This post is going to be a little off from my normal food and travel topics, but since my blog is also a place for me to share my experiences with others, I felt that this was important to share. I’ve decided to take on a project.
I recently read a book called “Simplify” by Joshua Becker. In this book Becker details 7 guiding principals to de-cluttering your home and life. I have always been a really organized person, and I have spent hours upon hours cleaning and reorganizing my home because I enjoy the simplicity of an organized home.
Here in lies my problem… I spend hours upon hours cleaning and reorganizing my home. This is tiring, and after reading through Becker’s book, I realized that I can reduce my time spent organizing and cleaning if I reduce my possessions to only what is necessary and valuable to me.
Principal one is “being convinced” that a minimalist lifestyle is worthwhile. Joshua Becker goes through a list of reason why he adopted the lifestyle, and below are the reasons that I agreed with…. the reasons why I want to adopt this mentality.
- The things that I value the most in life are not my possessions. They are my family, my friendships, my personal character… etc.
- I enjoy my home being clean and organized
- I like minimalist design as far as art and interior design go
- I like the idea of entertaining (once I have a apartment with room for a dining table, ha!)- a minimalist lifestyle keeps the house in order
- Less stuff and less clutter equal less stress. When I already deal with a stressful school schedule, the last thing I need is to feel stressed when I get home
- The fewer things I have to clutter my home, the easier it is to clean
- I can be more productive- “our possessions consume our time. Whether we are cleaning them, organizing them, buying them, or selling them, the more things we own, the more time they rob from our lives. We only get one chance to live this life; we would be wise to make it as productive as possible.”
- By forming new habits now, I can hope to be an example for my future kids (long time from now, but still)- Becker states that, “becoming minimalist has modeled for my children that personal belongings are not the key to happiness, that security is found in their character, and that the pursuit of happiness runs a different road than the pursuit of possessions.”
- By spending less on myself, I will be in a better position to financially support other causes
- I can focus on quality over quantity. “More is not better… better is better.”
- In adapting this lifestyle, at the end of my life, or at some other unforeseen point in my life where I require the help of others, My stuff will be less of a burden on other people.- “consider the fact that at some point in your life (or in your death) every single item of your belongings will be sorted by another human being.”
Becker had more reasons in his book, but these are the ones that hit home with me.
Principal two is about making minimalism work for you. Each and every one of us is different, and we have different passions, and we find value in different things. “Minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of anything that distracts us from it.” I am not exactly sure at the moment what minimalism will look like for me. I am not really looking to get rid of everything in my life, more like, I am looking to reduce things that I have more than one of, things that I don’t use or won’t ever use… I want to declutter. For instance, I enjoy cooking.. a lot. “Minimalizing” my kitchen will probably look a lot different than other parts of my house.
In the past I have always just “reorganized”, I never really took the time to think about why I was holding on to some stuff. Now that Sam and I will be moving in July, the thought of having less baggage sounds really nice. Moving is a pain, and I imagine for the next few years of my life we will be moving quite a bit… so the less baggage we have, the less annoying it will be.
Principal three is about jumping right in. So here I go. I tackled one room today, our bathroom. It seemed like a manageable evening project. Lets start by looking at all my stuff… I took everything out of the drawers and put it on the floor.
Lincoln’s a lot of help….. not.
OK, so I am going to show you a few examples of how I minimalized my bathroom, and then I am going to show some before and after photos.
Do I really need 7 different kinds of body lotions? No. I got rid of all but one.
I probably thought to myself one day, “I will fix these nail clippers later.” Several years later, here they are… and I already have 3 other pairs. So I threw these broken ones away, and narrowed my collection down to just one pair of nail clippers.
They kept shipping me these, and I was not going through them fast enough. Thus I have accumulated quite a collection here of face washes. So here’s what I did… first, I called proactive and canceled my account completely. I obviously can go a couple of years off this supply. Since this stuff is expensive, I am keeping them all… but I am just going to slowly try and deplete this “stash” of face washes.
Alright, so I basically had this thought process with all of my stuff, and here are the results.
I’m pretty satisfied. There were some things in there that I could’ve gotten rid of but would’ve felt wasteful if I had. For instance, I have a little box filled with travel sized shampoos and conditioners. So, for now I am just going to try and deplete that stash whenever we travel… but I am going to stop bringing them home now. I think this is a good start, and hopefully I can continue to carry this onto my other rooms. I’m thinking my closet may be next since it is the next smallest room in my apartment.
Oh, and I’ve started three boxes in my living room. One that says donate. One that says sell, and one that says new home (meaning it didn’t belong where I found it originally).