It's been a couple of weeks since the last Living with Less post, so I wanted to take a minute to share the project with our new readers before the project's next segment posts this Thursday. Since the last Living with Less, Project Update, I've addressed our home office, library, medicine cabinet and kitchen. It was a lot of work but so worth it!
Living with Less, Week 5: Home Office and Files: In Week 5 I realized I may never completely finish our filing system, but that's okay because the needs of our home office will change over time as our life evolves. So, I commit to fine tuning the system and being flexible.
- Reader Comment I Appreciate: With only one commenter chiming in, I thought I'd highlight their point of over-organization. Yes, over-organization can be a time suck, but depending on the intricacies of your affairs, your filing system might be (and should be) more complex than someone else's. This really speaks back to my point about needs and how their changes will affect your physical as well as digital filing system. During times of shifts and moves, addressing your categories and folders once a quarter is a good practice.
Living with Less, Week 6: Books and Magazines: In Week 6 I pared back and mixed books and magazines in a way that I would reference them most, by subject. At first I separated books from magazines but then, after I thought about it, I realized whether I'm writing, sewing or seeking advice about firing my kiln, I'm searching by subject. I don't always remember which magazines I've saved or dog-eared, so organizing by topic really made the most sense.
- Reader Suggestions I Heart: While there were only a few commenters on this post, they were really helpful! Need a place to donate books? See if your library has a "friends of the library" shop or space. Also, contact your local schools. If you don't want to give away books you've been holding onto, consider a site like Paperback Swap, where you can swap books with the thousands of other members. If you need a rule to live by when trying to pare back, consider one commenters suggestion: "if I won't read it more than once, I can't keep it."
Living with Less, Week 7: Medicine Cabinets & Toiletries: In week 7, I reviewed the contents of our medicine cabinet and toiletries stash and purged what was outdated or irrelevant. I wiped what remained with a clean cloth and then organized by use. Items we frequently used were deposited back into the medicine cabinet while those extras were divided into four baskets: one for me, one for my husband, another for dental care and a fourth for common use, such as bars of soap and Q-tips. The best part of this practice: I immediately had a better idea of what we had in the house and, therefore, what we needed.
- Reader Suggestions I Love: There were actually two suggestions from this post I thought were great ideas. Creating a shared toiletry basket in the women's bathroom at work is a great way to get rid of those extras you don't want or don't need. If your workplace would support this, it's a great way to try new products. Another reader suggested the One Kind Rule of "refusing to have more than one kind/color of a particular cosmetic with few exceptions." Love it!
Living with Less, Week 8: Kitchen, Cooking & Baking Ware: In week 8 I went through my cabinets and hutch and pared back those kitchen, cooking and baking items I thought were irrelevant or duplicated by other tools I was adamant about keeping. I finally swore off paper towels and teflon and removed clutter from my counter top.
- Reader Questions: I guess I didn't explain myself clearly during the post because I got a few questions I didn't expect. So, here we go! Many of the items I pared back were duplicates, including my knife sharpener, can opener, baster, pie plate and cake pan. I kept items that would serve these purposes, so no, I don't intend on replacing dull knives instead of using a sharpener.
- Reader Comment I Love: One reader really picked-up on the fact I was letting go of Teflon and she shared this article with us. It's a great explanation of what Teflon is and great substitutes for it.
Thank you to everyone for following along! Keep up the comments, questions and suggestions! We love it!
(Images: Landis Carey)