The Best Reason to Simplify

Friday night, we pulled into the driveway of our Arizona home. After three months in Montana and two days in the car, it felt good to be back.

We were glad to be home, but it felt a little strange walking into the house for the first time. Everything seemed small. Or short. Or something. Leila and I felt it, but we couldn’t quite put our finger on it. I was sure that weird feeling would pass, and it did.

But another feeling didn’t. As I started opening cabinets and closet doors, I felt overwhelmed with the amount of stuff we have.

We had just spent three months living in a one-bedroom apartment with a suitcase full of clothes and little else. Suddenly I was back, responsible for a house full of stuff. Stuff to clean. Stuff to organize. Stuff I didn’t care about as much as I thought I did.

Saturday morning, I went into full purge mode. Things that were once sentimental got a hard look. Most ended up in the trash or the donation pile. Clothes I hadn’t worn and knew I wouldn’t wear were gone too. I took a box into the kitchen and loaded it with cups. Seriously, who needs so many cups? I got rid of the kid plates and kid bowls. Joe and Leila have spent three months eating with real plates and silverware, why go back?

I asked myself why I was holding onto things. If an item wasn’t truly contributing to our life in function or joy, it was out. If it wasn’t worth moving to our next house, it was out. If I didn’t want to spend the energy to keep it clean, it was out.

If you have ever felt this way, even a little bit, try making a clean sweep of your house with fresh eyes. Ask yourself the hard questions.

Then do one of four things with your extra stuff:

  1. Throw it away – Anything that is worn enough that you wouldn’t buy it in a thrift store, toss it.
  2. Donate – Anything that still has function or beauty, but doesn’t make the simplifying cut, donate it.
  3. Tradesy – Clothes, accessories, shoes, especially with brand names are worth trying to sell on Tradesy. The best part is, when you sell something, Tradesy sends you a pre-addressed envelope to ship it in. Super easy, and my favorite way to find items for my capsule wardrobe.
  4. Craigslist/Local FB Groups – My new favorite way to do a yard sale is from the comfort of my air-conditioned office. Local Facebook groups are great! Take photos and list things for sale. When someone wants to buy it, you set up a place to meet. Search Facebook for a group in your area.

For the longes time, I thought I needed to be more organized. Now I know I just needed less stuff. |

There are many reasons to simplify, but the best reason is the peace that comes with a decluttered home. For the longest time, I thought I needed to be more organized. Now I know I just needed less stuff.


  • holly September 22, 2015 at 2:25 pm

    I know, right? What’s with our ever expanding collection of cups, glasses, plates etc. I just donated a whole bunch of things to our thrift store, including about 15 glasses that I was keeping “just in case”. We also have piles of cooking magazines & cookbooks in our basement that we never read. The ones we use are upstairs. The others need to go & be of use to someone else, and free up space for us. I’d like to see some empty shelves in our basement for a change, instead of stuff crammed in everywhere.

  • Emily @ Zen & Spice September 23, 2015 at 4:24 pm

    Have you read the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying up? Sounds a lot like what you’re describing! You can’t be organized when you have so much stuff that doesn’t have a place that you don’t ever use. I’ve been meaning to go through my apartment and clean stuff out but I need a good solid weekend free! We’re moving in a couple months so that will probably be a good time to do a “purge”.