Today we’re excited to speak with Lorilee Lippincott from http://lovingsimpleliving.com
What did you do?
In the past year we have gotten rid of about 80% or more of our stuff and moved from a 2000 square foot house a small 2 bedroom apartment. We didn’t realize it at the time, but what we were embracing is commonly referred to as minimalism.
What inspired you to do it?
Near breakdown 🙂 Lots of the change came from our lives getting so busy that we/I couldn’t handle it any more. Something had to get cut or change. I felt bad and weak as a woman, but I couldn’t keep up with the house, the two kids, and helping my husband with his business. On top of that there was community and church commitments, and all the other typical stuff that gets squeezed into the schedule. I felt like I could see other people making all of the different roles work, but I knew I was failing at all of them.
That is the bad side of the inspiration, there was good too. As we got thinking of how we could cut down on our stuff, then our space, and then our schedule, we started dreaming about this new life that was looking better and better. For a good part of last winter my husband had work 5 hours away from home and we went with him. We were living in a hotel and loving the simplicity of the day and our surroundings. We got to thinking that maybe we could make our life at home more like it. It kind of became our goal to create a little ‘hotel room’ kind of home that had just what we needed and nothing more. Nothing more to clean, pick up, maintain, store…. etc.
How did you prepare?
I guess you could say we prepared by talking and dreaming. Last December I decided to get a bunch of these thoughts out by starting a blog. In December we only knew we needed change, it wasn’t till the end of January that we actually decided we needed to start getting rid of stuff, lots of stuff.
Just for the record, we never were hoarders. I had garage sales every summer and I regularly took stuff to goodwill as soon as the kids grew out of it. I did have a problem with buying bulk and buying stuff we would need in advance (especially for the kids) and storing it, but things were organized and they fit in our house.
What was the process?
I started with the bookshelf. I don’t know why, I love books, and often it is the hardest thing for people to part with, but I choose it. I had gone through and weeded out books before for trips to goodwill, but this time I wanted to be really serious and set the tone for the rest of the house. I got rid of about 75% of the shelf, and then went on to get rid of almost all of the few boxes of extra books I had in storage in the basement. So many books I had been holding onto because I read them and liked them, but would probably never read them again, or I thought I would like them but never got around to reading them. The ones I ended up keep were the reference books that I do go back to often.
From there I moved around the house. Stuff got put all over the place. I had a pile for garage sale, several trips went to goodwill, lots went in the trash or recycle, some went to friends, some to Craigslist, and more. I found that as I got going I was getting better at it, so after I finished going through the whole house I started again from the top. I went through it from top to bottom at least 3 times before we moved in May, each time getting rid of more and more. I thought that once we moved we would have about the right amount of stuff, but I was wrong. Since we moved we have realized that we need less and less. We have cut down our stuff probably almost by half again since we moved. I just went through stuff again after Christmas and our donate pile is bigger than the pile of stuff we brought in over the season.
What did you do right?
Taking our time, but setting our minds to it and sticking to it. We didn’t have a deadline to work with, but we knew the sooner we could get through it all the better. I read somewhere that if most people got offered their dream job, but it required them to move within a few days, that most people wouldn’t be able to accept it. I didn’t want that to be us. I wanted to have a cut down, manageable life that would work and move with us instead of tie us down location wise as well as life wise.
With the kids I think we did it right by minimizing a bunch of our stuff first and having them see that we were enjoying it. We talked about what our smaller lifestyle would allow us to be able to do, namely travel. We also included them in the process. They were 4 and 7 at the time and actually wanted to get rid of more stuff than I thought. I found myself trying to talk my son into trying to keep some of his toys that I thought he should like. In the end I let them sell whatever they wanted, of their stuff, at the garage sale and use the money to buy a kindle.
What do you wish you had done differently?
That is a tough one, because it was such a learning process. I wish I could have grasped the idea better at the beginning and not had to go through all our stuff so many times to weed it down. But, we already thought we were crazy so that probably slowed the process down.
What would you recommend to someone trying to do this?
Go for it! The stuff that you think you might miss you will probably not even remember a few months from now. I was surprised that we don’t really regret getting rid of anything. (except that I accidentally got rid of both my irons in the last sorting instead of just the extra one). I was really surprised that the kids don’t miss more of their stuff. They remember what they had, because their kid brains are better than mine, but they don’t talk about wanting it back.
Also, figure out why you want to do it. If you are taking stuff out of your life, or stuff out of your schedule, figure out what you are wanting to put in. We were wanting to put in more family time and more travel. We talked about this a bunch and it made it easier for all of us. On that note, we were able to take a 5 week road trip through western Canada and west-coast USA this summer because of our cut down expenses and responsibilities. We were using our ‘Dream Porn’ like the Dream, Save, Do guide says.
Would we continue living this way?
We plan on it for now. Really, I think we will probably continue to cut down on our amount of stuff in the near future. We are hoping to do more travel and even maybe live overseas for a while if we can swing it. Will we be like this in 10 years? Who knows. I just want to make sure that, going forward, we have a life that materially and schedule wise is an asset to our lives instead of a burden. I want to always have the right amount of stuff and nothing more. I think that the time and memories we are creating with our kids is way more important than piles of bright plastic clutter. Someday, maybe, we will be able to put all our stuff in 4 backpacks like you guys 🙂