Urban Earth Mom
Eliminating chaos since 1989


Transition To Tiny Part One - Clutter

So far in this series of blogs we have talked about what a tiny house is, the reasons for going tiny and figuring out how much house you need.  Today I am going to start talking about how to start the process of radical downsizing.

Many people focus solely on getting rid of the clutter and paring down their belongings to the bare minimum but there is more to radical downsizing than simply the stuff in your house, although that is the most in-your-face part of the process.

There are four main areas to work on with going tiny (or small). I call them the 4 C’s of radical downsizing. Click here if you want a free guide that will help you get started with all four!

The 4 C’s are: clutter, clothes, cooking, and control.

Today I’ll start with clutter as it is the most obvious consideration when you want to downsize.

Like any big change we want to make the first thing to do is look at your mindset.  Before you even throw away the first item, think about why you got to the place of having so much stuff.  When I first stood back and surveyed my overflowing house, a house that had been so empty the rooms echoed just a few short years earlier, I realized that most of the stuff was connected with my kids.  It was either toys, craft supplies, books, or entertainment items like DVDs and video games.  The short version of my why behind having so much stuff for them was because I had spent the first ten years of my life as an Army brat, moving from place to place.  We had a weight limit for the amount of household goods we could bring with us on every move, something I’m sure military families watching are familiar with.  Every time we moved, to get under the weight limit, my parents threw out all of my things.  Every single move my sisters and I had to start again with nothing. My filling my house with kids’ things was my attempt to get over that!  Yeah, except that doesn’t work!  All it did was bring me stress because I could never get the house tidy!

Look at why you are attached to all the things that also stress you out!  It is hard not to form some kind of emotional attachment to belongings and step one is to recognize that and work on breaking the connection.  It’s just stuff and it doesn’t serve you to try and feel worthy by having all this stuff!  Believe me, been there, done that.  It took a couple of hard years with lots of reading to break my own connection and make peace with the space in my home.  I’ll happily share all a list of all the books I’ve read to finally be able to make peace with peace and change my mindset around stuff.

Once you begin to let you mentally it makes it a lot easier to let go physically. But where to start?  Here I’m going to say it’s connected to mindset!   How many times have you tried to declutter before only to get rid of boxes and bags of stuff and not really feel like you’ve made any impact at all?  For me it took around six months of diligent decluttering before I realized I was approaching it all wrong.  Once I flipped my thought process around decluttering I made progress I could actually see and ended up getting rid of three quarters of the stuff in my house over the course of a couple of years.

I stopped looking for things I could get rid of and started looking at what needed to stay.  This caused me to ditch a whole lot more than I had previously done.

BUT, getting started can be the hardest part of your decluttering journey. Once you start to make progress and find that you have less housework to do because you’re not always tidying any more it gets addictive.  But taking those first steps are hard.  The way I did it was:

Use the Fly Lady’s “27 fling boogie”.  Every day for three weeks I walked around and picked up 27 things that were broken, never used, or we had duplicates of.  It took just a few minutes each day but resulted in over 500 items leaving the house!

I read Marie Kondo’s “The life Changing Magic Of Tidying Up” and got I finally it.  I went category by category and rapidly downsized a ton.  I did this a total of three times before my house was empty enough to consider selling and moving to a house half the size.  

In the free guide: The 4 C’s of radical downsizing I go into the decluttering method some more along with how to tame the paper monster and get rid of the jumble of cleaning supplies while actually getting your home cleaner.

Sarah Moore