9 Ways to Downsize Your Life & Live in a Shipping Container Home
We’ve all thought about it before – that there is too much clutter in our house and how nice it would be to drastically downsize everything and live a more comfortable lifestyle. But what exactly does it take to downsize your belongings to an amount that you can comfortably fit inside of a modest shipping container home? The truth is – not a lot of effort at all (anyone who has travelled for a while will know this).
Chances are most of the things you have, you never use and take up far too much space in your home. Things that are stored in cupboards, boxes, your garage and your attic. Anyone who has had to travel long term has probably been through this, getting rid of lots of clothes, appliances and furniture that, after they are gone, have little to zero impact on your life. All that spare clothing, books you’ve already read or will never read, CDs and DVDs (really, who needs these with Netflix these days) and other bits and pieces that people pick up over the course of their lives.
We aren’t talking anything crazy, we aren’t going minimalist – we are simply suggesting ways that you can declutter your living space, and declutter your life. Which even if you aren’t planning on moving into a smaller home (such as one built from a shipping container) is going to make life easy if you have to move, is probably going to cost you less, and might even free up some extra cash for important things (like travel!).
9 Simple Ways to Declutter and Downsize Your Life
1. Think before you shop – all the time!
This has to be the most important tip when it comes to decluttering. Consider each and every purchase you make and ask yourself “do I really need this?”. Does the item serve a purpose? Is it too big? Will it last for a long time? Is it likely to go out of date or out of fashion? Can it be easily fixed or repaired if it breaks? More often than not you are better off spending extra money on one high quality product that will last a lifetime, than a whole lot of cheaper products that will break and add clutter. If you are only going to use it a few times, consider renting it – or at least selling it when you are finished with it.
2. Get rid of the knick-knacks and memorabilia
Most people’s clutter consists of mementos that they’ve picked up and have no use for. Do you really need that gimmicky piece of tourist junk that you picked up on a trip overseas last year? Does it really represent your memories or is it a piece of mass produced plastic that is sold to every single tourist? Chances are you haven’t used it or looked at it in months or years. Into the bin or donation box it goes and get rid of it.
3. Clear out all that old clothing
Chances are that over the last few years your body has changed. You’ve either gained weight or lost weight. Fashions have changed, or at least your tastes have. We can be fairly certain however that you don’t need 20 ragged t-shirts from university. Go through all of your clothes and first remove every single piece that doesn’t fit you. Now go through and get everything that you haven’t worn this year. Find everything with stains or rips (we’ve all got it). Better still, get rid of anything with a logo advertising someone else’s business or brand, you aren’t a walking billboard. Stick to simple clothing that you can mix and match that is practical – well fitted collared shirts for business, clean plain t shirts, fitted jeans and ditch the stuff you don’t need. You’ll reduce your wardrobe by up to 75% and won’t miss a single thing. Now grab all those old clothes and donate them to a charity that really needs it – the recipients will value your old shirts far more than you ever will. Then reward yourself with a few nice pieces of clothing!
4. Clear out those CDs and DVDs (but keep that vinyl!)
When they came out, CDs were the latest technology, supposed to be invincible and higher quality – but really, they didn’t live up to all the hype did they. Take all of your CDs and rip them into your iTunes at the highest quality setting (usually 320kpbs) and get rid of them. The same goes for DVDs (and possibly BluRay). Subscribe to a service like Netflix and keep up to date with the latest movies and TV shows and reclaim your space. Keep that vinyl however – it’s harder to replace, and nothing can beat the feeling of putting the needle on the record that comes with vinyl.
5. Tidy up those bookshelves
Some people will tell you to get rid of all of your books – this is an overkill. There are plenty of books you’ll want to keep, especially non-fiction or reference books that you use all the time. Take all of the trashy paperback novels though and donate them to charity. Most people will only read a novel once, if ever. Instead – get yourself a nice bookshelf for your reference books and replace the novels with something digital on a device such as an Amazon Kindle or Nook from Barnes and Nobel. Chances are you’ll end up reading a lot more this way as well – especially when travelling.
6. Clear out that unused sporting gear
Sports gear is great if you use it, but how many of you have exercise machines you’ve never used, dirty gym bags from years ago and a bunch of balls sitting in the garage. If you use them all – that’s great, but chances are it creates a significant amount of bulk. Most gear can be rented or borrowed at gyms or professional sporting facilities anyway, so if you don’t need it, get rid of it, and if you do need it – make sure you have the best quality, smallest form factor possible that lasts the distance.
7. Bulky furniture that serves no purpose
Every item of furniture should serve some form of function, whether sleeping, sitting or holding – it should be practical, comfortable and fit precisely where you need it to. Otherwise it’s another piece of wood that’s taking up valuable floor space and collecting a lot of dust. You could even consider a wall mounted or folding bed.
8. Luggage and gear bags
We are all guilty of this one, owning a bunch of backpacks, suitcases and gear bags that usually sit in a closet. If you travel a lot, invest in a decent rolling (with replaceable wheels and strong handles) gear bag with backpack straps (you’ll want those if you ever need to use public transport or climb stairs) and a good carry on sized duffel bag with laptop pocket. If you work in an office, a decent suit bag is a must too, everything else (apart from sports you play or something specific to a hobby you do all the time, is generally a waste of space and money).
9. List the things that you’d miss if your house would burn down
Chances are this list will be really small. Most things are replaceable, some aren’t. If things don’t make it on this list, you probably don’t need them!
Downsized and ready to start considering your shipping container home yet?
Take the first step to your clutter free lifestyle and give our team of shipping container experts a phone call. They’ll discuss what options are right for you and give you and idea of what’s involved in constructing your very own, sustainable shipping container home with a low environmental footprint. Get in touch now for a free quote.