I’m on a minimalism kick. I’m not taking it to the extremes a lot of people are (for instance: I have more than 30 clothing items, I have candles on my countertops and I have more books than I technically need) but I have purged so much of my stuff in the last month that it’s almost overwhelming.
Here’s the thing, now that it’s gone: I don’t miss it. I don’t even think about it. And about twice a week, I’ve been loading a Wal-Mart sack with even more stuff to donate, trash or sell. You could say I’m addicted.
I started this journey because I am stressed to the gills with work and general life clutter (be it physical or mental). I decided it was time for a change and after stumbling across some great minimalist decluttering videos on YouTube, I figured I might as well give minimalism a try.
I read and read and read on the topic and everywhere I looked, minimalists said that it was important to list your reasons why. Here are six reasons that I came up with and have found really help keep me moving forward with less stuff.
#1 – I want to stress less about life.
Life is stressful as is. When you add all the items to take care of and put away and clean and.. ugh. There’s just way too much responsibility and coming home to clutter is never relaxing. I want to feel relaxed and peaceful when I’m there.
#2 – I want more time to learn and grow.
Having less stuff means having less to do. For instance, cutting my wardrobe down means less laundry and less time spent trying to figure out what to wear or hunting down a certain top. I want to find more nuggets of free time that I can invest in growing myself mentally and spiritually. I want to actually tackle learning guitar, freshen up on German and study more on leading worship.
#3 – I want to embrace me.
My wardrobe is primarily black. And I’m okay with that, because it’s me. The colorful clothing gets ignored unless I’ve completely run out of other things to wear. I always have black on.. to the point that when I show up in not-black, all my friends freak out. So why do I keep forcing myself to buy brightly colored clothing that I’m never going to wear? I want to embrace my likes and avoid my dislikes. There’s no reason to waste the precious little time life offers in clothes I don’t enjoy or books I’m dreading reading.
#4 – I want to learn to say no, so that I can more often say yes.
I need to find the willpower to turn down spending opportunities on things, so that I have the financial ability to start saying yes to experiences. Recently I went to New Mexico to celebrate my bestie’s wedding, and it was amazing and beautiful.. and wouldn’t have been possible if she hadn’t included my plane ticket into her wedding budget. She’s such a dear friend and it would have killed me to miss out on her big day. I’m planning to go to New York City in February to see my other bestie perform in Carnegie Hall – that will only be possible with less stuff and more time and more money.
#5 – I want to, in a moment, pick up and go.
Should God call me to move cross-country and start evangelizing on the streets in Oregon, I want to have the freedom to do so. That comes with less stuff, less responsibility and less… debt. Yes, I just admitted to that ugly word being a part of my life on a blog now viewed by thousands (speaking of, ohemgee this post went viral and has 80,000+ views to date! What. Even.). I used to be debt free. Oh what a lovely picnic that was. Now I have medical bills piled high, a laptop payment and a student loan that makes my heart ache to think of it. Basically. I need to spend less so I can pay more. Oi, what a fun time that will be.
#6 – I want to feel free.
It’s a tiresome burden owing money and time to people and things you don’t even like. I’m ready to be free of that burden. I’m so, so, so ready.
After compiling my list of reasons, I started the massive purge. I went through everything in my room: books, clothes, shoes, stationary, hobby stuff, furniture & equipment, medicine, and miscellaneous odds and ends.
Out the door went:
- 90% of my books: it didn’t even hurt that much.. I sold them in “A Buck a Book Sale” on my personal Facebook and made $140 in just under 5 hours. The rest are in two huge boxes in my trunk that I will be taking to Half Price on Friday for even more money.
- 60% of my already limited wardrobe: goodbye shirts with stains and holes, shoes too scuffed to be worn without embarrassment and all those things I was keeping just in case I gained weight again (#chronicillnessprobs).
- 50% of my hobby items: I bid adieu to the boxes of scrapbooking supplies (a hobby I don’t even enjoy anymore) and another box of old sewing materials and scraps that I will never use. I kept just enough supplies to mend my newly freshened wardrobe.
- 99% of my stationary: Someone please tell me why I was keeping 100+ pens and pencils, 10+ dry erase markers for the marker board I got rid of months ago, 13 tablets and 9 notebooks again? I do everything on my computer except journal.
- 50% of my furniture and equipment: I tossed old cords to machines I don’t recall existing, donates headphones and speaker sets that I had been keeping “just in case” and got rid of two empty bookshelves (one was a gift for my sister and one sold for $15). Goodbye massive desk that I don’t need (though I will be buying a smaller replacement at some point in the future). I have another bookshelf and dresser to say goodbye to as soon as I get some bins for the empty shelves on my free-standing closet organizer (a hand-me-down gift from Faith & Darius… I’m obsessed with it).
- 25% of medicine: That old stuff that was seriously expired and some cough drops that were now goopy from age.. because I kept forgetting I had them and buying new bags.
- 85% of miscellaneous odds & ends: If I didn’t know what it was, where it came from, what purpose it served, why I had duplicates or if I had completely forgotten I owned it, the item went bye-bye.
And now, I feel clean. Watching seven trash bags, five massive bins and two large boxes exit my room was so freeing! There’s less stuff and more space. More room to breathe. More room to be me.
The single downside I can think of: I clean & purge when I’m upset (I’m the exact opposite of people who practice retail therapy) and now I don’t have anything to purge.. Guess I better avoid upsets. heh.
Are you a practicing minimalist? Does the idea of minimalism thrill you or scare you? What is a downside you’ve experienced to minimalism?