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Quote of the Day: Louise Dickinson Rich

September 2nd, 2012

It’s very illuminating to have to make a list, which you will very possibly have occasion to use, of the things you’d save in extremity. It reduces one’s material possessions to their proper place.

Louise Dickinson Rich We Took to the Woods

This is also the case when moving, or at least it should be. Going through everything you own and asking yourself what you really need. The truth is, we really don’t NEED that much to survive. It is nice to have things that make our lives more comfortable, but it can weigh us down if we have too much. Thankfully, Mr Chiots and I started minimizing our stuff many years ago. We stepped off the consumerism treadmill by dedicating an entire year to not buying anything we didn’t need to survive. At the same time we started getting rid of things we didn’t use or need. As a result, packing should be a little easier. During the process, we’re also trying to go through everything to lighten the load even more. There are still a few things that we’re asking ourselves: to take or not to take?

Take my hanging baskets for example, I don’t really NEED them, but I do like them. Do I want to pack them, take them to Maine, store them over the winter, plant something in them, and water them next summer? That is the question, do I want to deal with hanging baskets? There isn’t even a front porch at the new place.

They’ll go into the “maybe” pile. Things that we’re on the fence about and may part with if the moving truck gets too full.

How good are you about keeping your things at a minimum? Do you find it difficult to part with things?

12 Comments to “Quote of the Day: Louise Dickinson Rich”
  1. Joan on September 2, 2012 at 6:11 am

    We are definitely not good at minimizing the things we have (even though I really don’t buy anything, we have lots of gifts that we’ve been given that we care about). And Dieter and Alex are packrats and won’t throw anything away.

    But, we know the things we care about the most – living in the fire prone mountains of Colorado taught us that. We (like Louise Dickenson Rich in your quote) had a list of the things we cared about most. We kept it on the refrigerator so we would know what to gather up if we were evacuated. First on the list – our pets, followed by photo albums, and things that people had made for us.

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  2. daisy on September 2, 2012 at 7:01 am

    We are working now to rid ourselves of all but the bare necessities, as we will most likey rent when we move further north. I find it liberating to keep only what is most dear and practical. Our 11-year old doesn’t quite share that enthusiasm!
    One thing I look forward to at our new location is scouting out new thrift stores to purchase what we might need. It’ll be a treasure hunt!

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  3. Sherri on September 2, 2012 at 8:27 am

    So wise to lighten the load, but it’s tricky to know what might be needed at the new place. When we moved out of province 14 years ago, we left a LOT of things behind due to prioritizing… the moving van was going to be full, so everything we took had to serve a true need. Quite a lot of things were left behind or given away because they weren’t deemed necessary or simply because we weren’t SURE we’d have a use for it.

    In the end, we had to replace quite a few things which cost a fair penny, but it was done slowly over time. We didn’t really KNOW how we would be living in our new space (and in a new climate), so imagining if we needed something ahead of time was hard to do.

    Strike a balance… From your maybe pile, if there’s room, take things of higher value over things of lesser value. That way, should you turn out to need something that you left behind, the cost won’t be as high to replace it.

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    • Susy on September 2, 2012 at 1:22 pm

      Very true, we are taking some things we don’t really need, but we think they might come in handy or be needed in the future. Hopefully we won’t end up having to buy much.

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  4. Mich on September 2, 2012 at 9:28 am

    I would love to say that my house has the bare essentials but sadly I’d be fibbing! lol.
    Tho in my defence I have stepped off the consumerisum merry go round but just not that great at throwing stuff out!
    But the farm barns…ahem…
    Havent had sheep/cattle for ages now but still have feed troughs, rings, cattle crush etc just in case I decide to revisit that road…and then theres JT’s collection of vintage machinary…

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  5. denise on September 2, 2012 at 10:18 am

    If I love it – I keep it. I do struggle with items that were given to me – that I don’t necessarily love but would feel guilty for giving away.

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  6. Joy Giles on September 2, 2012 at 12:34 pm

    Are there any restrictions pertaining to what plants can be taken across state line or brought into Maine? I know of a few who have had theirs incinerated at various border crossings due to disease/pest issues.

    Reply to Joy Giles's comment

    • Susy on September 2, 2012 at 1:25 pm

      Firewood is a big issue here in the East. You’re not allowed to travel with firewood. Other than that there’s not really much issue, especially with the varieties of plants I’m planning on taking. Often those are issues dealing with agriculture and what is grown in the state (like citrus in CA & FL).

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  7. rana on September 2, 2012 at 1:50 pm

    Take them! You will be glad you did.

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  8. KimH on September 2, 2012 at 3:08 pm

    I go thru phases in my life where Im good at keeping & paring things to a minimum and then other times when Im not.

    The one time that stick out is I got rid of a bunch of quart canning jars (several hundred) thinking I was mostly done with huge amounts of canning because I was basically crippled for a couple years.. then (now) regret the heck out of it when I had to go back & buy more. Sigh.. that sort of thing makes me crazy, but I’ve decided that should something similar strike me, Im going to hold on tight. ;) Someone else can toss them after Im dead. :D

    I donate to several organizations that call every 6 weeks or so, so in the last 3 years, I have pared down a lot of stuff that I know I’ll never use again. The last 2 times they’ve called, I’ve had to tell them I dont have anything for them, which is always shocking to me..

    Now if I could only get rid of some of m’honeys junk. ;)

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  9. Maybelline on September 3, 2012 at 4:06 am

    I believe I could live well in a Shaker community. I enjoy a minimalist lifestyle; but would probably be considered a hoarder by a Shaker.

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  10. Sincerely, Emily on September 3, 2012 at 2:27 pm

    We thinned out things a lot when we moved from CA, but we still had a TON of stuff to bring with us. Over the years I have cut way back on spending. I am not a “shopper” and don’t need to buy “things” but I am certainly surrounded by “stuff.” Antiques and collected things from grandparents and parents that I LOVE to have around me. Clutter! Yup, that’s me. I love my clutter and stuff. Several times a year I sort through things and take things to a thrift store. It tends to be newer things while I hang onto and use the things from my grandparents. They were made so well and still work.

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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