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Reduce Chaos to Save Money

Reduce chaos in order to save money. Live like a natural disaster is coming. Make life simpler in order to de-clutter the mind and the living environment. Many people enjoy primitive camping and leave the luxuries of home. It sounds paradoxical, but simplicity has many benefits. Campers think practically, prepare for emergencies, and lighten their load, but home dwellers act like packrats and stuff themselves with garbage. Live like you're camping and minimize "stuff". The less clutter, the less to find, maintain, and clean.


If there's an earthquake, the licorice, soda, and shelves of knickknacks decorating your house will not save you, and will quickly become a burden. It's better to store things that are truly useful to human life. In natural disaster movies, most people act confused; because they ARE confused and haven't prepared. Think about it; do you really want to be pinned down by a giant cabinet during an earthquake with glass shattering everywhere? Reduce the size and number of things and you won't be pinned down and won't have so many things shattering. Here are the tips:

  • Limit the number of tools, furniture and "things" so as to simplify cleaning. Think "all-purpose" or multifunctional.

  • Only drink water. Humans can live without juice or soda, but they can't live without water.

  • Remove wooden baskets which harbor germs and dust, glass/ceramics that shatter, and tins that rust. Use durable clear plastic or stainless steel for storage.

  • Don't use artificial plants that collect dirt. Invest in an edible, evergreen indoor kumquat which feeds you and gives you oxygen, unlike the plastic flowers.

  • Don't make homemade laundry detergent which hasn't been tested for residue or effectiveness. Get an all-purpose "natural/green" cleaner and use it to replace all laundry detergent, dishwashing liquid, shampoos, soaps, etc. Castile soaps (100% natural) leave a residue while partly natural detergents leave no film.

  • Get cheap plastic bottles from container stores and fill it with one all-purpose cleaner.

  • For moisturizer, use olive or coconut oil which doesn't have toxic chemicals and can be used for cooking.

  • Match colors. Plastic bins should be clear. All towels should be cream-colored. If you have too many weird colors, it looks cluttered!

  • Don't buy art. Dry a plant and frame it as a botanical specimen.

  • Buy easy to maintain clothes. After the first wear, white clothes get stained, so purchase medium-colored clothing, socks and undergarments.

Home life doesn't have to be a primitive camp, but don't use camp in order to escape the clutter of the home!

By Eli from Tacoma, WA

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June 14, 20070 found this helpful

I agree with many of your points (and we do live as simply as possible ourselves - and clutter free), but I cannot begin to tell you what my skin would look like if I used olive or coconut oil on it! lol There are things that need to be considered, and allergic reactions and skin type are one of them.

Environmentally, I would much prefer glass containers for storing my food over plastic (though I do have both). Then again, I don't store on open shelving, I keep my foods in drawers and cabinets.

I don't drink pop/soda, rarely have, but juice I won't give up. It's part of my healthy diet. I do however drink lots of water.

Not all plans work for all people. Good advice though, not only for living more simply and making our home environments more inviting and calming, but also for reducing waste and the unnecessary clutter that takes it toll, our time, and often ends up in our landfills.

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June 14, 20070 found this helpful

Sorry, can't agree with you on the plastic stuff...

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June 14, 20070 found this helpful

Eli, some excellent advice (I'm another Ellie in Australia) However as the previous email said not everything works for everybody. Cream towels? You' have to be kidding! However no reason why they couldn't be all dark red, or dark blue towels, to save that 'clutter' look. However, another thing that has to be considered is communal living in small areas, ie, shared housing. I live in a 2 bedroom second floor apartment with a house share person, so there are their things, my things, and 'communal' things,

Okay, I agree I can be responsible for the decluttering of my things.. and I do try to do that.

Living green is something we can all try to do.. most of my clothing comes from thrift shops, You could call me Secondhand Rose! I recycle and try to reduce waste.

One size doesn't fit all, but we can try and do our best.

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June 14, 20070 found this helpful

And while I too agree with some of the advice, ... I LIKE some of my stuff. It serves no purpose but to give me joy when I look at it. That, to me, is the ruler by which to measure whether to keep or throw out something- not just "is it useful?" but "does it bring joy"

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June 15, 20070 found this helpful

I agree we should simplify. It makes life easier and in this fast paced world, simplification calms the soul. However, what you chose to do in the name of simplification does not fit the paradigm of my life. Things that have worked for centuries, like using wooden baskets and making homemade soaps for laundry do work and even make sense. Plastics, on the other hand, have been proven to cause a multitude of medical problems. And framed botanicals are called wall art. I chose to live my life in the 'now' and not treat it as if a disaster can hit at any time. Even though I have fewer material things than most and I refuse to go in debt, for me, living is surrounding myself with things I love. Living in a plain uncolored environment is parallel to institutionalizing the soul (in my opinion) and would choke the pleasure from my life. If it works for you, great, but please don't expect those same conditions to work for everyone else.

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June 15, 20070 found this helpful

I agree with the people below. I live a simple life, always trying to "minimize" but there is room for a little color in my life. Reading your words makes me think you are angry for some reason.

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June 16, 20070 found this helpful

Eli, I'm glad you wrote your article. You've made us think about what is and isn't important in our daily lives. Each part of the world has its own kind of disaster (it's tornadoes here), and it's essential to be as prepared as you can be.

I too love my knick-knacks. I would miss them if they were gone. And if the New Madrid fault in Missouri and Illinois kicks up any time soon, all the knick-knacks in the Midwest will be gone! But we will have nice memories of them.

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June 18, 20070 found this helpful

GREAT ARTICLE in theory. Don't buy art makes little sense...that is something that becomes valuable(not reproductions of course). Living simply and thrifty should NEVER mean to set yourself up for poverty for life. Art (oil painted canvas)is often found at yard sales for 5.00.


Yes, I often "live like I am poor" and this helps me save money for more important investments.

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June 30, 20070 found this helpful

Wow. What a drab and sad existence you must live in a life of cream colored towels and plastic containers!

No thanks. I save where I should and don't spend where I shouldn't. But I refuse to not enjoy life, and part of that is having color around me. That includes my wildly-colored striped towels and my bright knick-knacks. They give me joy and happiness and I need that in my life. Plastic is durable, but HORRIBLE for the environment, therefore we limit our plastics in this house. Wooden boxes and baskets are pretty and sturdy and perfect for storage, and can serve multiple purposes (a wooden trunk int he living room can server as storage AND as an end table or coffee table). Making my own laundry soap not only keeps nasties out of the environment and does a great job, but it saves my pocketbook about $20 a month. "Green" products, while great and wonderful, are also very pricey, and I can make my own without spending that kind of money. And cream colored towels? I have three kids and a husband and cream towels would look horrible in about a week. No thanks!

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