Nate

Feb 222012
 

If you have debt you probably ask yourself what should I pay off next. This is a question that I had been asking myself lately as we are getting close to paying off one of our student loans. Luckily one of my friends knew about a great site to help you figure out what to pay off next. The site is unbury.me. The site is pretty simple. You type in a name for each loan or credit card, current balance, min payment, and Interest. Then click calculate.

The site then shows you a graph of when each loan will be paid off and how much interest you will pay etc. You can also adjust the min amount that you are putting toward debt every month and it will show you how quickly you can have you debt paid off in one of 2 ways, using the avalanche method or the snowball method. The avalanche method use paying off the one with the highest interest rate first. The snowball method is paying off the smallest amount first (this is the one dave ramsey says to use.)

I like the ability to switch between the two methods to see how soon I can have the debt paid off.

Via Jeremy Via unbury.me

Originally posted on my old blog SimpleLike.me (Note:old domain may now be offline)

 Posted by at 4:43 pm
Feb 202012
 

One thing that makes it easier to get rid of things is to have a place to put them until you are able to actually bring them to be donated. We always have at least 1 bin in our house that we call our Goodwill bin. Usually it is by the front door or possibly in our guest bedroom if we are expecting company. If you find something you feel that you no longer need it can be a pain to bring this to Goodwill or Love Inc or whatever is near you right when you decide to get rid of the item. But, if you have place for these items in your house it does not take much effort to put something in a bin. Then when the bin or bins get full you can take the time and energy to bring them to be donated.

–Nate

Originally posted on my old blog SimpleLike.me (Note:old domain may now be offline)

 Posted by at 4:42 pm
Feb 182012
 

Todays post is all about why are you buying what you are buying. Next time you are about to buy something try to think of these things and see if you still want to buy it. If the answer is yes then go ahead. If it is no maybe you should put the purchase back and think about it a little more.

  • Does it replace something?
    • If it replaces something is the thing you are replacing need to be replaced because A) it got old and just needed to get thrown away even if you didn’t use it that much? B) You just want something new? or C) It is something that you have used so much that it got worn out and you really need a new one. If it is C then you are more likely buying it for a good reason.
  • Does it provide me with more time?
    • Does it allow me more time to do other things? I have someone mow my lawn. Granted I got a really good deal but I do it because I hate mowing the lawn and it frees up that time every week for me to do other things.
  • Does it make me happy?
    • Will this thing make me happy? Sounds like a simple question but you have to go a little deeper. Am I buying it because the item will make me happier or because the act of buying something new makes me happy? If it is the act of buying something then I recommend a pack of gum or something else sub $1.
  • Without looking at the price how much would you pay for it?
    • After you decide how much you would pay for it then look at the price tag. If it is higher than what you perceived the value to be then I would recommend not getting it.
    • This I find particularly helpful with art. My wife and I like art but we take a while before we purchase something. I often ask myself is “how much would I buy that for?” 9 times out of 10 it is a lot less than what they are asking.
  • Where am I going to put it?
    • Everything has to have a place. Figure out where that place is before you even purchase the item. This is one thing that has been a blessing for us in our small house. My wife likes looking at furniture and I always say where are we going to put it. This has saved us so much money.
  • Will it hold its value?
    • No one wants to keep something forever … well a gold bar would be cool but impractical. At some point we may want to get rid of this item. Will this item keep its value or possibly go up?
    • This goes hand in hand with is it of good quality? If not I would recommend not getting it until you can afford something that won’t break in a month and force you to buy it again.
  • How many people in the household would use it or enjoy it?
    • If you live with a wife and kids, roommates etc. How many people will want to use it? If you are the only one should you really get it? If everyone gains joy from it then it may be a good purchase.

Next time you are going to buy something ask yourself these questions first.

–Nate

Originally posted on my old blog SimpleLike.me (Note:old domain may now be offline)

 Posted by at 4:39 pm
Feb 112012
 

Joshua over at becoming minimalist has an article about how you can’t just clean and organize, you also have to get rid of things.

As he says:

“…simply organizing our stuff (without removing it) is always only a temporary solution. By definition, organizing possessions is an action that must be repeated over and over and over again. At its heart, organizing is simply rearranging. And though we may find storage solutions today, we are quickly forced to find new ones as early as tomorrow.”

He also discusses several downsides to keeping things instead of removing them:

  • The items do not benefit anyone else – If they are not being used by you why are you not letting someone else use them
  • It doesn’t solve our debt problems
  • It doesn’t make us want new things any less
  • It doesn’t force us to evaluate our lives
  • It accomplishes little in paving the way for other changes

He goes into detail on all of these and I recommend clicking on the link and reading them. He goes on to talk about how getting rid of things actually accomplishes all of the items on the list.

Via becomingminimalist

Originally posted on my old blog SimpleLike.me (Note:old domain may now be offline)

 Posted by at 4:37 pm
Feb 062012
 

Since last week I did a post about my closet purge I thought it would be a good idea to do one on how my closet is organized now.

As you can see I have things pretty well defined. This post is more about automating your life and making things really simple more than smaller. I know I could easily fit my clothes into less space but then it would not be as simple.

I am going to try to point out things that are not self explanatory.

  • Seasonal – This is for those items that you don’t use all of the time but it is good to have. Snow pants, Gloves, Swim suit etc
  • Socks – When I need new socks because the old ones get to many holes in them, I throw out all of that color sock that I have left. Then I buy 2-3 packs of the new socks that are the same color. Then I put them in their home place. I don’t roll them, fold them in pairs, etc. I just group them by color and in the morning when the room is dark I can always grab a pair that matches without having to think about it. As time goes along they all get used and if I have to throw out one here and there no big deal because they are all the same. I keep white and brown socks together because the color difference is still big enough that I can grab them in low light and I didn’t want any more bins.
    • This is different from my wife who has a bunch of socks that have to be matched exactly to 1 other sock in the bin. Way more work than what I want to put in when I am still half asleep.
  • Day Olds – If I have worn something for part of the day and it is not dirty yet. I fold it up and put it here. I don’t like mixing in my old clothes in with my clean clothes.
  • Belts and Ties – Wife and I share this aka she keeps here 1 belt in with my belts and ties
  • Work Shirts – These are all of the shirts I have with my companies logo on them. In the morning I just pick one at random and put it on and I know I am ready to work.
  • Every Day Shirts – 90% of these could also be worn to work but since it isn’t 100% I keep them separate.
  • Hamper – I love this hamper. Each of the bags is exactly the size of one load of laundry. So when it fills up I pull it out and run that load.
    • When I first started downsizing my clothes the hamper would not even fit underneath where it is now. Shows you how much I have purged down.

Now here are the pictures of my closet

Originally posted on my old blog SimpleLike.me (Note:old domain may now be offline)

 Posted by at 4:35 pm
Jan 302012
 

As I stated in an early post I recently went through and purged my closet…again. I try to purge it at least once a year just to make sure it is cleaned up.

Several ways to go through your closet:

  1. Turn your hanger around method
    • The basic idea here is turn all of your hangers around so they hook onto the bar a physically different way. As time goes along you will naturally wear some of the clothes When you hang them up you put them on the hanger bar the same way that you usually do. Wait 3,6,9,12 months. After the time is up go through and get rid of all of the clothes that are still turned around. Obviously if you did the 3 month time period and it is the middle of winter you may not be wearing your summer clothes. What I recommend doing is turning all of the hangers around and then as each season gets done get rid the clothes that you would normally wear during that season. This allows you to feel like you are doing something all year.
  2. Drawer/Pile method
    • This idea was brought up by one of my friends who pointed out. I don’t really use hangers but I have a ton of clothes.
    • In this idea you clear a part of a drawer or a space on the floor. To make this example easier I am going to assume you are cleaning out the top drawer in the dresser. As you wear clothes you put them in the top drawer instead of one of the other drawers. Over time you will need more drawers for the clothes you have been wearing. The good part is you have been taking them out of the other drawers so clean out the second drawer from the top and use that as a second “keep” drawer.
    • At the end of 3,6… months you follow the same idea that you did in the turn your hanger around method.
  3. Remembering method
    • Simply try to remember how often you wear something.
    • Honestly I think this is probably the worst method of the 3 but it is the one that I did this time so I thought I should mention it.

What I purged this time:

  • 4 Shorts (3 regular shorts, 1 basket ball shorts)
  • 3 Pants (khakis, dress pants, pajama pants)
  • 9 Shirts (6 t-shirts, 3 long sleeve dress shirts)
  • 1 Jersey
  • 2 Jackets (winter coat, fleece)

Why I purged what I purged:

  • Shorts – In the last year I had only worn shorts once. As I have gotten older I seem to find myself wearing pants most of the time. So I got rid of all of the shorts except for the pair that I wore last year.
  • Pants – I actually don’t like wearing khakis that much and never wear them, so out they go. Dress pants I have 2 other pairs that I wear 95% of the time so I thought it would be a good idea to get rid of the 3rd pair since I wasn’t using them. The pajama pants I got rid of because I got a new pair for christmas so I got rid of one of the older ones.
    • Side Note: One thing that makes it easier to get rid of clothes is to remember a one in one out method. Or if you have a lot of things a one in two out method might be better. If you do things gradually it can make it easier.
  • Shirts – I don’t really like wearing long sleeve shirts. I didn’t have very many when I started this purge but I got rid of about half of what I had left. Short sleeves, I picked ones that I don’t wear very often or had logos/sayings on them that didn’t look professional.
  • Jersey – This one was actually kind of hard for me but I had only worn it once over the last 2 years. The part that made it hard is that my wife actually designed the logo that the hockey team uses. I felt bad getting rid of it. The funny thing was that when I actually asked her if she was ok with me getting rid of it she was completely ok with it. I had held more sentimental value on it than she had.
  • Jackets – The winter coat was one of those huge poofy coats that you can wear when taking trips to the south pole. I had not worn it in over a year so that is why it left. The fleece had been given to me by someone else when they thought I looked cold at a bon fire at their house. They wouldn’t let me give it back. I am assuming they were trying to get rid of it themselves. I am actually surprised it was not gone before now.

What did I do with the stuff I purged:

  • Normally if it is still in good condition I donate it. There are many places that would love to have your clothes. To name a few there is Goodwill, Salvation Army, or Love INC I am also sure you can find some local charities that would love to have your old gently used clothes.
  • The Jersey actually got given to a friend of mine that is a much bigger fan of the team than I am and I am happy that I was able to give it to someone that likes it.

Originally posted on my old blog SimpleLike.me (Note:old domain may now be offline)

 Posted by at 4:32 pm
Jan 282012
 

Ryan Mitchell over at The Tiny Life has an interesting post the other day about some college housing that has been defined as to small. That could be because it is only 94 sq ft. Even though it is small, it is really well laid out. If you think about it how much smaller is this than the average 2 person dorm room. I would not have minded this if it was my own personal space. Think about  it , you get a bed, shower, bathroom, sink, desk, and table all in the same 94 sq ft.  How many of you had bathrooms in your dorm rooms?

I am not sure how much they cost to build per unit in the first place but, the rent was $4400 per year.

Unfortunately the school that they were designed for thought that they were to small. :( I am guessing because it would be hard to get around inside of for someone in a wheelchair. To bad though. Would be cool to see them built.

Pictures by Jan Nordén

via TheTinyLife via afb.se

Originally posted on my old blog SimpleLike.me (Note:old domain may now be offline)

 Posted by at 4:30 pm
Jan 272012
 

Here are several ways to take care of the things that seem to travel around the house

Ways to clean

  1. Invite people over for a party. Knowing people are coming over always brings out the cleaner in you. You pick up everything that is even slightly out of place.
  2. Pick up stray stuff around the house. Get a basket, a bag, or a box and pick up everything that is out of place.
Ways to not have to clean as much
  1. Keep track of which items you pick up. If you are always picking up the same things then maybe where you are storing them in the wrong place.
  2. Make sure you have a location for everything. If it doesn’t have a home then it will constantly be moving around.

Originally posted on my old blog SimpleLike.me (Note:old domain may now be offline)

 Posted by at 4:28 pm
Jan 262012
 

Hello,

My name is Nate. I currently live in West Michigan and work as a Computer Programmer.

As I was growing up I was like most Americans and always wanted more. I collected furniture, computers, clothes… and as I was moving around I moved everything with me.

About 3 years ago my wife (fiancé at the time) and I started looking for houses to buy that we could move into after we got married. What we were looking for usually ended up being 2000+ square feet and were either out of our price range or had a huge honey do list aka were fixer-up-ers. One night as I was going through my starred items in Google Reader, I started noticing a pattern:

  • 123 ways to live smaller
  • How to do more with less
  • etc

Those same themes kept coming up over and over again. I decided to take it as a sign that my sub-concious didn’t want to have the biggest place. My wife and I started looking at smaller houses and ended up finding one that was perfect for us. It is small, has no honey do list (my personal favorite), stylish and comfortable. Our home is about 950 sq ft when my last apartment was 900 sq ft. If you look at it as a sq ft / person we went from 906 sq ft / person to 475 sq ft / person. A 425 sq ft / person drop.

The funny thing is that we ended up buying all of the furniture from the previous owner. So you know all of that furniture that I had been carefully moving from place to place (8 times since starting college)? It never moved and instead got given away or trashed. We ended up only moving 1 piece into the house and that was only because it had sentimental value to me. I really wish I would have learned to live smaller earlier on as it would have saved me a lot of lugging.

At first it did seem a little bit crowded fitting both of our stuff in 1 place and she didn’t even move in until we were married, about 6 months later. But since moving into the house we continue to purge on a regular basis and now the house almost seems big.

I hope you have a good idea now for who I am and why I live smaller.

Have a nice day,

–Nate

Originally posted on my old blog SimpleLike.me (Note:old domain may now be offline)

 Posted by at 4:21 pm