My Journey into Minimalism

We have a lot of stuff. Two adults, two kids, two dogs, two fish, two cars, a pool, a trailer….all the things that go with all THOSE things mean we have a lot of stuff.

Each time we move, we take steps to downsize the volume of our possessions. But even then, we have rented storage units, built massive floor-to-12-foot-ceiling garage shelves, and utilized every nook and cranny of multiple basement storage rooms, all in preparation for house showings and moving. Every time we move we surprise ourselves with how much stuff we *still* have to find room for.

Last spring, in preparation for moving again, we AGAIN started going through our belongings. How was it possible that we STILL had so many things? Boxes and boxes came out from under the basement stairs. I laid all of those things out and our basement quickly became a sea of our personal histories. Fragments of our past, bits here and bits there, scattered amongst cardboard boxes and Rubbermaid totes. Photos, binders, souvenirs from our respective childhoods, school days, university, first ranks, first jobs, puppies, babies…it was all there. Neatly packed into boxes it was easy to believe that we had already dealt with it all. But going through every single item in every single box. It was more than my head and my heart could handle alone. It was too much. I very quickly became overwhelmed with the amount of items to go through as well as the physical appearance of the floor totally covered with it all.

It was time for the Big Guns.

Enter my sister:  N. Minimalist extraordinaire, she knows how to get shit done. We spent hours going through each box’s worth of things. She is cut-throat when it comes to purging but also showed empathy and patience for me, knowing that we were wading through emotions as well as possessions. N taught me the value of a new mindset: look for the items you want to keep, not the items you want to get rid of.

Slowly but eventually we got there.

We made our move to this, our fourth house. A single car garage with no shelving and a fully finished basement with no storage area meant it was time to…guess…purge. And you know what? We did! Again! It was incredible!

I truly admire my sister, N, and a good friend from Small Town, M. They truly embody minimalism in a way that is still cozy and doesn’t feel naked or stark. In fact, that good friend from Small Town has a blog herself on that very topic! I urge you to head over to Simple Lion Heart Life and check her out  if you are even remotely interested in learning more about what minimalism can look like for a work-from-home Mom of young kids.

My lovely, intentional, just-the-way-I-like-it dresser.

Something incredible has started to happen: the more I embrace having less, the more I feel that I love what I have more. How’s that for a tongue twister? I look around my fireplace, my dining room, and *swoon* my dresser and for the first time, I feel so happy with the way it looks. The items that I do still own give me joy. The clothes that I do still own I wear frequently and I l-o-v-e the way they look and feel. Putting laundry away is easier. Dusting is easier. Seeing open surfaces to make dinner and having space to rest my coffee down in the living room and having a specific spot for each toy makes me feel more relaxed. The way my home looks in this respect is mirrored by how I feel: disorganized, messy, chaotic spaces make me feel anxious, irritable, and overwhelmed. Openness, tidiness, and space give me room to feel comfortable, more relaxed, and give me room to think and feel more clearly.

Staging the house for our next move will be a BREEZE and that gives me such relief! The absence of anxiety about preparing for the next cycle of stage/list/sell/buy/move is like a boulder has been lifted from my chest. What a gift!

I’m still a huge work in progress (but then, we always are). Our walk-in closet is a dream, The Big’s closet is a nightmare. I can think of 3 sweaters right now that made the cut from the most recent purge and yet I haven’t worn them in ages.

Dream closet!
Nightmare closet.

If the thought of giving away half of what you own (or more!) is daunting but interesting, start slowly. Do some research. Have a vision of what you want the space to look and feel like when you’re done.

**To reach Melissa at Simple Lion Heart Life and learn more about minimalism, check out her Blog or email her at melissa@simplelionheartlife.com

Take care!

Mel

 

 

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