Getting Back to Basics


We subscribe to an internet and TV provider to get super-fast (sometimes) internet and more TV channels than we will ever watch. A couple months ago they sent out notice that the price was going up. They gave notice so we could be sure to have enough money to pay their rising costs. Our bill went up this month.

We talked about it, thought about it, found out what others were using for their TV watching and made our decision. We went from 220 plus channels to 15 plus channels. This is local TV with antenna channels and with some C-SPAN thrown in.

We saw it as a way to cut monthly costs and take away temptations to watch more TV than we really needed. However, being Amazon Prime members, we were able to download free apps for watching shows using our Fire Stick and it’s doubtful we will miss all those channels after all. But we are saving some money each month.

While searching for interesting shows, we can across a short German documentary filmed in 2014 titled “Less is More: How to be Happy with Nothing”. It documents the minimalist movement in Germany, featuring 3 people that are embracing it.

Ok, we are not minimalists, just downsizers trying to declutter our lives of stuff, looking for inspiration where we find it. And we needed inspiration. We had hit a declutter/clean out stuff/unpack boxes kind of wall.

The documentary’s narrator said that the average person has 10,000 items. One of the minimalists interviewed mentioned we should strive to have only 100. The family with two small children said they had more than that, because the kids needed more items. However, no one got anything new without disposing of the same number of items. The wife said when they want to buy something, they write it down on their list and come back to it a month later to see if they still need or want it. The majority of the time, they no longer want it.

One gentleman in Berlin had only 50 items. By choice. He was retired and wanted to get rid of stuff now instead of waiting for the end of life for others to handle. He went on and on about how free he felt. He showed all 50 of his items to the interviewer. All his clothes were white so that he could interchange them and clean them easily. His apartment had only a hammock. He was on the extreme side, but was also extremely happy with his choices and the freedom he said he now had.

The people interviewed all expressed that they were striving for 100 items and no more. That they were all happier than they were with more. That they had more free time to do what they wanted. A few were in swap groups that exchanged clothes and household items with each other. No money was involved.

Well, we are not anywhere near 100 items. We are probably not anywhere near 10,000 items either. While we realize we are not going to get rid of all but 100 items, we do need to get rid of hundreds. The best advice taken from the documentary was taking pictures of sentimental items, rather than keeping them packed away in boxes to look at occasionally. Not the first time we have heard that and will probably do it when we go through our stuff.

If you have been reading this blog for a while, you know that we thought we got rid of enough stuff before we moved. We have also taken several pieces of furniture, including a sectional sofa, out of the house after moving in. However, we still have more stuff than fits in this house. And more stuff than we really need.

We have been ignoring the basement for too long. Occasionally one of us will rearrange some boxes or go through a drawer, but frustration sets in and we abandon it. We did push back some furniture and boxes to clear a spot for the grandkids to play the Xbox when they visit, but it really is a mess.

30 Day Challenge

That’s right. We have challenged ourselves to clear out the clutter in the basement over the next 30 days. We will report back with our progress. Here are some pictures of Day 1, before doing anything.basementbefore1


This is a bit scary because we have told you we are doing this. Hold us accountable! Encourage us and let us know your thoughts and experiences with clearing out your stuff. When we are done, we will have 100 plus items. Not sure yet how much plus.

3 comments on “Getting Back to Basics”

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