Friday, July 31, 2015

10 things weve learned from minimal living.

at the beginning of all of this, i talked about how our move towards minimalism was a big change, a change i never thought wed ever make. i also talked about how even in a short time, weve benefitted immensely from the changes were making. now today, i want to take a minute and talk about all the lessons that weve learned through this process, because this has been quite the learning experience: 

1. its hard. thoroughly purging as much as possible from our home (despite the fact that its already tiny) was probably one of the hardest things weve ever done as a family. i mean, just physically getting through all. that. stuff. and deciding what to do with it is a long and difficult process, but its hard in other ways too. its emotionally hard to go through all the memories attached to things and learn to let go when you realize they just arent needed, and to face the facts that our clutter problem was caused by our bad habits and we had to change them. having different parts of my house torn up for months on end, moving (and replacing) furniture and getting rid of such huge amounts of stuff was very hard on my psychologically and sent my anxiety through the roof multiple times. going through all of this together as a couple, and not always agreeing on what should stay/go/be replaced (especially coupled with my anxiety episodes/being hugely pregnant) was hard on our marriage. honestly, i cant think of a part of this whole process that wasnt hard. 

2. it gets worse before it gets better. not only was de-cluttering an overall difficult process, but we quickly learned that cleaning out one area meant making a mess in another area. we spent the majority of this year with an assortment of boxes and bins in our bedroom filled with junk waiting to go out, whether it was getting sold, donated, or picked up by a friend or relative and not only was it super discouraging to be doing all that work to still have a giant mess to look at, but also looking at that mess day after day stressed me the heck out. 

3. but oh, it gets better. yeah the mess totally sucked. but the feeling of freedom and relief that came with each load that went out? amazing. and the more we cleaned out, the easier it got, the faster we got at doing it and the more room we had to work in. now that weve gone over the whole house once, its not only a cleaner, brighter, more peaceful place to live, but its also no problem at all to get out a project or some of alices big toys. also, keeping up with de-cluttering on a smaller scale is SO much easier now. 

4. we had a lot of habits to change. rome wasnt built in a day, and neither was our apartment filled with clutter. our clutter was the result of years of bad habits, which was not really something either of us wanted to admit, and they were quite painful to un-learn. but as a result, weve replaced them with better habits and our home just keeps getting nicer and nicer.  

5. but we really dont miss any of that stuff. if i were to put a number on the percentage of our things weve gotten rid of in the past year, id say its creeping up on 50% (i say that because to this day were still taking out small quantities of stuff on the regular), and if i were to put a number on the times weve needed something and realized that we didnt have it anymore that number would be zero. yes, zero. not only had that crap been clogging up our home and our lives for all these years, we have literally not missed a single piece of it. 

6. so much of what we thought we needed was unnecessary. when you get move out/get married/have your first baby everybody comes out with these long lists of stuff you "need" and because you dont know any better you buy/ask people for all of those things. maybe you dont use all of them right away but you hang on to them because, you know, you were told that you need them. and when you make huge life changes like moving from a huge house in the mountains to a tiny city apartment your needs and priorities change drastically. and when you do all of that in a very short amount of time you end up with a huge amount of stuff that you thought/were told that you needed but then realized was just taking up space. 

7. there is no need to fill every empty space. im not sure why (im guessing its just human nature?), but ive noticed that people tend to feel the need to fill every available space in their home and not leave anything empty. i didnt even notice how much i did this until we had gotten to the point where there were empty (or partially empty) shelves and drawers opening up and i found myself trying to figure out what i should get to put in them. but then it hit me that they can just stay that way, just because a space exists doesnt mean that there has to be something in it, especially if we dont need it. 

8. clutter goes way beyond physical things. this was probably the most surprising lesson weve gotten out of this whole thing. as we cleaned out our house and examined our habits where buying/storing/organizing things were concerned, we also inadvertently started examining our lifestyle and habits elsewhere. as we removed the physical things that werent benefitting us, we also noticed the other things that werent benefitting us and started getting rid of those too: phone games, jamberry, netflix, hulu, unnecessary errands, etc. so not only have we freed up a huge amount of space in our home, but we also have much more time to spend together as a family doing the things we actually want to do. 

9. theres always more to get rid of. ive said it before and ill say it again: every layer of stuff we get rid of just uncovers another layer of things we realize we dont need. every time i clean out my closet i find myself getting rid of more and more whether i buy anything new or not, im constantly finding kitchen tools i dont remember ever using and im about to go through all my craft supplies again because i realized how little of it i actually use for work/making things i like. 

10. it feels SO GOOD to not have our lives ruled by stuff. nobody wants to admit that their life is ruled by their stuff, and honestly i never thought our stuff was that big of a problem. sure it was a mess, but certainly not a problem. but as we started hacking away at it, we quickly learned that it was a problem. actually, it was a huge problem that was getting in the way of basically every area of our lives. and as weve ditched the embarrassingly huge amounts of stuff we once had (and continue to do so on a smaller scale), its been amazing to see how much more freedom we have thanks to our emptier home, not having to clean, maintain, organize, and look at all those things that we werent even using. 

even though embracing minimalism was a surprising move for us, and it hasnt been easy, its definitely been a worthwhile experience. and as you can see, weve really learned a lot from it. 

have you made the move to minimalism? whats the most important thing youve learned from it? id love to hear about it in the comments!

post signature

No comments:

Post a Comment