This post is the first in a series dedicated to our adventures in tidying up, paring down, and better enjoying our home (and life).
It would be a gross exaggeration to call us minimalists. We have stuff. We like our stuff. Josh is a musician, and with that comes a natural predilection towards collecting instruments and their accoutrements. I’m less attached to my possessions, but I’ve never been one to walk away from a really good pair of jeans. And I can name at least three cabinets that could use a purge right now, if I’m being honest. And I’m not even sure minimalism is the right word for what we’re going for here, because it seems almost too aspirational to be practical. It’s a minor kind of minimalism; if it were a diet it would be less of a juice cleanse and more like cutting down on your fast food habit.
I realized things needed to change sometime last year. I was getting overwhelmed with the amount of stuff the four of us had managed to cram into 1200 sq feet. We’d clean the house and it would immediately get out of control again. That’s sort of the nature of having a home with children. You clean, they destroy, rinse, repeat.
The kids weren’t the only ones to blame, though. Josh and I had shelves upon shelves of untouched books that crowded out our most beloved ones. Josh’s collection of old tee shirts took up more space in the closet than all of my clothes put together. I had somehow managed to grow a small hoard of old cosmetics and products in a bathroom cabinet. For whatever reason, we now had three pizza cutters. And it was just stuff. Stuff we didn’t want, or need, or ever really think about, but was growing and suffocating us, and consuming our time and energy.
So we decided to have less. To get rid of the stuff that was weighing us down and keeping us from living our lives. We started with the closet. It was a lot less KonMari and a lot more shoving shit into trash bags and grumbling “oh my god stop being such a hoarder” under your breath at your husband while you try to justify keeping a pair of jeans you will never wear again because they haven’t fit in 5 years and give you a muffin top. But after the initial hurdles, it feels so good. It gets easier to part with things because the less crap you have, the more good stuff you’re left with. I probably got rid of 10 pairs of pants that I didn’t wear, but I was left with two that made me feel good every time I put them on. That’s the whole magic of having less, you end up with more of what makes you happy, and you only have less of what doesn’t.