I’ve been minimalist for two years, so I wanted to talk about how everything is going and where I’m at.
Peace and calm can come from having less.
Where I was
I used to have a garage stuffed with belongings and broken things.
I had a wardrobe stuffed with clothing I never wore, yet nothing seemed to fit me.
I had huge amounts of jewelry I never wore.
I had heaps of kid toys I needed to get rid of, and outgrown kid clothing that was still hanging around. I couldn’t seem to get rid of baby items either!
My kitchen drawers could barely open and I couldn’t find anything.
I didn’t realise how much the mess was making me depressed. Everywhere I looked, I saw clutter instead of calm, and it got me down.
I started avoiding dealing with any sort of cleaning, simply because it was too much. Which made everything worse of course.
The mess was a vicious cycle that was bad for my mental health and physical well-being. They do say that people who live in cluttered homes have more illness. Upon reflection, I can understand why.
Where I’m at
The garage is no longer stuffed.
The amount of stuff in it is still dropping. I’m still clearing belongings out, still selling stuff, but the progress is slow now, as we’re down to the dregs of it.
We live on a farm, so our garage hosts everything from animal feed and lamb crooks to our washer and dryer and a huge deep freeze. Our laundry is also out here. Two years ago, it was piled high with stuff we never used! These days, we have much less stuff in our garage than we had when we lived in an apartment.
Once we sell the farm, we’ll also sell the farm equipment we’ll no longer need, keeping only a few standard gardening and house maintenance items.
I only have clothing I wear. I clear items out regularly if I find I’m not wearing them. I still make shopping mistakes, but I’d say I’m a recovering shopaholic now, on her way to healing. I’ve been doing the Project 333 for three years now, and I’m where I want to be.
My current capsule wardrobe.
I gave away most of my jewellery. Cheap pieces went to charity, and valuable pieces went to friends who I thought would enjoy them. It’s nice to see a friend wear an item that I never wore.
Jewellery should be passed on, shared and enjoyed – not hidden away. And I found jewellery is rarely worth much to sell secondhand.
My bedroom is tidy. I have some rules that help me to do that, such as three belongings only per surface and if it ain’t a “display item”, don’t display it! These rules help me keep life in control, and keep my room as an oasis of calm and peace.
I’ll talk about my rules to help me stay organised and keep the clutter away in a separate, upcoming post.
My room is a haven for me. It never used to be this way.
Baby items…and sentimental items
All the large baby items and general baby stuff is all gone.
I created a “treasures box” to keep precious children’s stuff in – their first baby outfits, and their first baby rugs. The box also holds other small sentimental items I want to keep safe. It’s about twice the size of a shoebox, and I find that’s all the space I need.
Then I sold big items at a low price to a friend whose baby was coming soon, and gave the rest to charity. It made me feel good to know I was helping other parents at this special time in life, when everything is so expensive.
Having a “treasures box” helps me take care of these extra-special keepsakes. I sometimes open it up, and hold these soft, beautiful things for a while…and have a bit of a cry 🙂
I go through the kids’ rooms regularly too.
They have nothing but clothes that fit and items they use, plus a few keepsakes. Their rooms are tidy all the time now (mostly!) because their rooms aren’t crammed with stuff.
My 9 year old daughter’s room. No, I didn’t tidy it. She keeps it neat, and cleans it herself.
My kitchen is easy to navigate these days, and the drawers are all uncluttered. Life is easier as a result, and cooking is less of a chore. Keeping food stocks to fewer items helps.
Clearing out the kitchen was a long process that took months, one cupboard at a time. Kitchens are prone to clutter!
I’ve accepted that I’m not a gourmet chef and will never have my place on Master Chef New Zealand! You know what? I’m okay with that 🙂
Instead, I cook healthy, simple food for my family, and that’s good enough. The media dumps a lot of expectations of us, and realising that many of these are unrealistic is a key part of learning minimalism and being happy with who we are.
I’m not saying things are perfect…
Far from it! Life is still a work in progress. But every month feels better and better, and I feel more on top of my life with every step, not less.
I didn’t realise how much my problems had to do with simply owning too much stuff. I couldn’t ever clean the house because picking up the junk was a mission before I could even begin to clean!
Looking at the mess made me feel so tired, and I didn’t really know how or where to start. I didn’t know how to cope. I felt lost at sea within my own home, and a place that should have been a safe space of rest and contentment was a disaster area of chaos and noise and clutter.
I thought that maybe buying better stuff would help, or maybe buying the right stuff. But what I have learned is the key to sanity is having less stuff altogether.
Through minimalism, I’m learning that…
I’m not a fashion model, but I can look great.
I’m not a home decorating expert, but my home can be a friendly, welcoming oasis for my family and friends.
I’m not a crafty person who knits and sews and…well, I’m just NOT! But I have other skills 😉
I’m not a Supermum, but I can encourage and support my kids in getting organised and keeping their rooms, bodies and lives neat, clean and planned.
I’m not a Master Chef, but I can prepare great, healthy food for my loved ones 3 meals a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year, and that’s pretty special!
Minimalism is teaching me that it’s okay to just be Me. With all my imperfections, and all my not-quite-rights.
You know, the mass media teaches us to believe that every aspect of our lives much be exceptional in a way that requires lots and lots of stuff, and then it tries to sell us all kinds of products to create that exceptional, stuff-filled life.
But that’s wrong. Being pretty much okay in a whole stack of areas can add up to being pretty exceptional overall.
Minimalism teaches me that it’s time to stop looking at what we’re supposed to be, and instead take a good look in the mirror at who we actually are.
Usually that’s pretty good. And if we’re loving partners, caring parents, and thoughtful citizens, then we’re probably doing all right.
So that’s where I’m at.
I’m doing all right.
With less stuff, and more calm.