Our new normal

6 years ago, our home was truly overcrowded. I did not yet have the skills to manage the ebb and flow of things we lived with. I am very happy to say that things are very different now!

The following are my favorite strategies that have gradually made this transformation possible.

  1. I have learned to bring home less. I am much more discerning. I do not seek shopping opportunities. When things are offered, I stop and compare to what we have and what we use. I do NOT want to add more clutter. I am very clear about that.
  2. Containers help me know when enough is enough. I have learned to respect the boundaries I create. For example, I have my folded clothes on a Kallax (Ikea cube shelving), with one shelf for long-sleeved tops. When the pile is squished, something has to go, that’s it. It took me some time to reflect and decide my own personalized boundaries, but now it is a cinch to know how much is enough.
  3. Everything has a “home”- Everything! It can take time to reflect and create a good home for a thing, but once it is done, putting it away is a breeze!
  4. Done is better than perfect. I do my best today, with the resources, knowledge and energy I have now. I don’t wait for perfection: I just do my best.
  5. No guilt! I do my best, and do not feel guilty for being imperfect. Nobody is perfect.
  6. I cultivate the feeling of abundance. When I feel rich and comfortable, I need less.
  7. It’s an organic process. Our habits and routines change, and so do our things.
  8. Higher housekeeping standards help us stay organized. Make the bed every morning. Wash all the dishes so the sink is empty regularly. Hang the coats up. Don’t leave piles of stuff randomly lying around. All these small gestures combine to create pride and ownership, and contribute to being well-organized.
  9. “For Charity” zone in the foyer. When anyone in the family realizes they no longer have a use or desire to keep something, it is so easy to walk it over to the front door charity zone. And because it is very visible, we take in the donations on a regular basis to clear out the foyer.
  10. I collect mentors! I have identified a whole bunch of people who inspire me and give tips that I find helpful. I’m on a learning curve. It’s great to learn from others!

I’m well aware that none of this is new, nor is it important when compared to big challenges in the world. But it does make a significant difference in the quality of life of the three people who live in our tiny home. Our home welcomes us and allows us to recharge our batteries. We are functional, and therefore more self-sufficient. We don’t waste time looking for things any more. We don’t waste lots of money buying stuff we don’t need. We don’t spend money buying things we already have but cannot find!

This is our new normal. Hooray!

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  1. That’s a beautiful, peaceful way to live, Alison. I can see that it eliminates many sources of stress and saves time and money. Congratulations!

    • Thanks for commenting Pat. It’s a process, and therefore always evolving. Really important to have mentors because they put it all in perspective 🙂

    • SO pleased you find this helpful! Thanks for commenting 🙂

  2. #1 was a big one for me. I’ve always enjoyed sidewalk sales, rummage sales, garage sales… you get the picture… but since getting rid of so much unused stuff over the last couple of years, I’m no longer tempted.

    • I SO hear you Janet! One of the things that helped me a LOT with that are my STWOTD photos, “Stuff That Walked Out The Door”. There are a lot of photos, mostly of piles of stuff, just before going to charity. All that money we spent! I think about those photos when I’m looking at stuff I could bring home. Makes me think twice, and ususally I pass. Thanks for commenting Janet 🙂

  3. It seems like you’ve been reading my mail. My ‘process’ began when out of desperation I hired a house cleaner. She took us on with the understanding that she wasn’t a mover. She didn’t clear surfaces, she would just clean around them. If I wanted my house really clean, I’d have to do the clearing myself. I needed to get organized and gradually I did. Or to be more accurate – I am.

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