Passionate About the Coastal Bend
and the Moms Who Live Here

Messy to Minimalism – Or Somewhere In-Between

CCMBFlowerHi!  I have a confession to make.   I have a clutter problem and I can say that out loud now.

Please know it isn’t because I’m proud of it.   It’s because for the first time in my life I am in the midst of thousands of people who deal with the same life-challenge.  How is that you ask?  Well, I’m in an online decluttering course.  It was easy for me to think I was alone, wallowing in stuff.  Now I know differently.  And I can’t begin to tell you what a relief it was to learn I was not alone.

The word minimalism and the concept behind it has popped up around me a few times over the last few years, beginning with an article my husband shared with me at least three years ago.  I read it.  I agreed with it.  But I knew getting there wouldn’t be easy for me.  I would have to do a lot of breaking up… with things… and I wasn’t ready for that.  You see, I get attached, emotionally, to stuff.  I can’t explain to you why this happens.   I watch my friends who are “throwers” and I’m jealous.  Because I can’t do that and I wish I could. {Well, before this course I couldn’t.}

I have improved on my messiness as I’ve gotten older, and the last ten years have been so much better than the first several decades of my adult life.  But, as with everything, there is always room for improvement and the changing of habits to make life better.

While on Facebook I bumped into a post inviting people to a minimalism course. If we bought his book, the course would be free.  I thought, well, maybe I could participate in the course, read the book, and learn a few things.  So I signed up.  I can honestly tell you that after reading just a couple of chapters, changes began taking place in my mind, and for the first time ever, in my heart.  A whole new perspective on “stuff” began rolling around in my head.

I began looking around my home and feelings of suffocation popped in my mind.  We were drowning in stuff and the things we loved and enjoyed were hidden away.

Minimalism, when you think about it, is a little scary.  Or for me, a lot scary!  But, what I’ve learned is that there are many levels to it.  There are the extreme minimalists who are living in tiny houses with very few belongings, (this will never be me,)  and there are those of us who are far from that, but are learning that having too much stuff isn’t good for anyone.

Just how much stuff is too much is going to be different for everyone.  Honoring the things we love and making room for them in our day-to-day lives and activities should be the priority.  Having less stuff to maintain allows one to have more time for experiences and participating in favorite things… gardening, golfing, reading, quilting… whatever your love might be.

Minimizing really is a process. It’s like peeling back the layers of an onion.  With each layer, I found I was able to go a little further and let go of a little more.  Even my over-stuffed jar of measuring spoons has gotten an over-haul.  I just don’t look at things the same anymore.  Each time I tackled a new space, I felt energized and empowered.  And when I was done I felt accomplished.  With every bag that left the house I felt a little bit more free.

Here are a few ideas to help you get started with minimalism and cluttering so you  can feel the freedom that I now feel:

  1. Write your “why.”  Why do you want to minimize?  If you minimize, you can make room for ___________ in your life.  (You fill in the blank.)  Post your “why” on the fridge, or someplace you will see it every day to help keep you focused.
  2. Don’t get bogged down in the hard stuff.  Start small and easy.  The eleven boxes of pictures in the closet, {that came about long before digital was the thing,} were not what I tackled first.  Choose a drawer in the bathroom or in your desk.  You will be surprised at what is tucked away that you never use anymore.
  3. Hold the item in your hand.  Does it add value to your life?  Do you love it and use it?  Then keep it.  But, if you tossed it today could you repurchase it next year, IF you discover you needed it? (But chances are you won’t.)  Don’t keep things, just in case.
  4. Think about the things you don’t use that are taking up space in your home.  Is it something you can pass on to someone else, particularly someone in need?  For example, how many spatulas do you own?  How many can you use at one time?  Take all your unneeded items to a donation station that honors a cause you believe in.
  5. Don’t want to give stuff away — “because you paid hard earned money for it?”  Have a garage sale instead.  Maybe you like having garage sales and haggling with people over a dollar.  I.  Do.  Not.  But, if you do, then go for it!  Or maybe you have some bigger ticket items that could bring in some cash to put toward your family vacation.  Garage sale or no garage sale is a personal choice you need to make.
  6. The rule that you should always, always, always adhere to is — do not minimize anything but your own stuff.  Hubby isn’t on board?  That’s okay.  You lead by example.  You minimize your things and let him see the change in you and in the home around you.  Just so I’m clear, my hubby is all for my new outlook on life.
  7. It won’t happen over night.  How long have you been married, or lived in your home, etc.  It took you that long to acquire all the lovely gems taking up your space.  You can’t expect to get through it all in a couple of weeks.  Most of us have families, jobs, and various responsibilities we have to attend to.  It’s a journey….

So, twelve weeks into the course and I’ve gone through basically every nook and cranny of our home, all with a new pair of eyes.    I have hauled off many trash bags and donated anything that still had life and all junk has been tossed with some even going to the recycling center.

The eleven boxes of photos I mentioned?  There are now only eight.  I made my first pass through them tossing any pictures of people I don’t even know, pictures of us with our eyes closed, blurry pictures, etc.   I have now started an album and am putting all my favorites into it where they will be displayed on the shelf so we can enjoy them.  I will let my adult kids go through the rest before I toss the leftovers.

I’m not done.  Round two of decluttering starts in September and I cannot wait to make another pass through my home and peel off another layer!

What about you?  Have you heard of minimalism?  What are your thoughts on it?  Let’s chat it up, if you have some time!

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2 Responses to Messy to Minimalism – Or Somewhere In-Between

  1. Angelica August 15, 2016 at 8:05 pm #

    I so want to do this!!! I’m not scared too; I just need an extra pair of hands to watch the kiddos.

    • Beth
      Beth August 15, 2016 at 8:07 pm #

      Me too! I’m so obsessed it’s stressing me out!! I’ve started doing one drawer or section of my closet at a time. LOVE the feeling of letting go!!