This is my second post on minimalism. To read the first post click here. When I launched into a plan to minimalize my closet, our house and my shopping habits, some things happened that I wasn’t prepared for. Some good, others not so pleasant. In this post I look at some of the surprising parts of minimalizing.
People Around Me Think Its a Fad
To be totally fair to my friends and family, its not exactly like I’m known for my follow-through. I pick up new hobbies all the time (along with all the craft supplies, fitness gear, cooking utensils for the new hobbies). Nine times out of 10 I move on to something new after a few weeks. Also, I hold on to things. I’m pretty emotional about memories and so I’ve carted stuff from place to place. Do I think that minimalizing will stick? I do! I actually think my life is changing for the better through this process. I’m loving a clutter free(ish) home. I also really like my minimalized closet, and teaching my kids about living with less. So the jury is still out, but I’m pretty sure this is a game-changer for me.
Family Members Not on Board
So this isn’t totally unexpected but my kids are NOT on board with minimalizing. My seven year old had a melt down when I took one of the four skateboards in the garage to the Goodwill (and he doesn’t even skateboard!). I’ve had to do a lot of minimizing of the kids’ shared room when they are out of the house. I’ve kept all of their favorites toys – their stuffed animals, legos, dolls, games and books but let go of the toys they have outgrown, baby board books, and all the cheap plastic toys we all pick up along the way. My husband is getting on the bandwagon, but he’s worried I’ll realize this is a horrible idea and in six months I’ll rebuy everything. he’s warily optimistic—especially if it keeps me away from Target.
So Much Extra Storage for “the Stuff”
The amount of storage bins I’ve bought to house “the stuff” over the years is shocking. As I keep purging, donating and throwing, the pile of empty storage bins keeps piling up. My old version of organizing was putting stuff in bins and putting out of sight. That way the house “looked” clean, but I didn’t have to deal with actually making decisions about what to do with the stored items. Now I have all these empty drawers and even whole dressers that were once crammed with things.
How Little We Actually Need
We have piles and piles of things that go untouched for years. During this process, I’ve pulled out everything from drawers and found all the useless yet formerly *important to save* items. They never get used. The truth is, that even if I needed the item, its among so much other crap I wouldn’t know where it is anyway. I would probably just buy a new one. (More on that in point Eight below)
I’m Me, and My “Minimalism” Is Different Than Anyone Else’s
Some people believe minimalism is getting rid of absolutely everything that is not “needed” and others seems to loosely use the term. I definitely fall into the second category. As I noted in a previous post — my goal in minimizing is to create a peaceful home, free of clutter and unneeded items that don’t contribute to our lives. My husband and I both work from home and he does video work, so he has countless hard drives, computers, cords, video equipment and more. We love camping and sports and surfing and the beach — so we have lots of sporting equipment and camping gear. I also love art and have a lot of supplies. These comprise a lot of “things” but they also add a lot of value to our lives. So even though they take up a lot of space, they are staying because they bring us joy.
More Purposeful Shopping
I’m already seeing an impact of what I buy and why I buy it. Yesterday I went to Target with a shopping list, AND I STUCK TO IT!! First time in my life, people!
Using the Project 333 method to create a capsule wardrobe has definitely made an impact on my laundry. I tend to wear blouses more than once and hang them back up, and of course I wear jeans a few times so I see a decreased amount going through the weekly wash routine.
Don’t Even Think I Need 33 Items
I’m shocked to see how much I like dressing with less. One of the most surprising things is that not only do I not feel deprived, I actually feel like I have more than I need even with just 33 items. (Granted, I’ve spent a lot of time over the last few weeks in yoga pants while I purge). So we’ll see how it goes over the next few months.
Doubles, Triples, Quadruples
This is the hard part: to see “the stuff” from a wasted money perspective. When you live with clutter, even clutter that is out of sight, you don’t know where things are so you re-buy. Additionally, as I mentioned in my first post on this journey (which you can read here) I always worry about having enough —enough throw pillows, enough sandwich bags, etc. As a result, I have excess of nearly everything. Here are some of the biggest offenders.
Throw Pillows (the pillows that go in the cases) I guess I must buy some every time I go to IKEA because I found them stuffed up in every closet!)
Small Tools, Picture Frame Materials – we have so many duplicates of small tools like screwdrivers.
Art Supplies, Pens — I have bought the kids so many pens to color and we have literally hundreds.
Towels, Linens — We had a lot of linens that I kept that I didn’t like. I just kept them for a rainy day (toss!) Also, lots of stained and odd on-off towels we acquired along the way – also tossed.
Kitchen Supplies — waaay too many spatulas, odd kitchen trinkets, glassware and mismatched plates and kids cups
Napkins, Party Supplies — I found so many paper plates and napkins for parties it was not even funny. Watermelon plates, pink plates, Little Mermaid plates, red plates, blue plates….I could go on but I’ll stop here.
Magazines — I love my magazines but I had to stop my subscriptions to everything except Food & Wine and Sunset. Those are my favs. Stacks of partially read magazines were piling up next to the couch.
Well, those are just nine of the things I’ve noticed in this brief journey into minimalism. I’ll continue to update as I tackle the garage next (ahhhh!)