It all started in December. The big clean out. This was no ordinary (pre) Spring Cleaning, but instead, the rumblings of our new, minimalist lifestyle.
Like everything else my husband does, Danny spearheaded the declutter/ clean out/ minimalist operation with passion and intensity. We started small, discussing how we might simplify our lives, reading posts, suggestions, and tips. We contemplated avenues of change. Like I mentioned in Simplify: Less is More, we began with our vehicles. Then we started in with bits of each room of the house. We live in a townhouse of about 1,200 square feet, so you might think there wasn't much room to pile unneeded items, but stuff was everywhere.
Websites like Becoming Minimalist and The Minimalists have helped us to realize how beneficial these changes would be for our lives. (If you are curious about how they started or their tips, check them out. Both sites are helpful and insightful.) Even having grown up with the piling illness in my bones, I have embraced and enjoyed our newly simplified home and minimalist lives.
For me, the turning point was the decision to donate a set of eight extra bowls and a handful of spoons I'd been keeping in a set of drawers in the dining room. Years ago, a coworker had given me a second set of the dish pattern I owned. Suddenly, I had 16 plates, bowls, mugs... you name it! I loved the idea of having these emergency dishes--all of which matched--in case, you know, I were to host a large dinner party, or something... When Danny asked me about the stack of bowls in the drawer, I actually said, "Well, what if I want to have a soup party!?"
After we stopped laughing at how absurd that statement was and about how desperately I had tried to cling to the bowls, we discussed the reality of my fantasy soup party.
The reality is:
I had never hosted a soup party.
I had never used all 16 bowls, let alone plates in one dinner before.
I will likely never host a soup party.
We thought of ways that if I ever did decide to host one, how I might make that happen. This lead us to the idea of a "Bring Your Own Bowl Soup Party," which actually sounds fabulous! I let go of the bowls and the fantasy surrounding them and it helped me to make progress in letting other stuff go. I realized it is just stuff! It can be hard, but once you get to that point, you can start to see how your life actually improves when you have less stuff taking up your space, time, and energy.
Here are a few considerations:
1. If you don't like something, get rid of it. It does not matter where you got it, from whom, for what reason. If you don't like it, you don't need it taking up room and time in your life.
2. If you forgot you had it, you may very well NOT need it. Think long and hard about rediscovered boxes or boxes still taped up from your last move.
3. If you haven't used it in the last year and/ or you aren't going to use it in the next six months, consider letting it go. Holiday items may be an exception, but even those you may be able to cut down on.
4. If you intended to give it to someone (and it's been years since its purchase), give it to them this week or donate it to charity.
5. If it was a gift from someone, but you don't want or need it, don't feel guilty. It doesn't mean you don't care for that person or the thoughtful gesture. Perhaps you could take a picture of it or you with it, but give the item away--you will still have the memory saved in image form and you will have simplified your home.
6. You'll have more space, time, and energy for yourself and your family. Think about how much more space you'll have in your home, yard, and vehicle if you get rid of what you don't use/ want/ love. Consider how much time you'll save without cleaning/ polishing/ vacuuming/ organizing/ moving/ dusting these things you no longer have. Get excited about the mental and physical energy you'll have saved for other activities by not wasting it on stuff!
Do you have any fantasies holding you back from a better/ simpler/ happier life?
Labels: Go Ahead--Try It!, Life