Doing More With Less

November 15, 2010

The topic of doing more with less is on my mind. Every time we’ve added a child to our family, my instinct is to clear out our space, to get rid of gear and simplify wherever possible. It probably has something to do with making mental space for this new person in my life.

Last week, I was packing for our trip to San Jose and thinking about what I should bring for June’s meals — she’s still mostly nursing, but she’s also eating 3-4 meals a day of solids. At first I was thinking several bibs, 10+ jars of baby food, a bag of rice cereal, utensils and bowl for preparations, utensils for feeding, etc. But finally decided it was a short trip, to a town with every convenience, and that all I would need was a baby spoon.

For breakfast, I found plain yogurt and oatmeal among the offerings and grabbed a ripe banana for when we were out and about. And I was able to find similarly soft foods wherever we were. During feedings, I kept a napkin handy to keep her clean and I was good to go. While I appreciate the helpfulness of things like bibs and lots of food choices when we’re at home, it was nice to be reminded that it didn’t take much to keep June happy and fed when we wanted to travel as light as possible.

Another example that comes to mind? The giant table we built after moving to Colorado. It is the most used piece of furniture in our house. We use it for entertaining, for homework, for art projects, for sewing projects, for building things. And when we’re not using it, it does its duty as a piece of furniture that’s nice to look at and that compliments the space.

What about you? What are your thoughts on doing more with less? What’s an item you have that you get the most use out of?

Want to do less with more? Here’s your chance. You can win a new Windows 7 Phone — worth approx $500! Leave a comment below sharing your thoughts on doing more with less — you could even give us your favorite example. You can leave one comment each day through November 29th. Find the full rules listed here.

This giveaway is brought to you by the new Windows Phone 7. Less MIA. More PTA: Learn about Windows Phone online and see it in person at local T-Mobile stores today.



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{ 410 comments }

1 Heather November 15, 2010 at 12:11 pm

One way I try to do more with less is to think of multiple meals that can be made using similar ingredients; not so much so that we are eating the same things every night, but more so that we can maximize our groceries to get the most yummy dinners per week possible.

2 Tegan M. November 15, 2010 at 12:15 pm

For me, it’s just constantly being aware of what we have. If I think I “need” something, I consider: Do I have something I can substitute? Do I have the supplies I need to make it? Can we live without it?

We joke about our family motto being “less is more” but it’s so true!

3 Ashley November 15, 2010 at 12:16 pm

While my husband was in medical school and I was a low-on-the-pay scale teacher, I learned to do more with less with our monthly income. Determined to cover all our normal monthly expenses on my pay check, the area I was most creative with was food. I learned to cook an extensive variety of largely vegetarian (meat is expensive!), nutritious meals, while also learning how to make a little flavor and various spices go a long way. Now that he has graduated and our budget has a little more wiggle room, I still appreciate the lessons I was “forced” to learn in our time of less, because they have made me a better steward of our resources.

4 Kelly Ann November 15, 2010 at 12:17 pm

To do more with less in our tiny house, we decorate only once in the fall. A few pieces – a pretty wreath, pumpkin candles, and preserved leaves in a glass hurricane – take us all the way from late September to late November. I’m sure the kids will want Halloween decorations when they get old enough to care, but for now, the simplicity is refreshing!

5 Nicole November 15, 2010 at 12:18 pm

I’m also trying to pare down to what we REALLY use. I read recently about a couple in Seattle (Portland?) that got rid of nearly everything. Each of them only has 100 things. I’m not ready to go that far, but somewhere between my house and theirs is a happy medium. I’m especially trying to keep from going overboard with holiday decorations and just keep it to what we already have or can make ourselves.

On this note — please don’t pick me — I don’t need another gadget!

6 Jesse B. November 15, 2010 at 12:20 pm

I *need* to apply this to my entire house. The clutter is taking over and it’s time to fix it before I go insane.

7 Tanya November 15, 2010 at 12:20 pm

I resonate really well with this topic. Since 2009, the Hubs and I are constantly asking ourselves this question. We left Seattle feeling fat with material. We gave everything away and kept just what we could drive with…then when we left San Diego…we kept only what would fit in an RV. Now we sold the RV and have furnished our Austin apt with Good Will and Craigslist items and I love it. Less stuff around helps us fill our home with more love.

Great reminder!

8 Tiffany hatch November 15, 2010 at 12:21 pm

One way that I do more with less is I have turned into a major coupon clipper. I am amazed at how much you can get for your money when you shop smart!

9 Tara J November 15, 2010 at 12:22 pm

The lessons learned in graduate school did not only happen in the classrooms, the small stipend taught my husband and I to be frugile. One thing we do, it all our own construction…it really makes renovations our own! Although I love kitchen tools, I have started to purge and am back to cooking in a cast iron pan, 1 small, 1 larger pot using wooden spoons and spatulas. It feels good to not have the clutter of cabinets. We have also purged the kids plates and they just use the regular ceramic or thier “makeIt” Plates!

10 Allison November 15, 2010 at 12:25 pm

we definitely do more with less. my husband is currently in grad school and we are on a tight budget with 2 little ones. i actually have enjoyed having less. it helps me focus on the more important things in life.

11 Kristen November 15, 2010 at 12:26 pm

Before I buy something, I ask myself if I really need it. For clothes, I love a good bargain and hunting through thrift shops! Our family eats all of our meals in, so when we do go out, it is a special treat.

12 Alison November 15, 2010 at 12:28 pm

I would like to not give into the temptation to buy and believe the “scare tactics” used to make new moms feel like they have to buy a bunch of new things for a first baby, and be content with what we have for our nursery: used rocking chair and changing table, re-purposed chest of drawers, silk cushions re-made from old pillowcases, a new quilt and old afghan, etc.

13 Jennifer Brailsford November 15, 2010 at 12:30 pm

Lately, for doing more with less has been the thought for the purpose of coupon cutting and always on the look out for deals. Even though it can be exhausting at times, the benefit always pays off.

14 Margaret November 15, 2010 at 12:30 pm

What a great reminder, I’ve been fully embracing the “less is more” and trying to share it with our young children in an effort to teach them appreciation and to respect of the things we’ve been blessed to own. “Less is DEFINITELY more” when it comes to toys – we try to purchase well-made, quality pieces that will last instead of simply filling our home with toys. Now my latest challenge is to hold to buying only 2-3 gifts for each of my young ones this Christmas! Please keep the ideas rolling!!!

15 Wendy November 15, 2010 at 12:31 pm

I’m in the mood to go through my possessions and severely pare down. I need a solid chunk of time to devote to it but it has been difficult with a 3 year old. I don’t know how you do it with 6 kids! The things I couldn’t live without, though? Children’s books! Just taking a quick moment, a few times a day, to sit down and read to my girl and boy makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something really important!

16 Damaris @Kitchen Corners November 15, 2010 at 12:32 pm

I seriously feel the exact same way and I only have two kids. I do live in a tiny 2 bedroom apartment though, so i need to de clutter constantly. I’m convinced that plastic toys procreate in the middle of the night.

Last week I had an interesting experience. Before baby Maria was born someone gave us a glass bottle. We love it. It’s the only bottle we use because it’s safe to go in the microwave. So for the past year we’ve been using this one and only bottle. As soon as she’s done drinking we wash it out so that it’s ready for her next feeding. Well, last week I went to target and found the exact same glass bottles on sale. 3 bottle for $4. I bought a pack. Now we have more bottles which also means that I’ve enabled us to be lazy so we don’t wash it out right away and by the time we get to it the milk is so nasty and encrusted it’s hard to wash.

I wish i had never bought the additional bottles. I should of just stuck with one. I often feel this way with lots of things that I buy and then regret. Seriously, how many t-shirts does a boy need? How many onesies does a baby need? Much less than we think.

17 Rachel November 15, 2010 at 6:17 pm

Wow! This is such a good example of the way I find my life cluttered. I think I am making my life easier when in fact, I become encumbered by my stuff.

18 sara November 15, 2010 at 12:33 pm

Fabulous topic (and fabulous giveaway)! In this house (where we’ve lived for 5 years now) we have a big playroom area and a big master closet. While this is nothing to complain about, we end up accumulating too much stuff in these large areas, the thought being “why not; we have the space.” I have been trying to simplify and in fact prior to this Christmas I have plans to go through the playroom with the kids and get rid of a LOT of toys/games/etc. And, given the state of the economy, I’ve had to entirely re-think the notion of presents for the kids… it will definitely be a “less is more” year for us but I have a feeling nobody will feel that they’ve missed out on anything.

19 Emily November 15, 2010 at 12:33 pm

Living in a city in a small apartment, I decided to just get one stroller for my new baby — I only use a jogging stroller and we go everywhere with it! How great to only need one!

20 Tabitha Pacheco November 15, 2010 at 12:34 pm

I only buy something if I LOVE IT and can’t live without it. I also have a 3 day rule that if I see something I love, I have to wait 3 days and if I still need it, I get it.

I also buy everything cash. There is nothing I need worth going in debt (except for my house)

21 Meredith November 15, 2010 at 12:37 pm

Nothing (appliances) comes in my kitchen that does just one thing. I don’t have a breadmaker, rice cooker, indoor grill, etc. My food processor does it all and, even though the other things would be nice, they’ve all be given away or said ‘no’ to because of the mental or actual clutter they cause.

22 Jenny November 15, 2010 at 12:38 pm

For Christmas we are doing more with less by getting the kids 4 presents only.
Something to wear
Something you need
Something you want
Something to read.
It is very freeing to know I have 4 presents to buy for each and that they have a specific purpose.

23 Michele November 15, 2010 at 12:39 pm

ugh…I really wish that I could figure out ways to do more with less. I’ve tried a lot of things (such as being frugal with groceries etc..), but none of it has really stuck. I like to de-clutter and donate/purge toys, clothes etc…but I wish that I could avoid bringing it into the house to begin with.

24 Lauren November 15, 2010 at 12:40 pm

This is something I think about all of the time. I love Damaris’s comment! Sometimes more is just more, and it actually makes life more complicated.

Here is something that helps me do more with less: I’ve stopped subscribing to e-mail updates from retailers. If I don’t see it, I ‘m never tempted to buy it, and now I find I rarely make impulse purchases.

25 mindi November 15, 2010 at 12:44 pm

I use coupons whenever possible, but stopped trying to stockpile so much. The space that it took up in my home and the “mental” clutter wasn’t worth the savings for me.

26 Andria November 15, 2010 at 12:45 pm

I tend to go through my clothes every few months to get rid of items I’m not using. I also do this with all of my things. Even my sewing stash gets picked through to make sure I will use what I have.

27 Hannah Q. November 15, 2010 at 12:49 pm

Even though we just moved into a bigger space (from a tiny 1br apartment to a small 2br/1ba rental house) my husband and I have been downsizing our belongings. The furniture that we have now is almost all multipurpose…I love the look of clean lines with just a few precious items and artwork out for display.

28 Anna Macfarlane November 15, 2010 at 12:52 pm

I’ve done a lot on less with my current flip phone, but it is definitely time to upgrade.

We also live in a smaller, old home and are advocates for kids sharing rooms, not needing their own desks in each room, and living with one, well-used family room space. When did our generation convince themselves that we needed 1000 sq ft per person?

29 Erin November 15, 2010 at 12:52 pm

I try to do more with less…stuff. In general. My husband and I have this reputation among both our families and all our friends as being really frugal. This whole economy-is-down-so-frugal-is-posh attitude is new to us. When we bought our house, we garage-saled like crazy. But we found that it was so easy to fall into the “deal” trap: It’s a crazy-good price, so we must need it. Or someone else must. We love a deal, but try to keep ourselves in check by asking whether we actually need that item, no matter the price.

Another thing I’ve done lately is create “pantry” meals: Using only what’s in the fridge and pantry to create meals for a week days or a week. It helps jog my memory so I’m not picking up brown rice every other week without using it up first. Use it up, wear it out, that sort of thing.

30 Judie Updike November 15, 2010 at 12:53 pm

I like to repurpose things…an ice bucket holds make-up supplies, a shot glass holds my toothbrush.

31 Kim G November 15, 2010 at 12:53 pm

It was so funny to bring up your blog post today. Last night I returned from a weekend of working away from home, and I came back to clutter of every kind. This morning I spent it picking things up and instead of putting them away where we had even more, I put them in a bag and took them to the Goodwill. My kids have ENOUGH puzzles, ENOUGH games, ENOUGH toys. Sometimes I feel the stuff gets in the way of what we really want; which might be love, attention, acceptance, clarity, so many things. Thanks for this post, and so many of your other posts that come just at the right time.

32 Amanda Elhaj November 15, 2010 at 12:54 pm

We were forced to do more with less when I lost my job, but it’s amazing. Keep furniture, use it differently, don’t throw so much away AND be happy with what you have.

33 amy November 15, 2010 at 12:58 pm

we moved into a smaller house this summer and got rid of a lot of stuff.

with three kids we still have plenty, and nobody misses what we got rid of!

34 bdaiss November 15, 2010 at 12:59 pm

I think there’s something in the air. Just this weekend I decided we’re going to find at least 100 things this week to get rid of. And they can’t just be baby stuff (I already have a huge stack of those – we’re done with the procreating, so bye-bye ittybittybaby stuff! I hope someone else enjoys you as much as we have!).

Next up – organizing my freezer (I need room for thanksgiving leftovers), and whipping up meals for the next week and a half based on what’s already in there. A deep freeze is great, but stuff gets lost if I don’t clean it out every other month or so.

And finally – I’m working on a shopping reality check. This is the time of year I could easily take retail therapy to unseen heights. So I take photos of what I’m tempted by. If, at least a week later, I’m still envisioning said item in my house, then I can put it on my wish list. And only 1 new wish list item per paycheck (um, that’s 2 a month).

Thanks for the chance to have a fancy new phone!

35 Zandri November 15, 2010 at 12:59 pm

For me it’s the humble potato. I’ve even joked in the past that I should compile a book on the subject. I can do countless things with it, even entertain kids. They are amazing! (Is it weird to gush about potatoes?) On a side note, I totally adore that table of yours. It’s perfect in so many ways!

36 debbiem November 15, 2010 at 1:00 pm

We live in an older home. We were in the middle of a significant remodel when we found out we were pregnant with twins. We had a house designed for us and our current 2 children, not 4 children! We decided to live with this situation for a while and then tackle later, maybe another addition or a new house. Since then the bad economy hit us like everyone else. I have decided I am proud to live in a 3 bedroom house. Everyone doesn’t need their own room and bathroom. We have a happy family who likes to be together and that is more important than how much living space we have. When you don’t have a lot of extra space, then you cant have a lot of extra stuff!

37 Taylor Pierce November 15, 2010 at 1:00 pm

We are hoping to adopt.

We recently moved from our two bedroom house, to a two bedroom place with a walk in closet. We are happily converting the extra space in the walk in closet into a delightful nursery!!

38 Ashley Madsen November 15, 2010 at 1:01 pm

So excited to read all of the suggestions and ideas that everyone has. I am constantly de cluttering a bit here and a bit there. There are so many unnecessary things that are wants, not needs and I think it is more relaxing to have a non cluttered home with just the things that make you happy.

39 stacy November 15, 2010 at 1:01 pm

I just now am taking a break for sorting thru the piles of toys in my kids play room. Who needs all this stuff? Not them, they are the most happy outside with sticks and rocks.:)

40 Rebecca Robison November 15, 2010 at 1:02 pm

I seek for one more moment to pray- even if that means turing down the radio to my favorite tune.

41 kim November 15, 2010 at 1:03 pm

Wow is this post timely.

This morning I sat our two children down to discuss the idea of ‘simple living’ and the gratitude that we should have about living in a country with so much. However, as I am expecting our third child in February — and feeling very much the way you do, Gabby, about simplifying where possible.

We have decided to go through our home as a family and donate 1,000 things to our local Salvation Army, ARC, and local schools. So far this morning we found 37 markers (all multiple duplicates), a couple *extra* winter coats and scarves, and 4 picture frames. Going through our tool collection alone we will probably come up with another 100 items. Does it all add up quickly…

It embarrasses me that we have so much superfluous stuff, but I am hopeful that the kids will see this as a way to give to our community — especially good for the holidays. (oh, and my head will be a lot more clear as I, too, make mental room for our newest addition. I guess having to sort and clean less is a huge bonus as well!) ;)

42 Juliana Chan November 15, 2010 at 1:05 pm

I think that I do more with less by not buying impulse buys. Yes, that new chair I spotted at anthropologie is awesome, but after I went home and thinking about it I figured that we were doing just fine with the chairs we already have. This principle applies to everything I buy, except groceries.

43 camilla November 15, 2010 at 1:05 pm

I’ve been thinking about doing more with less as well, with Christmas coming and the new toys we will be making room for. I try to think like my grandmother did. She and her little girl went to visit my Grandpa when he was training to serve in World War 2 and she didn’t have room to take suitcases full of clothing, so for her daughter she packed one nightgown and one little dress, and every night she’d wash the dress out and hang it up to dry, then put it back on her the next day. When I remember this I feel like taking everything out of my closets and just putting back the essentials. We really can live and be happy without a lot of things.
Great post (and giveaway)!

44 Raquel November 15, 2010 at 1:06 pm

Norwex cleaning cloths

45 Molly November 15, 2010 at 1:06 pm

I am all about reusing; from reusing spaghetti sauce jars for glasses and storage, to reusing fabric from worn out clothes. There are so many great ideas out there about how to simplify your life. We need so little but want so much.

Thanks for the reminder!

46 Anna November 15, 2010 at 1:06 pm

We have three kids in car seats in the back of a compact car! There is absolutely not another inch of space in that back seat but somehow we have made it work to have just one car for most of our marriage. My husband is in med school, he did a masters before this and so did I and we have had to make do with less for quite some time. Even now that we live in a home (thank goodness for cheap Texas houses :) we are really good at keeping things simple.

47 Jenny also November 15, 2010 at 1:08 pm

Our ultimate do more with less is our modest 2 bedroom/1 bathroom home . We thought long and hard about “building on” including a master suite etc but decided it was much better to commit to living within our means. Instead we just re-did the backyard which has hugely expanded our playing and entertaining space.

Next stop, Gabby’s table.

How about for everyday use each member of the family having only one plate/bowl and one glass? That way the few items you have get washed each time, not smelly dirty dishes and no loading and unloading the dishwasher all the time.

48 Lisa Boshell November 15, 2010 at 1:09 pm

I’m always on the lookout for time-saving/money-saving/sanity-saving ideas to simplify my life!

49 A. Krause November 15, 2010 at 1:14 pm

Letting go of my mother’s formal dining room concept, helped change the way I entertain. Dinnery Party for 10 in our 1 bedroom apt? No problem w/ 2 rubbermaid bins, a closet door & a tablecloth. Happiness abounds when you share what you have, without being embarrassed about what you don’t have.

50 deanna November 15, 2010 at 1:15 pm

Doing school at home and on a budget is helping me to get really creative about crafts and outings. We’ve discovered so many free resources in our community that I never would have known about!

51 Jennifer November 15, 2010 at 1:15 pm

Every time I buy something (besides groceries) I try to clean out something. So if I buy a new shirt I know I must get rid of one as well. If I buy new decor I must find something that I do not need any longer.

52 Amber November 15, 2010 at 1:16 pm

I do more with less by making my own cleaning products (using white vinegar, baking soda, etc) and by making my own laundry detergent. It really helps cut our spending.

53 Sally November 15, 2010 at 1:18 pm

One area where we accumulate faster than I like is with books, so my attempt to do more with less is to use the library more. If I here of a good book, I request it right away so that I don’t forget about it and in a couple of days (or weeks if it’s a popular one) it’s waiting for me at the library. I also do this with our kids books.

54 whitney November 15, 2010 at 1:22 pm

Rather than spending tons of money on baby food jars, I just make extra at meals for the family, and feed my son the same thing we are having. I will puree or mash when needed, but mostly just give him little chunks.

55 kirsten bingham November 15, 2010 at 1:30 pm

i am a HUGE fan of this post.
I think the society we live in is constantly trying for the bigger and “better”
my husband and i plan on living in under 800 SF our whole lives. most people laugh when they hear that. but, we’ll live without tons of debt, without tons of stuff we don’t need and we’ll be happy.

56 Bethany November 15, 2010 at 1:30 pm

I do more with less in a similar way as you are describing . . . I have 5 kids, but kids can really be happy with less “things” if you make it a part of your lifestyle. Then they just know that this is the way we do things.

57 kristi November 15, 2010 at 1:32 pm

oh, i do love to declutter! we routinely donate clothing, books, toys, etc. to our favorite non-profit – it’s a win-win! thanks for the giveaway!

58 Nicole W. November 15, 2010 at 1:33 pm

It’s so easy to keep piling on the extras until life’s essentials disappear – crowded closets, cluttered rooms, over scheduled lives, and more. Sometimes I worry that my children’s biggest memory of me will be the back of my head, since that’s what they see when I’m driving them around.

I’ve been trying to approach our life with a backwards design by looking at the essentials and clearing out the rest. This holiday season I’m planning on holding a family meeting to identify the important things – then let go of the rest without guilt.

59 Tricia M. November 15, 2010 at 1:33 pm

I do the best keeping things pared down when I avoid shopping altogether. I have a hard time resisting the “good deal” which always seem available these days.

60 Tricia November 15, 2010 at 1:33 pm

It’s all about prioritizing. I splurge on the things that are important to me and my family (when we can) and those may not be the things that other families choose to spend money on. But you can live within your means when you know what’s important to you.

61 Gencie November 15, 2010 at 1:35 pm

I’m getting married soon on a very small budget. I’m squeezing the most possible out of every dollar, from having my fiance’s stepmom make the cake to doing a lot of the wedding stuff ourselves!

62 Courtney November 15, 2010 at 1:37 pm

I love all the great ideas and will be putting a few of them to use this week!

63 Anne M. November 15, 2010 at 1:41 pm

Not sure if this qualifies or not, but I always purchase snow boots a size or two large and make the kiddies wear them for a couple of years and always hand the bigger on down to the younger so that I only have to purchase for the eldest.

64 Rendy Lemke November 15, 2010 at 1:44 pm

I love this topic, and am always de-cluttering. After having been in 3rd world countries, I try to instill in my children how wealthy we are, and how little others have. They love to dig through their toys and pick some to give to others less fortunate than them. We have 3 children, yet live in a small 3/bdrm 1/bath home. We often think we “need” a larger house, but realize it is only because we are comparing our house to our friends’, kids’ friends houses. We really get along just fine, and my husband and I even both work from home! Living in a small house forces us to do with less, because there is no place to put extra stuff!

65 Wendy November 15, 2010 at 1:44 pm

We’re doing little things like eating in — it sickens me to think how much we spent eating in restaurants on a weekly basis. We’re also taking an extra 30 minutes to “map” out our attack on the grocery store — using coupons. I could kick myself for not insisting that we do this sooner. The dollars really do add up in our bank account by just using common sense. This coupled with a good sweep of the house and a trip to several charities to hand over the “loot” is making a difference in our pocket books and our spirits.

66 Helen November 15, 2010 at 1:46 pm

We are doing more with less this year for Christmas by capitalizing on our church’s free toy trade! We all have toys sitting around (used and new) that get ignored – parents get together to trade and viola! Free Christmas!

67 Debra Peck November 15, 2010 at 1:46 pm

although moving often is rough, i always like that it makes me really think about what i want to pack up and bring to my next home. have i really used the item in the last year? if not, why am i holding on to it?

the other thing that my husband and i have done for the last few years is the cash system. we get out enough cash for our gas, groceries, and entertainment budget at the beginning of the month and when it’s gone, it’s gone. it’s been amazing for our budget and really kept us from impulse buys.

68 Ann H November 15, 2010 at 1:48 pm

We have implemented a one toy in, one toy out policy. I really struggled with this – it seemed so mean! Our family and friends are so generous, even when we ask for no gifts… we were drowning in toys! Now, we clear out our playroom regularly, the toys that are out the way out are donated to a shelter so other children can enjoy them. The girls get to pick what goes and whay stays, the playroom is under control, and other children benefit. Now I cannot remember why I fought this idea for so long!

69 Annie November 15, 2010 at 1:51 pm

I am all for more with less. I’m in my twenties and single so I’m living in a tiny studio with a murphy bed, and I find having less space makes me much more considerate of buying things.

70 Esther Cruz November 15, 2010 at 1:58 pm

I am a mom of two boys, I work part time 4 days a week so my check is not that amazing but enough to buy the whole food for two weeks. I write my list before I go to the store and stick to it so there is no way I can spend more. We have been saving so much money !!! And of course, my hubby pays for the rest.

71 Eem November 15, 2010 at 2:02 pm

Thrifting! Its a great way to find a piece of clothing that is unique and cool for cheap! Also I have learned to ask my siblings, parents and friends for old furniture that I can turn into something useful and beautiful for my house.

72 rob November 15, 2010 at 2:02 pm

i’m really short, so whenever i buy a new pair of pants, i need to trim off about three inches of fabric at the bottom to re-hem them to the right length. i recently used some of that scrap fabric to patch a pair of my son’s pants. the fabulous part was that i had a scrap that was just the right color.

73 Natalie H. November 15, 2010 at 2:10 pm

This year for Christmas the kids are getting four gifts each:
Something they want
Something they need
Something for fun
and Something to read

It’s great to simplify!

74 Renee November 15, 2010 at 2:13 pm

with a toddler in a third floor condo, I often feel overwhelmed with all the gear that a baby needs – the exercsauser, the hobby horse, the crawl through tunnel, the activity mat, the bouncy seat, the swing….and they use it for relatively short amounts of time. I have been getting a lot of that “stuff” from craigslist or friends and then reselling it or sending it back. Sometimes friends and I swap toys for a few months to expose our kids to something new and fun without having to buy (and store) it. I also recycle Halloween costumes – a great saver.

75 guinevere November 15, 2010 at 2:15 pm

I felt so free when I got rid of all my old gross knives and kept my two good ones: a santoku and a serrated one. I meant to replace the other essentials, but I’ve just been using the two for a year now!

76 desiree November 15, 2010 at 2:22 pm

I highly recommend freecycle. It’s easier to get rid of things when people come and take it off your hands….

77 Pamala November 15, 2010 at 2:24 pm

We are on a big budget and I’ve found that making baby food is going to save us a ton of money! As a early Christmas gift my mom got me a baby food maker and its a godsend. Seriously.

78 amelia November 15, 2010 at 2:26 pm

We like to re-use things. So we bring less into our home.

79 Heather HS November 15, 2010 at 2:35 pm

Thrift stores all the way!!

80 Dyanna Littke November 15, 2010 at 2:38 pm

I am going through a major purging of unnecessary needs at this time as well. Donating the extra items my daughter no longer needs and keeping the essentials and gear for the “next” baby. And, I could really use a phone since I’m down one from the drool damage of my teething baby:)

81 Joanna G. November 15, 2010 at 2:38 pm

I try to do more with less now that I am living in NYC. I went from 1300 square feet to 450 square feet. I can’t be a pack rat anymore. Organization is everything. I have filled my home with items I actually utilize, and I have gotten rid of all else.

82 Jennifer November 15, 2010 at 2:43 pm

We have a very small home and I am fatally allergic to clutter so I am pretty ruthless about doing more with less. I fully subscribe to the “one in, one out” method of shopping (although, with gifts and such things that find their way into the house, it usually ends up being more like “one in, two out”). I don’t buy anything unless I can think of something else that I’m willing to replace. It saves space and money and I never feel compelled to give in to retail therapy because bucking my own system would just stress me out more.

83 Kristen November 15, 2010 at 2:43 pm

Two words: Public. Library!
We needed to cut down on our discretionary purchases rather drastically, and one of the ways we did so was to start “ordering” books in our library system rather than buying them. I used to make so many book purchases on a whim, and then sometimes never even got to the book! With the library, we’ve checked out audiobooks, DVDs, books etc. and then if we really love something, will buy it. But those things are few and far between so far….

84 Annette November 15, 2010 at 2:43 pm

I love to do more with less…especially in the kitchen. My favorite kitchen gadget is a good knife. It’s my garlic press, herb chopper, nut chopper, not to mention cutting utensil for meats, veggies, fruits, squash…you name it! Love the table!

85 shenais November 15, 2010 at 2:44 pm

yes! every time i add to the house i must take away. i feel so much better when i have less. my mind is clearer, my outlook fresher. less is more- it really is! if i find that i always use one certain item (and the other items of the same ilk are left unused) i will get rid of the other items. why have things taking up space if i don’t even use them?

86 hcpedigo November 15, 2010 at 2:48 pm

I love Natalie H.’s idea above. It always seems the kids are in over their heads around the holidays!

87 divrchk November 15, 2010 at 2:50 pm

Since this is a techy giveaway, I’ll give you a techy example. My Harmony One remote has de-cluttered my coffee table. Seriously, this remote is amazing. I can do so much with it. I can control EVERYTHING! Anyone can use it.

88 Carrie November 15, 2010 at 2:56 pm

More With Less #1: Reusable grocery bags. It’s such a nice feeling to cut down on all those plastic bags that we don’t need. It’s a small thing, but it feels SO good not to have to wrestle with plastic bags!

89 bryssy November 15, 2010 at 3:03 pm

I left my full time job this year to stay home and homeschool my kids. (Kindergarten, 2 1/2 and a newborn). Best decision ever. However, our budget is so tight it squeaks! But, I love not being addicted to shopping or other “stuff.” It’s easy to get caught up in that.

90 Hillary H November 15, 2010 at 3:07 pm

A lot of my holiday decorations I just make out of paper. Then when the holiday is over, I toss the decorations. It makes my house look festive without costing anything since I usually have paper on hand.

91 Carolyn November 15, 2010 at 3:08 pm

My new year’s resolution last January was to go an entire year without buying bottled water. There have been a couple of instances (in the middle of an 8-mile run, for example) where I had to give in but besides that, I always carry a water bottle with me. I’m saving money, helping the environment and staying hydrated! It’s the little things :)

92 Jean YY November 15, 2010 at 3:12 pm

We moved 3 times in the past 2.5 years and got rid of all the junk we didn’t need. Less is more.

93 Cara November 15, 2010 at 3:13 pm

This year for Christmas we are going out of town to visit family. We have made a new rule in our home that we will only exchange stockings amongst our immediate family with a limit of $25 each. We (my husband and I) are trying to instill family times shared rather than presents for Christmas.

94 jenna November 15, 2010 at 3:17 pm

To me, the most glaring example is reducing to a single car family. Less cars, less cost, but more thoughtful driving, more time together in the one car talking accomplishing errands. More consideration about miles traveled and whether they are really necessary. And more exercise because of needing to get to the bank (or library, or store) while the other one has the car.

95 Maureen November 15, 2010 at 3:18 pm

we are expecting our 2nd child and de-cluttering like crazy. but it’s hard: those sentimental things, the “i might still wear this” conundrum ….

96 Rachel November 15, 2010 at 6:25 pm

My rule is: I haven’t worn it in the last year, out it goes.

97 Brooke November 15, 2010 at 3:20 pm

I try to be content with the things I have. Also, I try to by multipurpose items, instead of things with a single purpose.

98 Megan Dunford November 15, 2010 at 3:28 pm

Every other year for Christmas, my siblings and I do a service project instead of buying gifts. I’m sure there are a lot of people that do something similar, but it was the first thing that came to mind when you asked about doing more with less. I think that’s exactly what we are trying to do – giving something to someone who really needs it, instead of just keeping stuff around because we can. They get more, we get less.
I try to think the same way when I need to declutter – instead of thinking, “I’ll wear this sweater when I’m skinny again” – I think “I’ll give this sweater to a skinny someone who needs it now”. It makes getting rid of things a lot easier and quite fun!

99 Barb @ getupandplay November 15, 2010 at 3:31 pm

I use the website Swap.com to trade stuff I already have but don’t want anymore for books, CDs and DVDs. A lot of my son’s book collection comes from swapping! I try to never buy books new, they are so expensive!, but I can’t not have books in our home!

100 Summer November 15, 2010 at 3:32 pm

We recently made a pretty big move and got rid of a lot of things in the process. It was refreshing. And while we waited for all of our things to arrive, we subsisted on bare minimums. When all of our things did get here, it almost felt too crowded. So I’ve made a few in roads about getting rid of things we don’t really need. And a calendar to finish up some sewing projects have had in the works for entirely too long. Plus I really want to clean out my closet and buy clothing that is more timeless, less trendy, and could work in more ways. It’s a lot of goals, but little by little we’re getting it done. Even if I just spend 15 minutes a day de-junking I feel so much better.

101 Connie Smith November 15, 2010 at 3:55 pm

I find a lot of uses for hairspray some of them really wacky!

102 Courtney November 15, 2010 at 4:00 pm

Doing more with less is such a great concept and really causes you to think outside of your noggin for a bit. I feel quite accomplished when I can cut corners and come out on top. Don’t even get me started with home many uses I can find for baking soda in our house. I hardly ever buy cleaners!

*Great giveaway (btw). I have been pining for a new phone and this one looks great!

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