Living Like These Happy Golden Years: What You Really Need

by Merissa on March 1, 2012

in Living Like Little House

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"Pa spoke. "Could you be ready to move to the claim this week, Caroline?" "This week? said Ma in surprise. "The school district's going to put up a schoolhouse on Perry's claim just south of our south line," Pa said. "All the neighbors will help build it, but they will want to hire me to boss the job. We ought to be moved out before I begin, and if we go this week, there'll be plenty of time to finish the schoolhouse before the first of April." "We can go any day you say, Charles," Ma answered. "Day after tomorrow then," said Pa." ~ These Happy Golden Years p. 147

I was thinking about this paragraph today and it hit home for me. We plan on moving here in a few months. Moving always brings a hustle of activity. Things to pack, things to clean, things to get ready. And then the actual moving. Hauling all your stuff over to the new place and getting settled in. But this paragraph made me think of something else.

If we had to move out tomorrow, could we do it?

I'm guessing that most of you would echo my answer when I say no. We simply have too much stuff to be all moved in one day!

Which brings up a good and valid point. If the Ingalls had everything they needed and could move in one day, how come I can't? Easy...because I have everything I need plus a little. (Or maybe alot... πŸ˜‰ )

All that makes me think of something else. If I have to move out tomorrow and only had the one day to get together, what would I take? What in my house is really important for us to live and what do I not really need?

A few months ago we were faced with one of the most terrifying situations I've ever come across. A violent prairie fire was sweeping closer to our house while the wind was blowing 50 mph. We sat and watched the smoke get thicker and the flames get closer when hubby finally said it's time to get ready. We had about 1 hour to pack up what was important, what we needed. Now here's the surprising part....I had everything packed up in that 1 hour. In the 3 hours we sat and waited with our things loaded in the car, it only took 1 hour to have everything packed up. The other 2 hours I sat looking around the house, wondering what else I should pack but realizing that we didn't actually need any of it.

So my challenge to you today is to take a look around your house. Think about the things you really need and what's just taking up space. As an added bonus, if you sell/get rid of those items you don't really need you will then have either extra money or extra space for something else you might actually need!

Make sure you check out the entire Living Like Little House series!

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12:21 pm

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Sandra March 1, 2012 at 12:40 pm

My version of what we need and my husbands version of what we need seem to be two totally different things. I think for us it depends on what we are using to move our belongings in as to what can be taken. I am pretty sure that probably 75% of the stuff we own we could consider as luxury not necesity. The funny part is that maybe only 25% of the 75% of our luxury items that we own would probably be worth selling.


2 April Mae Macdonald Rugletic March 1, 2012 at 12:49 pm

~ I love this and I’m right there with ya, Sister, as I think a lot of us are. Think of it as having been blessed with more “needs”…like electricity and indoor plumbing…both to which have to be cancelled via telephone…and so on. And luxuries as simple as photo frames…or maybe TWO sets of dishes/one for everyday and one for sp. occasions. I know, I know…Ma said the dishes that Pa worked so hard by doing woodwork were NOT for special occasions by for special people…lol. So, I will take you up on that challenge and take a look around. Whatever I don’t need, I’m giving to the Thrift Store where I work. They will use the money for OUTREACH. Thanks SO much for this article…HUGS. <3


3 Paula March 1, 2012 at 1:03 pm

Great post! We are almost at the end of “These Happy Golden Years,” as we’ve been reading through the series at bedtime. There are SO many great lessons to be learned in these books!


4 Valerie Z March 1, 2012 at 1:13 pm

You’d be surprised what you can move in 1 day. I live in Minot, ND and last spring a flood devastated 30% of the city. We were given about 36 hours notice and many, many people with the help of friends were able to empty their homes and save all their belongings.


5 Charessa Anderson Witham March 1, 2012 at 1:50 pm

I’ve been asking myself the same questions. But my version of what to keep is different from hubby’s. I could live in a small space with not much but we have 4 kids. I am in the process of purging the house so I can downsize a lot.


6 Little House on the Prairie Living March 1, 2012 at 1:56 pm

I love all the good thoughts coming from this. I also agree with some of the comments…my hubby isn’t always on the same page as I am with downsizing and cleaning out what we don’t need.


7 Kathleen Keller March 1, 2012 at 1:56 pm

Oddly enough… the first things my eyes hit in this challenge were my books and the family video/dvd collection.


8 Kathleen Keller March 1, 2012 at 1:58 pm

Then there is the pretty but horridly uncomfortable couch that we keep because it was my honey’s mothers…the uncomfortable chair that is just sitting there in case someone needs to sit somewhere and the comfy chairs are taken… the 1970


9 Kathleen Keller March 1, 2012 at 1:58 pm

er.. the 1970’s big ass speakers that make great plant stands…


10 Teri March 1, 2012 at 2:06 pm

I remember moving out here with a medium sized UHaul and our durango with our pop up camper. We lived in our pop-up at the Rafter J for three days before our closing with the 2 kids, the dog and 3 cats and all we owned in the Uhaul. It was such a feeling. Because we were moving two states away we couldn’t make more than the one trip. Once in a great while I’ll miss something we couldn’t fit in the truck but what was in there was important to us. Need to do that again because I’m saving way too much “just in case I need it”.


11 Susan McClellan Plotts March 1, 2012 at 2:16 pm

We minister to Hispanics in our area; they have been a great inspiration to me to be happy with little. I would also recommend anything by The Fly Lady, and her 27-fling Boogie!


12 Amy Adams March 1, 2012 at 3:58 pm

Every time you post something I want to go and read the series again… For the 5 th time


13 Heather :) :) :) March 1, 2012 at 8:47 pm

Hmm…if we had to move in one day, I could tell you the FIRST thing to come with us would be our dad’s and mine. The next thing would be my knitting supplies, because if I lost everything else, as long as I could keep my hands busy, that would be fine πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ It’s a really interesting question though!!! I’ll have to take a look around my house and see what I would actually take with me and what I could do without. Have a great weekend. Love and hugs from the ocean shores of California, Heather πŸ˜‰


14 Kathy Burr March 2, 2012 at 2:11 am

Living near the Gulf of Mexico, we pack and evacuate for hurricanes. When Katrina came and since then; we grab a briefcase and put important papers in it… ex: house deed, birth certificates, social security cards, car titles and 3 years of tax papers, bank acct statement, medical records, address book and a few pictures. No bills.
Cab of the truck we had; my husband, our son with his laptop, myself and the dog. Also, purse and a camera. In the back of the S10, we each had a small duffle bag of clothes, a chainsaw, a jug of gas, a crank light/radio, a cooler of food and a bag with blankets & pillows. That’s it. Oh, and my bible.


15 Katherine March 2, 2012 at 9:03 am

I could definitely pack up what I absolutely need plus a little more in a day. I could also pack up the essentials in an hour. When I first moved into my new home a year ago, the building’s fire alarm went off. I grabbed the important paperwork files (dog’s, insurance, mortgage, and medical records), my purse, and the dog and walked out to smell a tinge of smoke in the hall. Turned out to be a small electrical fire that was quickly take care of. It was sobering and made me realize that I needed to think about what I should have ready if I have to leave on short notice.


16 Martha March 2, 2012 at 10:30 am

After a divorice in the mid 80s, I lost my house to forecloser. With 2 kids, 2 dogs, cat, no education and no help it was amazing what I could live without. It really makes you aware of what is important. My kids thought different but they learned and like me live a more streamline lives. Their husbands and children have different ideas. So often people grow up in “poor” homes, when they have their own jobs and homes suddenly want everything they never had. “For their kids”. Children really don’t need much, just loving,responsible parents who use good common sence. I love this site am so glad I found it. I feel like all of you are old friend. Such good common sence and ideas.


17 KimH March 4, 2012 at 9:14 am

I used to be very good with living with less, but the last 10 years I had everything I needed & a whole lot more.
I’ve been paring stuff down for the last 3 or 4 years, but I still have way way too much stuff. Staying on top of it is the best way, I believe.
Its easier said than done though. πŸ˜‰


18 TJPenn March 5, 2012 at 12:56 pm

Every time we let something go, we seem to need it again just around the corner. We had a old pickup that had not rolled an inch in 10 years. Donated it. The next month we had the oppotunity of our life to buy a farm – now we need an old truck! I also have kitchen appliances, lots of them. I use 75% weekly and the rest; i.e., dehydrator, save us mega bucks when I use it. Without my appliances, I would have to spend more time in my kitchen instead of the barn or garden…


19 Shirley September 15, 2012 at 10:47 am

I too do not get things I want for myself. I will wear old bra’s and underpants till they are worn out instead of replacing them when I need them. Afterall they are clean and they aren’t on sale. I have to wait for that sale to feel like I can get them! It is the same with other things like my eyeglasses and wallets. My husband actually is thrilled when I buy something for myself so I guess I shouldn’t worry about it but I tend to buy food storage instead of taking care of me first. Afterall I can’t stand the thought of my children, grandchildren, or great grandchildren starving in bad times! So I need to loosen up and stock up for MY personal needs too! I feel that I need to look inward as well as outward and only at providing for others.


20 Abigail January 8, 2014 at 2:13 pm

First off I want to say that I really, really enjoy this blog! I found it through Pinterest last night, and I have already read a lot of the posts. The nature of the blog is one that I really enjoy, and in this season of my life it is extremely applicable to me. The topic of this particular post is something that I have really been thinking about lately. My husband and I will be moving soon, Lord willing, and it seems like we have so many things that we probably do not really need. It is ironic that this blog compares our modern day life to the prairie days because I was just recently thinking that if they did without most of the things that we have today, why can’t we? This post just proved my recent thoughts to be true that I simply have too many things (and most of the things are purely for convenience. For example, I just bought my husband a Keurig for Christmas, but now I am kind of regretting it because I know that we don’t need it. In addition, it was expensive even at the sale price, and the K-cups that you have to use in it are very expensive as well. I know that you can use your own coffee in the pods that you can fill yourself, but that can be done in a coffee pot just the same.) Anyway, thank you for sharing your thoughts on this. As I pack, I will be working on getting rid of my “hoarding” tendencies and my desire to keep every single thing that my husband and I own. I would appreciate prayer that I would be completely willing to surrender this area of my life to God. πŸ™‚


21 cclarkacres July 12, 2014 at 3:44 pm

I love this site! I just told my daughter yesterday I’m downsizing. Living alone I don’t need all this stuff. I too thought about just the bare needs because it would be so much easier now that I have hit senior citizen status…thank-you- reading the articles has encouraged me to see the downsizing as a blessing!
Plus on the up side my daughter will get quite a lot of things she needs. Since I know where everything is in her house I know almost everything she needs. What she doesn’t need I will donate.


22 Merissa July 12, 2014 at 8:40 pm

I’m glad you are enjoying the site and finding the articles encouraging! πŸ™‚ Sounds like a great cleaning out plan!


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