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Husband and Wife Discussion #2

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My husband said one thing during our camping trip that left me pretty much speechless. It came about after our discussion about a smaller home. He said, “Why don’t we sell everything and start over?”

My silence gave me away. “You’re thinking about it now, aren’t you?” he said. I was thinking about it. At first glance, it seems pretty silly. There’s no way we’d make a lot from all of the stuff we have and then we’d have to buy new things. No, we couldn’t do that.

I broke my silence, “We couldn’t sell everything.”

“But, we could sell a lot of it,” he said.

By golly, I think he was onto something. In order to downsize our home and simplify our life, we really have to trim out the fluff from our lives. We trimmed a lot during our garage sales last summer, but there is still a lot left. Off hand, I can think of a desk that we really don’t use (except to put stuff on), an extra air conditioner and a cabinet we no longer use because everything was moved into the cabinet I used for the bald eagle collection I sold.

It’s not just the big things, either. My husband sorted through our kitchen and discovered that we have four spatulas, three slotted spoons, three solid spoons and three whisks. Do we need all of them? Nope. But somehow we accumulated them through the years. My guess is that I saw some on sale and bought the extras (I still fight bargain blindness!).

Let’s not forget about clothes. My husband brought up a great point, “I wash the same clothes all of the time – we don’t even wear half of the clothes that we have.” Again, he was right on. I have clothes that I haven’t worn in years, not because they don’t fit, but because I prefer to wear other ones.

I find it amusing that I thought we got rid of a lot of things last summer. Turns out, there is so much more we can sell and it won’t affect our quality of life at all. That’s the thing…I think we were so used to having excess things that it didn’t even dawn on us what was happening. We got so used to it.

My son is excited – we’ll be having another garage sale soon!


22 Comments

  • Reply Ed |

    I like to fantasize about selling everything, too. My family has more junk than we need, or even want. It can be difficult to find time to sort through it all, though. Our, home is about 1300 sq ft. And, it feels small. But, that’s probably because we have three adults and two little boys living in it. Maybe once we sell off the excess junk, it’ll feel bigger. Thanks for this post. I love it.

  • Reply Twiggers |

    I’ve been selling like a fool to pay down our credit card debt!!! I keep pondering trying to go back to what I first came down to the US with 9 years ago: 1 duffel bag of shoes, 1 suitcase of clothing, another 2 boxes of clothing, and a box of knickknacks.

    As of right now my husband and I are down to: 2 closets of clothing, 2 closets of jackets, about 15 pairs of shoes, 2 small end tables full of underwear/socks/PJs, 1 dresser of clothing, a bed, 2 TVs, surround sound, a DVD player, XBOX 360, about 20 movies, 1 box of knickknacks, a kitchen table, a couch and loveseat, coffee table and 2 end tables, computer desk, tools, 1 box of paperwork, a ton of Halloween and Christmas decorations.

    I too, am planning on more garage sales. We can’t take all this crap with us to a small apartment!

  • Reply Frugal Dad |

    We’ve had nearly the same discussion. In fact, we even went around our house once and inventoried everything we thought would sell and about how much we could get for it. If we sold it all, along with the house, we could get back to zero. Then we would rent a house for a year or two and save up a downpayment. Starting over with a clean slate does have some appeal.

  • Reply Mary |

    I’m not tempted to sell everything, but I have been looking at my things with 2 rules: do I love it? do I need it? After 18 months of purging, when I look at something I know it’s either necessary or that I like how it looks (that’s important to me, but maybe not to everyone).
    I had two big sales last year and my favorite “discovery” was the free table. Anything I would mark under a dollar just went to that table instead…a whole heap of miscellany as opposed to the carefully laid out items for sale. People were shocked to find that they could take anything on the table and ended up buying to make up for their self-imposed guilt. It was great for me: I wanted things gone and the spirit of generosity that the table inspired infused the sale and made it fun.

  • Reply Ree |

    Wow–what a neat thought. It would be like you were always on vacation almost. Isn’t that when everyone is most relaxed…when they’re away from all their stuff and clutter? We recently relocated and while we were house hunting, I would go look at houses that were considerably smaller that what we are used to.

    I can’t wait to hear what you decide to do!

  • Reply Matt |

    We just recently moved and we now have a bit more space but the thing that stuck out the most for me wasn’t the fact that we’ll be able to store our stuff better its just how much crap we’ve accumulated over the years. I think I carried in 4 separate sets of plates… why would we keep that many plates. I can see one regular set and one nice set for when you need everything to match but its just too much crap. I think I might start going through some of our stuff and start selling some of it.

  • Reply Amber Jones |

    We definitely look at what we have and wonder, do we use it regularly, do we need it? Probably not. Our clothes are the same way. We wear/wash the same stuff over and over. But I keep other clothes because I “might” wear it. (My secret – I never do..lol) *Sigh* I guess we should start clearing out the closets. I’m just too – sentimental I supposed. I should go confess….

  • Reply margot |

    To help your urge to purge, you might also want to consider just giving away all of your unneeded items. It always takes me longer to purge things when I try to sell them. Selling them becomes it’s own task that I put off or that seems overwhelming (there’s the need to organize a garage sale, figure out prices, take photos if you want to sell online, etc.). So, for my last move I just gave everything away via friends, a charity or freecycle. Yes, earing the extra money would have been nice. But, it was more liberating to just have the stuff GONE! Then again, given your credit card debt, I suppose a garage sale would help bring in extra $.

  • Reply Christine |

    We are doing the same thing right now, too. I just got rid of half my closet! The kitchen is something I really need to do. Enjoy the garage sale!

  • Reply Budget Mama |

    I will be doing something similar as well. We have way too many stuff. I plan to sell a lot of things and give a lot away to charity. My new apt is so small, I can’t have all this stuff we don’t just. I love your idea to simplify. I plan on doing the same thing.

  • Reply CanadianKate |

    You guys are all inspirations!

    I’m in a different place in my life now and while I want to downsize, I hang onto things for the kids when they move out. To give you an idea of how bad I am: My dd is already out and just moved across the continent. She received an amazing pot set as a wedding gift so the excellent set my dsil brought into their household was sold, to me, in prep for when my son moves out!

    I still have four sets of dishes: my good and my daily, my grandmother’s (inherited after I was married) and a set I bought at an auction by accident as I was running up the bidding – they are technically dd’s but she didn’t want to move them at this time.

    My son is just at the stage when he wants to move out but can’t quite afford it, so I have duplicates of so much, waiting for him to take the plunge. Even if he stays, we are thinking of splitting the house into two units so he’ll need some kitchen things.

    Other stuff, like our camping gear, I can’t bear to part with, even though we haven’t camped for years. I can see me needing the air mattresses once I get grandkids. And ds now hangs at a cottage every weekend with his girlfriend so the sleeping bag and life jacket are in use again.

    So, while I know I could live with way less, I’m hanging onto stuff because I know it will be used in the next decade.

    I can’t decide if that makes me a good planner or a hoarder!

  • Reply Jerry |

    We are in the middle of a move overseas, which essentially forced us into selling most of what we own. We kept the house (renting it out) but we ditched almost all of the furniture and tons of… well… crap. We will be overseas for 4-5 years, and then we will come back, determined to live more happily than the masses who are in constant blind pursuit of more stuff. We will live simpler and put money into other things – education, annuities, charity, and investments.
    Jerry

  • Reply danielle |

    That’s a tempting idea, but my husband would never go for it. He still has his skinny boy clothes from high school and his “My Buddy” from the 80’s.

  • Reply Natasha |

    I would love to downsize.

    But would be so hard for me. A lot of my clutter are things that I have inherited from from my father and my mother. I am a kind of person that holds memory with certain items.

    With the items I have purchased myself I would not have trouble with it at all.

  • Reply Dlyn |

    Don’t forget about recycling items into other items. I have a friend who takes old clothes especially jeans and makes braided rugs. I’m making a simple picnic quilt from my husbands old work pants (the ripped ones I can’t sell or even give away).

  • Reply Dasha |

    That sounds great! A small space is not the end of the world, I promise! My fiance and I live with out cat ina 250sq foot apartment. Though we do want to move to a bigger place (300-350 sq feet) so that we can have a bit more room around out furniture. But 600 sq feet or so – plus outdoor space, but a basement for storage! – sounds like the perfect amount for your family.

    I’m glad to see more people are coming around to the idea of living with less stuff.

  • Reply Micah Fields |

    WoW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I just came about this site browing the web today, but congrads on paying off so much debt since 2006. over 29,000 dollars of debt paid off, that is success story if there ever was one. I hope my parents can pay their debt off soon. but now I know it can be done, thanks to you guys.

  • Reply Trixie |

    Wow, you guys might be on to something. My husband and I often lament about how much stuff we have. Why do we continue to tie ourselves down with stuff? It’s like we are trying to spend our whole lives accumulating more and more.

    It is so liberating to free ourselves from our attachment to things. I think about our closet. And all the totes filled with clothes. And, gulp the closet upstairs with even more clothes. How senseless is it for us to keep all of these? I feel worn out just thinking about all of them!

    Thanks for sharing,

    Trixie

  • Reply Uncommon Advice |

    I’m in the same boat as you = to the extent that i am thinking of even giving some of my stuff away on Freecycle.

  • Reply Kelly |

    When I was 23 my (then soon-to-be) husband and I moved to Boston, MA for his job. We had all of our things (including our only car) shipped there. It was the holidays and the moving company was either not working or just busy and it took them THREE extra weeks to deliver our stuff!!! Of course I was really upset with them, but there was a lesson in all of it…I don’t even need most of my STUFF!! I lived in an empty apartment for three weeks with almost nothing but what I had brought in my suitcase. I did have to go and buy a sleeping bag, a shower curtain, two towels, and some food. The apartment had a microwave so that worked fine for heating whatever I needed to. I did buy one luxury and that was a little speaker to connect to my CD player so I had some noise – the quiet was really annoying after a few days. So, yes, I found it is possible to live on MUCH less that we think! This was an extreme and only for a short time, but it did make me realize how much true junk I have. Kudos to all of you who are willingly giving up some of this extra junk!

So, what do you think ?