I’ve become more aware of this trend lately. All these movies, shows, books, articles, and blogs that talk about how cleansing it is to get rid of everything and only keep the bare necessities.
I commend these people for their extremism, and yes I refer to this idea as a tad extreme (to a certain extent). Mainly because I strongly believe that in life everything has a balance, and when it comes to minimalism there should be a balance to consider as well. Plainly speaking, minimizing to the point of having 10 items in your closet or no furniture to sit on is not going to be for everyone. Especially not this little family.
We recently dived into this ‘cleansing’ of our stuff wholeheartedly, and we are actually still amidst this process. The idea of minimizing for us was sparked after watching the movie ‘Minimalism’ on Netflix. That spark was fanned into a flame when we kept stumbling upon posts and articles with people describing a sense of freedom and happiness after they let go of all their unnecessary stuff.
Into the journey of purging “40 bags in 40 days” we went.
In the beginning, we were feeling a bit stuck in our lives and in some ways a little unhappy too. It’s not like we blamed our feelings on our stuff, but going through all the areas of our home together has been a great way to connect and make some new decisions together.
Through this process we have noticed something a bit key for us. While letting go of certain items feels cleansing, other things are harder to part with. We have come to realize the balance between keeping or purging everything.
Here’s the deal…
Each time we pick a small space to de-clutter we start with the intention of analyzing each item before making an executive decision about whether to keep it or not. If the item brings us joy, has a purpose, or has been used recently and will likely be used again soon, then the item will stay. Whereas if the item hasn’t been used in quite some time, is broken, makes us sad, or is no longer of value, then we will let it go.
Some items can be sold or donated, and others can be thrown straight in the trash or recycling bin.
While we know that in many ways stuff is ‘just stuff’, there are some things that can still serve a purpose in our lives and add value to our time together. This has been key to our moving forward. If our time together will not be enhanced by what we our keeping in our home, then why should we keep it?
So… We may not be getting rid of all the furniture in our home or downsizing our closets to the bare minimum of essentials, but we are making positive decisions and changes.
And every step forward feels like a breath of fresh air and a little block being lifted off our backs.
We are minimizing, for us.
Here is an overview of what we are accomplishing, and I have full confidence that if you need to find space in your home and your life, you can do these small things too.
- Clean and organize drawers, cupboards, and shelves
- Clean out each closet & dresser – donate/sell anything that doesn’t fit or hasn’t been worn within the last year. (If it is too small/too big we decided not to hold onto the item in hopes of getting back to that size)
- All the clothes/shoes/toys kids have outgrown are sold/passed on
- DVDs/Books – All unloved items can be sold or traded in for store credit at second-hand shops
- Fridge/Freezer – expired items tossed, fridge cleaned
- Bathroom – anything that will potentially keep being unused can be given away or tossed, the rest is organized and cleaned
- Basement storage – this is the largest task and we are slowly working through it. But if it’s been sitting in a box for years, and will continue it’s life there for the foreseeable future, why should it be held onto?
- Yard – spring/fall cleaning, raking, trimming
- Shed/Garage – clean and organize
- Car – toss junk, clean the upholstery and surfaces
- Financials – using a spreadsheet calculate all household fixed/variable costs and create a budget
- Computer/Emails – clear browsing history, do a computer disk-cleanup and de-fragmentation, and sort through email boxes
I’m sure there will be other nooks and crannies of life that may need some cleaning up, but for now I think we’ve done pretty good.
What are your thoughts? How do you tackle minimizing or simply de-cluttering?