A few weeks ago I had an epiphany. I was stressed beyond belief with how quickly our house was becoming more than messy. It was cluttered and that made it hard to want to put anything away. Then a quote popped into my head ” The more things you have, the more mess you will see”. Now I’m not really sure where or who I heard this quote from (maybe I just made it), but once you say it out loud it makes a whole lot of sense. That’s when I remembered vaguely hearing about this thing called minimalism. I remembered wanting to find out more but I must have forgotten about it before I had the chance.
I spent the next 6 or so hours researching the movement and learning about it in further detail. That night, I sat down and watched a documentary on Netflix called Minimalism. This film is based on two friends, Joshua and Ryan; who found their calling and like to share their journey with others who are interested. They own a website called The Minimalists if you want to read about it a bit more.
At this point, I was a little overwhelmed; how can I start my journey when I also have a family that need things too, where do I even begin, how do I stay on track? There were so many thoughts running through my mind, the biggest concern was how can I really become a minimalist if I can’t completely throw away everything because of my family and their needs. I was taking a shower that night when I decided to try it out and see how we go.
Starting The Journey
The next day I began with the bathroom, throwing out anything I haven’t used in the last month and things I will never really use. I spent this entire day asking myself two questions.
1. Does this item serve a purpose for any of my family?
2. Has this item been used in the last 3 months?
Before I knew it, I had two whole garbage bags full of things from the bathroom to get out of my life. I then sat down and I can’t even describe in words how I felt. I could actually feel stress flow out of me. It was like the clutter in just that one room was cluttering my soul. This was when I realised there was so much more to minimalism than just getting rid of things.
Minimalism is the thing that gets us past the things so we can make room for life’s important things, which aren’t things at all. –The Minimalists
I was so hooked on feeling that feeling again, so I moved onto the office, and then the kitchen, the kids’ toy box and then all of my clutter cupboards. I felt on top of the world!
Tackling All Of Our Clothes
The last place I tackled was mine and my husbands’ wardrobe. I knew this was going to be a big job but I didn’t realise how big or how hard it would be. I constantly had to go back through my keep pile and remove items I had just put there with the reason “just in case I want to wear this” or “Sandra gave me this 5 years ago I should keep it to protect her feelings even though I don’t use it”. In the end, my partner and I had about 66 items of clothing each to last a whole winter and summer period.
I had a look at how many bags I had put down into the shed to donate and I couldn’t believe we actually had all of these stored in our closet. There were 13 bags of mine and my husbands’ clothes that went to donation places that day! These were clothes that didn’t fit, we never wore, or had holes in them from wearing too much. It’s not like we were left with no clothes after that, our cupboards are still very much full. I really don’t know how we could fit it all in there.
It’s not easy, but it’s worth it!
The process of decluttering our house definitely wasn’t an easy one. I’m the kind of person who attaches to everything I have. This person gave me this when I was 15, I need it even though I’ve never used it. I wore this dress on mine and my husbands first date, I’ll keep it even though it has holes in it and worn that much the middle is see through. This is just how I am, but mostly it was connections to items that people had handed down to us that we no longer used but felt obliged to keep. This was probably the biggest hurdle for me to overcome.
Honestly, I could probably have thrown away a lot more things but I also needed to consider my family. I can’t just decide they need to give up all of their things without their blessing. To an extent, I did declutter my children’s toys, their rooms and clothes that didn’t fit but for the most part; we kept a lot more than one would envision when they think “minimalism”.
Although clearing your life can be a big part of minimalism, it’s only one step on a long path. The aim is to change our mindsets from consumers to living deliberately. To me, this means having things that only serve a purpose to me, having fewer things so that we can have more of the important things. More time, more freedom, more happiness, more more more!
We live in a day and age where the things we have seem to be more interesting than the people we love. We are all guilty of focusing a little less on our families and friends and more on the material possessions we have; whether that be technology, a new car, or whatever it is. People seem to be spending more money than they do time and maybe that’s okay because that’s how we have evolved as humans. However, I’m not okay with having less time, less happiness, less calm in my life.
Whatever your desired goal is, minimalism is a tool that can help you get there. For me, organisation has always seemed to calm me. In fact, if you ask anyone I know, you’ll find out that I have always had lists upon lists for every little thing. If I need to clean, I make a list. If I presents to buy, I make a list. You get the point, every part of my life involves a list of some kind. That’s why organisation made so much sense to my minimalism journey.
The more organised I feel the more happy, free and content I feel. Which in turn seems to give me the freedom to focus on the things that are really important to me.
Keep your eyes out for future blogs on my journey to minimalism and you just might start to feel inspired to begin your own journey in a way that resonates with you.