Have you ever walked into an antique store and seen all the wonderfully crafted wood furniture that is older than your grandma, yet looks like it could last yet another lifetime? Meanwhile, you have a dresser you bought five years ago at home that has a drawer that stopped sliding smoothly about a year ago. Our culture has become a society that loves a good sale and to own a plethora of things. Unfortunately, that has made us a culture of throwaway items and large credit card balances. As our landfills get fuller and our debt increases, many millennials are beginning to realize the need to own less, spend less, and live simpler.
Difference Between Cheap and Frugal
Spending less, does not necessarily mean buying the cheaper item; it means, buying the item you only have to buy once. Yes, you can buy a dresser for $200. It will serve you well... for a few years. It will look nice... for a few years. It will save you money... in the short run.
To truly buy frugally, we need to think of the long term, not just what will get us through until the next paycheck. Yes, buying a $750 dresser at the Amish Furniture store sounds expensive, but realistically it is going to last you the rest of your life. The $200 dresser will probably last five years in good condition, and you will probably keep it another five years before you get sick of the drawer that gets stuck, the bottom of one of the drawers falling out, and the way the top has become wavy. Then that dresser will end up in a landfill or a burning pile, and you will be spending another $200, although with inflation it might be more like $300 to only run into the same problem five to ten years later.
How to Unclutter Your Bookshelf
Getting rid of clothes was hard for me, but not nearly as hard as getting rid of my books and DVDs! I started with five bookshelves full of books, along with random cupboards, shelves, nightstands, etc. My husband and I decided we needed to get down to one - five shelf bookshelf.
Sadly, I cannot say I fully succeeded, I just couldn't do it... yet! But I do have one children's bookshelf and one adult bookshelf! Being a minimalist is a process. I got rid of over half my books, and a quarter of my DVDs and CDs.
My plan was simple.
What Is "Just in Case Clothes"?
On week one, I decided to get rid of my "just in case" clothes. Admit it, you have them! I know I did, at least half of my wardrobe. These are the clothes you haven't worn for years, but you keep "just in case." You know, just in case you:
About two years ago, I was pregnant with severe morning sickness, caring for two foster toddlers, and homeschooling my middle schooler. Oh, did I mention we also decided to open the first of our businesses that year. Needless to say, I was super busy. It was then I realized, I needed life to change.
No matter what I did, my house was cluttered and so was my life. I couldn't change too much in my life; my middle schooler still needed to be educated, I was still puking every two hours, and toddlers, well, if you have had two toddlers at once, you know there is little you can do to ease the pressures. It seemed to make sense, since I couldn't clean out the busyness in my life, I needed to clean out the clutter from my house. It was then that I started the first of my minimalist efforts.
With two toddlers in diapers and one on the way, I used a lot of diapers and in turn had a lot of empty diaper boxes I recycled. So I made the decision for every box that came in the house, I would fill with donatable stuff. Since I was buying at least two boxes of diapers a month, this seemed very reasonable. I then would find a charity that was worthy of the items and off that box would go.
Angela Michelle Schultz
I am abnegating my possessions for the sake of the good things in my life like my church, my husband, my daughters, my family, my friends, and my writing. I am learning the joy of having more time and money for what matters by removing the stuff that doesn't.