“My goal is no longer to get more done, but rather have less to do.” ~Francine Jay
One of my best friends had something exciting happen a few weeks ago. They sold their 2-story, 3700 sq ft house with it’s spacious master bedroom, large living room, giant play room and extra storage room. They are buying their ideal country home, which by ideal I’m talking about land. The house on their dream land is more of a fixer upper and “livable” then anyone’s dream home. Plus it is a “massive” 1,147 square feet. In case you missed that…they are reducing the size of their home by almost 2,600 sq. feet. Another way to put this is that they are reducing their current home size by two of my houses, which makes my friend crazy in today’s “bigger is better” society.
What has this meant for my friend? It has meant that she has had to go through every bin and shelf and cubby downsizing. It’s also meant coming to terms which ALL of our natural tendencies to gather, collect, and store all of our belongings. The most common way of dealing with our stuff problem is to organize it. Every magazine about organization talks about cute bins and great ways to find room to keep all of our stuff. However, a new movement is happening. A minimalist movement. I’m on board and now my friend is too.
What is minimalism?
In it’s basic sense, it is pairing down our stuff. Letting go of things that we don’t love. To me it means that my life isn’t ruled by my things. While I am still a work in process my personal end goal is to spend my time doing things I love: scrapbooking, reading, walks as a family, and movie nights. Also, loving the people in my life. Sitting on the couch with them reading. Laughing together.
What keeps us from doing and loving?
The simple answer is stuff. Cleaning our stuff. Dusting our stuff. Reorginizing our stuff. Storing our stuff. Picking up our stuff. Making the kids clean up their stuff. Spending more money for organizing our stuff. Buying bigger homes to find a place for it. When you start packing up your stuff for a big move to a smaller space you begin to see how organized=an excuse to never get rid of things. Here is the proof: my friends basket collection to organize her spaces.
How many of us can admit to possibly the same obsession with containers meant to only contain and reel in our growing pile of things? The me a year ago can. Even the me of today still has to many bins of things I don’t even remember I own.
There are many different approaches to this. Let’s start with some good resources to start with. Here are my two favorite books:
1. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo. This is one book that gets a lot of publicity and that is part of the reason I read it. Some of the ideas are kooky and yet I have indeed hugged my childhood bears goodbye after reading her advice. Such a silly idea and yet it has definitely helped me to let go. However, there is one particular idea in the book that I remember and think about often as I go through our stuff. Does it bring me joy? I encourage you to read it AND give you permission to giggle at some of her ideas.
2. Simplify by Joshua Becker. Mr. Becker is the man behind on of my favorite blogs “Becoming Minimalist.” His book has many good points and I love the story behind his own foray into minimalism. He also has a book on decluttering with kids: “Clutterfree with Kids: Change Your Thinking. Discover New Habits. Free Your Home.“ Also, a good read. Many changes have come from making changes with my kids and their stuff.
The long and short: Owning less brings more freedom then I ever realized. More on that thought to come.
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