For a few months now I have been trying anxiously to clean out closets, purge plastic containers in the garage full of old kid artwork and kept clothing from when they were babies….getting rid of 100 wine glasses only to see that I still have at least 2 cabinets full after I purged. The.List.Goes.On!!!!!!!!!!
I am doing this for a bunch of reasons. Are you curious? Ok here is the list:
- I have too much stuff. This includes closets full of clothes that my family doesn’t wear any more or only wears seasonally. If it is truly used seasonally I am investigating ways to store this stuff better. I have a kitchen full of duplicate and triplicate items. Do I really need 6 clear glass mixing bowls and 4 butcher knives? Will I ever be into juicing again? Maybe it’s time to donate that juicer. It’s been 4 years since I purchased it.
- A calendar even the president would not be able to keep. Between the kids sports (both my kids do travel hockey), birthday parties, special events (fundraisers, charity and the like), work networking, work travel, friends and family I hate having to open my calendar and tell a friend…..”I book out a month in advance”…it’s embarrassing. I am taking some personal inventory of what is truly important and what I am just saying “yes” to because I don’t want to disappoint or upset someone for not coming to their event or helping with this or that.
- Digital Disaster. I have 4 or 5 or maybe 6 external hard drives, a cloud service for storage, my actual laptop (make that two) and ipad, ipods, iphones OMG save me. Nothing is in one place and when I go to find something important it turns into a huge mess trying to find what I need. I need to simplify, purge, delete and identify one place for pictures, important documents and the like. Included in this is scanning hard copies and purging the paper.
I started my search on the web to find out how many people feel the same way and what they are doing about it. The resources are amazing. I would have never thought this movement had become so widespread and popular. I know the Japanese have been big leaders in this space and that is primarily by force due to the limited space families have in that country. I am sure it’s the same in China as well. Additionally, more American’s are moving in this direction and millennials are picking up the baton and leading this charge too. There are sooooooooo many books out there on the subject if you like reference material you can touch (but, then you have to store the book!!!) — however, in the event you like to touch – here is a link to some great books on minimalist living.
Overall the reason for my epiphany is just as simple as living a minimalist lifestyle. I used to live this way. Before marriage, before kids, before making more money, before, before, before. When my husband and I were dating I was moving to a new apartment and the night before the move we were invited to go out to dinner with some friends. He declined because I needed to pack my apartment. I told him, no I can pack in about 2 hours. He laughed at me. Challenge accepted. Right after work I drove home, made about 10 boxes that had been sitting waiting for me to tape them up to fill, filled them up and called him at 8pm ready to go (mind you this was in our 20’s so an 8:30 dinner was normal….ahhh those were the days huh?). He raced right over and looked in every cupboard, every drawer and my closet. He was dumbfounded. To this day it is one of his favorite stories to tell. The point is I only had what I needed. I only had a place setting for 4 people (hell I still use those dishes 20+ years later!!!), I only had 2 mixing bowls….I only had 10 pairs of shoes. I only had a simple desk, one couch, one coffee table, one bed, one dresser and a small kitchen table. I think I only owned four towels.
Today I have a 2700 sq ft house that is filled with so much stuff I am drowning in it. I feel like a slave to my stuff and I don’t even want to add up the cost of it all. I probably donate what originally cost me upwards of $3,000 annually in clothes, books, electronics, toys and other items each year. Although that is great for my local charitable organizations it just means I have too much stuff if I can give that much each year. Another issue with the stuff is what it is teaching my kids. They have become accustomed to getting a trinket at the store, a birthday party with a zillion presents (of which only 2 or 3 of them ever get touched after a week), that you only feel good when you get something new and that money is just infinite. I could go into my childhood and how I grew up so differently than my kids, but we all know that is another long, long post for another day. I just want to share the feeling of wanting to live with less stuff, less to do and more about feeling OK with what I have and who is in my life for the right reasons.
I decided to take this journey. I have been on it for a while now. Some days I make awesome progress and feel accomplished in minimizing my lifestyle. Other days I don’t. I also believe that the journey for everyone is super personal. What might be my ultimate goal may not come close to yours. For me however, I want to be able to pack my house in a weekend if we had to move and open closets, the playroom and other areas of my house without the years of accumulation staring back at me. I want to change my children’s mindset to be that of experiences over stuff and giving over receiving. Lastly….and this is just silly of me given the era we live in — I want to have one device. I don’t know how possible that is, but it’s a goal!!!
To give you some visuals of what inspire me from a minimalist perspective I gathered some inviting images. Some of them I just like, some I want to achieve, but all of them scream of simpler living and I love it! Tell me what you think, if you do this yourself or if you have conquered it and want to share your secrets!