Not going to lie. I feel a whole lot more like having a nap right now than writing this post. And the only reason I even bother to say so is that I like to keep things 100% honest, real-life around here. BUT, I promised myself one post a week and I’m honouring that commitment.
I realized recently that I haven’t written anything about minimalism in quite some time now! I think partly because it’s become such a constant in my life that I often forget how long it took to get here. Or that others, much earlier along their journey, could probably use some inspiration and motivation, especially with the dawning of the new year.
Earlier this week, with that fresh-start feeling itching at me, I made a list on my phone of a number of different things and places around my home that I’ve been meaning to declutter.
Some of these are individual objects that I’ve made a mental note of more than once (a sure sign it’s time to let go). Others are more broad categories like “desk drawer”. Some items I’m planning to donate. Others are getting boxed up to save for our future cottage (I’m putting it out there to the universe!).
I made the list because I knew I wouldn’t be able to get it all done at once. But I’ve started spending 10 minutes here and 15 minutes there bopping around my house tackling what I can. And it feels SO GOOD!
It continues to amaze me how, even more than three years into this journey to minimize my life, I still get a high from decluttering. It’s like a breath of fresh air, or a weight lifting off my shoulders. The same dopamine hit that I once felt from making a new purchase I now feel from letting go of something – the difference being a much more lasting sense of peace and satisfaction from the latter.
I’ve said it before but it’s worth repeating that we are never DONE decluttering. It’s not like you can Marie Kondo your possessions once and for all and then forever reap the benefits. The reality is life happens and new things make their way into our homes regardless of how intentional we are about stemming the flow. It takes continual, or at least periodic, maintenance.
Our priorities change. Our hobbies flux. Our values shift. All of these things can render something that was once useful or joy-inducing no longer so. And that’s okay.
This is a common instance for guilt to rear its ugly head. Because this used to be our favourite shirt, or our child played with that toy every day for two months (even though he’s since outgrown it), we struggle to let it go.
And it’s perfectly acceptable to hold onto something for sentimental reasons.
But if everything is sentimental, then suddenly nothing is. You catch my drift? We need to be selective here if we want to keep from drowning in things that were once used and loved but no longer are.
I’ve said this before also, but it’s a good reminder if you find yourself caught in this trap. Consider the joy or utility that the NEXT owner is going to find in that item. Wouldn’t you rather it continue to be used and loved by someone else than sit in a box in your spare closet?
All this to be said, I know it can feel extremely daunting to begin decluttering. We all require some help in the motivation department from time to time, myself included.
Below are a few of my go-to’s when I’m in need of some decluttering inspiration. I love that they feature a range of different lifestyles and family units, including a couple with several kids. I think it’s so important that we can find RELATABLE examples of what living with less can look like.
Okay, here goes:
1)The Minimal Mom – four kids, super down to earth, a multitude of quick, actionable strategies that make decluttering feel much less intimidating for the average household.
2)Natalie Bennett’s Messy to Minimal series – another relatable family of five and a great example of how decluttering is an ongoing process.
3)Michelle Barnes’ (muchelleb) 30 Days to Simplify Your Life Challlenge – if you’re into something more structured, this guided challenge is a great one!
4)The Minimalists – I find their content can get a bit repetitive but if you’re new to the world of minimalism, check out their documentaries on Netflix. The original, Minimalism, and their recent release, Less Is Now.
5)Matt D’Avella – this guy is a filmmaker who directed the above-noted documentaries. He’s all about intentional living, in more ways than just decluttering the stuff. Love his content.
6)Erica Layne at The Life On Purpose Movement – a great blog and podcast. Very inspirational and a strong advocate for filling your cup first.
There are tons more but these are some of my favorites. Hopefully one or more of them resonate with you too!
And if you’re feeling stuck, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me! I’m my family’s unofficial decluttering consultant 😛 and could literally talk about this stuff all day!