Updated: Jun 11, 2018
I have embarked on a path of living with less and what matters. In this series of Minimalist Living, I will document my journey of becoming a minimalist and living life with what really matters.
Have you ever stepped back and realized how much stuff you've accumulated through the years? Recently, I had a moment where I just felt overwhelmed with how much things I had. It started with a normal day of laundry that seemed like a never ending process. I was washing clothes for myself, as well as my family almost everyday! It dawned on me that this is absolutely ridiculous.
That day would forever change they way I shop, what I held on to, and what I considered a pull away from a vicious cycle that most of us are trapped in; The need for More.
The Accumulation Years
Growing up we always had a lot of stuff. Each school year, we would get a batch of new clothing, shoes, and all the glam to accessorize. My mother loved shopping, and going to the mall was a normal thing for us. This habit transferred into my teenage life and well into my adult life. At 16, I had my first job and was now able to purchase my own things. I too was into fashion and basically continued the same patterns of shopping, shopping, and more shopping.
In my college years, I entered into the Legal field which opened an entire new arena for a reason to shop some more. In 2010, I gave birth to our first son and he also had an extensive wardrobe, toys and shoe collection.
The Breaking Point
Did I really need all of this stuff? Honestly, I didn't. However, society have us wrapped up in believing that accumulating more stuff provides happiness. In reality, it is more stressful and a lot of unnecessary spending. I did not want to continue this pattern and I did not want our sons to inherit the habit of consuming and acquiring more than they needed.
An Excessive amount of anything is GLUTTONY!
We often associate greed with food or money. In actuality, an excessive amount of anything in life is a form of gluttony. As I am growing in the truth, the idea of having all of this stuff sitting here was weighing heavy on my mind. I was holding on to items that could potentially bless someone in need. Some items were literally no longer of use to me, but I was still holding on to them. This was the moment that allowed me to examine myself and make the corrections in my ways.
Breaking the Habit
I knew going in that this new territory was not going to be easy. Scaling down on items accumulated throughout the years was not going to be an overnight task. Mentally, I was all on board and was ready to toss out my entire home. However, I was quite amazed on how emotionally connected I was to a lot of my items. Deciding to toss old high school clothing, or an item given as a gift was very hard for me.
I decided to combat this issue effectively, I had to emotionally prepare myself for this change. I also must make sure no other items were coming into the home. This meant no more shopping and accepting items from friends and family.
Here are a few tips that helped me break the habit:
Sort through all of your items. Create a "Want pile", "a Maybe pile" and a "Donation pile".
I did this sorting system by using old bins that I already owned. I agreed to keep the "maybe pile" for 30 days and revisit the items in there. If I no longer had the same emotional tied to it, I added the items into the donation pile.
TIP: For items that you know you will no longer use but still connected emotionally, find a family member or a friend that you know will love and care for it just like you did.
Do not tackle everything in one day
Trying to sort through everything in one day can be overwhelming. I started with one room and did not move to the next until I was completely satisfied with what I kept and tossed.
Do not place a time limit on your progress
What? I know this sounds crazy, but rushing to clear the clutter and minimize your space can result in a relapse. Give yourself the time to sort through your items and make a thorough decision to keep and toss. Pace yourself to achieve success.
It is OK to say NO!
Who likes to turn down free things? No one! but it is necessary for us to learn to say no. This includes free samples at stores, taking in unwanted items if they are not needed and passing up sales.
Achieving a minimalist lifestyle means having more time with the people who matters. Minimalism means spending less time, saving money, and achieving a clear and healthy space to live in. Most important of all, minimalism is releasing the spirit of gluttony.
Could you transition to a minimalist lifestyle? Do you have an excessive amount of items? What are the positive impacts your life can benefit from minimalism?