The past 10 years I have found myself inching toward the simple life. In my 20s I was into shopping, extravagant vacations, fancy cars, big house, designer bags and the list goes on. In my 30s I am increasingly craving simplicity and dare I say minimalism.
When people hear the term minimalism they think bare rooms, no furniture, owning only 7 outfits and a few everyday dishes. I don’t think I will ever be a minimalist but could stand to live more simply and with a lot less.
In recent years, the various trends related to cleaning and decluttering have intrigued me. Everything from Marie Kondo’s suggestion to “Spark Joy” to the Swedish method of “Death Cleaning.”
And, It’s not just about reducing the amount of stuff I own. I’m always coming across people’s stories about living more sustainable lifestyles through reducing waste, producing their own food, living tiny and/or off grid, etc. All of these lifestyles are appealing and inspiring.
One of the problems I face is never knowing where or how to get started. I’m too much of an “all or nothing” kind of personality type. This is not the easiest way to be and I’m working on it.
Marie Kondo’s method
Marie Kondo’s famous method of tidying up focuses on the goal of only keeping things in your home that “spark joy.” I’m not knocking her method at all as I’m a true fan and have all of her books. But, one can agree there are many things in our homes that don’t spark joy but we must keep for various reasons.
When we sum up her two Netflix series both Tidying Up and Sparking Joy they are essentially just people organizing their spaces. Again, no hate here. I’m a sucker for a good before and after tour.
I completed her method maybe 5 or 6 years ago after her first book came out and before kids. It is liberating to let go of so much stuff all in one go. And, in a perfect world we would all put life on hold for a solid week and touch every item we own. This is difficult to make happen but probably essential to make stick.
As a mom of two with another on the way the more feasible way I’ve been decluttering has been by space. Which, I know is a no-no according to Marie but is the way it is right now.
As I have reduced the number of toys in the playroom and gadgets in the kitchen I am continually amazed at how having a little less goes a long way. In my quest to “declutter” I seem to run into the same dilemmas time after time.
Here are a few things that make it hard for me to let go
- It has sentimental value.
- This might fit one day.
- Even though my kids don’t enjoy this doesn’t mean the next one won’t
- One can never have too many books.
- I paid good money for this and it’s barely used
- I have the space to store this so why not keep it?
When the problem is too much space
Often times we see advertising for “small space storage solutions” or “tips on how to organize a small space”. But what if the problem is not too little space? Maybe it feels like too much space.
Now, we have a large house and property with ample storage embedded throughout. This makes it far too easy to acquire and store lots of worthless stuff. Have you seen the show Hoarders? Well, that’s what some of the storage spaces were starting to look like on our property.
As I have clarified my goals and exercised my decision making skills, reducing our inventory is easier than ever before. The idea of blank space has never been more appealing to me than now.
One of the mindset shifts I have made in the past year is “just because there is empty space, doesn’t mean we have to fill it.” I like the idea of empty extra drawers and cupboards with only a few necessary items.
I think about traveling and packing for travel. When I stay in a hotel for a few weeks with only the contents of my suitcase it is very easy to keep the space and its contents tidy and organized. Yet, I have everything I need. So, why can’t my everyday life at home feel that way?
I have gone back and forth for the last few years on whether or not this big old farmhouse was a mistake. With its unconventional layout and overly large rooms it often feels impossible to maintain and keep tidy, not to mention a waste of space to heat and cool.
After much debate alongside some moderate house hunting and extensive soul searching, we have decided to stay put. And, even though the square footage of our home is as large as ever, by reducing the contents inside, the whole house feels more luxurious.
Stay tuned for my upcoming home experiment. Have you ever wondered if downsizing your space will truly upsize your happiness? I wonder this All. The. Time. And, soon I will have more insight into whether this would speak true for our family.
Stay tuned and thanks for reading.