Half

Monday, July 8, 2013
I know many of you will probably think I am crazy.  Heck, maybe you already do.  But I am going room by room, nook by nook trying to get rid of about half of our stuff.  Why? Well, we have too much.

Yes, I can be a bit of a shop-aholic when it comes to clothes but I am pretty practical about other stuff.  And I am not a hoarder.  Really.  Friends pay me with free lunches to help them organize and purge.  Still, I have had this deep yearning for less.  Less space, less property taxes, less rooms and furniture and books and papers.  And a pool.  We really want a pool (our backyard is too small because our house is too big for our city dwelling lot).  I have blogged about this before.

I don't want a formal dining room and a breakfast room.  I just want one big farmhouse table that can serve as both.  I don't want a formal living room but yearn for a cozy sectional where we can read and watch movies as a family.

So, we are doing two things.  We are keeping our eyes out for a smaller, original house in our neighborhood that we can renovate (VERY hard to find).  AND in preparation, I am trying to pare down to half of what we own. So far, so good.

We got rid of half the games, books, toys in the media/play room.  I have gone through some closets and drawers and gotten rid of plenty of kid clothes.

On this rainy Monday, I am working on my closet.  Now keep in mind, I just did this to my closet (and much of the house) in March for Lent.  But now I am trying to be ruthless. Still, it is hard.  It is hard to part with shoes and clothes that I think I might want to wear about a day after I get rid of them.  It has happened before.

Another toughie is this armoire...

DSC_0874

Is FULL of paper and design/shelter magazines that I cannot part with.  I need to but I am struggling.  I have years and years of Traditional Home and Southern Accents and Veranda and House Beautiful in there.  I don't need them.  I never look at them but I am attached to them. Why?

And then there is this little table....


DSC_0970

It was Harry's kindergarten class auction project in Charlottesville.  Each child did a self portrait on a tile and someone made it into a table.  We bid on it at the auction and it has been his bedside table ever since.  But he is in 7th grade now.  He does not know any of those kids anymore since we moved away.  He has outgrown it and so have we.  But still, it is so hard to get rid of it.

Here is Harry's tile...

DSC_0974

It is way too heavy to ship or I would see if anyone from his old kinder class wanted it.

I know that I will feel lighter once we make these changes in our life.  Will is going to college in 3 years  (and it might take us that long to find a house).  We don't need everything that we have been blessed with.  It is not what life is about.

I will share one tip with you....we are not interested in having a garage sale for lots of reasons (one is that I am purging slowly over time).  So instead, as I have a room finished, I e-mail my church Mom's group and let them all know that the items are on my front porch and free for the taking.  I invite people to come take what they want and after a day or two, I pack the rest up and donate it. Win-win!

P.S. If you are looking to simplify your life, this book was really eye opening to me....7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess and this blog too.  Janet lives a very simple, pared down life and she constantly inspires me.

56 comments:

  1. Good plan. I hope you find what you are wanting. If I have trouble parting with something I know I need to part with I ask my hubby to toss it for me. For the table, could you pry his tile off to save? Or just make sure there is a pic of him with it and offer it to a daycare.

    ReplyDelete
  2. This is very interesting to me. Recently my husband and I purchased a home that many of our friends probably thought we were crazy to buy. It is somewhat small and needing updates. We however think it's large as we lived in a MUCH smaller property prior to buying this house. We believe in "living smaller" and feel that we would only feel the urge to fill a bigger house with "stuff" we don't really need. Don't get me wrong...I have plenty of "extra" but I need some sort of way to keep us in check. Looking forward to reading more about your journey!

    ReplyDelete
  3. PS I'd love to invite you to read my private blog if you're interested. I share more house updates there than I do on my cookie blog. If you'd like, please let me know what email address to use. :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi Kim, I love Harry's table, so adorable. You might want to contact the Texas Children's Hospital to see if you can donate the table. This way it will be of use and you can always go by and visit it. There is also Casa de Esperanza, a foster home that might have use for it as well. I hope this helps.

    Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Good for you! I'm big on simplicity in all areas. My husband swears if he sits too long I'd try to throw him away too ;)

    ReplyDelete
  6. I have been trying to do the same thing (but I am not moving), but there are certain things I have a hard time parting with. I am glad I am not the only one. I wish it weren't so hard all the time. Your home is lovely! I wish I was on that call list and lived locally! ;) Your decor is just about perfect!! Maybe you can list a few things online for people to buy. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  7. I think simplifying is beautiful. Going to order that book to take with my on our vacation. I think you are so smart Kim ... in so many ways. So happy you are a blogger!!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I want a pool!!! Yeah yeah get a pool so
    Er can crash your house more often and in our swim soops at Libbie calls them!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I want (and need) to do this too! Good for you!! Wish I could buy you lunch for helping me with a project like this!! Keep at it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Deal. If I am every out your way, you have my services for a day!!!

      Delete
  10. My husband and I are the same way. Simple simple simple. Infact, people comment on how clean my house is or that we don't seem to have a lot of stuff. We just don't need a lot. Makes for a better lifestyle.
    You let me know when you're going to set out your unwanted items... :)

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hi Kim,

    Oh I'm so excited for you! For me downsizing, purging, organizing is thrilling work. And here's the thing that has helped me so much in the past and still keeps me in check to this day, when I'm in the throes of a deep de-clutter and I start to get anxious about what to keep and what to get rid of, I focus on the amazing feeling that I know I'm going to get when I open my closet and it is perfectly sorted with exactly what I need. When my drawers all have lots of room in them...then I feel good. I don't know what it is about that but for me it creates such a sense of calm and order. Good luck, although I don't think you'll need it. You sound really determined and focused. xo Janet

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the encouragement and beautiful example of living simple and chic, Janet!!!

      Delete
  12. Is there any way to contact his former Kindergarten classmates to see if you could mail each child's individual tiles to them? Then, you could just keep Harry's tile too!

    I am with you on puging... but feel frozen because I don't know where to start! I will probably be downsizing very soon and need to get rid of more than half!! Good luck!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sarah, What a lovely idea! I wish I could but I don't even know the last names of those kids and we don't live in that state anymore. Harry has been to 3 schools since then so I don;'t have a directory or anything. If we still lived int hat area, I would absolutely try to do that but I would not know where to begin.

      As for feeling frozen...here is my advice....start with something very small. For example, yesterday Kate and I spent about an hour on my make-up drawer. JUST ONE DRAWER! We took everything out, threw about half away, wiped down the rest and re-organized it. It was easy but it completely inspired me to tackle shoes and sweaters today. If I started with a big room (like the kitchen) I would be overwhelmed and quit. Start small and more from one small spot to the next over time.

      Best,
      Kim

      Delete
  13. Hi Kim, i went to my garage today!! It's been on my radar for months. I am very much into purging. But this year, notsomuch. :(. Just too busy.

    We have a pool, on a smallish lot. It totally works!! The girls love it.

    Good luck with your purging. My goal is to do my whole house within the next three weeks!! That's when daycamp ends. LOL.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We've thought about trying to squeeze a pool on our lot but it is kinda impossible. Living in such a hot climate we would really use the pool a lot.

      Delete
  14. This is a great idea! Could you have someone remove Harry's tile and only save that?! Most of us need to do this and we'd all be happier! If you shed any of Kate's cloths, we'd love to shop on your blog like you did before! Blessings, Michelle

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Michelle!!! I give most of Kate's clothes to her sweet friend Libbie but I have been thinking about selling some things soon too. If I do, I will surely announce it here first!!!

      Delete
  15. I read something in Real Simple a few years ago that was just perfect. If there's something that holds sentimental value for you but that you don't use, take photos and put them together (Prinstagram is perfect for that as you can get little mini books).

    When my grandmother died this fall, it was really tough to get rid of certain things, but I was ruthless with me and my mom. If we couldn't think of a use for it but loved it, we photographed it. It made giving away certain things a lot easier. It's odd that you can be attached to something you don't really want in your own home, but memories are funny things. This way you honor the memory but not the thing itself.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I would cut out Harry's tile and make it into a coaster...so cute!

    I am totally on the same page as you, by the way. I've always been very organized and somewhat minimalist - but in the past year, I've gotten rid of over half of our belongings...and about 95% of the kids' toys (my children are 6, 4, and 1). It has been amazing. We live in a small beach bungalow by the sea in Southern California - and it either move to a bigger house or get rid of the clutter. My sanity thanks me daily for the change. :-)

    Here is a blog post I wrote last year about getting rid of stuff: http://urthmama.blogspot.com/2012/11/why-im-not-shopping-black-friday.html

    Please keep us update- I find that it's an ongoing project, this "living with less" and finding that happy medium!

    xoxo,
    Erika

    my blog: http://www.urthmama.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is such a good idea about the coaster! However, it would render the table trash and that makes me feel guilty. A friend actually took it to use in her playroom today...so it will get used:) Maybe I will print the photo and make that a coaster:)

      Delete
  17. I have the exact same magazine problem with cooking mags like Martha and Cooking Light. And then the other day, I realized that I could probably find anything I really needed to find online via Pinterest. I won't find it all online of course. But all the good good stuff...is probably there somewhere. I'm headed out of town but I seriously think in two weeks when I am back and have some free time, I am just going to purge all of that paper. I have at least a decade of Martha- every issue including the holidays, kids that she used to have, the little cooking one, and bridal. But seriously...I never ever open them past a few months of having them on a coffee table.

    KK

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. KK,
      You are SO right. I just need to bite the bullet. I wonder if a local designer or decorator would want them???? I also want to get rid of about half of my cookbooks. It will be tough but I know I will be so happy once I do. Let me know if you do your purging:) Have a great time wherever you are going:)

      Delete
    2. This is a fabulous post and I am delurking to comment.

      Re your magazines: all I could think of was contacting Joni Webb. She added all those lovely shelves. :-)

      I purged my magazines and it was tough. I had Victoria magazines from its inception. That would be 25 years worth. Ugh. I don't even like the Victorian look, I just loved it in a magazine. I brought mine to Half Price Books. All the rest of my Southern Livings, Southern Accents, Veranda etc. I donated to our library. As a small consolation I kept some of my Fall and Christmas issues of my favorite magazines because I didn't inherit a creative gene. I refer to them to help me decorate during the holidays. Every now and then I find myself searching for an issue of something but I haven't regretted purging them.

      My husband travels to your city M-Th. There is a part of me that wishes I knew you in real life instead of lurking because I would have him run over to your porch since I adore your taste! I don't need another thing. Something about turning 50 this year made me want to really purge and redo with less. I have come to realize my brain can only handle little visual clutter. Out with the Old World, in with the transitional. The only things I am holding on to are things for my daughter. I will get around to her life book and making the scrap books one of these days. She has only been home from China 9 years, I still have time.

      Delete
    3. Thank you for delurking Beth:) I thought of Joni and I will likely contact her when I get to the armoire. I am kind of saving it for last because it is behind closed doors and very organized:) I have another friend who recently started her own design business too and she might want them. I know once I get over the initial shock...I will not miss a thing!!!! Let me know if there is something specific you might be looking for an I could e-mial you if it will be making its way tot he porch;) And if you makes you feel any better I still have not had Kate's 100 wishes quit made or done a life book:)

      Delete
  18. Kim - I have been doing the same exact thing for months. Like you, I struggle on certain things. Have made a LOT of progress though. Last year when I went to Pearls and Grace in Nashville, I was reading 7 - didn't spend a penny on the trip. It was a hard book to read but one that everyone should do. Good luck with your progress!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Thank you for the comment on my blog! :-)

    I love the idea about taking a photo of the tile and making it into something - maybe a mousepad or take a photo and save it for a little album as a going off to college gift down the line? sniff!

    I ALWAYS read your posts - but often I can't comment because I read them on my phone! Kate reminds me so much of my oldest (who will be 7 in August). We also did kindergarten twice for her - and it was a great decision...

    Also, I had to laugh when you were talking about water polo the other day because out here where I live (Manhattan Beach, CA) - they DO start water polo at birth practically. My 6 year old started swim team at age 5, and they taught them water polo within a month! Whenever they have practice over breaks (Spring, Fall, Ski Week, or Winter breaks - so like 6 weeks/year!) - they always do water polo instead of regular practice. I am from Indiana originally, so that was very new to me! But my husband grew up in Santa Barbara, and he played water polo in high school - but learned to play when he was 5 or 6 on his swim team. It's just "the thing" down here - that and beach volleyball. Several of the girls at my daughter's school are already on beach volleyball teams - at age 6 or 7! What?!!!

    But I guess every place has "their thing" - like Indiana has basketball. I am sure Will's team will do fantastic at the Junior Olympics - what a fun trip and so educational, as well!

    xoxo,
    Erika

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, you are exactly in prime water polo territory:) Will's team is good for Texas but they have little chance again the Ca teams. Enjoy your summer and thanks for reading. I read your blog from time to time too.

      Kim

      Delete
  20. Oh 7. Yep. It ripped me right apart. Sure do wish I lived in TX during all your purging. I'm sure you have great taste and I'm too cheap to buy anything during this phase of our lives! ;)

    ReplyDelete
  21. that's awesome my friend!!!!
    i love the porch, come-n-get-it plan!!
    can't wait to see you next week
    much love
    xoxoxo

    ReplyDelete
  22. Purging can be so freeing, but so hard. One tip I've heard is anything you just can't quite part with put in a bag out of the way for a few months and see how often you really think about or go use it. For the magazines, maybe you could save some favorite articles in page protectors in a binder instead of keeping entire magazines. Good luck!! :)

    ReplyDelete
  23. Hey Kim. We live in a similar area but in Chicago. They leveled the house next door to us to build a mini-mansion that takes up the entire lot. That's what happens to EVERY house in our 'hood.

    We got our house because the other five bidders were all developers that were going to do the same and we were the only ones that promised to live in it and love it. That meant the world to the home-owner of 40 years.

    We've been through ALOT in the last 2 years and I'm a big believer in everything happens for a reason. We were so "lucky" to get this house. Keep purging. Down sizing has been a blessing for us. Fingers crossed you find "the" house soon enough.

    Much love to you and yours!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. P,

      Same thing here....developed snap up the lots before people can buy them. We want an older home and just update kitchen, bathrooms and closets:) I am glad you are happy. I know that you had some sort of crisis a few years ago and I have wondered if y'all were well. I have prayed for you.

      Delete
  24. We are purging too... lots of bags going to friends and church!! Seaside question... do you buy your floats and tubes when you get down there? I love the tubes with the rope around them. i want to buy anchors so we can attach them to the tubes and just float. I haven't found tubes with rope around them here...

    ReplyDelete
  25. We are sooooo blessed to be the honored recipient of Kate's wardrobe. I always get comments when Libbie is in one of Kate's outfits! We are so thankful for Kim's generosity and giving heart and oh yeah great style too ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We love giving to you and Libbie. Got the charm to day. Need to talk to you regarding engraving:)

      Delete
  26. Purging my apartment has been my summer project and it has felt so good to do that. It is hard getting rid of things but the end result makes me happy. Maybe you could give the magazines to a retirement home. I am sure there are so ladies there that would love looking at those beautiful homes and then you would feel good about someone getting use out of them instead of them just going in the trash. Just keeping thinking of the joy a pool would bring to your children!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great idea Courtney. Thanks for the encouragement!!!

      Delete
  27. I have been PURGING as well and it feels SOOOOOO GOOD!!! I couldn't believe the stuff I had stored for YEARS! So far as a pool, I say GO FOR IT! We have a pool in our complex so Bre swims DAILY just about! A pool is a WIN-WIN!!

    ReplyDelete
  28. We recently sold our home and downsized. We went from almost 4,000 square ft to a little over 1600. I have NEVER been happier! I have learned I can live with less, much less and be more content. We are renting, but we have a pool too! My kids love it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am so glad to hear this. I think our house is 5400 sq feet and we will likely got to 2500-3000 is my guess...maybe smalller. The only thing that worries me is the closet. ANd maybe the master bath!

      Delete
    2. I am glad y'all are HAPPY!!!!

      Delete
  29. I love this! I too am paring down (as much as I can with two 2-year-old toddlers! I have not been to TJMaxx in, well, I can't even remember when...and for me, that is HUGE. But I am enjoying the time that I would have been on the road getting there and back at home with my girls. I know how you feel about your beloved magazines; I have some very old ones that I just cannot relinquish; and it is hereditary as my sister has a really old Country Living, I think, from way back in the ice age, 1985!

    Good luck in finding your tinier Home Sweet Home.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Kim, I hear you! We live in a small house (by Texas standards!). We are only in 2000 sq feet of space. We've talked about moving at one time, but I always go back to - more property taxes to pay, more house to clean and I'd rather travel than have a larger mortgage payment! I do need to learn to scale back on my stuff - I have a lot of stuff that I try to purge every 6 months, but I still have more to do. I'm looking forward to going on this journey with you! Also, I think it's great that you're looking into a house with a pool. We LOVE our pool and can tell you that Madison and her BFF played in the pool for 3 hours straight today - it is well worth it!

    ReplyDelete
  31. I always enjoy reading your blog. I could not agree more with one large dining table. We have a 2400 square foot house and use every inch of it. This week I dropped 6 bags off at Goodwill. Most people who come into my house and say, "where is all your stuff?" I love Janet, she is inspirational! She is part of the reason I changed my dietary lifestyle.

    ReplyDelete
  32. I always enjoy reading your blog and you have a lovely home. I completely understand having one large dining table. We have a 2400 sq foot house and we use every inch! I am continually purging. Janet is an inspiration, she is part of the reason I changed my dietary life stlye.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Good for you! My husband and I often feel like we're in on some "secret" of a paired down life. We are in our early 30s so now that we and our peers have reached a foundation of financial security (more than fresh out of college), there is a surgent of big cars, big houses and big spending. Why? Because they can. We can too, but we choose not to.

    Our home is very much like The Gardner's Cottage and I just love it. And, I love that I can decorate it just like I want and don't feel the need to fill four bedrooms with big box store crap. We travel, eat out and enjoy a calm, debt free life.

    I look forward to how your progress with this initiative. Your style is impeccable so I'm sure your future, small home with be just darling!

    ReplyDelete
  34. Hi Kim- Loved reading this post....it just made me smile. And I agree, Janet is so inspiring!

    We downsized last year (and moved from the city to a small town)...and couldn't be happier. We went from 3200 to 1600 sq feet. I was worried about crazy things- like, having Christmas dinner or entertaining a crowd. But,it's turned out to be a non-issue. It feels so cozy to have a house full of people instead of one full of stuff. You will love it (but getting there is tough, I know!)

    It's also fun to be creative in using space and having things that do double duty- I think you'll love the challenge and how creative you can be. You're so great at making things look fabulous.

    Hope the search goes well- somehow I think you may find the perfect place sooner than you think! :)

    hugs-
    carolyn

    ReplyDelete
  35. So completely on board with you. I have been purging and donating for some times now and it still amazes me the amount of stuff we have. I'm on the hunt to ways to use each and every room we have (living room and dining room is unused) and I've hired a designer to brainstorm that with me. We don't have a huge house, but with only three of us, it's amazing how much space is unused.
    We can live with so much less...and I'm on it. Can't wait to see how it works for you!

    ReplyDelete
  36. Hi Kim,
    Longtime reader/lurker brought out by this post. . . I have been getting so many "God-nudges" to do a whole-house purge and yours is just the latest. . . so last week I started small and cleaned off the top of one piece of furniture. Spent most of yesterday and today purging from my bedroom, and it feels so good! I too have my items that I am "afraid" to purge -- shoes, clothes that don't fit -- a few years ago I lost about 75 pounds so I got rid of almost everything that no longer fit -- and as the pounds have crept back on, I wish I had saved a few things, so I'm reluctant to get rid of the "good" stuff that doesn't fit now, but that I might want to wear in the future. Your post is so inspirational, and there are more good ideas here in the comments(like packing up the stuff and putting it out-of-sight for a few months). Thank you for blogging.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Hi there,

    I was really inspired by Jen Hatmaker's book as well. We live in 2400 sq ft and are looking to downsize. How much space do we really need? I swear no matter how big or small our house may be, my kids are always guaranteed to be in the same 10 sq ft as me. :)

    And the "stuff"? I recently took an Environmental class at my local college and this video was in the course work. It's about 20 mins long, but if you haven't seen it, it's very informative.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gLBE5QAYXp8

    Good luck on de-cluttering. It always feels great, and I think that says a lot about what's really important in our lives. :)

    Lindsey

    ReplyDelete
  38. Love this post! We are doing the same thing- though our house in NY suburb is already smaller than Texas standards.... Only daughter headed to Midwest for college, and just want to downsize and not live with velvets/silks/damasks in never used formal living room and dining room. I do not want to sell via garage sale either , so I love your tip on donating to church group!

    Best of luck!
    -Linda,ny

    ReplyDelete
  39. Funny...we live in a 1600 SF house and I still want smaller some days. I think I'm here to stay, but I hate stuff and the more room there is, the more stuff I fill it with!

    ReplyDelete
  40. Funny...we live in a 1600 SF house and I still want smaller some days. I think I'm here to stay, but I hate stuff and the more room there is, the more stuff I fill it with!

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for your kindness.