Do You Wish You Could Live a More Minimalist Life? How My Recent Move Got Me Started…
“Minimalism is not the lack of something. It’s simply the perfect amount of something.”
~ Nicholas Burroughs
From tiny houses, to efforts to produce less waste, to a less is more kind of approach to consumerism, many people are hopping on the minimalist train. Let’s face it, our stuff can suffocate us and having less of it is just a simpler way of living. Our belongings can overtake our lives; they can leave us feeling anxious and stressed, especially when it’s unorganized and messy.
Last month, my family and I moved to a new home, so I really tried to use this opportunity to jump start my desire for a simpler, more minimalist life. So, I have spent the past few months confronting all of our “stuff”. I’ve spent numerous hours organizing, purging and donating. And boy, has it been overwhelming. During the process, I just kept asking myself (and my family!), “Why do we have so much stuff!? How did we get all these things!?”
As I have moved over 15 times in my lifetime, I am realizing now more than ever that having so much stuff is stressful. Yes - it’s hard to let things go and it’s difficult to purge things we think we might need one day, but ultimately when we do clean out and organize, we feel lighter, freer and not so weighed down by our things.
A few years ago I read Marie Kondo’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. At the time I really wasn’t open to the book and Kondo’s methods. It was apparent that I wasn’t ready for that change in my life. In reality, it just felt way too hard.
However, a few months ago I re-read the book and saw Kondo’s philosophy in a different light. My husband and I also started watching the Netflix show based on the book and now my husband even folds all of our laundry using the Kondo method! That’s right - he does the laundry….and will watch Marie Kondo with me!
In particular, I have really embraced Kondo’s question: “Does it spark joy?” I admit sometimes I buy things because they are on sale - even if I don’t really need them or even particularly love them. But now when I bring something new into my home or my wardrobe, I have started asking myself “does this item bring me joy”. And don’t get me wrong, I do find joy in shopping! But now I am more particular. I only buy something if I absolutely LOVE it.
In prepping and organizing for our move, here are a few of the strategies I have used (and hope to continue to use) that have me feeling much lighter and happier.
Four Steps to tackling your stuff and feeling less chaotic:
1. Make a List and a Plan
Make a list of the spaces or areas of your home that are making you feel the most stressed. And tackle just one area at a time. Kondo suggests that you start with clothing - and I would include accessories in this category as well. Starting with just one category will make you feel less overwhelmed and less likely to just give up.
2. Take Action: Sell, Donate, Toss
Frequently we think we need to purchase more bins, baskets or organizing systems to corral all our things; when in reality, we likely just need less stuff.
Get rid of things you aren’t using. Saving it for a rainy day or asking yourself, “but what if I need that one day?” isn’t helpful. If you haven’t used it in the past year, get rid of it.
Only keep the things that really matter to you and purge the rest. Consider your wardrobe and your accessories. What has meaning? What brings you joy?
Once you’ve cleaned out your home, are you guilty of driving around with bags of items to be donated for weeks or months? (Hand raised over here!) Plan a time to schedule a pickup or dropoff.
During our move, I learned about Casa Maria (and no affiliate plug here). Casa Maria is an organization that works mostly with women and children who are in need of short-term housing; they provide families with necessities such as furniture, food, dishware, clothing and used furniture to help them get out of hard situations and into a safer and healthier environment.
If you are in the Milwaukee area, give them a call! They came right to our house to pick up several items; I was shocked at what they needed and would take. And if you aren’t local, search for a similar organization in your area. There are tons of shelters and organizations who are in desperate need of items too.
Donating the things you don’t need will make you feel much lighter, and getting them into the hands of people who could actually use them will make you feel pretty darn good too.
3. Organizing the things you love so you can find them and actually use them
So I know I said that bins and baskets aren’t the solution to an overabundance of stuff, but they are the solution to the right amount of stuff.
Taking the time to organize your belongings into labeled bins or baskets can be a huge stress reliever. Then when you need an item later, you aren’t wasting time sifting through mountains of stuff.
To help us get our belongings organized, we had some shelving units built for both our garage and our basement and I purchased a bunch of clear plastic bins from Ikea. I organized our stuff into categories, placed them in the bins, labeled the bins and put them on the shelves. It’s a thing of beauty really. And because the bins are clear, I can see what’s in them and can easily find things when I need them.
4. Keep with it and keep your sanity!
Once you’ve decluttered and organized your space, it’s vital to keep up with it! Don’t let your hard work go to waste by allowing the clutter to creep back in. This is a consistent process that we need to manage daily, weekly and monthly.
My mental check for this step is to realize that everything should have a home or a space where it goes. Instead of throwing something on a counter or in the back of a closet, I think about where that item really belongs and I put it in its home. Do I do this every time? No! But I try my best to and when I get behind, I take some time to get back on track.
Getting my new home more organized than our last one has made me feel more in control of my life. I feel less weighed down by the clutter and less stressed about managing our “stuff”.
How would a serious spring cleaning make you feel? Lighter and more in control? Happier? I truly feel your mental headspace is in a better place when you have a clean and organized environment. How do you plan to spring clean this year?
Feeling stressed about tackling your spring cleaning? Check out our healing stones and essential oils collections to ease your mood. Read more about our healing stones collection and how it can help manifest whatever is lacking or taking up too much space in your life.
A look into onE, little corner of our new home...
“Buy less, choose well.” ~ Vivienne Westwood