Recently, we let some laundry pile up… okay, a lot of laundry. Like, four clean loads to fold and at least that many to wash. I felt like there was laundry everywhere and the situation was impossible to get a handle on. My husband and I became motivated to attack this mess one weekend because we needed to move our kids into a shared room. With some focused effort and the help of a friend, we got all of our clothing washed, folded and put away. I walked into my room after it was all done, and let out a deep breath as though I’d been holding my breath for days. And it hit me. It was the laundry. Folding and putting away all the laundry made me feel like I could breathe again. The understanding that my “stuff” was piling up had caused me so much anxiety that I suddenly became more interested in Minimalism.
This idea that less is more is the basis of Minimalism.
“Minimalism is a tool that can assist you in finding freedom. Freedom from fear. Freedom from worry. Freedom from overwhelm. Freedom from guilt. Freedom from depression. Freedom from the trappings of the consumer culture we’ve built our lives around. Real freedom.” The Minimalists
Whether it is clothes, toys, papers, or just general clutter, having stuff pile up around me is damaging to my mental health. It creates a chaotic space where I can’t find things, I can’t think clearly, and I don’t feel happy. I don’t want to be in that space. Do you ever feel like this? I needed to make a plan to escape the prison of stuff we accumulated.
First, we watched the documentary called “The Minimalist.”
This got my husband and me talking about what Minimalism could mean for our lives. What belongings did we value most? What could we do without? What did the kids REALLY need? I also started listening to “The Minimalist” podcast and looked up tips for downsizing on Pinterest.
Second, I jumped on board when an online moms group started a minimizing challenge.
For every day in February, I was challenged to get rid of the corresponding number of items from my home. One item on the first, two on the second and so on! This challenge was a great start! I started weeding out clutter from every room in our house and with every item out the door, I felt lighter and lighter. I did my best to sell, donate and recycle as much as I could, but some things went in the trash. I even went so far as to email my family and explain what we were trying to do and request that they please to not bring unnecessary items into our home. I noticed myself buying less and also feeling less of an urge to buy unnecessary or frivolous junk. I want to slowly invest in higher quality items that will last longer.
There are a couple of rules I’m using to help me on this journey! These rules were borrowed from “The Minimalists.”
- The 20/20 Rule – This rule helps with “just in case” items. “Just in case” items are those things you have been hanging on to because you think you might someday need them. So, in the unlikely case that you do get rid of something you need again, you can usually find it again for $20 or within a 20-minute drive. If it would take longer or cost more to replace, I would think twice before removing the item from my home.
- The 90/90 Day Rule – Have you used the item in the last 90 days? Will you likely use it in the next 90 days? If you can answer no to both of these questions, then it’s okay to let it go! Can you think of anything that fits in this category?
I’m not done decluttering my home, and definitely still have quite a way to go! My clothes and the kids’ toys have been the hardest to pare down, not to mention my basement full of sentimental items and boxes of belongings from when I was teacher. Why is it so hard to let things go? I’m hoping as I continue on this process, I will feel more relaxed and carefree. I will be able to clean less and my reduced consumerism will have a smaller impact on the environment.