Reflections: 10 Reasons for Living with Less

by Landis Carey on April 16, 2012

Popping in this morning to say a little hello as the week gets started! The weekend was great – lots of pottery and downtime with hubby. I wanted to re-share this favorite post that originally went up in March 2011. It’s still how we’re living today, if not even more so. Tell me, friends, what does Living with Less mean to you?

Living with Less (updated link) has been a defining, giant home project I’ve been working on for Re-Nest. I’ve mentioned it several times here at Mint Peach, but because it’s been such an incredible undertaking and it’s helping me achieve what I consider a modern life, I wanted to share my motivations behind all the purging, paring and editing I’ve been doing.

Feel like you just joined mid-conversation? Here’s how Living with Less has impacted me so far:

  • I’ve pared my clothes from three closets to just the one in our master bedroom.
  • With a little order, organization and folded fitted sheets, I realized it was possible to store an extra set of cleaning supplies in our second floor linen closet, just where I needed them most.
  • I stopped our junk mail from proliferating and cleaned-up my electronic files.
  • Paper file boxes were sorted and an orderly filing system that has the ability to evolve over time was established.
  • I organized my books and magazines by subject and placed them where they could be viewed and quickly pulled for reference.

Why, when we have a three-story house with four bedrooms for just two people, do we need to pare back?

My 10 Reasons for Living with Less:

  1. I was spending a lot of time organizing stuff I didn’t use. Less to organize, more time spent living.
  2. 80/20 Rule: You only use 20% of what you own regularly. This was particularly true in our situation. It was the first time all of our belongings were out of storage with everything in one place. We realized there was so much we hadn’t used in years, so we asked ourselves: why do we need it all?
  3. I want to be a ‘No Gifts Please Person’ and cherish experience over stuff. This seemed like the first natural step in that process.
  4. We live in an old home; it was built when people had less stuff. Our closets are tiny and, after an initial estimate with a contractor, I realized the costs associated with expanding our closets weren’t ones I wanted to incur.
  5. Stuff begets stuff: if you don’t know what you have, you don’t know what you need.
  6. Shopping just to shop and phantom spending adds up. So, yes, it’s a financial decision as well.
  7. Paradox of choice: I hated living with my clothes spread between three different tiny closets, all located in different bedrooms, just to realize I never knew what to wear. There were too many choices and 80% of them I hated.
  8. When my space is clean and clutter-free, I have a clearer mind.
  9. Stuff is weighty. Packing, moving it around, is such a pain.
  10. Buying excessive goods is a waste of resources and I want to pare back to live and buy consciously while reducing my footprint.

I’m sure this list will evolve as our lives do, so more to come.

Check in each week for Friday Reflections, where I explore what Modern Living in an Old Home means to me.

(Images: Landis Carey)

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Heather Austin March 10, 2011 at 10:53 am

I am going to share this article with my friday lunch with ladies friends. We meet on Fridays, at a friends home, and discuss Simplifying our Lives. We have a bible study book we are using for a guide during lent, but it has evolved into a group “how can I do this better” session. Especially worthy due to the magnificent quality and different backgrounds of the women involved. Thank you for the helpful list.

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Landis Carey March 10, 2011 at 11:15 am

That sounds like such a wonderful undertaking, Heather! I’m so glad you’re working on it! Please keep me posted on your progress and any insights you have to share! I’ve been doing this entire series Living with Less on Re-Nest and it’s opening my world! I feel much more organized and free from the stuff that bogged me down before. Looking forward to your updates! XO

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Tammy Partsch March 10, 2011 at 1:00 pm

I am one of Heather’s Friday friends and this 10 Reasons really spoke to me. I live in a 1930s colonial (a bit more closet space than the 1920s) and ‘stuff’ makes me crazy. I lie in bed at night trying to think of ways to organize rooms I never go in. I look forward to reading more! And, thank you for the pictures of your house; it’s nice to gather ideas.

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Landis Carey March 10, 2011 at 1:44 pm

Hi Tammy! So nice to hear from one of Heather’s friends. I just adore her! Thank you for the kind words. Definitely more about Living with Less to come. Living in an old house has its challenges, but there’s nothing more charming than creaky floors and wavy glass. Keep me posted on what you discover about yourself and the way your use your home as you pare back! http://mintpeach.com/wp-admin/edit-comments.php#comments-form

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Naomi May 11, 2011 at 3:22 pm

I just hopped by your blog from Simple Lovely, and I loved spotting Shaklee products in your closet. Great post, by the way!

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Landis Carey May 11, 2011 at 3:40 pm

Hi, Naomi, thanks for stopping by and for the kind words! I absolutely adore Shaklee products! So simple and priced completely reasonable. Do you use them, too?

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Naomi May 12, 2011 at 8:56 pm

YES! I love Shaklee. My Grandma (who is now 89) has been using Shaklee for over ( I believe) 30 years! I converted to complete Shaklee products a few years ago, and I can never go back. I’m so turned off by strongly scented cleaners now, when I used to think that I needed that to “feel clean.” Hahaha. Your home is beautiful, and I’m really trying to work towards “living with less.” These posts are very inspiring!

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Landis Carey May 12, 2011 at 9:31 pm

Thank you so much for the kind words, Naomi! Keep me updated on your Living with Less project, can’t wait to hear more! Oh, and Shaklee is the absolute best, ever. And it’s completely economical!

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Lorena Ressano July 21, 2011 at 12:33 am

Thanx for this, I just discovered:) I would also add to your list: less consumption, better for the world! Cheers! Lorena

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Landis Carey July 21, 2011 at 8:27 am

Cheers to consuming less, Lorena! That’s absolutely apart of this project, totally agree. Have you seen this video of Bea Johnson and her Zero Waste Home? She’s my inspiration!

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Kendal February 27, 2012 at 1:53 pm

hi landis, just popped over from apartment therapy, where i saw your soon-to-be nursery and came across this post. my husband & i have a 1940s bungalow in toronto, which we originally bought to demolish and build new. instead, we found loved the tiny house as-is, itty bitty bedrooms and all. we had to edit all the junk out of our life to make it all fit, but now make do with only the essentials. it’s so freeing (and much less work to clean!)

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Landis Carey February 27, 2012 at 5:12 pm

You’re right, Kendal! Paring back is totally freeing and makes keeping our space clean much easier! And I’ve been continuing to pare back as my due date approaches! I can’t wait to make one more giant donation before the baby comes. There’s a lot of clothing and kitchen wares we’re no longer using, and since we don’t have a proper pantry, we need to make some space in our kitchen for our baby’s bottles and other things. Thanks for stopping by!

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