I’m generally not one to make New Years resolutions. If I decide to diet or work out, Its because I feel like I should, not because its a “new year, new me” thing. Maybe its timing, maybe this year is different, but I have decided to try a lifestyle change this year.
Clutter is something that bothers me. It causes me stress and lately I have been noticing clutter affecting my mood. I don’t know that it bothered me in the past, or if it is a recent thing, perhaps because we are now starting to fill our home more and more with each child, each holiday and birthday. I feel as though our house is busting at the seams with our possessions – namely toys and clothes, but other things as well. So this year, I have decided to dedicate my New Years resolution to moving toward minimalism.
“minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things we value most and the removal of everything that distracts us from it.”
Now, I’m not going to widdle our possessions down to one hundred things, nor get rid of the television or all of the kids’ toys, but I want to make an effort to de-clutter our living space. Purge the unnecessary belongings and things that have sat in storage and make a conscientious effort to not spend money on things that we don’t need or make us truly happy.
I must admit, I am a sentimental fool. I clutch to things because I feel that they hold my memories within them. I keep things that I have no intention of using because, in my subconscious, I fear that as I get rid of my things, I will lose the memories that go with them. Our attic is FULL of things of that nature. I also keep things that I feel may someday be useful – keyword there is may be useful. I kept several of my childhood toys because I felt that my kids might want them someday. They have so many of their own toys now that they can’t even play with all of what they have, why would they need any of my old stuff? I keep clothes that I think I might want to wear at some time or another, but I never do. I typically wear the same handful of pieces over and over again, so I don’t know why I have a closet so full that there’s no room for any more hangers. I kept my old set of pots and pans after I got a brand new set a few Christmases ago. I thought I’d use them, yet there they sit, collecting dust on the bottom shelf of my pantry.
I’ve been listening to a free podcast called theminimalists. Its been a really great eye-opener and has provided some really useful steps to dipping my toes in the proverbial water. I also love watching Myka Stauffer on YouTube. I’ve followed her channel for a long time, and up until now, she was just someone that I found interesting. Lately she has been inspiring to me as I try to find my way through the piles of possessions.
Why have I decided to commit to this lifestyle change? Well, not only the aforementioned stress that the amount of possessions causes, but because I want to live a life of joy. I want to enjoy the possessions that do hold special meaning to me. Lately I have also felt like we are outgrowing our space and the thought of moving to a bigger home has crossed my mind. But we can and do fit in our home just fine, our stuff, however, does not. I also want to be present with my family. As of late, I feel like all I do is clean up messes and clutter. Clutter founds messiness and messiness causes me anxiety. I have a strong desire to have things tidy at all times, which is impossible with children, I know – thanks OCD, but just opening my carefully organized pantry and I can see the clutter, though in its “rightful place” still looks somewhat messy. All the bins and boxes and shelves and tabs in the world can’t really help me feel more at ease just because all of the junk that I don’t use is stored in its proper place. I still see it daily and I don’t want to anymore.
“Putting things away creates the illusion that the clutter problem has been solved.”
– Marie Kondo
Yesterday, I started my journey by de-cluttering our master bedroom. I have a garbage sack full of clothes to be donated to good will and threw away two grocery sacks full of things from my desk. I stuffed a Ziploc full of pens that I never use and brought them to work – it seems we never have enough pens there. I still want to do more, but I felt like it was a really good start. My dream is to rid the attic of the majority of its contents. I’d also like to minimize the amount of toys we have konmari-style, but I’d like to do it with the kids present so that they can help me pick and choose, hopefully instilling some of these values in them as well.
Some of the things that I have to keep in mind while going through our stuff and help me see them in a different light are:
- Do we need it?
- Have we used it in the last six months?
- Does it make me truly happy?/ Does it spark joy?
If I ask myself these questions and they answer “no” then the item can either be donated or thrown out. It is somewhat hard to get started, but once you get a few things in the “out” pile, its like a domino effect and you just keep going.
I am hoping to get the entire house minimized by the summer, my goal if you will. I hope to post updates here on my site as I move along and I will definitely share any tips that I may find along the way. In the meantime, If you have any tips to share, I’d love to hear them, just leave me a comment down below!