Spring Cleaning and Tough Decisions

Tough decisions are being made this week when it comes to what goes and what stays.  Maybe I should start by saying that we've decided to build our homestead in two phases, so that we can afford to add features we want right away, like a wood cookstove and solar panels.  This will make the space completely livable by next fall.  Then next year we will add on extra space as we need it.  What this means for us, is that we'll be cutting our space in half, to roughly 600 square feet.  (I'll try and write about how we came up with this number another day.) What this also means for us, is that a lot of stuff has to go!

I'm pretty good about doing a quarterly clean out.  Our rule is if it hasn't been used in the last 6 months, out it goes!  With five people living in a small house, all having hobbies, collections, toys, and what not, clutter can easily build up fast.  The boys had a hard time parting with things the first time, but we always include them in the process and now they actually get excited when I get out the Goodwill boxes.

Now we're getting down to the nitty gritty.  Basically, everything we want to keep has to fit into our kitchen and living room.  Put's it all in perspective, doesn't it.  Today, we made our way through the two hall closets and the kitchen.  Now all my dyeing and soap making equipment is in one closet and the other closet is completely empty!  I wiped down all of the kitchen cabinets and put back only the essentials.  Food, one set of pots and pans, one set of dishes, one strainer....

I did say good bye to my wedding china.  As beautiful as it is, we've only used it once in the 10 years we've been married, and I don't have much of an attachment to it.  (I saved one tea cup and saucer, though.  The delicate lace and silver edging really is lovely.  Shh, don't tell.)  I'm also parting with 2 crock pots (How did we end up with three crock pots?) and about a dozen cookbooks.  I am delighted to tell you, I found my wooden recipe box that my grandpa made me years ago, along with a white vase of my grandmother's that I always loved.

I think it will be important to have objects be both pretty and functional in such a small space, so I'm keeping a few things I love.

With the kitchen organized, we have two sets of cupboards empty.  It feels really good to let go, and I'm excited to see what other treasures we'll find!

Tomorrow... the basement.


  1. I love purging. We did a lot of that recently with our move. Feels so good to get rid of things and slim down. I look forward to hearing about your homestead.

  2. Oh purging and I are really good friends. I am away right now, but with spring arriving this week you can be sure I will be cleaning and purging as soon as I get home.

  3. I got rid of SO much stuff over the past year. I have the same mentality ..if it doesn't get used in 6 months there is no need for it! But, with moving twice in 9 months...it really put the whole process in hyper drive. I got rid of everything. And then I started wondering what the heck one needs anyways! And then my head started hurting because we needed some stuff. It is quite amazing though, even after living years very simply, how much stuff I still had! I'm excited to see how 600 sq feet turns out. We are 7 and I have been wondering how small we could go. 800 sq ft for starters? Dunno. Anything is possible!


  4. It's inspiring to see other families pairing down to the necessities. My family is in the the midst of a similar process. We are moving into our travel trailer in with plans of taking a year (or years) long road trip :)

  5. Thank you for the inspiration Liz, I have been wanting to do this for ages, I start and then become overwhelmed and leave it. Now I'm going to get stuck in this week and let go of things we no longer use, it does feel good.
    Happy Monday to you!

  6. Your post is timely for me as I too am purging in an attempt to simplify our lives. I'm realizing the key for me at least is to go in phases. Good luck!


  7. It's fun to go through this change with you. And very inspiring too!! I'm getting an itching to clean out my pantry!!

  8. I sure am enjoying watching you guys follow your dream!
    We lived - 8 of us - in an off grid mobile - which was about 700 - 800 sq feet for over 2 years:) Even in our rustic cottage, I strive (so hard and fail sometimes, too) at keeping things simple. It is so freeing.

  9. in ou country, a house of 600 square foot is considered to be a big house! :)

    1. That's so encouraging, anneke! I really believe that it will be enough for us, too.