About two months ago, we embarked on decluttering our lives and ridding our home of all the unnecessary items that we never use. You can read all about why we started this process here.
The main reason was to de-stress and de-clutter the house, refocus our true priorities and values, and save money in the process. We did a great job of budgeting and sticking to it, but our budget allowed for us to spend on so many things we didn’t really need. We also weren’t prioritizing paying down our debt faster, instead making slightly above minimum to all of our loans.
The first month got off to a great start. We had a bunch of small wins and a few realizations that this whole project may be tougher than we thought. You can read all about that first month in this post:
Fast forward just over another month and there are again a few wins and also more challenges. Minimalism-ish will be a great goal for us to achieve, and we are happy with our progress. The final goal for us is to buy things we truly value, whether that is a splurge on something expensive or a meal out to eat.
Stopped Buying New Things
By far the biggest success for us so far is the lack of buying new things. Other than the items like household goods, personal products, and food, we have done a great job of not buying any extras.
I credit a lot of this to clearly defining the reasons why we are changing our habits. We have major goals of remodeling, my wife working less, and being able to retire early. We constantly remind ourselves of the potential rewards and it helps to curb potential spending traps.
The other main reason we have stopped extra spending is taking on some savings challenges. We finished a No Buy July in, wait for it, the month of July and it was a great way to think about every purchase and decide if it was a need. Now for the month of August, we have attempted the Zero Day Challenge, as made famous by Zero Day Finance.
If you are wanting to be more deliberate with your spending and cut out the excess, then these challenges will help. You must be aware of every time you buy something, pushing yourself to stick to the challenge. If you need your challenges to be a bit more fun, then money saving games are another great option!
Stack of Small Wins
I wish that I was writing an entire page of wonderful successes. As you will read below, this transformation is taking longer than we had anticipated. Instead, we focus on the small wins that we have, reminding ourselves that it never was supposed to be easy.
We have made over $500 selling our old things. Admittedly, my wife has done a much better job that I have. I have stacks of things that I would like to sell online. Unfortunately, I have not gotten to it, only adding around $100 to our total.
We have done well at starting to clean out our cabinets and organizing. We need to make time at night to work on this together, making it more of a fun experience. In a weird frugal way, we can turn this into a date night after our son goes to bed. Wine, good company, and organizing sounds awfully romantic, right?
My wife is also working only 4 days a week now! She gets to pick one day a week to stay home with our toddler son. They are enjoying themselves and sending me fun videos throughout the day, making me smile and also a bit jealous. This is a huge win in my book for our family, and a big step forward in reaching our long-term goal.
We have freed up cash flow! We have reduced our monthly obligations by $650 a month! This is a huge amount that will go towards our remodeling and overall debt payoff goals! I attribute this to the savings challenges, and reducing our spending to be able to pay off debt faster.
While the wins are fun and exciting, I always want to evaluate my faults, and try to fix them and understand why these challenges are happening. I hope showing them will help others to not make the same mistakes, or think about where they are having struggles as well.
No Garage Sale
We have not yet planned our garage sale. Life has certainly gotten in the way of our plans lately. There is still a good number of items that we have to sell, and our dining room table has done a fine job of holding them for us. We would love to have a garage sale in the fall, once temperatures have come down and we can plan it accordingly.
Old Habits Die Hard
I still have trouble letting items go. I re-read this post about How Everything We Own is Garbage from Get Rich Quick’ish. Ty does a wonderful job of providing me with the added motivation to just get rid of stuff. I feel like it should be worth more, but the end goal needs to be getting it out of the house!
My wife has done a great job not only taking care of our family, but keeping up her end of the decluttering bargain. I will need to keep working on my pack rat tendencies so that is not only decreases my stress level, but hers as well. She puts up with enough now that there are two rowdy children she has to keep in check.
Bad Time Management
Honestly, the real reason a lot of the decluttering isn’t done is just loss of focus and priorities. We feel like we got out to a great start, and I personally felt I was making great strides in being less of a packrat. Along the way we also saved a good amount of extra money, and things were looking up. This caused me to get a bit lazy in becoming minimalism-ish. This post should serve as motivation for sure
Everyone has the extra time to reach their goals if they put in the effort and make it a priority. I can easily dial back on laughing at Zach Galifinakis interviews on YouTube, or looking over my site statistics for an hour instead of actually writing a post. Time management is a skill I am always wanting to improve.
Hopefully the 3rd Update is showing off all of the pictures of our decluttered house. I also hope there are new hardwood floors installed as well! We are happy that we are definitely making progress, but we want to keep pushing forward on changing our lifestyle to more of a minimalism-ish approach. The end result will be so worth it!
Thanks as always for reading! Do you have too many things around your house? What do you do to stay motivated? Let me know in the comments!