photo cred: becomingminimalist.com
Several years ago I came across a blog about minimalism (the minimalist mom). At the time, it was an emerging fad and I was intrigued. The more I read, the closer my face got to my computer screen — I could.not.get.enough.
The idea and theory behind minimalism is this: owning less “stuff,” in order to free up more time and money to focus on what you really have passion for. This idea had me reeling – it made so much sense. Owning less and having more time to LIVE. My husband and I devoured blog posts and articles about minimalism and were pretty excited about it for a while. But we were students living a transient life and weren’t even living with all of our possessions at the time — they were in storage!
I knew that we had too much excess lying around. I create an emotional attachment to “things.” As a girl I kept random mementos of vacations, movie stubs, concert programs, you name it. I had souvenirs displayed all over my cluttered room. I thought it was awesome! Looking back, I can’t believe I lived in that clutter — and that my mom didn’t take a match to it! I bought a huge lollipop in Disneyland when I was 7, which then graced my bookshelf for an entire decade! So while the idea of minimalism was exciting to me, in the back of my mind I wondered if I could truly do it.
Could I get rid of most of my possessions and scale back to the necessary items? Could I remove those emotional attachments and rid my life of the clutter? I wasn’t sure.
Early last spring after seeing hundreds of posts on instagram about Marie Kondo’s best-selling book, the life-changing magic of tidying up, I finally bought a copy. I read it in two days. It was all I needed to get started. My husband also read it and was extremely encouraging (this was an answer to his prayers that I would actually start this whole minimalism thing I’d been talking about for years)!
The book outlines a program of de-cluttering. She speaks of energy and finding joy in your possessions. The feel of the book is very Eastern-minded and I absolutely loved every bit of it. Some may find it a little weird, I find it refreshing.
We decided to go for it. The book recommends completing the process within 6 months, not dragging it on and on over a long time period. We finished in 5.5 but I still look around and find things to get rid of! I ended up going through my clothes 4 times as my mind changed to embrace this new concept. At first I held onto things I thought I might wear again, then I realized it was holding me back.
I have had several epiphanies during this process. The biggest one I see is when I observe my children. They still have too much (where does this stuff come from, anyway?), but they are so much happier with less. They play with all of their toys and take better care of the ones they have. Their room stays cleaner (as does the entire house)! I struggled getting rid of books and still haven’t completely finished with that part — I LOVE books. So my girls still have plenty in their room, but we’re working on it.
I have often wondered since embarking on this journey if my eldest daughter wasn’t feeling suffocated by the clutter in her space. I have seen a change in her as we have freed up her environment and that alone is worth it. She was the most helpful as we were going through things. She would bring items to me and say, “Mom, I don’t play with this/wear this anymore, let’s toss it.” She is 7. I had to hold my tongue sometimes (“But you got that for your birthday . . . but . . . but it’s so cute . . .”)!
My 5 year old, on the other hand, is like her mother and there were some tears shed and some sneaky purge sessions behind her back . . .
We learned many lessons and are still learning. I have a lot of ideas surrounding minimalism. I will outline in my next post how we “kon-mari-ed” our possessions: getting rid of 2 trailer loads (14″ enclosed trailer) plus a truckload! We had a large garage sale, made some money, donated A LOT, gave clothes and baby items to relatives and friends, and we continue to do so.
Before this process we had a storage unit full of furniture and things, a closet full in my in-laws basement, and items stored in one of our empty granaries! Now everything we own is right here in our house (we don’t have a basement). That alone feels like a hundred pounds off of my shoulders. I hadn’t realized how all of that stuff was effecting me!
Minimalism is a mind-set. I am still working on changing how I look at current and future purchases and will talk more about that as well.
It’s been a great adventure thus far.
In the meantime, check out some of my favorite minimalist blogs: