When my husband and I were married several years ago, we committed to each other that we would live without debt.

When my husband and I were married several years ago, we committed to each other that we would live without debt. It is the commitment that I made to my husband that has started me on my campaign to save money.

One of the biggest ways we save money is by living the simple lifestyle. When I tell people that I like to live simply, they automatically assume that I feed my family Ramen Noodles every single night. However, that is not what I mean when I talk about living simply.

In today's society, it seems like so many people live amongst a lot of stuff. Their homes are cluttered from top to bottom with toys, clothes and various other household items. Living amongst a lot of stuff can hinder a person from living a frugal lifestyle. If you live amongst a lot of stuff, it is very typically that you forget what you have and will cause you to go out and buy more.
During the last few years my family has made a commitment to purge. I am proud to say that my home no longer has the dreaded "junk" drawer and my children have made the commitment that when a new toy enters into the home, an old toy must exit the home.

I have made the commitment even in the simple areas. I have made the commitment that my linen closet does not overflow with linens. Our family has all different bed sizes. So we own two sets of sheets per bed. When one is in the wash, the other can go on the bed.

A few months back, I listened to a professional organizer speak about a client that had 17 white shirts and she was able to decrease her white shirt collection to nine white shirts. While the organizer was proud, I have to admit I was a little dumbfounded. Why did the person need nine white shirts? Did she not believe in washing clothes?

I have made the commitment that dressers are for undergarments and pajamas and everything else should be hung in your closet. This allows you to look at the clothes you have and get use out of them. Remember if you have not worn the outfit in that season, you need to say goodbye to the article of clothing.

By living the simple lifestyle, I know what I have and it gives me an extreme sense of freedom seeing that my closets are not overflowing. A clean and organized home really makes me think twice before I purchase something to fill it up again.

When you live amongst a lot of clutter, purging can feel extremely overwhelming. A lot of people feel that the purging process has to be this huge undertaking. However, purging does not have to be difficult. I would encourage you to purge a little at a time. Pick a small area and set aside a few minutes a day to clean it. Release yourself from the clutter. I find that clutter is truly a form of bondage that can hold a family hostage.
Do you have tips about living the frugal lifestyle? E-mail your tips to localnews2005@yahoo.com.

For those who are interested in learning more about living the frugal lifestyle, Stephanie Eaton Harvie will be teaching a class on this topic at the Leavenworth Center of the Kansas City Community College on Sept. 29 and Oct. 27. Interested participants must register through the college..