This first guest post comes from Katie at the fantastic Making This Home. Katie and her husband Martin moved to Berlin, Germany last year, where they reside in a 480 square foot apartment. Be sure to check out their amazing kitchen remodel, and some of the ideas they have for saving space — I love their hanging, sliding bike garage in the hallway.
My husband and I move a lot, so you can probably guess that we go through our stuff all the time. Each time we’re moving, I get really excited to purge the clutter. But after our last move overseas to Germany, I realized we needed to switch from the purge mentality and into the stop-buying-all-that-stuff ideology.
If your house is like ours sometimes, it’s easy to grab a cute little item from the $1 bins at Target or grab a cute pad of paper from the shipping center. In addition to being a very un-green habit, our tendency to buy here and there will also unknowingly bog our lives down. We don’t always realize how much stuff we’re accumulating and not using (like every one of those $1 items I’ve ever grabbed) and how much we’re spending until we stop and really look at our habits. We just get sadder and more frustrated for having so many things.
Here’s some of our diehard habits we’ve been working on because we’re not always going to have the chance to declutter several times a year, which is how often we move:
First we stopped grocery shopping at super centers. It’s just too easy to venture into the other end of the store, you know?
Second I share my purchases with my husband. If I feel embarrassed showing him what I buy (like two of the same shirt in different colors), it’s probably a good sign that I don’t even need what I’m spending our money on.
Third is asking myself when I’ll need or use something. If I need it in the next week, I should get it. A lot of women love to buy huge quantities of fabric that never get used. It’s easy to do if you love to sew. But fabric often just becomes more stuff. If you’re not going to use it this week, skip it.
Finally do the math. How many hours of work will it take you to pay for this item? Is it worth that type of commitment? The worst is when you can’t actually pay cash for something and end up paying interest. Suddenly the little $3.50 magazine bill is collecting interest over the months.
Thanks, Katie! Find more of her great content and some truly awesome photos of her apartment at Making This Home.