Since Seth and I made the decision to move to California we've been slowly downsizing our home. I like to joke that humans will fill whatever container they are in, and we had definitely filled our 2,500 square foot home.
It was one of those things where I didn't even realize how much stuff we actually owned that we rarely used. It wasn't until we were clearing out our bedroom that it hit me. Obviously because we will be living in an RV, we need to downsize to pretty epic proportions. If it's not absolutely necessary, it's not going with us.
So that day we were going through item by item in our bedroom and we filled our entire office with the "excess".
I walked into our bedroom and it just felt like a breath of fresh air. That was when I realized I had become a "Stuff Manager".
I've been sharing the downsizing process a little bit on instagram and I was surprised to see how many of you were feeling the same way, or curious about downsizing! I thought I was the only one drowning in stuff!
Since coming to that realization, I've done a little bit of research on minimalism (with all my spare time you know, while we prepare for a cross country move).
I'm still learning a lot about it, but I thought I'd share so if you're curious, you can learn right along with me!
Okay so here's the big one;
WHAT IS MINIMALISM?
In short, this is what Joshua and Ryan from, The Minimalists have to say;
"Minimalism is a tool to rid yourself of life’s excess in favor of focusing on what’s important—so you can find happiness, fulfillment, and freedom"
"Getting rid of excess and being mindful of your purchases until you can peacefully maintain your possessions"
I'm not, nor do I think I will ever be a die-hard minimalist, like you see on Pinterest. Stark white walls, only one dish, and a closet with 10 items.
Nope. Just never going to be my thing.
I love a good pair of shoes. Or 6.
I want cozy throw pillows and gorgeous art pieces.
I'm keeping that random picnic set we got as a wedding gift even though it's never been used.
That's the thing that a lot of people don't get when they hear about minimalism. It's personal.
I'm learning slowly that it's not necessarily the number of items you own, it's about whether what you have or your shopping habits are getting in the way of you having a peaceful life.
I've spent the past three years constantly cleaning up. Shuffling "stuff" from one spot to another. Thinking that if I could just get more organized it wouldn't be so bad. Thinking maybe we needed a bigger house. It was getting in the way of me having a peaceful life and I didn't recognize it. Honestly, if it weren't for us moving and being forced to downsize, I probably never would have realized it.
so. much. decor. junk.
Our situation is pretty unique being we didn't downsize to stay in this house. We got rid of a lot of decorative items that I probably would have kept if we had the room, so our house looks pretty stark right now.
However; Seth and I keep catching ourselves saying "it's so nice to only have what we need" We know where everything is now. We have 8 matching dishes, not 5 sets of 8 mismatched ones. The boys actually play with their toys because *surprise, surprise* it's less daunting to play with 4 bins of toys as opposed to a room full.
Simply put, we're more at peace.
Does our house still get messy?
Ummm yeah, we've got a gaggle of children.
Another surprising shift happened during this change; our shopping slowed. It's almost like, "we've done the hard work of getting rid of so much, we see all the things we've bought that had no staying power, why would we want to do that again?"
Now I'm much more intentional when we buy anything. If it's something we want, we research it and make sure it's of good quality before purchasing.
WHAT ARE OUR MINIMALISM GOALS?
1) To be able to spell minimalism right on the first try. lol
2) To get to a spot where every single thing we own is of good quality and has staying power.
3) To raise our kids to value experiences over stuff, to be wise consumers, and to care for everything in their possession.
4) To get to the point where I don't feel like I "have" to have the newest or next best thing. Anybody feel me on this?
IS MINIMALISM RIGHT FOR YOU?
I'm going to take a bold position on this and say, yes, I do think it's right for you. I wouldn't normally make sweeping judgments like that (it's just not in my nature) but like I said earlier, this process is personal.
It's all about ridding yourself of what doesn't serve you.
It's about finding peace in what you own.
Everyone can get in on that.
WHERE TO START
My biggest tip would be to start small. If you're eager (like I am about most things) you might find yourself wanting to be completely clutter free, like, yesterday. I get it.
I know many minimalism methods ask you to pull out giant piles of stuff and work on the entire house at once. I have nothing against that, and it can be very effective. The trouble I've had with using these methods is that I get overwhelmed quickly and burn out, deciding maybe it's just not right for me after all.
I don't want that to happen for you! Maybe start with your bedroom closet, or a bathroom and get used to the idea of shedding clutter.
I've created a simple graphic that can help you in your decision making process, as your downsizing.
Simply put; start small, do the work, celebrate your progress, and move to another area!
Later this week I'll share 10 ways to simplify your home in an afternoon, but in the meantime enjoy the process!