Recently I’ve been feeling suffocated by the stuff in our house. We don’t have clutter and our house is pretty clean for having four kids, but it’s the things behind the scenes that gives me anxiety. The full closets, overflowing drawers, and packed cabinets made it hard to breathe.
A few months ago I started some early spring cleaning… and holy moly! I have no idea how we accumulated all this.
Through this declutter journey I’ve adopted this minimalist attitude. I’d love to say I’m a true minimalist, but let’s be real. I am, however, a minimalist wannabe and I’m trying my hardest to simplify our lives.
This wasn’t so easy at first, but once I started with my clothes, it was like an avalanche of compulsive clearing out. Slowly, I’ve begun to tackle cabinets, closets, and even rooms. I’ve lost thousands of pounds!
We have donated, sold, or threw out so many items that serve no real purpose for our home. I found things in the back of closets still in the box that had never been touched. I had more vases than one person needed. My husband had shoes he hadn’t worn in years and we even had an unpacked box in our house from when we moved in (2 years ago). So if it hadn’t been unpacked in all this time there couldn’t have been anything of too much value? And shocker, when I opened it, I was right. In the trash it went.
I still have a ways to go, it seems like every time I turn around my kids are getting a new toy. We are surrounded by action figures, dolls, and trucks, more toys than they need. Instead of throwing out brand new Christmas gifts, we stored them away to swap out later and brought toys to the grandparents houses for them to enjoy at their next visit. However, it was tempting to just donate them all. Eventually I hope the kids will have more appreciation for the little toys they have, but they’re still toddlers so I’ll give it time.
I’m truly trying to live by NEEDS and not WANTS. That doesn’t mean I give up the date night with my hubby or drinks with friends. Those things are needs for my well being as a mom and wife! But I am definitely more conscious when it comes to our spending.
Our society is based on this crazy notion that more is better. More house, more clothes, more toys, more STUFF. But is all that stuff really making you happy? Or is it just filling a void until your next purchase?
Don’t get me wrong, amazon boxes would arrive on my porch daily, even to a point where I would have to hurry and open a package before my husband got home. Then I would wonder where all my money went at the end of the month. I was pleasantly surprised with the extra cash I had when I cut back on my Amazon shopping.
Not only does simplifying feel good, but it’s been great for our family. Less stuff means spending less money, but we’ve also been able to create more family togetherness.
That brings me to the “holiday” we had this week, Valentines Day. My kids did not need any candy, another stuffed animal, or any other tiny little trinket that serves no purpose. I’m not anti Valentines Day, but we have switched our mindset to providing the kids and each other with expierences and memories not just stuff. This year for Valentine’s Day there was no exchanging gifts or cutesy bears holding hearts. We are taking the kids to Tahoe for the weekend. We will be building memories and snowmen instead of collecting more objects for around the house.
Making memories doesn’t mean you have to spend money on a trip. Sometimes (most of the time for us) it’s something much more simple. Yesterday, that was a walk collecting pine cones. My kiddos seem to always find joy in simplicity. I love and admire this about them.
If you’re ready to start simplifying your chaos, start small with a drawer or closet. Say goodbye to the pair of jeans you haven’t worn in a year or some of the glassware collecting dust in the back of the cabinet. Think about your next purchase, is this something I HAVE to have? And when you do buy something new, toss or donate an old item.
Next time your kiddo has a birthday, think about an experience gift instead of another toy or device. It may be hard at first, but I promise it will be worth it! Strive to collect moments not things.
Wishing you a simple and happy life, your minimalist wannabe,