Cleaning House :: An Attempt At Minimalism

I’m going down a rabbit hole, folks.

I’m chasing this white rabbit named Minimalism, and while the chase is a bitch, I’m liking what I’m seeing on the horizon.

2017-06-02 Attempting Minimalism

A couple weeks ago I came upon Allie Casazza’s blog and joined her newsletter, and reading about a minimalist lifestyle just clicked for me. I ate up her every word, her encouragement, and now I’m on a mission.

Sean is skeptical.

But here’s the thing – we’ve moved three times in ten years. We’ve lived in four different homes now. Our first home was a one bedroom in a multifamily home. Our next was a shoebox two bedroom apartment, where we welcomed Lily into our family. The third was a two bedroom single family home with a nice sized yard. And now we’re in a two bedroom townhouse, with three full floors of living space.

It’s a lot of space. And we’ve filled it! When we moved from our first home to our second, we made several trips to Goodwill. We probably brought 4-5 car fulls of junk, things we didn’t want or need anymore. It felt so freeing. And then we had Lily at our next place, and a whole other person’s worth of stuff got added to our small space. So we moved to a bigger space. And we filled that. And jobs changed and we made our biggest move to a bigger space. And we’ve been here for two years now, had Andrew, and have filled the space and then some.

The last two moves? We didn’t really do a big cleanout. We threw stuff in boxes and off we went. So we’ve accumulated, collected and held on to things that we may have otherwise let go.

Does having kids add to the amount of stuff you have in your home? Absolutely. But it doesn’t have to be the insane amount of toys, books, clothes and other…whatever, that we are told we’ll just have to deal with for the next 18 years.

No, thank you.

I started looking around. I started thinking about what we have, and why we have so much. Why do I have a closet full of clothes I never wear? Why do I have 4 winter coats when I really only ever wear one, maybe two, regularly? Why does my daughter have 20 pairs of shoes when she only wears four or five? Why do I keep buying these little toys and games at Target’s dollar section, or whenever we go somewhere, as a “momento” that will only be lost under the seat of the car or forgotten in a bin of other small things that held her attention for less than a moment before she was on to the next.

Allie’s blog brought up another good point as well, which I relate to on so many levels. When you have so much stuff, you are devoting time in your life to that stuff, whether you realize it or not. Dishes, clothes, toys, things that need washing, putting away, care, and attention. I think about the value of my time and how I want to spend it. I certainly don’t want to be picking up a pile of toys that got strewn on the floor, but not played with. I don’t want to be designating tucked away dark corners of cabinets and closets to piles of stuff that I just can’t wrap my head around dealing with in the moment.

And kids? They don’t need much. Lil will spend more time with an empty shipping box or a towel tied around her neck like a superhero than she will with the $200 worth of toys we got her for Christmas. We recently spent an afternoon at a friend’s house and she spent a good 3 hours outside just running around, playing hide and seek, exploring, no toys and so much energy and fun. It’s like a lightbulb went off.

We want to give our kids everything, but the best thing we can give them is an appreciation of very little.

So I’m cleaning. I’m clearing out. I’m letting go. It’s hard, because we’re taught to hold onto things. And there are sentimental things that should absolutely be kept and cared for. But something’s gotta give. Lots of things have got to go.

My goal is to be able to start the homebuying process in the nearish future, and Lord knows we will not be able to afford a ton of space. The sooner I can get our current living space to a place of having some breathing room again, the easier it’ll be (I hope) when the time comes to pack up and move. And if I can start teaching Lily and Andrew now to appreciate being happy with less now, hopefully that will help them to have empathy for those who go without, and to find joy in spending more time outdoors, and inspire them to find creative ways to entertain themselves. Kids have SO MUCH potential. I really hope this helps our family find more time for enjoyment and quality time, and less time picking up every day or week.

I’m starting on my kitchen. Pray for me.

IMG_2562

I will be updating as I go along here, because Lord knows I’ll need to have a little writing therapy to deal with why I’ve held on to some of these things for so long. If you’ve ever done a major home purge or are interested in starting, I’d love to hear from you about your experience! Leave a comment below with what you found the most challenging, or the most rewarding!

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