Thursday 29 August 2013

The Year of Less ???

'well, I think you should change your slogan "the year of less"... these days you're going to be the proud owner not only of a house and a farm and a garden, but even of some woodland! how can you call all this "less"? '
I had this comment the other day from someone called Rosa, and I thought I should maybe explain to some of my newer readers who perhaps are also mystified that a Blog with the sub-heading 'The Year of Less' seems to be written by someone who is about to be the owner of one house whilst renting another, who has two cars in the family and seems to have so much going on.
Well we used to have more!!
Not by design, or from any collection addiction, we just moved from a small town house to a huge farm house.   We had town cars when we needed country cars, we had going out clothes, work clothes and found we needed to buy clothes that were more suited to working with animals.  We had cupboards full of crockery, drawers full of cutlery.  Four bedrooms with furniture, beds and bedding to go on them. 
We had so much and then the last two years hit us, hit us hard.  We each lost a parent and family became so much more important than things ever could be.  It made us re-evaluate who we were and what we wanted.
We decided we wanted to tread lightly on this planet, to be able to move us and our animals quickly and with as little fuss as possible.  We didn't want to leave a houseful of things to be sorted if the unthinkable should happen and we should be gone before our time. 
We wanted to breathe .... and be.
So this year we got ruthless, we started jettisoning everything that we didn't need.  Things we thought we loved we decided we could live without, and once some of these things go you realise how much more can actually follow, and follow they did.
Things from the kitchen cupboards to suitcases under the bed, and then we sold the suitcases, well we though we might as well, we have nothing to store in them and as long as we have one for any potential holiday, that's all we need.
I pared back makeup to the barest minimum, all jewellery except sentimental items that get worn regularly has gone.  Broken chains and charms were sent off to a gold recycler and made me almost £120, which I have decided will pay for a weekend away for us just before we start with all the decorating of our new home.
Even the emails I get, and I was getting a lot each day, have been pared down.  I unsubscribed myself from most of the daily notifications I used to get and now if I have to I can get away with 30 minutes on the computer each morning and know that I am up to date with important things .....  things that matter.
And that's the crux of it, we needed to find out the things that mattered and let go of those that didn't. 
And we are almost there, during the course of my sorting this week I have decided there are enough things for me to do one more small car boot sale this weekend.  It is the final car boot of the year at our favourite location and although Lovely Hubby will be resting after having his eyes re-lasered tomorrow, I will be able to have one final stall.  I have two boxes full of things already sorted, with a value of around £50 and I've decided if I can get this figure up to nearly £100 it will be well worth me doing one.  It will round off our total figure for the years sales very nicely.
For this year up to now we have taken £927 at car boot sales. Money made from things that were in our house and are now being used (or sold on) by people that needed them more than us.  They may have really needed them or merely wanted them or simply saw them as a bargain.  We saw them as things that we no longer wanted, and there were other things that we needed more.
The money is being spent on things for our new home, all the bitty bits that are expensive to buy, but we wanted to buy most of them new, after all they will hopefully be lasting us for a long time, we do not change things for changes sake and have made choices together based on this idea.  We have new curtains, new towels, new bedding, it's going to be a fresh new start and it has been paid for with our old things.
So  ... 'The Year of Less'? 
Yes it has been ... when we move this time there will be even less than when we moved last time, when I can finally show you pictures of our new home you will understand and hopefully approve.  It is a simple house that needs simple things, totally different from any of our previous homes, it is the home we will grow old in together, with our necessary belongings around us and nothing else to worry over.
There are still some things left to do during this Year of Less but there is no rush, the final few things that leave will leave naturally and in their own time.  We are happy and that sometimes comes from finding the space to breathe and the time to Be.
Sue xx


  1. Never feel as though you need to justify yourself. It's YOUR life and nobody else's.
    Jane x

    1. I know :-)

      It's an explanation really not a justification. There are a lot of new readers at the moment and I thought this would help them to understand where we are coming from. Old timers like you (hehe) have been along for the ride, and I hope we've pretty much enjoyed it together, including the bumps and thuds :-)

  2. 1 second that but I suppose if you haven't read your blog all through, it is easy to jump to conclusions.

  3. Love this post. I hope to be in your exact same position in a few years. I am slowly working at it. My OH says I must have been a Shaker Quaker in a previous life. Things that are beautiful but do at least one job, that is my aim.

    And yes, I to believe in learning to Just Be. Hence my blog name. I have to remind myself of this every day.

    I cant wait to see pictures of your new home. I am most excited to see the woods.

    Good luck on your new journey!

  4. I completely agree with the above comment and love your honest blog. I have recently given up work and scarily reduced our house hold budget by a third. The first few months have been tough but we are managing and learning to live on just what we need not unecessary luxuries. It is beginning to feel liberating. As a crafter I am an inveterate hoarder and recycler but once my youngest two have gone back to Uni in a few weeks have decided to take a hard look and try to declutter. Thank you for your posts Sue they are helping me to rethink what is important to me and my OH.

  5. We have been through tough times in the last few years , it makes you realise what is important , I sold all my gold and silver jewellery all I have now is two pair of earrings and my wedding ring if I go anywhere I need jewellery I use some of my daughters , makeup this too like you has been reduced to a minimum mostly from poundland, I only have a small amount of clothes I booted all my spare going out clothes , our daughter has just got married , now i am going to sell that outfit too, good luck in your new home, i will keep looking at your blog for updates , thank you for the update as i am new to your blog and it has explained a lot , Eileen x

  6. more or less. . .so long as you are happy. . .xx

  7. I really appreciate your blog and this post in particular, inspiring and lots of food for thought.
    Thank you!
    Pam in TX.

  8. Call your blog what you like, that would give me the hump.

    Good response though, much more polite than I.

    Fib. X

  9. Love you ethos!! Similar to mine!! Do only have one car but if we needed two we would have two!

  10. What a lovely philosophy, well done for being a couple who were able to agree such radical behaviour.

    I also subscribe to this way of life, not necessarily brought about by clearing my Mother's house ten years ago, following her death, but quite definitely an aid. She had moved, after my Father's death, and I can guarantee that so many items I found had not been touched by her, subsequent to that final move.

    I recall the charity shops questioning my repeated visits and whether I realised the value, well hopefully all items were rapidly sold/recycled and the monies helped the beneficiaries of the charities.

    I had neither the time, nor inclination to visit car boot sales, how my bank balance would have appreciated the reward!

    I am now down to one suitcase, plus a suit-carrier, which I hope to be able to ditch very soon, possibly by my next relocation, fingers crossed.

    The only problem is, understandably, people not understanding my philosophy when they are overwhelmed with so much advertising.

    Unlike you I adore the internet connection, it is my radio, my books, and my exploration to some delightfully visual sites, highlighting why humans are very different from animals, IMAGINATION!

    Well met, and I close by sending you my very best wishes.

  11. Brilliant post. Thank you. I fully understand you.

  12. Well, let me try to explain.
    first of all, I'm Italian, I do enjoy reading this blog (I actually read all of it). it's probably my fault, the difficulty of expressing myself in a foreign language.
    I wanted to express a bit of humour. It was just a kind of contradiction in terms of possessions. I absolutely didn't want to judge and I do appreciate your answer, Sue.

    I myself experienced something like your "year of less". we, my husband and I, managed to buy (35 years ago) the house we're still living in. It's in the country, on the hills, in northern Italy. A wonderful place. It was a dream come true. But it was hard. For years we had to check everything we bought, no holiday, no extras, nothing. Luckily both of us had a job.
    But we felt rich, well off, with a full life. Even without money in our pockets!

    So, that's it. Many many wishes. I'll follow you in your journey, waiting for news, pictures, stories. Good luck!

    1. Don't worry Rosa, I didn't take it as a judgement, I just thought you raised a valid question whether you meant to or not, and I was fine with answering it both for you and for others.

      Whereas you live in the country on the hills of Northern Italy, we will hopefully soon be living in the country on the hills in North Wales and it is our dream come true.

      Having no money in your pocket is sometimes what it takes to learn how truly rich and blessed you really are :-)

      addio xx

  13. Sound like your paired down to a lovely life for yourselves !
    Well put.

  14. I know what't important to me and it's not things. I carry out a thorough declutter 3 times a year but also move on lots of stuff in the meantime. I give away most of it on freecycle or to the charity shops. I do still bring things in - usually via the same routes! I have just spent several months helping my Mum to completely clear her loft- it's a very cathartic process and I completely understand where you are coming from.

  15. It sounds wonderful, to simplify and cut down on things. You are achieving so much, and I am so glad you are happy. Everything is coming together now, it's an exciting time I think. Good luck with the move.

  16. I really need to have my own year of less. The stuff in our little cottage is too much and I can't understand it as we don't buy much!

    Thanks for the inspiration-I totally get it!

    Sft x

  17. I don't always comment but read every post and love your blog - this post in particular which puts a lot of things into perspective. I look forward to hearing about your continuing journey Sue and Lovely Hubby, and wish you all the best with it xx

  18. I think you have it right ! A good balance! This was a very honest post which I really enjoyed. It is such an important thing to realise where happiness comes from and walk towards it. Good luck to you both with your new home/farm.

  19. My first thought was that you shouldn't feel the need to explain yourself. I have to admit that you have done so admirably though :)
    May your "Year of Less" lead to a life of so much more - as I suspect it shall! Mo

  20. Great post Sue!

    You prompted me to unsubscribe to some of my emails, which I have just done. Now to continue on with my big clean out, I have done this before but still have a way to go!

    I admire you both. You know what you want, what is important in life, and you are living it just the way you want to.


  21. You've done wonders this year (so far), and I for one can't wait to see your new home xx

  22. Brilliant post and sometimes in life you do just feel you need to justify your self and your life to the world xxx

  23. Brilliant post Sue, very well written. I'm really looking forward to reading about your Country Life xx

  24. I admire your resolve to get rid of unnecessary stuff! I have been trying to do that, too.
    I had to sort my mother's house when she died and I would not wish that on my children. It was very hard and tedious and actually made me a little mad at times! Not good memories to have.
    I am waiting to see photos of the new house!

  25. Its amazing what you have achieved, not just in the less department but also in the progression of your garden, produce, animals and future plans. Really looking forward to seeing your new place.
    Sarah x

  26. Hi Sue, I wish I could be as successful as you with our decluttering, as fast as I put things aside OH is putting them back. He has been in hospital a lot over the past 14 months and I wish I'd taken the opportunity to sling stuff out then but was too tired with all the drama.
    How is the juicing going on, Good luck in your new home God Bless M xx

  27. We've been experiencing the same process of elimation around here too. We move from our beautiful old farmhouse to a two bedroom home with a loft. It's been three years. We're still doing projects that make our small home " our home." It's truly become a place we love! The other larger homes were perfect for that time in our life and this is perfect for where we are today. I don't know if this will be our forever home. I do know we will never return to a larger place. It's snug when all the family is here but with many living out of state that only happens once or twice a year. It's fun, living with less I find is living bigger. I admire what you're doing. When I was young my father died. My mother remarried shortly after his death and left a 4 bedroom home full of furniture, the attic was packed, garage was loaded with tools. My sister and I had to get rid of everything. I knew at that time I would never do that to anyone. By the way she repeated the process in her new home. Watching that was a lesson to me DON'T keep things you don't use or even remember you have!!!


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