I love everything about the minimalist lifestyle, and have read multiple books to keep me inspired on this path which has been pretty life-changing. Some were amazing and completely changed my thinking, like the More of Less by Joshua Becker, which made me literally rethink everything I own and reconsider every purchase I now make. I shop a lot less (actually, not at all- even my Prime Membership lapsed), and I look at both consumable products and stuff in general totally differently. I listen to The More of Less again and again, in the car, while drifting off to sleep- it’s paradigm shifting.
Other books were excellent but made me feel kind of bad, like Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I went through my entire home and only kept what sparked joy, and I even tried her folding trick for clothes in drawers. Both were effective, but I was still left with too much stuff, so my drawers and surfaces quickly became untidy again. She writes that once you go through her program, you will never by untidy again (she has a 0% relapse rate), but at the end, my tidier, joy-sparking home still had way too much stuff and it was still untidy as a result, so I needed something stricter (and kind of felt like a failure because I relapsed).
Something told me that it was ok to get rid of things I loved too, because I didn’t need so much, because eye-clutter can happen even with things you love, because I don’t need to own every single thing in the world that gives me joy. I am now currently reading – actually, listening to- Joshua Becker’s The Minimalist Home. I gathered two large garbage bags filled with things I love but don’t feel add to my life in an important way, and contacted the local Veteran’s charity to pick them up. Then I filled another two bags and called the number on the Breast Cancer foundation postcard I received in the mail to pick those up. I get a lot of post cards in the mail from charities asking for donations and I save them and go through them so each gets a turn (a charity for cystic fibrosis is next on the pile so they get my next two bags). I donate clothes, toys, sports equipment the boys have outgrown, extra linens and blankets, and anything I haven’t used in a significant way in years. NOW that my house has less clutter, I have a feeling Marie Kondo’s wonderful tips on tidying up will come in handy.
Some other things I came across on my journey to a simpler, more meaningful life:
I found out that wearing the same thing every day is what geniuses like Steve Jobs do.
Simpler meals (and even skipping meals– minimizing how much you eat) leads to a slew of health benefits and beauty benefits.
Traveling with less usually means much more fun, and sure saves time.
Kids are happier with less toys and less scheduling too. Creativity grows from space and boredom.
Doing things makes you happier than buying things.
Look around at your stuff. Everything you see was once money.
By the way, if you’re wondering what started me on this road of down-sizing and minimizing, it was two things- 1. realizing we weren’t saving for our future, and the fact that my Amazon and Target shopping habits were out of control (and our credit card bills were as well), but all the stuff I was bringing in didn’t make me happier or add to our lives at all, and 2. Taking pictures in my home was frustrating, because not matter which direction I face, or how much I cropped, clutter in the background was a distracting aspect of each picture.
My son recently taught himself to play the harmonica. This is amazing to me, and I took pictures of him watching YouTube tutorials and playing full songs, because I wanted to remember, and the tabletop clutter, the wall clutter- all of it- was noice in these special images that pulled my eyes away from my son and his harmonica. I was just tired of background noise intruding on precious moments, and suddenly none of it was bringing me joy at all.
My boys bring me the most joy ♥︎ I kind of just want to erase the rest of it at these moments 😉