Thursday 28 November 2013


All this packing and unpacking, moving and shifting has made me think even harder about the things we own.  We worked so hard all through this year and the year before to get rid of things, to sell at car boot sales and online, to move to a more simple way of life and yet still we seem to own so much. So many items have been packed, loaded, driven up the motorway only to be unloaded and unpacked at the other end.  I think doing it in small loads has highlighted to me the sheer amount of stuff we have. 
We forgot to bring the dog bowls home with us last weekend, and I wondered what we would put their food in ... for a moment I even very briefly contemplated going and buying two more stainless steel bowls for them.  I needn't have worried, looking around the house when we got home I managed to find two dog bowls within minutes.  We have bowls sat inside and outside the house filled at all times with fresh water for the dogs and cats to drink out of and there were the bowls that used to belong to Sophie, our beloved Border Collie.  So it took me literally two minutes to get two bowls together that can be designated food bowls for the two dogs during the week and stop the need for bringing the others backwards and forwards with us.
We also have enough plates, bowls and cups for us at both ends, I seem to have two very functional kitchens working in tandem with each other.  We truly have everything we need and more.  There are so many less fortunate than us.  We've worked hard for what we have, we both work very hard to earn money and make that money work for us.   And we've managed through sheer hard slog to get together half the value of our home and we plan to pay for it completely in as short a time frame as we possibly can so it is truly ours. To make sure this happens I have decided I will be continuing to downsize our belongings, already at the new house there is a growing collection of things, some not wanted and left by the previous owners and some ours that we have realised simply don't fit in with how we want the house to be, all these will be sold off at the first chance we have and the money raised diverted to paying off the mortgage.
In the new year I intend to resurrect my Recipe Book Blog and work my way through my vast collection of books, being much more ruthless this time and only keeping the very useful and much used favourites, the rest will be sold.  I may even be tempted to try to raise £2014 in 2014 the way I did very successfully in 2012.  I find with a definite figure to aim towards you do push yourself that little bit more.
But anyway the main thing behind this post was to tumble down in words my desire to get back to simplicity, as I feel in buying things for the new house I had lost sight of it somewhat.  There's been no 'make do and mending', there's been lots of 'we need this so we'll buy it' and that's no bad thing for a short while after all we'd worked hard to save the money to get ready to buy these things and it is the first home we have ever bought together, but soon it has to stop and I guess with a brand new year almost upon us it's a brilliant time to make plans for how you want things to be.
How do I want things to be - Simple.
Sue xx


  1. I can highly recommend the book 'Zero Waste Home' by Bea Johnson - it's incredibly interesting and inspirational and has really made me think twice about the amount of 'stuff' I've got and how to try and cut it all down to size. I can also recommend putting larger items for sale on Gumtree, an excellent and free way to clear clutter - and to make a bit of extra cash into the bargain, which is always a bonus.

  2. The sight of your very simple cupboard contents fills me with cupboard envy. Moving or even going on holiday and living more simply does always make me realise how much stuff we have. I do find it incredibly hard to let go of things as I'm of the 'it'll come in handy sometime' persuasion. I do admire your tenacity and discipline in streamlining your life. Good luck with raising some extra money in 2014, I look forward to reading about your efforts.

  3. I hope you will achieve what you set out to do. I so agree with Johnnyjumpsup that going on holiday one realises how liberating it can be to have less stuff with you, less choices, less to worry about, less is definitely more and I am sure you will achieve your goal.

  4. When we became debt free, we found it easy to fall into the same trap of 'let's buy it'. I found myself yearning more and more for the freedom that a simple life brings. Although no longer needing to be so frugal, we too have gone back to the simple life and actually have savings! What do you do with those eventually - the mind boggles!!

  5. We did the same thing when we had an extension and alterations to our house a few years back. We lived in a muddle for 6 months and then desperate to get finished we went out and bought things new that in the past I would have not bought at all or looked for secondhand.
    Simple is best and some of the things we did then have already been put right. We still have a lot of "might come in handy" stuff. Him Outside has a whole workshop full!!

  6. We had similar experiences when we moved last year the only thing we bought was a chest of drawers for our bedroom everything else was used /upcycled or sold/recycled

    Can i ask a favour?, what are the 2 varieties of potato Elizabeth West recommends in Garden in the Hills ? I seem to have recycled the book :( and I know you have the set) I am sure one was Sharpe's express but the name of the other eludes me !

    Thanks in advance


    1. I'll have a look when we get there ( the book's in Wales and I'm in Berkshire) and get back to you on Monday. :-)

  7. Moving definitely exposes how many possessions you own and for those of us who aspire to simplicity it's an uncomfortable feeling. I'm continually decluttering our household and still yearn for less even after several years of simplifying. Good luck with a simple 2014 xo

  8. When we moved earlier this year it became obvious that we also have too much stuff. There is some like the crystal we have collected second hand that I really do want to keep, we use it everyday as we do the silver cutlery I was given some years ago. Because we had such a small kitchen I was forced to buy a dresser from EBay to store plates etc in, it stands in the dining room. I just keep a few plates on top of the microwave in the kitchen, but regularly swap them round and bring others out from the dresser. I would really love a painted dresser, so I am going to have a go and painting the pine one we this space it will not happen till the summer.

    I would like to get the kitchen cupboards to the state where onlt 2 of them have food in, but having no pantry makes that a bit doubtful, my son had to put shelves in the cupboard under the stairs for the stuff I have thats in large kilner type jars.

    I have made a resolution, each year there is a Victorian fair in Melton, its the first Sunday in December. Once I have finished the quilt I am working on I am going to start and sew down my stash........and sell the fair next I make will go into my savings account.

  9. Oh the amount of tat I collect I would hate to move house. £2014 during 2014 sounds interesting.

  10. Oh dear - I can see this being another nudge to me to get rid of more stuff, too! You're a terribly good influence, you know!

  11. I really loved this post. I know when I move out of my rented room next year into my own place, I'm going to have a serious clear out. I'm looking for the simple life too :)

  12. Yes, amazing how stuff creeps up on you.
    After an unpleasant (and unwanted) divorce about 7 years ago which left me homeless and only 5 black plastic bags of possessions to my name, we now seem to be back in a very cluttered house.

  13. Yes, I have way too much stuff too. I split with my partner in March, and we both still have so much to sort out after 23yrs it's unreal!
    In the New Year I will definitely be taking a downsizing leaf out of your book dear Sue.

    I also think that saving £2014 in 2014 is a good idea too, so I'd love to join in if you do that as a challenge Sue! Maybe it would keep me on the straight n narrow!

    Have a great weekend to you both.
    Kind regards. Xx

  14. Yes, we simplified a lot when we started travelling in the motorhome. We originally planned to rent a flat if we ever were 'settled' for a few months, but after a real struggle getting the deposit back on our last rented property we thought, "if we have lived in the motorhome for the last 18 months, another 6 or so will not hurt". We had the furniture stored in a unit, but have now cleared almost all of that out; although there is still a lot of unwanted goods to be sold, but have been working weekends so no chance to do a car boot sale. After initially taking far too much stuff out with us we were doing quite well but recently I have started working in an office again so need two sets of clothes - one for office and one for general bumming around! I was very sceptical about the simplicity of our lifestyle and still have a long way to go, but generally am finding most people have far too much stuff and really embrace the principle of 'less is more', we do seem to have more time to enjoy our life, and cannot wait to be off on the move again (not that I know when that will happen)


  15. How to clean a rental to move out
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  16. We are hoping that 2014 will be the year that our house finally finds a buyer. We have been trying to get rid of the obvious stuff we don't want to take with us - 20 boxes of books to charity earlier in the year, and 10 boxes of detritis has just gone to auction, plus quite a few car boot sales done in the year. BUT, I know I need to get ahead of the game as we will be seriously downsizing (this sprawling old farmhouse is about 6,000 sq. ft!) I keep telling my husband that we HAVE to clear the stables and barn of all HIS "useful bits of wood", and have just suggested most of it would make excellent firewood this winter.

    Our eldest daughter cleared out the cutlery drawer last year, but it felt SO ODD just to have half a dozen each of knives, forks and spoons, and I have "favourite" large forks and spoons which I use when I am baking. I'm afraid most of the cutlery made its way back into the drawer again . . .

    It's so difficult when you are of an age when both sets of parents have died and you have inherited much of their households too . . . My late ma-in-law bequeathed enough brand new sheets and towels to last us a lifetime!

  17. I love how you have culled everything to achieve simplicity but agree on buying some brand new items for your brand new start

  18. I've lost the simple living plot a little over the last few weeks, but I'm back to it now. In my experience fully simplifying and de-cluttering can take years - you're well on your way Sue, and I can't wait to see what 2014 brings you and LH xx

  19. Brilliant ideas, but my hubby is a hoarder. If I tidy up and get rid of stuff, her goes potty. I love it when we are on holiday and just have what's in the suitcases. Simple.

  20. It's amazing how quickly 'stuff' can mount up again if we're not careful. Simple,-is something we need to maintain.
    I feel like I'm forever looking at things I can move out or on. Sue.

  21. Think you've done the right thing starting with the new things you wanted. It's a sort of new beginning. If you don't want any of the other stuff you can give/sell it.


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