If you missed part one, stop what you are doing and go read it. Then come back here.
So, let's now dig into the nitty gritty of this strange "minimalist" lifestyle.
Let me first address what I like to call 'EXTREME minimalism." Where there is like one plate in the kitchen cupboard. And one blanket on the bed. And a chair in the corner. And let me just get real... I have a family of 7.
Realistically, I need a decent amount of things just to live life. The clothes and shoes alone are a little overwhelming but I have even cut back drastically in that area.
For me, it's all about balance. I know that I need to break the emotional attachments I have to THINGS. And I also know that it's okay for me to have five blankets on our quilt rack in the basement because I have five kids who want to snuggle up with a blanket for movie night.
And should I even go there with the kids toys? I mean... it's sick. It's ridiculous how many toys these kids have. And I am constantly getting rid of them. I warn them all the time if their toys are not picked up, I will be gathering them and donating them. And I follow through with my word on that.
Through my steps to minimalism I have gotten rid of maybe 40% of our belongings so far. And there is STILL SO MUCH STUFF.
When I went through my closet and shoes, it wasn't too hard to see the things I haven't worn in years and to pack them in a bag and donate. "Normal Meghan" would justify keeping that sweater from a few years ago because:
A. It was a special gift from a loved one and
B. It JUST MAY come back into style in seven or so years and I'll be kicking myself in the butt that I got rid of it!
Or... not. "Minimalist Meghan" is ready to purge. (Within reason.)
When I moved to my kitchen, it wasn't so hard to toss out all the appliances and useless kitchen gadgets I haven't touched. We were actually in the process of moving so as I packed up, I had my donate boxes and my actual moving boxes.
I posted some items on Facebook as well for free so my really great unused kitchen appliances could we used by someone who would be blessed by them. That is one of the great things I learned from the Minimalist website is that things I don't have use for, others may have great use for.
I am so happy to say that I have an entire wall of empty cupboards and drawers in my kitchen. An ENTIRE WALL. Nothing is inside of them. Empty. I feel free even just saying that.
My bathroom has a closet in it which is half full of bathroom-ish things. And then the entire sink area with drawers and cupboards is empty. I dig it.
The kids clothes drawers are no longer overflowing with unworn clothes and there are not stuffed animals on every square inch of the kids beds and rooms.
My living room has two chairs, one bookshelf, two lamps, and three matching chests (that house the kids "upstairs toys," very discreetly, I might add.) That is it. There is one wall that has some strategically placed wooden signs on it. In all honestly, it looks a little sparce, like we are still moving in. But it is exactly how I want it to be. Wide open space and no clutter.
In the past few months of this journey, I have had some magnificent triumphs. Now, you can research methods on HOW to get rid of things. But honestly, I just went through my stuff and threw away stuff I didn't use. There are so many methods of how to minimize your life. Some people say that you keep only things that bring you joy. Some people say that you should only own a certain amount of something so you should count your belongings and have under 3,000 objects.
First of all, I don't want to stress about how its done, just that its done. I could talk myself into thinking that everything brings me some sort of joy. And I would go nuts if I had to count everything. So, find what works for YOU. Don't get overwhelmed with it and also, let yourself be challenged.
The Minimalist website talked about asking yourself three questions when struggling to decide if you NEED to keep something:
1. When is the last time I used this?
2. Does this thing add value to my life?
3. Is this something I can replace?
And then the decision always became much easier.
The feeling I felt after removing a ton of clutter was enough of a satisfaction to want to keep going with the process.
You can also research specific ways to help you purge if you need. I've heard of some people who turn their hangers the opposite way after they have worn something. At the end of the year, they threw out all the clothes and that still had their hangers facing forward. There are some specific methods if you need extra guidance in certain areas that need purging, so don't be scared to dig a little and try some new ways to release.
You can also try the Minimalist Game for 30 days and give that a go.
Part 2 was sharing some of my triumphs in this journey with you. And there were also some extreme challenges. Stay tuned next week as I share some of those and some specific areas I have experienced growth in.