that is another option we’ve explored and it works fairly well. Now I store a lot of things in the dinning room and when I get time to, I paint in the kitchen. I can’t use an easel there. I’d really like to bump out the dinning room wall a few feet. We’ll see.
That’s great that you and Peter are members of the Art Association. It’s nice to have that option. Have you been in your home a long time? Sometimes bumping out walls can make a big difference. We did that on one of our houses, but we made it a big bay window (much cheaper to build) and it really improved the value of the house … and our quality of life. 🙂 ~Terri
We’ve been here for about 16 years. It’s on my mind…we’ll see….
I love this post. It is so encouraging to see how other people and fellow travelers have adapted to a less cluttered lifestyle… I’m not the only one who’s mad…
Too funny, Lieve! 🙂 I can’t tell you how many times James and I have asked each other, “Are we crazy?” But it looks like there are lots of us in this together. And I agree, it’s so encouraging to see all the different approaches people are using – you’re bound to find one that makes you scratch your head and say, “Hmmm!” Thanks for all the great ideas you contributed. ~Terri
Wonderful blog and photos! One to read and re-read and then spring into action. Thank you!
Many thanks, Bertie! We think it’s so cool how everyone rallied together to share ideas – you included. I’ve decided I’m going to work on our cluttered hall closet and take Ingrid’s advice to break it down into small tasks. So what are you going to tackle first? ~Terri
Books, that’s our major problem. 🙂 But I once downsized to what would fit on the back of my bicycle. Another time to what would fit in the back of my Ford Ranger pickup. Peggy and I traveled and lived for four years in a 22 foot RV. Think of a 176 square foot house, and were as happy as could be. Unfortunately, we had put our furniture, etc into storage. I enjoyed all of the comments. –Curt
Curt, we’ve ridden on the possessions rollercoaster over the years, and if there’s one thing we’ve learned it’s that we fill whatever space is available; whether it’s a backpack, pickup truck, or 2000 sq ft house. But we’ve downsized enough times and lived out of suitcases long enough to know that day-to-day we really don’t need much. As for books, that’s a problem for us as well. We seem to acquire them faster than we read them, but part of our going paperless efforts has involved reading more and more ebooks. We’re probably at 80% ebooks now. Have you made the switch to ebooks? ~James
We do both, James. But I still love the feel of an actual book. We also like bookstores. And whenever I go in a small independent bookstore, I feel an obligation to buy a book to support the bookstore. 🙂 –Curt
James and Terri, I love this post! It is great to read about all the different reasons and approaches to downsizing. Also interesting to hear about people who are not quite there yet or who are happy with the “status quo”. I already follow many of these great like minded bloggers and now have few more to add. Thank you so much for including me in this post.
Gilda, like most lifestyle changes, the decision to downsize and simplify is personal, and there’s not a one-size-fits-all solution. All people involved have to be vested in the process, or it just isn’t going to work. However, that’s not to say that everyone has to move at the same rate, but at least, they all need to be moving in the same direction. It sounds like you and your husband have your act together on a downsized life, but did you find that you each came to the decision at different times and pace? ~James
Soon after our children left home we both felt we needed to downsize and make the necessary changes to change our lives. It has paid off.
A treasure trove of advice and ideas to think about – thanks to all!
I’m so glad that you enjoyed it, Pam. We were surprised and encouraged by all the outstanding ideas that people shared. ~Terri
Oh I love this article. What a collection of sage advice. Thank you for sharing our thoughts and the assorted links back to our site. Very kind of you. I have often said you two come up with such creative ideas. This one included.
You are very welcome, Sue. We loved all the great ideas you shared – and as always, your positive approach is a joy! 🙂 You and Dave are great role models when it comes to simplifying your lives. Thanks for your very kind words. It’s fun to see the experienced simplifiers pulling together to help the folks who are just getting started. ~Terri
This certainly ended up being a fascinating post with tons of sage advice! Job well done to all!
We agree with you, Henry. So many people were willing to share their experiences and ideas – we were amazed! Thanks for your kind and encouraging words. All the best, Terri
Oh what a rich post. Looking forward to following up on the links to all these wonderful people! Great post Terri and James. And thanks for including us.
You’re totally welcome, Alison. And thanks so much for sharing your story with everyone. You’re an inspiration to both experienced and beginner simplifiers. 🙂 ~Terri
What a compendium of ideas! Loved reading about all the different philosophies and methodologies. Thanks for including me (even my obsessive email habits)! I appreciated Steven’s comments also; we lived for a year in a small apartment in Washington, DC, in between the Chicago and Houston houses, and we quickly realized that we wanted smaller and simpler, but not THAT small! It’s all fine-tuning now as we seek to settle in for the long haul!
It was our pleasure, Lexie. The excellent ideas you shared really resonated with people at all stages of their simplifying adventure. I don’t think your email habits are excessive – I love them and have already started using your technique. It rocks! And that’s a great point you make about living in different size places to discover your personal preferences. At one point we lived in a tiny apartment in St. Pete, FL and realized it was just too tiny for our comfort – or maybe it was because James kept his bike in our only closet! 🙂 LOL! Thanks again for your great suggestions. ~Terri
Thanks for compiling…a fun and informative read!
We are in week two of our summer mini series of organizing a new space…or old ones to work better for us!
Many thanks, Laurel. Also, thank you for sharing your experiences. It’s been great to see everyone banding together to share their simplifying ideas. ~Terri
James and Terri – Thanks so much for the link. It is a pleasure to go along on this ride with you and all the others. You have given me a morning-full of reading tomorrow with my cup of coffee. So many links and so many great stories – it will be fun to take my time and enjoy .. Many thanks – Susan
You’re very welcome, Susan. and thanks so much for sharing your simplifying stories. It was interesting to see that many of us live very different lifestyles, yet we unite on the idea of wanting to simplify our lives. It just makes me smile. Enjoy your leisurely reading. ~Terri
I love this community effort and how you have both gathered, compiled and sorted all the ideas and tips from other bloggers. It’s really wonderful to read ~ you obviously found a great topic to focus on … it could be a book!
Thank you for including me and my thoughts on the topic. We just rented a little place on Viet Nam and am so happy that this one has electricity and plumbing haha and we won’t have to do that ourselves!!!
Great read and resource.
Many thanks, Peta. Thanks to great people like you who were happy to share their stories, we ended up with a wonderful assortment of ideas for simplifying life – no matter where you live. Congrats on the new apartment – with electricity and plumbing! What a luxury – you two may get spoiled! 🙂 What town will you be based in? ~Terri
What a great read and sharing of experiences! The instinct to ‘shed’ possessions and focus energy instead on experiences and relationships seems to be a powerful one among many of us.
There was one quote that stood out for me that sums up our collective experience. It was from Peta … “you actually need WAY LESS than you think you will”. This just might become my new mantra 😉
Thank you so much for the mentions and including my thoughts in this post.
The pleasure was all ours, Joanne. And thanks for sharing your thoughts – I love your term “clutter bunny.” It is indelibly etched in my memory now, and I can’t put something down on a counter without smiling … and then picking it back up and putting it in its proper place. 🙂 I agree with you about Peta’s wonderful quote – and any traveler can attest that it’s true. ~Terri
hahaha! Happy to contribute to your lexicon 🙂
I enjoyed reading everyone’s stories. I do tend to declutter every month but letters seem to be something I hold on to.
I understand because I’m sentimental about letters, too. I have scanned most of them, but I keep the ones from my Dad because they’re just so precious to me. Glad that you enjoyed it. ~Terri
What a wonderful, insightful, and inspiring collection of thoughts, ideas, and proven techniques to simplify your life and following a path of freedom and priorities. Thank you for putting this post together, James and Terri. And, thank you for including me as well. It sure appears to be a topic with a lot of traction! 🙂
Many thanks, Liesbet … and it’s all thanks to people like you who were willing to share their life experiences. All the thoughts and ideas you shared were amazing – what a great life you are living. 🙂 We were so excited by the enthusiastic response – I like your phrase, “topic with a lot of traction.” All the best, Terri
Love this and thanks for including my little piece of living a simple life. I/We could not be happier with our way of living. It’s not for everyone but for those who embrace it we could not think of going back to our old way of living. Thank you for doing this series and including a plethora of wonderful advice and experiences from a wide audience.
Amy, you are very welcome. And most of all, thanks to you for providing so many excellent insights and tips for living a simplified life. I can just see you and Shane snuggled into your cozy cabin. Ahhhh … it makes me smile. Do you have any more projects on your “simplifying radar”? ~Terri
We do like to snuggle up, especially on a cold winter day with a blanket of snow. 🙂 No immediate projects on the radar right now. We are both working on learning something new that may allow us (in the future) to work from the road. For now we are happy living in our peaceful forest.
Amy, that sounds exciting! I can’t wait to hear what you and Shane have up your sleeves. Meanwhile, enjoy your peaceful forest. 🙂 ~Terri
Thanks for reblogging our post Paul. There’s a high level of interest in simplifying these days, and we appreciate your efforts to help get the word out. Good luck with your new blog. ~James@Gallivance.net
Reblogged this on Experienced Novice's Blog and commented:
School is starting back soon. Let’s not forget our mental health and the importance of taking time to destress. This is a good de-stress article. Read and enjoy
Thanks so much for reblogging our post – we really appreciate it. Best of luck on your new blog and school year! 🙂 ~Terri
Great advice from many of my favorite bloggers here!
Hi Lisa, I’m so glad you stopped by. Your blog is a joy and I look forward to digging into it. We’re having a lot of fun with our Simplify Your Life Series, and we’re thrilled with all the great ideas and stories that have been shared. For you as a sailor, I’m guessing that keeping things simple is important. All the best, Terri
Simplification is a way of life on a sailboat. No room for clutter aboard Amandla. Only the essentials can remain. When I set out to sea, I considered a storage locker for my ‘excess’ but in the end, sold it or gave it away. Never looked back.
It sounds so wonderful and calm, Lisa. My favorite line is, “Never looked back.” We are totally in agreement. Wishing you smooth sailing. ~Terri
There is some great advice here, and it is very cool to see a compilation of tips from people I follow on the blogosphere The zero-sum game is a great idea, something I’ve probably unconsciously followed over the years. Since I went to college about 22 years ago, I’ve constantly been on the move and never accumulated anything so I’ve been lucky.
I’m glad you enjoyed it, Jeff, I think everyone really brought their A-Game to the tips. I’m a firm advocate of the zero-sum game, but we found in our last place (with lots of storage) that some things didn’t get dealt with as quickly as they should have. But now in our new little apartment, it’s definitely one-in, one-out. Congrats to you for not accumulating. Are you a “1 Backpack Person?” It’s great to have you back. You’ve been missed. ~Terri
When I saw this quote, I thought of you! Have nothing in your home that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful. ~ William Morris
Laura, I love that quote …. and we try really hard to honor it. But sometimes we’ll look around at some little thing that’s sentimental – and not necessarily useful or beautiful – so we turn it into a Christmas ornament. 🙂 How about you? ~ Terri
I recently bought one of those sentimental type things and it was a tough decision to buy it. It’s a 3 picture frame shaped and painted almost identical to Waldo. Definitely did not need a “knickknack “ but I love it!
Well done — this post and I am honored to be linked and mentioned!
And this is a rich resource that brings some serious meat to the atmosphere – what a potent resource your out together –
I plan on clicking every single
Link you shared here – I am
Going to pace myself during 2020 and keep you posted on how it goes!
Many thanks, Yvette … and Happy New Year! The response to the idea of Simplifying was outstanding – with lot of excellent ideas. Thanks so much for your input. I learned that no matter how long I’ve been at this “simplifying thing” there’s always more to learn. I like your idea of pacing yourself in 2020. Doing just a little bit at a time can end up making a big difference. Wishing you all the best, Terri
Yvette, thanks so much for reblogging our post and your kind words. And we appreciate your contribution to the post as well. Readers like you have a broad range of experiences, and we get lots of great ideas from them. And posts like this are the result. We’re impressed with your “summer book release,” and look forward to hearing all about it. Best of luck and thanks again. ~James
Terri and James, I am one big goosebump reading this sage advice. I copy/pasted #12. I plan to reread all. I keep a lot of sentimental stuff, yet over the years it accumulates. We are also storing things for other people. Oh, I see Yvette’s answer here. Perfect! Erica
Erica, I think that everyone can relate to your sentiments – mostly because so many of us have been in the same situation at some point in our lives. I took all my favorite photo albums and digitized them – but the next step was my most important: I bought one very special album, picked only the best photos and keepsakes, and created just one great photo album. It gives me that tactile satisfaction I gain from touching one of my Dad’s letters and Mom’s hankie.
And as for storing other people’s stuff, I thought Lexie had some interesting ideas in #51. 🙂 ~Terri
The hard covered albums are still special in our house, too. I will check out Lexi’s points. I need all the help I can get. 🙂 Thanks, Terri!