minimization – the act of reducing something to the least possible amount or degree or position..
Okay, I get the point. I’ve read the books. I need to simplify my life. But my question is, how do we accumulate all this crap in the first place? Not just clutter in our homes, cars.. But our minds are cluttered as well. With stupid ad jingles, or that song you can’t put your finger on, what you forgot on your shopping list or how you would like to hit your husband with your rolling-pin. All these thoughts can be considered clutter as well. Okay wow, more clutter than I thought.. No, not you, the person behind you.
Let’s start with the house. Now I’m not one of those people who have rooms full of junk, or stuffed closets for that matter. But there is definitely room for improvement. Our hope is to live in a home within five years that will be half the size we have now. So we minimize. The first step we did was simply purge, twice. We all took trash bags and one small Rubbermaid into our rooms and proceeded to sort. The children were given strict instruction that if you haven’t seen it in 6+ months.. trash or donate. Six bags in our first purge, four in the second. And it felt great. We were all laughing, showing off things we haven’t seen in a year or better, quizzing each other on “keep or don’t keep”. We made it a fun complete family moment, which was just an added bonus! Now to be honest, my house is still full of ‘stuff’. Beautiful things, paintings I’ve collected, paintings I’ve done, wooden sculptures, things people have brought me from around the globe. How, no, HOW DO WE CHOOSE BEYOND THE OBVIOUS???
The bare minimum… hmm..
We have a six drawer dresser in our bedroom, so that’s three apiece for all the clothes we’re going to wear that current season. Everyone has 2 small Rubbermaids. One for the other seasons clothes and the other for memorabilia. This is a work in progress, but it’s going great. We have a community yard sale in two weeks and the kids are piling up their ‘for sale’ pile, talking about all the money they are going to make.. Okay, just keep cleaning from under your bed. Thanks Sweetie..
Gandhi died with close to ten items in his possession, including a bowl and spoon, his watch, glasses, his daily attire.. small things, necessary things. He was given many gifts, homes, clothing. He gave them to someone else. He knew it wasn’t what we had, but what we knew, how we felt about our connection with the world and with each other. These are our true possessions: respect, love, happiness, peace, compassion, loyalty, humility. We earn these, still at a steep price sometimes. But they are ours.
As I de-clutter (I’m nowhere near through) the energy of the house just feels better, less cramped. With less things, it is easier to keep them in their places. Everybody is happier to go for a walk and come back in to the house already clean. We spend ten to fifteen minutes in the mornings and everything is back ship-shape. I think easier, I breathe easier. It is just more relaxing when you know there are no dishes in the sink, no clothes to be folded right now, nobody’s bed to make up..you get the point. You really feel yourself loosen up, you start to feel the power of minimizing. It’s the first step in letting ‘materialism’ go. You don’t need all these things? Where did all this shit come from in the first place?! I’m going to blame the kids, it’s just easier for me that way 😉
We read to challenge yourself to get rid of five items a day!! Doesn’t matter what they are, big or small. It could be that toothbrush holder you’ve been saving under the sink or that stack of papers on your nightstand or your nightstand! It’s getting easier and easier. And the extra space on the dressers, bathroom and kitchen counters, nightstand, bookshelves, rooms.. you know where your junk is!! Get rid of it, let some of your unnecessary weights go. It adds spaciousness to your whole house. Start in one corner like I did. Now it’s my favorite corner. I take a deep breath and smile at the single upright lamp there.
Five things a day.. We’ll get there…