Every time the seasons change, I like to take a look at my habits, and decide if there’s anyway to streamline them, to minimize them, or to reduce my consumption.
Can I reduce my expenses in any way? Can I stop consuming something that I’ve always thought is necessary, and what do I really, truly need to add to my home this fall to make life a little bit easier to live?
I find these reflective questions to be an excellent way to intentionally and mindfully reduce the volume of stuff in my home.
As a minimalist in a 400 square foot house, I feel that it’s important to continually try to minimize and remove clutter from my house. I’m always trying to weed out the stuff that I don’t need, keep only the functional or beautiful items, and find new homes for the stuff that no longer needs to be a part of my life.
Here are a few ways I’m going to keep my minimalist philosophy in play this fall.
With fall, comes the urge to decorate. Halloween and Thanksgiving are just around the corner, and the crispness of the fall air makes me want to put up new art, and invest in a few decorations. This fall, I’m going to try to only purchase compostable or recyclable decorations. There are a few ways I’m going to achieve this:
- Plants – I love fall Mums. They are a gorgeous colour, they handle the cold air well, and they remind me of fall in a big way. The best part? When they are finished for the season, I can toss them in the compost pile and not have to worry about storing them for the next fall.
- Jack-o-Lanterns – I haven’t carved a pumpkin in ages, but I think this would be a great way to get in the Halloween spirit without having to accumulate more stuff. Plus, pumpkin pie perhaps? Yum.
- Printables – A printable is a free graphic that you can print out with your home printer and frame. They are typically free but you can find very high quality ones for a low fee. The best part? Because they are free, they’re easy to swap out as the seasons change, and toss into the recycling when they’ve outlived their novelty.
For the last few years I’ve dressed up for Halloween. This year, I’m not sure if I’m going to. I’m not really crazy about the idea of a bunch of useless costumes taking up space in my closet. I could donate them, but odds are they’d end up in a landfill eventually, so it might be easiest to just abstain. Better for the wallet too!
Do you plan on dressing up?
Whenever the seasons change, I get the urge to shop. To combat this, I make sure to dig out all of my winter gear that has been packed away for the summer. I wash it all and make sure it’s ready to be used, so I can make a mental inventory of what I already have. No need to buy duplicates.
Before I pack away my summer stuff, my dresses, my sandals, my patio furniture and camping gear, I make go through everything. I try to pick out stuff that I didn’t use, that no longer fits, or that doesn’t make sense to keep, and I try to get rid of it. What’s the sense in packing stuff away if it has no benefit to me?
Fall is one of my favourite seasons. The trees change, the warm sweaters and gloves come out, and the wonderful smell of wood smoke permeates the air. It’s also a great chance to take a look at some of your habits of consumption and trim them down to help save money, clutter and environmental impact.
What’s your favourite part of fall?
I think the best thing is that the weather is not as nice anymore and I get a lot more work done 😀
I do try to become more minimalist, but the husband is quite the `collector`. Seeing what still works from the stuff we already have surely helps us not over-spend these months. It’s important to not lose sight of our main financial goals and SAVING is an important one.
For me, the fall is when I spend more time outside here in Houston since mother nature’s thermostat isn’t set at “humid hell” anymore. 🙂 But I find I actually work more when I get exercise, so it works out the same for me too, lol.
FI Pilgrim says
That’s a good idea to go through the de-cluttering thought process as the seasons change. For me, it feels like Fall is a letdown after the warm, adventurous summer, but having a new project like this would take some of the sting out.
DC @ Young Adult Money says
Costumes can be expensive even at thrift and discount stores, but if you plan it far enough in advance you can get your costume for cheap. My favorite part of Fall is probably getting to wear sweaters, jeans, and other “cool weather” clothes.
Lisa @ Cents To Save says
I love the change in the seasons. We live in Central Florida and fall is very,very mild. But the humidity is much lower and that does make all the difference.
kelly @stayingonbudget says
Yeah, it’s tempting with a new season to go overboard with new instead of finding new ways to use what you already have!
John S @ Frugal Rules says
We love fall because of the cooler temperatures and football season. We decorate a little but don’t do a whole lot because the kids just get into it. We do dress them up, as long as we can get a costume that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.
Matt Becker says
I like the idea of taking inventory of your summer stuff before packing it away. I’m with John on the reasons for loving fall. It’s just a such a fun time to be outside and be comfortable. I’m excited.
Michelle, I completely agree with you about the Halloween costumes, especially the really expensive but low quality ones. I usually do buy one and I also have a small collection of costumes from themes parties that I’ll likely never wear again. One way to save some money is to buy these right after Halloween while the random Halloween stores and closing down for the year.
Anyway, I love the weather change in the Fall. In Florida, it’s so hot in the summe and I welcome the cooler months of September and October.
I love fall for about a million reasons!
You would have to be a minimalist in a 400 s.f. house by default! I would have to get rid of almost everything I have.
Mike Collins says
I love the weather of fall. The cool temperatures feel so refreshing after the long, hot summer. We have some decorations we use every year and Halloween costumes for the kids could quickly spiral out of control but we put a limit on those.
Taynia | The Fiscal Flamingo says
Jordann – I am so in awe that you live in 400 square feet. Every time I read your posts, it takes me back to my first condo which was 535 square feet. I was a material girl then, so I needed all of that space and more. Things are different – better now. I have more square footage, but more humans to put a roof over as well. I just think it’s so great you live a minimal lifestyle, live in a small home and share it with the world!
Mrs PoP says
M favorite part of fall is the air drying out as the summer humidity fades. That and breaking out the sweaters for the evenings!
Little House says
I’m a little envious that you have two wardrobes: a summer and winter. Where I live, the temps are never that extreme, so shorts in the winter are just fine! 😉 Maybe it’s time for me to move to where there are four seasons.
Andy | Income by Example says
Pumpkin and craft beers, sweaters and layered outfits, apple picking to make pies, football…can’t really beat this season.
J.R. from CNAFinance.com says
My favorite part of fall used to be enjoying the slightly cooler temps in Florida where everything stays green all year round. But, I moved to Oregon and now I get to watch the leaves change. Like the leaves, my favorite part of fall has also changed! Thanks for the great read!
Mr. Utopia @ Personal Finance Utopia says
Spring cleaning in the Fall – I like it. We’ve got so much clutter around our place it’s ridiculous. We definitely need to do some purging.
I have a very strict $10 max to spend on a Halloween costume, not because I am trying to save money (but that is a plus). I do it because it forces me to be a bit more creative. Someday I will have to spend a little more so my friend can realize his dream group costume, but not this year!
Done by Forty says
I have a PacMan costume that I might break out again. I played kickball in it last year for one game and it was a ton of fun (even caught one ball in the mouth of the suit). Hooray for Halloween!
I’m super impressed by the small size of your house, and the motivation it must garner to minimalize. We have too much space in our 1275 sq ft home, even renting out a room. Our natural inclination is to fill it with stuff, so we’re regularly getting rid of things to keep our sanity…
Kyle @ Debt Free Diaries says
I love Halloween! It’s my favorite holiday of the year. It may just be all the candy. And the jack-o-lanterns…ok I love the haunted houses too! I also have a deep passion for sweater weather (I like to feel cozy) so fall is probably my most favorite season. I probably won’t dress up this year, or break out decorations, but in the future I’d love to host some family-friendly Halloween parties at our house! (once we own one)
Todd @ Fearless Men says
400 sq foot house?? That’s insane!! I just read your post that you linked to on it. That’s wild man. But it helped you pay off $27k? Absolutely incredible. You are truly a minimalist!
Pretired Nick says
Oh yeah, I love fall. The crisp air, crunchy leaves. Mmmm. We do the same thing with our seasonal clothes. It really keeps us from wanting to go out and buy more sweaters since we have piles of them. Of course last winter it was so warm here we barely needed our cool weather clothes!
Fall is my favorite season because of the leaves changing color, the cooler weather (no humidity!) and the crisp air. I agree that it’s a great season to spend outdoors, I just wish it didn’t get dark so early! I like gaining an hour of sleep, though. I try to get rid of things I didn’t wear when I change my clothes over as well.
Kyle | Rather-Be-Shopping.com says
I love Autumn, easily my favorite season. The cooler weather is such a nice break as 108 degree days are pretty common until mid-September. I like your minimalist plan, especially the Jack-O-Lantern idea, why accumulate more crap you have to store somewhere if you don’t need to!
Lisa E. @ Lisa Vs. The Loans says
The only reason I would want to make a Jack-o-Lantern is for the eventual pumpkin EVERYTHING – pumpkin pie, pumpkin smoothie, pumpkin ice cream… Oh man I’m drooling!
My favorite part of fall is getting to dress in layers – cardigans, tights, you name it!
Fall is my favorite season! You’re right, it is hard not to buy a bunch of “fall-themed” items for the home. I’m trying to think of a Halloween costume for my daughter (she’s 3), that won’t cost a lot. Kids costumes in the store, are quite expensive! 🙂
Romona @Monasez says
I’m so glad that I wear most of my clothes year around. I buy summer clothes. I usually wear jeans and a short sleeve shirt which happens to be the same thing I wear in the fall. I hate coats and wearing layers of clothes so I barely ever get an urge to shop for fall clothes.
Pauline @ Make Money Your Way says
My stepmother bought all kinds of squashes and pumpkins to decorate the house, it looks like a country house where they just harvested now, and like you said you can make soup when the season is over.
Ah man, I love getting the winter clothes out! Nice snug jumpers and comfy trousers.
However, this year, due to living on the med for the second winter in a row, consists of cracking out the slightly thicker shorts and socks!! Not quite the same…
Daisy @ Prairie Eco Thrifter says
We need to declutter for fall, too. I love fall, and my favorite part has to be scarves, warm clothes, and pumpkin. I love pumpkin.
Tara @ Streets Ahead Living says
For fall decorations, I think it’s great to also try second hand stores, at least the ones that are organized and do put things out seasonally. You can find cutesy stuff for cheap there.
I’m with you on getting rid of stuff before you put it in storage. It’s so easy to just stuff everything into storage containers but it’s so much better to go through it first!
I love Halloween! I love the colors of fall and the romance it brings.
Laurie @thefrugalfarmer says
Wonderful ideas, Jordann! We love decorating by simply setting some pumpkins out on the porch. It’s simple, cheap (our neighbor brings them over from her garden, just to be sweet) and beautiful. We have great colors here as the many trees change from green to all sorts of shades of brown, yellow and red, and that is definitely my favorite part of fall.
Jon @ MoneySmartGuides says
I just don’t understand the interest in decorating for the Fall. I don’t see the value of buying it and then getting rid of it a few weeks later. It feels wasteful to me. I do decorate for Christmas, and don’t feel wasteful because I can reuse those items year after year.
My favorite part of Fall is the cool nights. I love sitting by a fire pit on a cool night with friends.