From 900 square feet to 2 bedrooms {How To Simplify}

How to Simplify

Sometimes, less is less.

And when it is, hearing the slogan “Less is More” triggers my gag reflex.

I googled “simplify” and the results were math links. Fractions. Numbers. Calculations.

I searched “simplify” on Pinterest and the results were hundreds of quotes. Talk. Advice. Philosophy. (You can see my search here.)

So what do you do when life and space need to make logical and emotional sense? You combine the two forces.

You simplify.

I’m proof that it can be done. We sold our 900 square feet, two-bedroom home back in the summer. As a temporary solution to our homelessness, we moved into my parents’ home.

Let’s stop and do the math (because to simplify there are facts and decisions to make). 5 people going from 900 to roughly 240 square feet. With 2 major goals: #1 don’t cause my parents to hate us and #2 still love one another. And I think how we’re living still makes sense.

So here’s my 10 Tips for How-To Simplify (and stay that way):

  1. Remember it’s the “who’s” that matter most, not the “what’s.”
  2. Know what really matters to them. What makes the people in your family feel alive? What do they get up talking about? Keep those things. If you aren’t sure what these things are, then please don’t start this process. Take the time to invest in this step.
  3. Read 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess and Packing Light: Thoughts on Living Life with Less Baggage – Why these and not other “How To Simplify” books? Because at the heart of simplifying is sacrifice. A step-by-step guide, while helpful in most seasons, can feel too demanding if you’re in the middle of a major life change. Whereas the books above are stories of sacrifice and the simplicity that comes from real honest work.
  4. Think in the here and now. Don’t try to problem solve “what-if” situations. Pack, declutter, get rid of what you don’t need now. Second guessing is sabotage.
  5. Ask for help. I found my help in the form of books, but if you’re really wrestling to make a decision then ask someone you trust to do it with you.
  6. Prioritize. I needed to be able to homeschool my children in our temporary space, which meant that it was an automatic “no” to other things that would compete for homeschooling supplies.
  7. Work hard and build up momentum. If you want to get a lot done, then you have to work hard and fast. The time to sit and think was on step #2, now is the time to just keep going. When you see the progress, it will be worth all the effort.
  8. Make it a regular routine to review these steps. Peace and order require maintenance. Schedule simplifying into your Google Calendar – mine is set for 8:30am every Saturday morning.
  9. Stop and rest. Take regular breaks and learn to breathe deeply. Feed yourself well.
  10. Finally, don’t go to Target. Please learn from my mistakes. I finally realized that when I’m going through a major season of sacrifice and change – I cannot handle going to Target (or any store that carries more than just food). I always end up spending more than I had budgeted, and it wasn’t healthy.

With kids underfoot, it can feel like a move or temporary living situation is going to ruin them. My 7 year old has moved 7 times. So believe me when I say that I have felt like life has been too complicated or too much work. But that doesn’t have to be the case. Since becoming my kids’ safe place there have been less chaos and more calm. My kids know their needs will be met, and we enjoy everyday life.

Less is less. And that’s okay with me. Less stuff means less clean up, less clutter, less baggage.

Upstream Field Guide

Upstream is a self-paced e-course by the talented Tsh Oxenreider of TheArtofSimple.net and The Simple Show (she's also the author of 3 lovely books). I'm an affiliate for this course and the links underlined in this post are affiliate links as well. Thanks!

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