Learning to Live With Less

strings attached hammock photo

In a little over two months, our family will be moving to a new abode.

This move is exciting for a number of reasons. The new house has more bedrooms and will allow us to have a girls bedroom and a boys bedroom (yes, we only have one boy so far, but we hope to have more one day!), in addition to an office and guest room. It will also allow my husband to set up his own studio for his music school– very exciting! It’s newer than our current house, has a fenced backyard where the kids can play while I cook (hallelujah!), the kitchen is a dream, and the whole place just begs to be used for hospitality.

Those are all really great reasons to be excited about moving there, and yet I have one other reason that (at the moment) has me more excited than any other…

I want to use this transition as an opportunity to pare down what we own, seriously declutter, and more than anything, learn to live with much, much less.

You may wonder why this would matter to me since the new home will be even larger than our current one. It’s not a storage issue, but it’s actually a desire to simplify and learn to be satisfied with having less.

Reasons I’d Like to Live with Less:

1. When you have less, there is less to clean. Less to organize. Less to maintain. Less to figure out how to store and containerize. Less to do.

2. I want to adopt one of Simple Mom’s favorite phrases, “Have nothing in your home that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful”. We’re trying to learn to only keep and purchase things that we love or are truly useful.

3. We honestly just have too much stuff. I think most North Americans do in general.

4. I want us to value the things that we do have. Especially my kids- when they are overloaded with books, toys, and clothes galore, it’s easy for them not to value or take good care of what they have. The same is often true for me.

5. Being a busy mom, wife, homemaker, cook, writer, gardener, etc. I want to spend less time keeping up my home and more time on relationships that matter and doing things that I deem more important. Stuff requires time and effort that I’d rather spend elsewhere.

simple flowers on plain table

Image by globevisions

6. A home that is more basic and uncluttered feels more peaceful (at least, to Ryan and I). When our home is tidy and clutter free, we feel less stressed and enjoy being there more. We trust this is true for our kids and for our guests as well.

7. Not only do we value what we have when we have less of it, but I think that we become more truly grateful for it and aware of the abundance that we have been blessed with. Gratefulness translates into generosity, a trait which I want to cultivate in my children and in myself.

The Challenge

My husband and I have decided that rather than waiting until the last month to pack everything (we don’t move until July 1st), we are going to pack as much as we can in the early weeks.

The point? To see how little we can live with and whether we even miss the things that we’ve already packed away.

Additionally, as we pack things up, we are attempting to be as brutal as we can in eliminating things that we truly don’t use, need or like. Our goal is to sell enough in a garage sale to cover all or most of our moving expenses.

My husband has actually already jumped into this, within a week of finding out that the house would be ours. He’s probably packed more than 20 boxes, and I am already enjoying this challenge. Sure, the walls are a bit more bare, most of the books aren’t accessible and I have wondered where a few things have disappeared to.

So far, the only thing I have truly missed is my small jewelry box that got packed by accident, which I plan to retrieve. The rest I can live without for now (and maybe forever?).

I’m eager to continue on with what he’s started. The kitchen and the toy/school room are calling my name.

I’ll update you from time to time as we prepare for the move, letting you know the challenge is going and how life is when we’re living with less.

Is this a challenge that you need to take up yourself? What would happen if you began to simplify and learned to live with less?

Image by robyn michelle-lee photography

About Stephanie Langford

Stephanie Langford has a passion for sharing ideas and information for homemakers who want to make healthy changes in their homes, and carefully steward all that they've been given. She has written three books geared to helping families live more naturally and eat real, whole foods, without being overwhelmed, without going broke and with simple meal planning. She is the creator of Keeper of the Home.

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  1. I totally agree with number for! One reason why I don’t want my son to have tons of flashy toys is because I want him to be satisfied with less, not always wanting the next newest, biggest gadget on the market.

  2. Great timing for me to read this!!!! I am trying to do the same thing and we will also be moving the first part of July. This will be great to have support!!!!

  3. My husband has always had a rule “if you haven’t used it in a year, get rid of it”. That was hard for me as a pack rat, thinking we might use it someday.

    We moved a little over a year ago to a bigger home. We got rid of as much as we could as we packed. I only regret giving away one thing and that’s a crash pad I had made for my youngest, who’s a sensory seeker. He hadn’t used it in over a year but could use it now. It was nice that we didn’t have to move & put away as much.

    The hardest thing is when our kids want to keep all kinds of junk, including old reports, candy wrappers and stuff they made out of junk. I purposedly put my daughter in a smaller room to limit how much she could store. And she still crams in as much as she can. But at least she doesn’t have a bigger room to declutter when we go crazy with her junk.

  4. @Stephanie @ Keeper of the Home, Nope, no more questions. :) Sounds great! What a blessing from the Lord. I wish there were more good places to rent around here. Being rural/small town, there are not. That said, we own our house, but it wasn’t neccessarily the wisest decision, we wish we knew what we know now! But that is okay, there have also been blessings here too.