7 Things I Have Learned From Our Move

This post contains affiliate links to products I own and love.

From Our Move

Since moving last week I’ve discovered quite a few things about myself and I’m sharing them here with you in hopes that you might find them helpful.

Plain Nursery

  • 1.  The biggest thing thing I’ve noticed is that I LOVE clean and open spaces.  Okay, that really shouldn’t have surprised me but how much I love it certainly does.  I don’t even feel like decorating.  I’m sure I’ll decorate as time goes on but right now I’m enjoying the serenity of freshly painted walls.
  • 2.  I thought I would be disgusted by eating out so much but it gave me an opportunity to seek out those healthier options at restaurants that I usually avoid.  …and I liked them!  I may not completely revert back to my “go-to” restaurant favorites.

Temporary Kitchen

  • 3.  After a few days of eating out I decided to see what all was possible with my make-shift kitchen consisting of a fridge, toaster oven, microwave, and a wok on a hot plate.  It turns out that you can make a lot with those!  I’m feeling creative and enjoying the challenge of cooking with less equipment.
  • 4.  I am enjoying, no absolutely relishing in the amount of things we have out.  I feel like I’m on a vacation, just living with the minimum and having the time of my life.  We have all of our unopened boxes in one room and we keep the door shut.  We go in to get what we need and leave the rest there.  Once we have our kitchen cabinets installed and closet systems in place we’ll unpack a bit more but right now I’m loving having less.  We donated a lot as we packed up our old house but because of this high that’s coming from seeing and interacting with less I have a feeling I’m going to be donating a lot more in the coming weeks.  Less toys means less to put away.  Less clothes means more laundry but less choices.  Less things to dust around and vacuum around.  Less has truly made my spirits brighter.  I wish it didn’t take the painstaking ordeal of packing a few hundred boxes to fully convince me but that did the trick.  If you want to live with less you can get started with my 200 Things to Throw Away post!

Geese on a pond

  • 5.  Because we’re in a new place I want to be at my best for my kids.  I don’t want my cranky attitude to make them dislike their new house.  I know that seems silly but if you’re a parent you know how your attitude can affect your child’s.  To help with my attitude I’ve started going to bed earlier.  On purpose.  Every night.  It has helped my attitude tremendously!  I’m still tired through the day because of my narcolepsy but I’m more alert (and happier!) than I have been.
  • 6.  Along with going to bed earlier I’m trying to prep for the next day by laying out clothes, towels for the morning, and planning and prepping breakfast for the next day.  It takes very little time but helps me tremendously as I’m stumbling around in the morning.  I started doing this on my own and I had success but a few days ago my blogging friend, Crystal Paine of MoneySavingMom.com released a new 14 day course that provides a step by step system to help you Make Over Your Evening.  I immediately bought it, devoured it, and can say that I have truly benefited from it.  Here’s my affiliate link if you’d like to check it out for yourself.  The course only takes 15 minutes a day…unless you’re like me and go ahead of schedule. 🙂

In just 15 minutes a day over two weeks the course promises you’ll learn how to:

  • – Establish a Realistic Evening Routine that works — and that sets you up for amazing success!
  • – Design a Prioritized To Do List for each day — one that you’re actually excited to wake up and tackle!
  • – Nourish your body, nurture your soul, and no longer put your health on the back burner — even in the middle of a busy and full life.
  • – Assemble a wardrobe of simple outfits you love and that make you feel great — so you can finally, as Dear Abby Leigh says, “Dress for the day you want to have, instead of the one that’s trying to have you”!
  • – Develop a contagious, positive attitude — so you can experience and express more joy in your everyday life.
  • – And more…  visit MakeOverYourMorning.com for more information.

Walk in the woods

  • 7.  Lastly, I hate to admit that there may possibly be downsides to living in the woods.  The only downside so far is that I’ve found way too many spiders to have only been here a little over a week! (Yes, I saved you and shared a picture of my darling daughter instead of a yucky spider.  You’re welcome!)  I’m seriously thinking of investing in one of these little spider catchers that I’ve seen on Facebook a few times.

If you’ve endured a move and lived to tell about it I would love any advice you have to share!  Happy Monday, friends!

How to Find 15 Minutes a Day to Declutter

How to Find 15 Minutes a Day to Declutter

It can be overwhelming to try to declutter your home when you take a large chunk on at once. Rather than attack it full-force, you are probably more prone to put it off. Day after day, the task seems less than inviting. Daunting even.  You’re not sure but you think you heard your pile of papers and dust bunnies mocking you.

What if you set aside 15 minutes to declutter? Would you be able to approach it then?  Try these tips to get yourself closer to a clutter-free home.

1. Set a reasonable goal
If you want to take on a closet, for example, you will not be able to get it all done in 15 minutes. Start with a shelf, time yourself for 15 minutes and do a really job purging what you don’t need and re-organizing that particular space. The next day, continue with that shelf if needed or move on to another one.

2. Use the KRRT rule
Decide if you want to keep it, re-use it, recycle it or trash it. If you have not used it within the past year, then it is not an item you need to keep. Can it be donated? Is there someone you know who needs it more than you do?  Sometimes, by asking these questions, our perspective on the item changes.

3. Decide on a home
Everything you are re-organizing needs a home. If you just toss it back on the shelf, it will become chaotic quickly. By having a specific home for each item, you are bound to stick to a more organized space. Use bins, jars, labels and whatever else works to keep your space the way you want it. This will add visual appeal and motivate you to stick to your newly organized space.

4. Wake up 15 minutes earlier
I like sleep as much as the next guy. Probably more! However if you’re having trouble squeezing 15 minutes a day to declutter wake up a little earlier. Don’t declutter with your eyes still glued shut but once you’re awake and moving attack a problem area and I bet you’ll have a spring in your step the rest of the day.

5. Talk and declutter at the same time
Can’t chew gum and walk at the same time? Well, this probably isn’t for you. 🙂 The idea is simple, to distract you while you declitter. Hopefully this will help you from overanalyzing everything and make you more efficient. Plus, if you’re talking to a girlfriend she can help give you the nudge you need to let go of some things.

15 minutes a day is all it takes to get yourself started with de-cluttering your living space. That could amount to almost the same time as a Netflix show or a few songs from your favorite playlist.

Kitchen Decluttering – 12 Week Challenge

 

Welcome to the first week of the 12 Week Declutter Challenge! I am thrilled to start this adventure with all of you!

Remember this week’s challenge will officially begin on February 21st but feel free to work ahead!  For full details on the challenge click the link here.

 

If you’re not already follow me on FacebookInstagram, Twitter, & Pinterest so you never miss a bit of decluttering/homemaking inspiration!

Remember to join this challenge you need to join our Live With Less Facebook group or email me the pictures of your progress.  Between you and me, the group is way cooler because it’s full of fabulous people with loads of encouragement!

Without further ado, here is the rundown on Week #1!

Area #1 is the Kitchen/Pantry

The 5 Sections are as follows:

  • – Counters
  • – Cabinets
  • – Pantry
  • – Drawers
  • – Refrigerator and freezer

Here’s an example of what your week may look like.

Sunday – Rest, work ahead, add an album in our Live With Less Facebook group for this challenge, whatever you want to do!

Monday – Counters

Tuesday – Cabinets

Wednesday – Pantry

Thursday – Drawers

Friday – Refrigerator and freezer

Saturday – Rest, catch up, work ahead, whatever you want but make sure you add the photos of the work you’ve accomplished this week to our Live With Less Facebook group.

What if you have an enormous kitchen and only get 2/3 of your cabinets decluttered?  That still counts because you got two+ cabinets cleared.  Hopefully it will be motivation to clean the rest too but for this challenge you’ve met the requirements.

Ideas for the Kitchen

What to Do When Clutter Overwhelms

When clutter overwhelms

There are ice cream dishes still on the counter from last night.  The dishwasher needs emptied so it can be filled with this morning’s cereal bowls.  There are two loads of folded laundry on my dresser and a load in the washing machine that has been washed, and re-washed twice since yesterday.  The living room is covered with plastic figures and wooden blocks.  The kitchen floor is speckled with drops of milk and splashes of juice.  Not to mention the crushed goldfish and random Cheerios decorating the floor.  The to-do list is longer than I can memorize and I don’t have time to sit down and write it all out.  My head is swarming with thoughts that are echoing just a bit louder than the kid’s who are all demanding my attention at once.  I retreat to the bathroom to sit and have a moment of quiet.  I throw my head back and try to breath deeply, then it happens.  I see the vent above my head is covered with heavy dust and I break out into sobs.

I’m overtaken by my built up emotions, the clutter, my never ending to-do list, my sweet darling children that I would give my life for, and whew, sometimes I just need to take a moment and remember something.

Remember that I have a choice.

Remember that I can CHOOSE TO BE THANKFUL or choose to be overwhelmed, stressed, and weighted down.

Dirty ice cream dishes mean that we’re blessed enough to have extra money for treats.  At one point in my life I didn’t have enough money for three meals a day.  The dirty dishwasher means I should be thankful for many things.  Food to eat, money to pay the energy bill, running water, and well, a dishwasher.  Clean laundry reminds me that I am blessed enough to have family and clothes for them to wear.  Not to mention, I don’t have to drag bags of laundry to a laundromat.  My dirty kitchen reminds me to be thankful for the little mess-makers I gave birth to.  My mental to-do list reminds me that I am thankful for hobbies and opportunities to serve others.

I can be thankful.

Thankful for my life and those in it.  Thankful that I can pull myself away from the madness and reorganize my priorities.  Thankful that I can do things to make my home a haven.

Thankful that I can start.

While running and covering my head is tempting, I can choose to dig my heels in and start.

For me, starting involves me starting a load of laundry while I take a toy basket and scurry around picking up as many toys that are separated from their homes.  I give my kid’s the job of putting away the toys in the basket while I attack the remaining clutter.

As counters reappear and the “stuff” is reduced I can breathe easier.  Life isn’t perfect and my home will never resemble a showroom but they’re both good.  Good again.

I’m no longer overwhelmed by the to-do list.  The stuff.  The urgent.

I can enjoy my kids, tackle chores together, and walk around the kitchen barefoot.

Sometimes it’s important to just stop, evaluate, and then start.

If you’ve ever experienced a similar moment of overwhelm I invite you to join in our 12 Week Declutter Challenge starting tomorrow!  You can find all the details here.  It’s a lot of fun; I hope you’ll join us!  Oh, and there’s a cash prize of $250 too!

January Live With Less Winner Announced

Declutter Game

January was a good month, wasn’t it?  We pitched, we tossed, we decluttered, and we bonded over the love-hate relationship we have with stuff.  As I look back on January I’m excited, thrilled, almost jumping up and down with excitement to introduce our new challenge to you.  It’s a big one ya’ll, full of hard work, promises of success, and of course a cash prize!

Because I know many of you are shouting at your screens, “Okay, okay, enough already, Ashley!” I’ll move on.

With many worthy women who have entered the challenge, there’s only one winner.  Well, technically we’re all winners if we’ve got rid of unwanted belongings in our house….but only one cash prize winner.

The winner of the January Live With Less Challenge 2016 and the recipient of $100 cash is…

drum roll please…

is MANDY P! 

Congratulations Mandy!  You can email me at MrsAshleyWalkup@gmail.com and I’ll get your money to you ASAP!

Congratulations to you all who entered, even if you didn’t make it to the 31st!  I’m proud of all of you!

JOIN OUR NEXT CHALLENGE 

Discouraged you didn’t win?  Take heart, you can enter our next challenge starting on February 7, 2016.  Go here for the 12 Week Declutter Challenge details!

12 Week Declutter Challenge – $250 Prize

12 Week Declutter Challenge

Who’s ready to start a 12- week clutter-busting, hold-no-junk-prisoner, challenge?  Challenge, that’s right, this is a challenge and it won’t be easy folks!  The January challenge we just finished up had over 200 people starting off and less than 50 finished.  Most people dropped off around day 11.  This challenge will be different, however, and will be more of a marathon than a sprint.  The goal is a BIG ONE – to declutter and organize your house.  Through the course of the next 12 weeks I want you to look at, touch, and analyze every single part of your home.

We’ll attack 12 areas of our home, one area a week.

Each area will be divided into 5 sections.  You’ll have till the next week to finish those 5 sections.  Do it all in one day, spread it out, whatever.  Photograph your progress, at least one photo of each section is required.  Before and after photos and photos of discarded belongings are fun too but not required!  Add your photos to our Live With Less Facebook group (more on the how-to of that later).

If you run into an section of your home that is already decluttered, great!  Take a photo of it to share then feel free to work ahead, find a better way to organize that section, or work on a project you’ve been procrastinating on.  Do whatever you like, you’ve got a free pass!

Sound easy enough?  Great, let me show you the first area that will start on February 21, 2016.

Area #1 is the Kitchen/Pantry

The 5 Sections are as follows:

  • – Counters
  • – Cabinets
  • – Pantry
  • – Drawers
  • – Refrigerator and freezer

Here’s an example of what your week may look like.

Sunday – Rest, work ahead, add an album in our Live With Less Facebook group for this challenge, whatever you want to do!

Monday – Counters

Tuesday – Cabinets

Wednesday – Pantry

Thursday – Drawers

Friday – Refrigerator and freezer

Saturday – Rest, catch up, work ahead, whatever you want but make sure you add the photos of the work you’ve accomplished this week to our Live With Less Facebook group.

What if you have an enormous kitchen and only get 2/3 of your cabinets decluttered?  That still counts because you got two+ cabinets cleared.  Hopefully it will be motivation to clean the rest too but for this challenge you’ve met the requirements.

Prizes!!!  The favorite part is the prize.  The prize for this challenge will be $250 cash!  This will be our biggest cash giveaway to date!  If we have a lot of participation we might even have a smaller prize every few weeks.

I know I’ll have left something off but let’s start with these Q&As and please feel free to ask questions in our group or in the comments here on the blog if I miss something!

Q&A

  • – If you skip a day are you disqualified?  Yes and no.  It’s okay to submit your section photo late but only two days late.  Three days late or later will disqualify you from winning but you’re welcome to continue playing.  Remember we’ll cover an area a week, Sunday-Saturday.  Submit any of those sections by Saturday and you’re good.  Submitting them on Sunday and Monday of the next week is permissible.  Submitting them on Tuesday disqualifies you.  I don’t like rules for the sake of rules but it’s a good way to keep us accountable and moving forward. 🙂
  • – What if I’m planning to be out of town one week?  Everyone is allowed to skip an entire week of their choosing.  No questions asked.
  • – What if I don’t have two hours to declutter each section? Don’t worry, progress is the goal, not perfection!  Even if you only have 15 minutes for some sections, do what you can.  If we put off everything till we had enough time to do everything, in the very best possible way, we’d never get anything done.
  • – Where do I share my pictures?  In our Live With Less Facebook group you’ll need to start an album (this is easiest from a desktop as opposed to mobile).  Once it’s created you can easily add photos from your phone.  All your photos will be in one neat organized bundle for you to look over and admire. 🙂  (Some have noted that unless you comment on your photos that you add, they won’t show up on the group wall so if you want everyone to see your updates add a little comment under each picture)
  • – If I absolutely abhor Facebook can I email you my pictures? Yes, but please put the area you’re submitting in the subject line to help me stay organized.  For instance “Area 1 Kitchen.”   You can email these to EmbracingHomemaking@gmail.com.  You can email these once a week or as you complete them.
  • – When will this challenge start, I just heard about it?  The first week of the challenge will run February 21-27th…and with the two days of grace period you can submit all five pictures on February 29th (Leap Day!) and still be qualified.
  • – Will we be taking Easter off?  Yes, specific details on that will come later.
  • – If I share pictures of my junk in the Live With Less Facebook group will all of my friends see it?  No, not unless they are in the group.  It’s a closed group.
  • – What if I don’t have one of the areas or sections listed?  It’s completely fine to veer from the recommended path IF you don’t have the area listed.  You’re not disqualified in the least.  Simply find another area that needs some decluttering love and share pictures of your progress there.
  • – Will you be sharing the items you’re getting rid of?  Yes!  I’ll be posting them in our Live With Less Facebook group.  Forgive the bad quality pics, these are quick pictures that are usually taken at night. 🙂
  • – What if more than one person makes it to the end?  This would be wonderful and I would choose a winner at random using random.org.
  • – What if no one makes it to the end?  Then I’ll keep the money and treat myself to a day at the spa.

In review:

  • –  12 areas of our home, one area a week.
  • –  You only need to complete 11 of the 12 areas to be entered.
  • –  Each area will be divided into 5 sections.  I’ll post at least one week ahead of time.
  • –  Add photos of decluttered sections to our Live With Less Facebook group.

Who’s ready to play?  I hope you’ll join me!  This will be more fun with friends!

If you’re just now joining us and want to catch up on past posts you can find them all linked here on the intro post to our Live With Less series.

How to Sell on Amazon

This post contains affiliate links.

How to Sell On Amazon

Today, I posted a picture in our Live With Less Facebook group and the response it received shocked me.  It was a quick pic I took of 9 things I sold on Amazon yesterday.  I had them packaged up and ready to go to the mailbox.  Several people commented and private messaged me asking how I sold things on Amazon and how they could get started too.  I thought everyone sold on Amazon, just like eBay.  Neither are too difficult to manage and since Amazon happens to be my personal favorite I’d be glad to tell you a little more about the process.

Amazon has two different “seller” options that you could take. The first, is simply “Amazon Seller,” and it lets you list whatever you like, Amazon charges you a fee for each item sold, and you are required to ship the item to the buyer yourself.  This is the option I take however I’m leaning towards the second options to sell my books.  The second, is “Fulfilled by Amazon” (FBA) and it requires a monthly fee, but it’s incredibly convenience!

Here’s a breakdown of the two choices.

Fulfilled by Amazon:

FBA is great for declutterers who want to get a lot of stuff out of their home quickly…and make a little profit on those items too!  By letting Amazon store your items, they also provide your buyers with quick shipping (Can I get a shout out from Amazon Prime fans? Woo, love it!) and they handle the entire selling process.  Your items will arrive at someone’s door in Amazon’s signature brown box.  Amazon will list your items for you and make your items ship for free with Prime shipping.  This is huge ya’ll.  Let me just stop and say that if I’m buying a book I want to find one that ships free and doesn’t tack on an extra $3.  You’re probably the same, right?  {Interesting side note: the best selling book from EmbracingHomemaking.net readers is The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up}

To sign up for FBA you must chose the “Professional Seller” option which comes with a $39 a month fee.  This fee will eat up some of your profits but as a Professional Seller you’re allowed to sell things that others can’t, like clothes, make-up, and shoes.  The downside is that if your items don’t sell, you’ll eventually have to pay Amazon storage fees.

In my opinion, choose this option if you have 1) a mound of things to sell, and 2) if you have items you know will sell quickly.

Amazon Seller:

Amazon Seller is the standard way for people looking to sell a few things at a time and is probably the option the majority of you will choose.  It’s similar to eBay but with a bigger customer base, Amazon’s great reputation, and in my opinion, an easier dashboard.

You don’t pay listing fees with Amazon which is a huge bonus for me.  You do pay $0.99 per sale and an additional fee based off of the product’s category and final sale price. Plus, you’re able to see the profit you’ll make on each item in the dashboard – a great feature!  The listing remains active for six months with no need to do anything with it…unless you want to lower the price for a competitive edge, in which case is very easy to do!

For more information detailed information on the differences between the two programs, check out Amazon’s seller program FAQs here. Choosing the right program will make sure you add as much cash to your pocket as possible.

Here’s how you get started!

  1. Assuming you already have an Amazon account, sign up for an Amazon Seller account.
  2. Choose either the option “Sell As An Individual” or “Sell As A Professional” and follow the prompts.
  3. Grab your excess belongings and set down at your computer.

It’s no wonder Amazon is one of the hottest places to sell on the web today considering the convenience, safety, and the millions of potential customers.  With a little time and patience you can maximize your profits on old books, unloved toys, and unwanted Christmas gifts.

Good luck!  I hope you have enormous success selling on Amazon!

5 Painless Ways to Live With Less

This post contains affiliate links.

Painless Ways to Live With Less

Belongings breed like rabbits. Behind your back, your collection of “stuff” can double every year. Those objects feel like extensions of the people who owned them or gave them to you, and that can make getting rid of possessions feel like acts of disloyalty.

But objects aren’t people. The fluorescent green sweater your aunt knitted for you, in a color you wouldn’t wear to your own funeral, let alone hers, isn’t a proxy for your aunt. You wouldn’t dream of getting rid of your father’s watch, but his collection of rusty tools crowds out your own toolbox. Choose meaningful items to represent your past relationships, and declutter the trivial stuff in a productive act of minimalism.

Take Photos Before Throwing Away

  • –  Picture This

One easy way to keep a virtual representation of the things you choose to donate or discard: Take digital pictures or footage of them. Yes, it’s possible to hoard photos, too, but it’s much easier to find storage space for digital pictures than for physical objects. Eventually, you’ll find that photos loses their emotional connections and become “why-did-I-take-that?” image files you can delete.

Vintage Red Dress

  • –  Clothes-Closet Clutter

To regain closet space without losing the shirt off your back, implement one-and-one decluttering rules. If you haven’t worn a garment in one year, and it’s not within one size of your current wardrobe, put it in the donation pile. If your closet fills up with vintage bargains from secondhand stores, limit yourself to garments you’ll wear within one month and use for at least one year. And if you’re a sucker for sales, impose a one-sale, one-garment ceiling on your purchases.

Canvas Storage Box

  • –  Out of Sight, Out of Mind

To help yourself declutter, start a purgatory box. Instead of putting objects back in a drawer when you can’t seem to part with them, put them in the purgatory box and store it on a closet shelf you can’t reach without a ladder. Every year on a specific date, open the purgatory box and choose at least one item to donate. The out-of-sight, out-of-mind principle means that the next time you open the box, you’ll have forgotten the significance of some of its contents.

Shredder

  • –  Please Keep Up

Especially if you’re prone to packratting, impose a one-day limit on allowing piles to accumulate on furniture and floors. “I’ll do it tomorrow” soon becomes “I can’t cope.” Don’t set down mail you plan to shred or recycle: Process it right away, and avoid creating an overwhelming backlog.  (This shredder has good reviews and is only $30!)  Once you decide to get rid of something, don’t let it hang around. Schedule a donation day each month on which you drop off a bag of items to a thrift shop.

Kindle

  • –  Borrow, Don’t Buy

Rather than accumulate items you can rent or borrow, let the public library, tool rental, Amazon ebooks, and other sources help you live with less. Your library’s collections include video and audio recordings as well as books. Small hand tools may make sense to keep around so you can solve problems that crop up in the middle of the night, but you can rent bigger items such as carpet shampooers and power tools.

If you’ve considered minimalism as a lifestyle but backed away from implementing the choice to declutter your home, chances are you’ve equated “live with less” with “lose my identity.” Paring down a lifetime’s accumulation of material things means getting rid of excess baggage, freeing yourself from the past in a healthful, liberating step that gives you a fresh start.

How to Be a Minimalist

This post may contain affiliate links.

How To Be a Minimalist

Everyone is obsessed with buying more and more belongings. Unfortunately, not everything we buy is really important, and that would explain swollen garages and basements in many homes. There is nothing more fulfilling than living with less, owning what you only need. Although some people may find this a little weird…especially if they are into hoarding stuff, minimalism is one sure way of not just saving money but also decluttering your home and office desk and these tips can help you achieve that.

How to be a minimalist?

Here are 3 tips for the beginning minimalist!

  • –  Buy Only What You Need
    This is an interesting idea that can actually turn you from being a hoarder into a minimalist. Avoid buying something that you do not need. This will only lead to a house that is so full that you have nowhere to pass. Instead, ask yourself if you really need anything before making a purchase, and you will be surprised by the items that you will walk right on past.
  • –  Sell or Donate What You Don’t Need
    One of the reasons you probably have a basement and garage full of stuff is because you do not use those items. Instead of storing them away, go ahead and sell or donate them. How do you know what to give away? It is quite simple, anything that you have not used for about six months (or at least a year) is surplus to requirements, and you can let go. One interesting way to accomplish this is by posting one time on websites such as Craigslist, eBay, or Amazon.
  • –  Unsubscribe from Mailing Lists
    Living with less does not just end with decluttering your home. Many of us have subscribed to mailing lists that keep sending things that are probably mot even necessary. Dealing with a full inbox robs you of your time and unsubscribing from such lists will help you declutter your life. Remember, ignorance is bliss, and you will not be tempted to buy something if you do not know about it.  Unroll.me is a great service for helping you unsubscribe to mass emails quickly.

These are not very big changes.  They are small but they lead to a better life where you will not be bothered by clutter.

How to Get Your Spouse to Declutter Without Nagging

Decluttering without nagging

My husband is the neat and tidy one in my home. I like things that way but often I let procrastination set in…and of course my kids make that option far too easy to choose! I think it’s great that God wired us all differently and although that may make it challenging to understand our partners it’s a good thing. Things that stretch us are good, right? Just like the Live With Less challenge! 🙂

Roommates

Before I was married I had the fun experience of sharing a room with two fabulous girls in college. Three totally different people with different personalities, previous experiences, decorating styles, cleaning methods, and opinions on food were shoved into a small room and expected to live peaceably together for the year.  We ended up having a great year and chose to room together every semester after that.  Why did we get along?  It’s because we accepted each other despite our differences.  We knew we were different and we chose to bond over what we had in common.  They bonded over liking Ohio State and I never will as long as I live.  One girl (on the left) and I bonded over dogs, we both loved our dogs while the other girl liked cats.  The other girl (in the middle) and I bonded over finding great deals and repurposing everything.  We both balked at the other one as she got rid of a perfectly good cd alarm clock at the end of the year because she no longer needed it.  The lessons of compromise that I learned in college is one of the greatest lessons I’ve learned in life.

Our spouses will probably disagree with us on something every single day.  Whether it’s the way we make spaghetti, fold t-shirts, or how we take the lint out of the dryer.  Those are all hypothetical, of course. 😉  I like Brummel and Brown and my husband likes real butter.  I can’t stand the thought of sugar on my cereal and my husband doesn’t eat it without it.  We’re all different and that’s okay.  How we deal with those differences will affect our relationships.

In our Live With Less Facebook group I’m seeing a lot of conversation about how to approach our spouses to get on board this decluttering train.

Here are a few things I’d like you to remember:

– It wasn’t long ago that you weren’t in this decluttering mindset either.  Give them time to come around.  Lead by example and hopefully they’ll want to follow suit.
– Don’t give away their things.  Unless your spouse specifically gives you instructions to throw things away, I would avoid it.  My husband will sometimes tell me to throw away his old birthday cards because if he rereads them he would want to keep them but he knows he’ll never miss them once they’re gone.  You wouldn’t want your spouse to prioritize your belongings and get rid of them without warning so don’t do the same to them.
– Remember you’re on the same team.  You two are both on the same team battling clutter.  No one wins when you fight each other.
– Question but don’t mock.  If you’re going through belongings with your husband and see that your husband is keeping a t-shirt that has seen better days don’t make fun of him for keeping it but ask him why he’s keeping it.  He just might have a great story to tell that you’ve never heard before and you’ll be able to know that much more about the man you married.
– Communicate.  If you’re annoyed that your spouse isn’t as excited as you are about Living With Less it’s important to make sure you communicated your desire clearly.  Casually bringing it up once at dinner might not get the point across.  Wait till the kids are in bed, distractions are limited, and look them in the eye and explain what you’re feeling.  Are you overwhelmed with stuff?  Excited about having a peaceful home?  Paint them a picture of what you want your home to be.  Tell them your thoughts and engage them in conversation.  Your spouse loves you and hopefully when you explain that this is important to you they’ll be willing to listen.   Together fine tune your goal and what each of you can do to work towards that goal.
Above all, respect them.  Even if they don’t agree with decluttering right now, they may be more open to it later if they’re not constantly reminded about it.  It’s okay if they don’t want to.  Remember, they don’t have to be like you and you can be happy being different from them.  Do your own decluttering and bond with them over the things you both have in common.

Did I leave something off this list?  What would you add that will help keep the peace at home while decluttering?