Welcome to Guest Tuesday– my fortnightly feature
I wouldn’t exactly call myself a minimalist. One look around my house and you would say I’m not one. We own hundreds of books, many hundreds of DVDs, and probably over a 1,000 CDs. My husband’s comic collection is substantial and my seven year old son’s collection isn’t too shabby either. I have a hard time getting rid of paperwork and office supplies, and my notes from my work in progress form a substantial pile!We have two bedrooms, a home office, a living room, a dining room, an attic and a basement and all of it has a decent amount of stuff in it.
I will say that I love the look of an empty room. Sometimes I think what drew me to this house, when we were looking to buy one, was that it was unoccupied and, as such, the rooms were pretty much empty. I love to see clear space, so I will admit I get a kick out of using up the food in the pantry and staring at the empty shelves I create. I recently sold most of what was in my attic and sometimes I sneak up there to stand in the open space, eager to have more of it.
A few years back, I did a complete wardrobe overhaul. I emptied my closet and all of my drawers. I got rid of everything that didn’t fit, wasn’t my style, or was in disrepair. This left me with almost nothing. I loved how empty everything was and after replacing the important stuff, it finally dawned on me that I really don’t need the majority of what I have. I had been drawn to minimalism before that, but I think the experience with my clothes really made clear the idea that I’m happier when I don’t have things everywhere I look.
I grew up in a house with a pack rat. My mother saved everything. In fact, when we were getting ready to sell her house in 2002, I found at least a dozen shopping bags filled with old electric bills. She saved every greeting card she ever received, every article of clothing she ever wore, and every lid to every food storage container, even if the container was nowhere to be found! I vowed I’d never live like that, but in the years that followed, I found it was much easier to save everything than it was to make decisions about what to keep and what to get rid of. In time, we ended up with a very full house.
In 2010, my family of three moved from one house to another. I couldn’t believe the stuff I had saved over the years. Things from my childhood bedroom were still in the boxes I had stored them in, untouched. A storage bin filled with some of those old electric bills from my mother’s house had been in my garage for nearly a decade! Because my husband and I thought we might want another baby, I saved all of the baby items from my first child. Maternity clothes, clothes from my pre-pregnancy weight (and my pre-pregnancy career), toys, games, books… you name it, we had it saved in a storage bin. When it came time to move to the new house, I was overwhelmed by what we had. We ended up just putting it all in the attic and basement to deal with later.
|Our Attic- Before the Decluttering Exercise|
In the last year, I’ve made significant progress towards reducing what we own. People have told me that they wish they could clear out the clutter, but they don’t know where to start. I’ve learned a few things since I really focused on this project and I hope sharing them can help other people who are considering a similar journey.
|Our Attic- After the Decluttering Exercise|
It’s become apparent to me that I don’t need as much as society tells me I do. I want to be able to spend my time enjoying life, not cleaning or taking care of things. And I certainly don’t want to work so hard that I need more money to buy more space to store more things. Life is about making memories with those I love, not hanging onto the physical reminders of those things. In the months to come, I plan to continue getting rid of anything we don’t truly need so that we can truly enjoy the things we have.