:: Clearing Out the Clutter ::
The idea of having more by owning less is one of those ideas that seem great in theory. Oh yes, I can do this. Let's buy a home that fits our budget. Easy. But when it comes down to the nitty gritty of going through your belongings and actually letting go of what you do not need, it can become difficult. This part of living in a minimalistic state of mind is where I am still working and will continue to work the rest of my life. It is a place where I have to sit and think about what is actually important to my daily life. I will break it down into three parts. These three parts are what I am doing each month to clear the clutter.
I am a self-confessed clothes hoarder. In my closet I had clothes dating back 10 years. That is not good fashion sense (trust me- the early 2000's look dated). I had clothes with tags still on them. I bought them thinking that I like it and some day I will wear it. I had clothes that I bought on a whim or thought I might need several colors. I had clothes that were not flattering to my body type. A month ago, those clothes left my closet in SEVEN big bags. Clothes, shoes, purses, belts, and outerwear. They were loving folded, packed, and set up on the doorstep to give to the Green Drop pick up service. Then they went on their merry way to The Order of the Purple Heart to be donated. Two things happened after that:
#1 - I could actually walk in my closet and see all that I had nicely hung on hangers or folded on shelves. I saw clothes not a massive heap of fabric. I saw the clothes that made me feel attractive and flattered my figure. I saw what was missing to an essential basic wardrobe. A good black dress. A good pair of brown leather boots. A good wool coat. I never knew that I was missing those things that enhance a look because there was too much clutter in my closet. Now, I can actually find my clothes and wear them.
#2- I realized how silly it is to buy clothes that aren't made well or don't flatter me. I have had three children and my body type has changed but it doesn't mean I have to hide under a burlap sack. It is time to mature my wardrobe and really buy the clothes that make me feel good. No more giving in to internet sales and email coupons. Buy with purpose and for quality. Owning less but having more.
My husband is happy too. He actually gets more closet space.
Second: General Household
This is a lot easier for me. Clothes are hard because I link my identity to what I am wearing. However, household goods are just that: tools of the home. I have made a point over the last year to decrease the number of linens by getting rid of the tattered looking ones and only replacing what needs to be replaced. The kitchen got a total overhaul and a lot of dish ware and cookware left the kitchen. I kept what I use regularly and make me feel like a real chef. Books that have been read went on along with craft items that weren't getting used. Even some furniture that was hiding out in the storage unit will be on its merry way soon. My new mantra is get rid of one old thing and replace with one new. If something leaves the house then something new can come into the house. It does not work all the time because there are special circumstances but mostly it has decreased the clutter. Example: We do not need six sets of bath towels for the kids. Three are rotated and used in a four -five day cycle. When they wear out then I will replace. I have found that by keeping only what is useful and meaningful in our home it allows us to live an less cluttered and happier life. (Also- it is much easier to clean the house now)
This is a hard one. Children do not like to be told that they will have to go through their toys and get rid of broken or unused toys. I know, I tried it. We recently cleaned the play area and organized all the bins and cubbies by putting all of the same toys in individual bins and throwing out broken toys along with giving old unused toys to charity. It was a trial and error experience that was met with much wailing about how they would have no toys. Not true, they have plenty. Instead of giving up, we talked about what toys we loved and played with the most. They would stay and if it was something that longer kept our interest then maybe some other child might like it. Now, that the play area is organized and clean. The important part in this clutter free zone will be Christmas. My approach in the past few years has been to find toys that will be educational, thought-provoking, imaginative, and fun. To ask my children what is fun for them and try to find toys that will fit what they are thinking. It takes a lot more time to find those special gifts but they are so well used and loved by my children that I feel it was worth the work.
By clearing the clutter- it has made me a more thoughtful shopper. I am becoming aware of the rampant attempts to get me to buy, buy, buy! I am working hard to keep those tricky attempts at bay by obeying my instincts to keep my home clutter free and my wallet full for adventures.