Storage is Not a Solution

(Photo: Amazon)

Look at any organizational website or catalog, and you’ll find a plethora of boxes, bags, and containers billed as “storage solutions.” No matter what the item, there’s a vessel to hold it—big, small, tall, flat, thin, wide, clear, colored, fabric, plastic, leather, wood.

Put them on shelves, pile them in closets, stack them in your attic, basement, and garage. If you run out of room, gather them up and stick them in a storage unit across town.

And presto—your clutter problems are over!

Uh, not really. Storage is not a solution.

Just because it’s out of sight, doesn’t mean it’s out of mind. Your clutter is still there, hanging over your head, piled beneath your feet, lurking in the dark corners of your home. Just the thought of being surrounded by junk can be psychologically suffocating.

(And forget about dressing it up in designer boxes—making it pretty doesn’t make it go away.)

I re-learned this lesson myself, just recently. When my husband and I returned from England, we had our own little storage unit to deal with. Stuff we’d lived swimmingly without for 2+ years had come back to haunt us. It wasn’t all unwelcome, of course—we’re happy to be reunited with our bikes, and Plumblossom loves to cruise along our newly-reinstated futon/sofa.

But I’m also dealing with a box of books, a box of paperwork, and a box of clothing that I’d all but forgotten about. How tempting it was to toss them without opening them—after all, I hadn’t used (or really missed) their contents in years. Unfortunately, I had to peek inside and rediscover the “nice” office clothes that would be $$$ to replace (will I work outside the home again?), the dress shoes made in Italy, the out-of-print art books that will never be available in a library or on a Kindle.

Sigh. While three boxes is far from a clutter problem, it’s more than this minimalist wants to own. And in all fairness, the paperwork is mostly tax, housing, or medical-related, and necessary to keep. But my goal is to slowly detach myself from the rest (I’ve already started).

So take it from me: storage is not a solution—it’s just a way to hide your stuff until you (or worse yet, someone else!) must deal with it later. Instead: declutter, declutter, and declutter some more!

{If you’d like to learn more about minimalist living, please consider reading my book, The Joy of Less, A Minimalist Living Guide, or subscribing to my RSS feed.}

Related posts:

  1. Possessions as Promises
  2. Walls of Stuff
  3. Minimalism 101: Modules

66 comments to Storage is Not a Solution

  • Declutter, declutter and declutter some more – a great mantra I need reminding of daily. I’ve helped my son declutter his bedroom this week and I’m left with empty boxes which I now have to get out of the house. If you think of pretty storage as something you may one day have to get rid of why buy it in the first place?

  • Oh, Francine–I am about to see exactly what you mean. Later this month I will be encountering our “POD” once again and I feel quite sure there will be many things I will now be ready to part with that I wasn’t before. All of the shoes I packed up include at least 3 pairs that I have decided while I have been in Germany I really should never have bought in the first place. I think after I go through that experience, I’ll be ready to write my own “Real Life Minimalist” post for you :-)

  • Yes indeed! Storage = Procrastination :)
    We still have stuff from our moldy apartment in storage. Some of it (paperwork) will need to be kept for a few years. Some of it can go.. whenever we have the time and energy to deal with it. Most of the stuff is already gone but what is still there, is definitely not out of mind even if it is out of (immediate) sight…

  • As of 2009 Americans spent roughly $22 BILLION on storage (Source: National Storage Association, 2009). I would say we are no happier for all of our ‘things’. We’ve got to stop trying to fill the holes in our soul with material things.

    Dan @ ZenPresence


    Seriously.. your thoughts on ~minimalism~ are just so perfectly tuned with mine it makes me wanna cry.
    Your posts about "uniform clothing"(hehe)particularly touched my heart. I had never heard of anyone that also had these feelings pushed to this "extreme" (which actually sound pretty obvious to me, to say the least :)

    Anyway, I'm in the constant process of making all these urges into REAL action and your blog goes so deep on the subject that I couldn't imagine how I could be more motivated and inspired to keep decluttering, downsizing and simplifying.

    Thank you so much for sharing it all and giving me so many new insights!

    (and I'm still figuring out how to get your book here in Brazil)

  • Amanda

    This reminds me of a line I read and really liked: “You can’t cure obesity with bigger pants.”

    • bpm

      Well, actually, yes, you could.

      Long-term weight loss and healthy, balanced lifestyle go hand-in-hand with feeling at peace with yourself. And you can’t feel at peace with yourself when you have to wear too-tight clothes day after day (or ugly clothes because that’s the only thing you can find in the stores).

      When are people more prone to overeat and binge ? When they feel tired, shameful and ugly, or when they feel serene and at peace with the world ?

      But it’s a whole another topic :)

  • Muli

    I always laugh at the term ‘storage solutions’; in the main, I find they cause ‘storage problems’! :)

  • Darlena

    When a friend suggested I get a storage locker for some of my stuff, I blurted out that I would rather throw my stuff in the dumpster than pay to store it. If it isn’t good enough to keep in my house, I don’t need to hang onto it.

    I’m trying to help my mom organize her house, and she refuses to part with anything. She keeps buying more bins and boxes and shelves, and she’s not listening to me when I tell her that she can’t conquer clutter with buying MORE stuff.

    • Romana

      It’s a tough ingrained mindset that will not change unless she has a lightbulb moment and it is broken. I too have thought that if I just spend enough time organizing, cleaning and finding the right storage solution that my home would be streamlined and clear. But it never happened that way. It took some time to realize that in order to have “that home,” I had to have less stuff. I am still in this process and discovering everyday what I can live without and I really need.

  • You’re so right! I had always been a victim of the “pretty box” syndrome, thinking that if all of my hobby supplies were stored in coordinating storage containers, then, and only then, could I begin to enjoy scrapbooking/knitting/whatever. Then after a few years of spending untold hours trying to package all the stuff up in these same-said cute containers, I realized I hadn’t documented the memories I’d wanted to. Nor had I knit that sweater I’d been meaning to. Instead, I’d been spending time buying even more boxes to contain the tools. It was a vicious cycle and a waste of time and money.

    Thanks for the slap back into reality this morning. You rock!

  • A

    Since a few years have passed, you may be able to safely shred and recycle some of that paperwork after you review it and/or scan it.

    You may also discover that your tastes in art have changed. As a former art history major myself, and with a photographer partner, our art books are both useful and beautiful, but some have become less interesting as we – and our tastes – have matured. The less interesting ones we have sold, but you’re right: these are not books that can be accessed any other way, so we keep a couple of 4′ shelves of them.

    As for the clothing, by the time you decide to work outside the home, the clothes may be out of style, or not fit the office culture. Why not let someone else make use of clothes that you don’t foresee using in the next, say, 6-12 months?

    I do have one small file box of paperwork, though, and one very small “nostalgia” box. I purge the paperwork box every January, and review the nostalgia box and bookshelf at least once a year for potential discards.

  • Jenn

    I’m about to go through this myself. When I got divorced, I ended up renting a room and throwing most of my share of the furniture (and random stuff) in a storage locker. Now I’m getting ready to move to an actual apartment and it’s ridiculous to move things that I don’t really need. Almost everything in that locker has gone unused and unmissed for almost a year, but I still have to go through every box to make sure there isn’t some important document or kitchen thing I would miss. I’m pretty sure there’s at least one box that is entirely clothing I haven’t worn in years, so that might go straight to goodwill after I rifle around in it a bit, but I still need to plan a day or two to spend just going through the locker. Especially since I’m not renting a space big enough to plan on “storing” things at home for a month or two until I get around to sorting them.

  • I couldn’t agree more! I went through a stage of buying all sorts of containers and thought if I’d put a pretty label on something, it wasn’t clutter. But then I’d still feel unsettled about it!

    My husband and I were forced to question every item we owned when we packed up and headed to Paraguay where we’re now serving as Peace Corps Volunteers! It was a great relief to actually declutter – those fancy storage boxes and all!

  • Gayle

    Amen, preach it!! :-)) I always wonder about those home-improvement t.v. shows where they spend thousands on “more storage” and then the final room looks all picked up and neat…..but behind those doors or in those boxes is still lurking all that stuff! Personally, I like to be able to name what I have and know where it is at all times. Keeps things simple!

  • As of 2009 Americans spent roughly $22 BILLION on storage (Source: National Storage Association, 2009). I would say we are no happier for all of our ‘things’. We’ve got to stop trying to fill the holes in our soul with material things.

    Dan @ ZenPresence

  • I completely agree and my approach to these solutions (now) is for organization not storage.. and with being between a small cabin and our townhouse, I’ve found it our ways of organizing to be interesting. In the townhouse (typical suburban, newer built with an insane amount of storage closets), if you have everything you *need and nothing more, there’s really not a need for storage solutions. With half of our closets, cabinets, drawers empty (and I stress the amount of these are complete overkill!), couldn’t imagine ever needing boxes or bins for the garage due to overflow. Having clothing on hangars, books on a shelf, bakeware in a cabinet not in tubs tucked away in the back of a pantry – that and more have been really ways of us knowing exactly what we have and ensuring that we visibly see each day that we’re not lacking in need anything functional within the house. Paperwork was also a frustration for us many years ago, with frequently moves (military). When we moved from one place to a 900 square foot temporary house, I took advantage of the less cleaning that I had to do, and spent several days with hot tea and a shredder. We had old insurance (monthly premium statements) from the 1990’s and more. While I was initially laughing at how insane it was that I retained all of this, I realized with the great amount before me, that it really was avoidance.. And that was all because most of it had been in a non-clear storage bins in a garage – for years, even over a decade. :) Great article.

  • As far as paperwork is concerned I scan everything and then shred or recycle it, making sure to have a backup of my files. I used to be afraid to get rid of papers I thought I might “need”, but then I realized I’ve never actually been in a situation where I needed any of those papers. Plus, if I ever am I can print out a copy of the scan, or e-mail the jpg.

  • Celia

    Regarding your art books that are not otherwise accessible – you might consider holding on to them until Plumblossom is older.

    Once we were old enough to appreciate “paper” books without tearing, folding, chewing, or otherwise damaging the pages, some of our favorite books were the “picture books” – books of great art, scenic photos, architecture. My siblings and I used to spend HOURS paging slowly through those books, absorbing the beauty and the lines, sometimes reading the text, but mostly just enjoying the art. Time and time again. Many things that my classmates never saw until high school or college history/art/humanities courses were old friends to us. When I had the opportunity later in life to travel to Europe and visit museums, the chance to see in real live the original paintings that I had loved in books as a child – it was absolutely amazing.

    If you love them, and you want to share them with your child, they aren’t clutter. At least not to my mind.

    • jo

      Celia, I agree! When I was little, we didn’t have much, but my mother had a lot of artbooks that she had collected during her studies in her youth. They were a treasure to look through!

  • Debbie M

    I was going to say almost exactly what A said: If you do work outside the home, you’ll want modern clothes (though you might want to hang on to an interview outfit or two if they are classic). If you love the shoes, keep them; if not, sell or consign them. Same with the art books–the monetary value and rarity of them is irrelevant; it’s the value to you that’s relevant.

    Maybe you can find a solution somewhere between storing them and getting rid of them. Do you have a friend, a local art society, or library who may appreciate a donation of your art books on the condition that they let you borrow them back whenever you want to? Hmm, maybe with the shoes, too–do you know someone your size who would sometimes wear them in front of you (at events you are both attending) if you gave them to her, and so you’d still get to enjoy them a little?

    (I need to learn to talk to myself like this. For example: Get rid of books that are full of the sort of information where I only ever look online anymore–except for information that could help me get back online–like not-yet-loved cookbooks and old textbooks. I do want to have one outfit for each of several rare sorts of events such as weddings, formal events, funerals, and interviews–I hate pressure shopping in preparation for these events.)

  • I agree, storage is not a solution! I always laugh when people go out and buy more stuff {storage containers} to help them get organized! In my opinion, it should cost nothing to get organized, the starting point is decluttering. And living with less clutter tends to lead to organization.

  • Minimalist Housewife

    Great post! I can somewhat relate. Under our condos is a community basement with storage lockers that are 4x4x10. It’s included with our condo so it doesn’t cost extra and it’s nice to have since our condo is 750sf and has 3 total closets. But I find that whenever I’m forced to go down there, it’s like I’m realizing we have more stuff than I thought. The only things that should be down there is the camping equipment, small box of Christmas decorations, and outgrown baby gear. Sometimes I’m tempted to have baby #2 sooner so I can get rid of it when I’m done but that would be plain silly!

    • Minimalist Housewife, when I contemplate the multiple “wardrobes” I own right now (curren size, maternity clothes, post-maternity but not yet current size) it makes me want to get the pregnancy thing over with, too! :-)

  • Kristen June

    lol. When I started reading this I was thinking Francine has storage? Then she says 3 boxes, and I roll my eyes. Oh. THAT´S not storage. That´s just a couple of boxes. 😛

    • AussieGirl

      My sentiments exactly!!

      Francine, keep the boxes. They really aren’t clutter. Don’t give away the books – They will come in handy for Plumblossom one day. And if she decides that she doesn’t want to hang onto them, then at least it’s only **ONE** box to rid of! We’re not talking about getting rid of 100 boxes here. Ridding of one box of books in adulthood is not a burden in the least.

      I vote keep for all three boxes.

      On the issue of storage, I don’t think it’s all evil. Some storage is necessary. For example.. We don’t have many toys in comparison to the average household, but what we do have sitting around, needs to be organized. Uniform storage containers are neat and allow the children to pack everything up in it’s spot.

  • I recently acquired a free scanner and used it to scan important documents thus freeing me from having to keep the originals stored.

  • BPM

    I agree with a previous poster : ditch the clothes. If you ever work “outside” again, say in a couple of year, they will look dated, or maybe just not in line with the dresscode. Even classics have a use-by date, and I’ve found out the hard way that clothes in storage get damaged as well (odor, insects, etc). Better give them/sell them while they still can be useful.
    No “what ifs” :)

  • Amanda

    I actually disagree with this post, I think boxes and storage items are a useful minimalist tool. For example, I love doing nail art and I have a pretty large collection of nail polish, but I’ve forced myself to not allow it to grow beyond the box I bought to store it in. It makes me decide which ones I really love and use and which ones can be given away to friends. I apply this to lots of other areas in my life too. (I won’t get a dresser because it would encourage me to buy more clothes than already fit in my closet, I do not need more cosmetics and skincare than fit in the drawer in my bathroom, I [usually] don’t need to hang on to more paperwork than will fit in the one filebox I already have, I don’t need more books than fit on one shelf, etc. etc.)

    • Nicola B

      I agree with you on this- I have found that limiting the space I have to store something can help declutter. Also, I have got rid of lots of stuff because I have wanted to get rid of large pieces of furniture. I am working through my yarn stash so that all of the yarn and tools fits into a chest of drawers, and no more. (Sounds a lot, it’s a skinny chest or drawers!)

    • Erin

      I think this is an interesting point. Once you’ve made a conscious decision to keep certain things, having a set amount of space for them (a container, a drawer, etc) can help keep clutter from accumulating. If it doesn’t fit, out it goes. But instead too many people seem to think if it doesn’t fit, they just need more or bigger containers.

  • Henny

    I would ditch the clothes in a heartbeat. I did the same recently with all my lovely corporate things, since nice as they were, I hope never to work in a corporate setting again, so having no clothes will make any temptation disappear fast :)

  • Jenifer

    When we moved to NZ, we got down to 25 boxes, which I just paired down (via skype) to 4 boxes. I’m keeping things that I really do want: my dishes (hand made), my cutlery (hand made), and several kitchen tools that I want to use but haven’t been able to and didn’t want to replace because I already had them in the states. I also opted to keep 10 books, and DH kept several more than that and so did DS.

    Still, it’s a good process.

    Otherwise, I do consider minimizing again. Letting go of many of our furnishings, for example, even though we use them daily, I could do without. Sometimes it’s nice to do without. But, it’s also good having what we have — since we use it all. :) I think it’s mostly a fun exercise.

    I did another cull of DS’s toys — that made a nice difference too (everything fits in the baskets).

    • Mrs Brady Old Lady

      Jenifer – How do you pare down via Skype?

      • Jenifer

        When we packed the boxes, I made an itemized list of each box. I brought those with me, because we would need them for customs.

        I also put an itemized list inside each box by taping an envelope to the inside of one of the box flaps.

        I pulled out the lists, and DH and I went through each list, crossing off what we felt we didn’t need anymore.

        My parents were storing the boxes for us in their storage room. We set up our usual skype call, and my parents brought up all 25 boxes prior to the call.

        My parents would open a box, draw out the itemized list, and look for the items that we wanted or simply verify that what was on the list was in the box and could go.

        Of what could go, some were going to charity, others were going to my sister, etc. Those were then packed (into the car to be donated or into a box to be taken to my sister’s place next weekend).

        Of what we wanted, that was consolidated into the remaining boxes, which are also currently being stored by my parents. Since my parents send a box each quarter, the plan is for them to tuck in some of the kitchen and book s in with the normal clothing that they send for my son (kids grow quickly!). It’s usually $50/box or $200/yr (but still costs less than buying clothes locally, I promise you!).

        So that’s how we did it. :)

        • Layla

          You are quite possibly the most organized person ever. (And you have some stiff competition because I know some really organized people.)

          You have inspired me to go through my stuff at my parents house when I graduate, and make itemized lists. which would serve the dual purpose of keeping only things I’ve made a conscious decision to keep, and keeping everything super organized.

          • Jenifer

            I was forced by customs. They require lists of everything coming over, and then they’ll double check that with the boxes if they feel that they need to do so. Most people just supply an extensive list, and then they are good to go.

            It’s also important for the insurance in such an instance. Ships can loose their cargo completely (ie, Rena ran aground on a reef about a year ago here off the coast of NZ and most of the shipping containers ended up in the sea), and so you need a fully itemized list in order to get insurance to cover everything that you need.

            I was never this organized at home. But, now that I am this organized, it’s helpful in clearing out and knowing exactly what I have.

            At home, I’m a bit more casual. LOL

  • Oh, it took me so long to learn this (ooooh, pretty boxes!) and I’m still fighting it. On the plus side the (still too much) stuff I have does look sort of awesome (or at least vaguely tidy). But I am slowly but steadily working towards having less stuff, including less boxes!!
    The other trap for me is big cupboards – I can fill’em up, no probs! As a keen knitter and sewer, shifting house meant shifting to a craft room that didn’t have a huge double wardrobe. This has made a huge difference to my awareness of (and my dealing to) my craft clutter. Though I must confess that my crafty ‘eyes’ are still rather too much bigger than my ‘stomach’ for actually doing the crafting :-~

  • I just freed 8 bags of random stuff this morning. It just creeps up on me and the only solution is to send it on it’s way. It feels so good to let more go!

  • I totally agree with you about storage. as flylady says ‘you can’t organise clutter’. Just prettying things up with baskets and boxes doesn’t help long term.

  • Sylive

    I’m flying into a city to spend 8hs to transforming my two storage spaces (in a basement of a co-op, roughly the size of a large storage freezer) into one. Having read your wonderful book and blog, what should I prioritize? Getting rid of the Ikea storage boxes, curtains, bedding, and dishes, and (re)buying the minimum when I return from abroad? Or getting rid of books that I might need?

  • I completely understand how suffocating paperwork can be! To tackle my own must-keep paperwork, I’ve decided to start scanning each document into a PDF file and storing it in my online file storage box. The sense of accomplishment I’ve gotten from scanning into digital format, feeding it to the paper shredder, and freeing it from my home is incredible! You should definitely consider doing the same!

  • I know what you mean. We do lots of decluttering when we get back from the boat, but we do keep quite a bit of things that we don’t use aboard. Every year gets better though.

    You’ll find your balance, with the little one. It’s surprised me how happy my girl is, living with less, and how little all of her toys do for her. When we got home this summer, she spent an evening digging through her toybox, as happy as can be. Then, she asked to go to the playground (we don’t have the busy playgrounds that she is used to, in our area). And she has cried and said she wants to go back to Moonraker (our boat). The fun, the outdoors, and the socialization are way more important to her than toys.

  • Ahsha

    Storage containers can be useful when used carefully. I use pretty boxes to store Q-tips, medical supplies (with a 9 year old boy we need band-aids!)and things like that. I also have a couple of lovely woven baskets to store my book manuscripts. I know and agree with what you are saying though. Buying storage boxes just to stuff things in, hide and forget them, is adding to the clutter. Like everything else, it is finding a perfect balance of what is needed and used versus hoarding what is not.

  • Layla

    I agree.

    I also think this rule (like all rules) has some exceptions: if you have a boyfriend who likes to have stuff everywhere, and you can convince him to confine it to a manly-looking storage box (or when you get stressed out by the clutter, just dump it all into his storage box). If it’s someone else’s clutter, “out of sight out of mind” works great for me.

    • Laura

      I feel you on this one Layla. I am still ‘teaching’ my husband about minimalism by example. Don’t give up! Sometimes it just takes time. Although he goes along very well with my minimalism (we live in a 350 sqft apt and ride scooters and bicycles exclusively), I wasn’t sure he really understood it. Then, when I got home from work this week: voila! He had completely went through both our small closets and cleaned and decluttered them on his own (most of it was stuff he hadn’t been ready to release before). Even though our closets were never half-ful, he told me he was tired of all this stuff crowding in whenever he went to his or my closet. I was so happy! Sometimes someone has to come to their own conclusions in their own time. Just keep showing him how happy you are with less and I bet he’ll come around…

  • We recently got a new mattress (much needed and I’m very happy to be sleeping better), but before it arrived I moved out all the boxes I was storing under the bed to vacuum. And then I thought, I hate having to store stuff under the bed. Do we really need this stuff?? Though I’ve been working at decluttering for some time, I think I need to take my efforts to the “next level.”

    Thanks for the inspiration!!!

  • Sara

    I’m not a great fan of storage, but I tolerate some, mainly because I don’t live alone but with a husband, two children half the time and three dogs.

    For instance, we keep our small amount of medication and first aid stuff in a small transparent plastic box on a shelf in the cleaning closet, there’s a certain number of books in our house and we have a small storage space in the basement of our building where my husband has some car ‘equipment’ or whatever, lol, our bed frame and some other items(in Finland it’s almost the norm that apartment buildings have a smallish storage ‘locker’ or cage for each apartment, either in the basement or the attic).

    The bed frame is sort of in limbo at the moment, since we’re used to sleeping on just the mattress now – besides it’s not a very good frame – and come to think of it, I could get rid of everything in that storage locker today! But here we come to the tolerance bit; my husband is not a packrat, on the contrary, so I don’t want to push him too much. We already both declutter on a regular basis, so I feel pretty confident that he’ll get to his stuff in his own time. And why not keep stuff that’s needed to repair the car as long as we still have a car? That’s money saved :)

  • Angela

    I have a question about mementos such as yearbooks and abundance of stray pens/pencils in my storage boxes. I have no fond memories of High School but have this weird urge to keep the yearbooks anyway in the prettied up box that I have (which weighs a ton). Do you keep or discard them? And if discard? how?
    How about pens/pencils? Do we throw them in the trash or put them out for those who might need it (if so, whom?)

  • Laura

    I think some people commenting don’t realize there is a difference between having a place to put something that you use regularly and storage solutions. Obviously, if you have several necessary tools you don’t just lay them on the floor. or 500 qtips. Sometimes you need a container to hold something. I think what Francine means is that you shouldn’t buy a bunch of pretty boxes to put stuff in that you never use or need. You are not helping your problem of having a lot of un-necessary items, you are hiding the problem. To me the great thing about minimalism is that it makes you aware of the things you are hiding from yourself in life: those little fears and conceits that we all have. By only owning so much and decluttering your life you learn about yourself and what is important to you and you overcome built-in societal conditioning.

  • I SO appreciate this post.

    I struggle on a daily basis with storing and organizing the minimalized items that we have in our small apartment, but we DO also have a storage unit across town filled to the brim with belongings. And you know what? We truly have lived happily without the stuff for more than two years. I often think about some of the things that are stored, though. Some days I want to rip everything out and host a yard sale right there by the side of the road outside the storage unit to just. get. rid. of. it. all. Other days I pine for small things I wish I had kept–my french press, special Christmas stockings, etc. I dream about the day that we can rid ourselves of the storage unit and balance out our stuff by being honest about what we truly need.

  • […] ~ Storage is not a solution […]

  • I just went into my storage unit for the first time in months over the weekend. I actually had remembered having a lot more stuff than I do. I cleaned out the drawers of a nightstand I’m going to get rid of, as well as sorted out three large boxes into one box of stuff to keep and two to give to goodwill. I have two more boxes to sort, probably one will be keep and one will be goodwill. And I got rid of the stupid, topheavy floor lamp with the stripped threads.

    Right now I am not a minimalist. I am getting there, mostly by getting rid of things I definitely don’t want anymore and not buying anything new. But I’m keeping some intermediate things, like my guitar and my painting supplies. My goal is to have one dresser where I can keep art/craft stuff, makeup, hair and jewelry accessories, and still have drawers left to use as a limbo for clothing I’m thinking of getting rid of.

  • […] Minimalist and Miss Minimalist both address this […]

  • Bumbedeedah

    Agreed. Storing should be minimized and revisited often. Now that my kids are living away at school, my personal environment has become simpler. I have manged to keep a fewer of their items, in storage for them, that I had imagined possible (thanks kids).

    Paperwork, I keep digitally when possible. The only struggle I have is with family photographs. If I look into the future, I know that much of what I’m keeping as ‘family historian’ WILL matter to them and end of with them. I am not comfortable with an only digital format for storing photos. I can see that paring down would work, like it does in all other areas, but for me, not to the same extent.

    I theorize few strategies but would APPRECIATE some feedback from you or your followers on this. Thanks in advance

  • Tina

    I read your site every day for motivation. Have gotten rid of a lot of stuff. Since I am retired I only need a few good outfits for special occasions. I do volunteer work with kids. Minimalism is really the best idea. I love travelling with just a very small suitcase and a tote bag for medicine.

  • Tina

    I am still getting rid of 2 bags of things every week. Some is recycling, some is Salvation Army or Goodwill. Buying even less than before. When I cleaned out my mother’s condo and saw she had 80 plus rolls of toilet paper and similar stocks of other paper goods and soap and detergent, I realized how silly all the stocking up was. Now I keep enough for 2 weeks maybe, or 1 extra of some things. We were indoors due to extremely cold weather here in Chicago and had plenty to eat and plenty of supplies without rushing out to buy anything.

  • As the mother of eight children(yes eight),I would like to dispel a myth. Even large families are not required to hang onto stuff to “pass down” to the next child. After a myriad of moves when I dutifully packed and moved boxes of clothing, I realized that the odds of hitting the correct size in the right season for the next child AND BEING ABLE TO FIND IT IN STORAGE was quite low.

    We are not rich but even those who count pennies usually end up with boxes of other peoples clothes passed onto them (large families attract such “gifts”) so I have learned not to hold onto stuff, even with this many bodies to clothe.

    I love a clean, uncluttered home and have one, even with this many people in it. Mothers of large families have to think long and hard about stuff or they’ll disappear under a pile of it! Toys, for example, should be less rather than more even with this many children. When a child has too many toys to choose from, he appreciates them less, besides, children in a large family would rather play with each other rather than their toys!

  • Tina

    I have a small closet half full of clothes. I just pulled 8 garbage bags full of clothes that don’t fit out of a relative’s closet. I don’t know how to go through the shoes and purses. There are still 5 drawers full of clothes and several big plastic containers with underwear and socks to go through. I am going to try to fill one more garbage bag with shirts and sweaters. She keeps buying new and never gets rid of the old.

  • Tina

    The only storing I do is putting my winter clothes in a carryon suitcase during the summer and taking them out in the fall. I put some of my T shirts away for the winter, and keep the rest to wear under my sweatshirts for extra warmth. I also use my husband’s thermal pants under my jeans on really cold days if I’ll be standing on the train tracks somewhere.

  • Dylan

    I read a comment on another ??minimalism blog that professional organizers encourage hoarding. :) I’ve never used a professional organizer myself, but if their mantra is more “organize what you own” instead of “downsize and declutter and purge,” then they are definitely more on the attachment side of the spectrum.

    I’ll put in a plug for your book here – it was the most helpful book I’ve read in years and just spurred me right into action. And my house looks amazing because of it! Amazing and lovely and bare and with white walls! :p

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