Thursday, May 20, 2010

Declutter my life - part 2

Expanding the territory

As soon as I started seeing the benefits that simpifying and decluttering brought, I found more places where I could apply the same techniques. I decluttered my mailbox, I reorganized all the files on my computer, etc. The results still amaze me. I can navigate my computer faster, it's easier to find files I need, my mails are easier to maintain...

It's challenging to find new ways to simplify. There's always some aspect of your life you can simplify, even if you haven't thought of it yet. And by doing so, your productivity level will increase and your emotional state will evolve in a positive way.

Living out of a car

As I mentioned in a previous post, I'm a fan of the ERE principle. On that blog, Jacob has written an article about living out of a suitcase. I liked that article, it inspired me. He lists the most important items someone needs and I think he made a good list, a complete one. I would throw in a compass and a pocket knife, but other than that, it's a perfect list.

It is, however, a perfect list for those that move around a lot and that can only transport the absolute minimum required. I don't think it's suitable to live like that forever. It might be possible, but I need a couple of things more. That's why I have expanded on the idea and I'm now trying to get rid of as much clutter as possible, so I can live out of a car. And my car is a Daewoo Kalos, so it's a small car. I think this is perfectly possible and it's seems like a good goal to reach for.


Furniture is big. It's the biggest problem in moving. I don't have a lot of furniture, but some items are very big. There's my bed, my big computer table and a low table. What you can do, when moving, is getting rid of the furniture and buying new ones when you get to your new place. I'd like to avoid that as much as possible though. So for the furniture, I have to find solutions.

Japanese style bed

I gain a lot of inspiration from the (older) Japanese homes. The Japanese have always lived in pretty simple homes, partly because most of the houses in Japan are small. If you look at the bedrooms, we can find a solution for 1 piece of furniture: the bed.

My current bed has a wooden frame. I don't need it. I can use a Japanese futon instead. It's basically a combination of sheets that you put on a collection of tatami mats. Those tatami mats can be stacked in the car and the futon itself will not occupy too much space, because it's just some sheets you can fold up.

There's more inspiration to be retrieved from Japanese homes. Most of their rooms don't have much in them. And yet, they have beautiful houses in my humble opinion.

I currently still live at home, in a small room upstairs. This has made me aware of the benefits of not having much clutter. If I can get op the biggest pieces of furniture, I know I can make this challenge. That would make it a lot easier to fit it all in a small car.

Small table

I have a coffee table. My parents wanted to get rid of it, so I kept it. A free coffe table, good quality. If you have to buy that, it will cost a lot of money. I was thinking about using it to eat on in my kitchen, when I move out. This is still under severe questioning though, because it doesn't fit in my car. I made it fit in my small room, withouth much trouble, but the room is still bigger than the car. A solution will hopefully follow in a later post...

Tiny table

I also have a tiny square table. This table was about to get thrown out too, but I took it. It's a very small table, 0.50 square meters or something like that. It has a square shape, so it fits practically everywhere. This fits in my car perfectly. It's a bit small to eat on though, but it's totally managable. And you can can put something under it too. to save even more space. This table is one thing I will keep.

CD closet

I have a big standing closeth for storing cd's, but I've been using it to store other things. It has a glass door, so you can see what's in it. The advantage of a glass door is this: you see what's where, without opening the closet. This makes storing and retrieving items from the closeth, a quick and easy action. The disadvantage is, that you need to organize everything perfectly, otherwise it will look messy, even when you close the door.
I never glued it together, so if you pick it up, the bottom will fall off. But this also means that I can take it apart again, so it becomes easy to move around. That makes it worth holding on to, if I have interesting items to store in it. But then again, I'm trying to get rid of most items and I emptied it last week... so at the moment, I'm gonna keep it, but I might change my mind about it later.

The wooden box

I also have a big wooden box. I use it to store all my paperwork, degrees, martial arts information and plain paper I can use to write on. This is important, you need a place to store your paperwork. You could use a suitcase for it, or something else more portable. But I like to be able to take out my classifiers in an easy way, so everything stays organized. I don't want it to take too much time to put new papers in the classifiers. It's important to keep your papers in the correct place, well organized. It makes filling in your taxes easier.

I use a 2 year classifier system: 1 classifier contains 2 years worth of paperwork. When the biggest year on the classifier is more than 5 years ago, I can throw the content of that classifier away. It's a good system, though 5 years may be too much, if I want to be able to store it in my car.

If the wooden box can fit in my car, it's a keeper. It can be used as a container for items, but you can also sit on it. My dad made it, so it's quality material. He's good at making things. I'm gonna keep this, until I find out that it doesn't fit in my car.


So far, I have a wooden box with paperwork, a Japanese style futon with a couple of tatami mats and a tiny square table. This is what I can keep, so my items contain just the stuff that can fit in my car. There's still more though, so I'll make another post to come up with a solution for that.
This quest is not over yet... I still have a long way to go. I'll keep you updated on my progress.