Is Minimalism For You
Updated: Oct 16, 2022
Living a minimalist life may be hard to comprehend, difficult to implement and a struggle to maintain but think about how much work it takes when we live with so much stuff.
What is minimalism? Merriam's dictionary says it's a "...its characterized by extreme spareness and simplicity".
My husband and I have started to scale down our belongings in our home of fifteen years. This is in preparation for my retirement and our subsequent move south. (We hope) What we've discovered while undertaking this monumental task is that this 'downsizing' exercise is truly a struggle. After merging two families and raising five children we've accumulated a lot of STUFF. Too much stuff.
Since childhood I've always loved everything neat and in its place. I also subscribed to the concept of keeping the bare minimum of STUFF. Organization was my middle name and my motto was 'everything has its place'. Why you may ask? Well, it's because it brought me zen, peace, serenity, calm, or whatever you want to call it. When it was just me and my husband it was fairly easy to honor my motto. But......then I had children and all thoughts of simplicity (and my motto) went out the window.
While working and raising a family, my time became precious so I had to prioritize. My daily goal was to accomplish the critical things first, like running children to soccer practice or grocery shopping. Everything else was secondary. So if I had some free time and the desire to declutter or organize, then great. If not, oh well. So as time passed I began to see clutter and disorganization became my middle name. It's amazing how it can slowly sneak up on you and then all of a sudden you're like, whoa... how did that happen? It's kind of like your health, if you don't take care of it and stay on top of it, it comes back to haunt you later.
To make our downsizing more manageable we decided to take on one room or closet a month. We would dedicate one whole weekend to that one room or closet. As I waded through drawers, closets, bins, bookshelves and underneath beds, I learned a lot. Physically i was great, but mentally i was a mess. Minimizing was tough on the psyche. After berating myself for letting it get this bad (I know...negative self-talk is bad), I would then agonize over what to keep, to donate, to sell or just throw away.
For some of us the the struggle is REAL when downsizing. As we go through our stuff, we find ourselves on a rollercoaster ride full of memories and emotions. Sometimes I would sit with one item for a long time, remembering the good times. My memories turning to tears as I had to decide which one of the piles should it go to? Does it go on the keep, donate, sell or throw out pile?
For those that are not old enough to remember, Gymboree for preschoolers was a HUGE draw. It was like a preschool, jungle gym, sing along and dance studio all rolled into one big room. It also had a line of clothing, shoes, and toys. My girls loved Gymboree when they were little! As you can see from the picture, I found their Gymboree clown while cleaning out our bedroom closet. It makes me sad to get rid of it but neither of my adult girls want the clown. In fact they now say the clown scares them. So it's still sitting in my closet waiting for a good home... hint, hint.
Yes, the struggle is real but there is hope!
Have you ever cleaned out a closet or room and marveled afterwards at the open space, organization and lack of clutter? Did you feel liberated? Did you feel good that you were able to save only the important things, the things that brought you joy or value? If not, then you haven't given it your all.
Keep only those things that speak to your heart. Then take the plunge and discard all the rest. ~ Marie Kondo
I love Marie Kondo. She has helped me weed out my clothes, my crafts, my closets and so much more! If your not familiar with her books, they are a must read!
The more stuff you have the more it complicates your life, affects your health and wastes your time and money. How many lipsticks, shoes, knick knacks, books, khakis, memorabilia, kids toys (and your kids are grown), sets of china, magazines, DVDs, and sets of extra sheets do you really need? (I really could go on and on about my list but the blog can only go for so long..) How many times have you moved stuff from closet to closet, room to room just trying to figure out where to store it? How many times do you open a closet or room, groan and say 'another day'.
Bottom Line - Too many choices causes stress.
So when do we stop the insanity of too much stuff?
Think of all the benefits that simplicity brings to you and your health.
Increases your zen moments (Less stress)
Boosts finances (because you are spending less on stuff)
Improves the environment (less consumption means less garbage)
Increases free time (less cleaning and maintenance)
Improves focus and time management
Changes focus from stuff to experiences
There are so many books available that help you minimize the material footprint in your life, if you are so inclined. Feel free to reach out if you need suggestions but reading this blog is your first step to freedom, freedom from STUFF. But in order to really minimize your footprint you must also be willing to set an intention, put it on your calendar and take action. Start with something small like a kitchen cabinet or clothes closet and then work yourself up to the big things like the garage.
Finding simplicity in our life benefits us mentally, physically, environmentally, and financially. It gives us more freedom in our lives as we detach ourselves from stuff that doesn't really serve us anymore or maybe never did in the first place.
Live simple, be simple and breathe simply.