I've thought about it, but the sheer volume of stuff to go through is daunting! Dh also has a lot of stuff that he refuses to sort, because he "doesn't know where to start." Our youngest daughter would find the idea of "minimalist" as blasphemous. Her room is a riot of color and knick knacks. Think Victorian, baroque, and rococo style.
I have a feeling that my life would be a lot less stressful if I had a lot less stuff though.
SR the way XSLaura describes is how I manage most of the time. I don't have the energy to cope with big projects. Plus it makes the family nervous so I usually do this when they weren't looking or noticing.In the beginning it can definitely feel overwhelming. I found it helped to just focus on a small task like a drawer in a cabinet. That was usually doable. Then I would move on to another area and as I went it gained momentum and became easier.
Sometimes it's more important to just get it done. Something that Josh Becker said recently about buying time resonated with me. Take a dishwasher. It frees up your time from washing dishes the old fashioned way upwards of 3 x per day. That one purchase frees up time for years, and that time and energy can be used on other things. Same with a decluttering service. Or a cleaning service. If you need it, can afford it or make it a priority in the budget to allow financial room for it, it frees you up to do other things that God has given you to do.I'm sure they are. But if something happens to my parents while I'm still working, I don't see how I could take care of it all.
Ditto what you said! Our processes are very alikeSR the way XSLaura describes is how I manage most of the time. I don't have the energy to cope with big projects. Plus it makes the family nervous so I usually do this when they weren't looking or noticing.
I have a basket on the floor of my closet for donations. When it fills up, I bag it and donate it. If I pull something out to wear and realize I hate the way it fits, I never feel comfy in it, whatever the reason-- I drop it in the basket.
When I can't do anything else much at all, I try to do a quick pass around the apartment with the garbage bag from the kitchen before George takes it out to the trash bin. I get what I call the "low hanging fruit" which means the easy stuff. --the stuff that I spot on the surfaces that is easier to throw away than continue dealing with it. Stuff like extra skincare products you stopped using but had a backup of, a cleaner that just didn't work for you. Your daughter's single sock collection. Anything that crunched underfoot like a toy that should have been put away.
My old rule of family stuff is that if they leave it out and I have to pick it up, clean around it or trip over it, I get to decide it's fate. Usually I was kind and put it in a quarantine box. If nobody cared to claim it, I tossed it. But the toy that crunched my foot met it's doom immediately.
I don't sell ANYTHING-- this weekend I found an old silver teapot. I'm donating it. I can't be bothered. I don't care if it's valuable, been in the family for generations. God will make sure it gets into the right hands. My kids don't want it (I checked first) and I don't either. Let it go with a prayer to bless the next owner. I've done that with my cut crystal wedding presents. I kept some vases I use, the rest, donated.
I either donate it, or I toss it into the dumpster. If I think it might cause George to faint or have fits, I make a little dumpster visit while he is out of the apartment for whatever reason.
I don't like the methods of pulling everything you own out, making a mountain, then dealing with it. Real life means I have to drop my project and go do something else or granddaughters arrive. So I limit the mess I'm making to something I can clean up in a minute or two. A single drawer, a few off season clothes I don't want for next winter etc.
Another important mind shift is-- Choosing what to keep. Not what to let go of, but what to keep. The things you keep should be necessary for daily life like laundry detergent or they should be your top 5 cookbooks, or your top 15 tops, or your 6 best pants. You choose your numbers. That sort of thing. Choosing what to toss is depressing, while choosing your best of the best hit parade is fun. And if you make up the rules, you can break or change or bend them with ease. They are your rules.
It's also helpful to look at the size of the space-- whether it's a drawer for your winter sweaters, or the limits of your closet. Peter Walsh said "you only have the space you have" which is helpful for me to downsize to fit the space. Any more coming in, something must come out. It just has to fit into ... x. The size of your closet or dresser drawers become the boundaries.
It's more of a mindset change than the actual physical plowing thru the stuff. That comes easier if I think about it like this first.
Keep it small and easy.
If it leaves a grocery bag at a time into the dumpster or to the charity donation, it's still leaving.
That adds up. If you make a donation run to the charity once a week, you can get rid of the easy stuff, then later you can work up to bigger things.
Some Christians I watch off and on from YT for cleaning and decluttering inspiration (that gets me moving when I'm stuck, watching someone else for a bit) that have good easy advice: Erica Lucas, Nourishing Minimalism, Small Changes, Joshua Becker, Natalie Bennett, and Jana Leigh. Shannon Torrens isn't a Christian as far as I can tell. They are all nice, genuine people with good ideas.
Erica Lucas is particularly good at explaining what is going on with her home, why it got that way (navy wife, moved many times, her box collection from Navy storage was epic) and what she is doing to dig out from under while still having a life with 3 kids and a dog and a husband who gets deployed regularly.
Rachel of Nourishing Minimalism (5 kids I think) explains what she did to change her habits to let go of stuff and she is particularly good at easy solutions.
Small Changes has serious health issues and 5 kids plus a husband and a small home in Australia, but she's got great ideas.
Josh Becker former pastor has made a career out of dejunking his home and writing about it, but he has a gift of keeping it slow, small and simple.
Natalie Bennett has 3 small kids and just started a year or two ago, but she has good insights. She copes with health problems so she is very relatable.
Jana-- mum of 3 here on earth, one in heaven and Shannon are quiet people who just share what is working for them. Easy to listen to.
Minimom of New Zealand quit making videos but her channel is a lovely one. Her last 7 months she had 3 small videos on the Flylady method; setting up zone cleaning in her new condo, a day in the life which goes thru her simplified daily flylady stuff and a weekly home blessing one. She's managed to distill the good stuff and clear the clutter out of the flylady method.
I find if I binge watch them for a while, I pick up new ideas to try, see things I might want to change and gear up for bigger declutters when I"m up for that.
Jane welcome here by the way, hope you keep on posting. you are SO right about minimalism. It's so freeing. There's a spot to introduce yourself, if you feel like telling us a bit about you but meanwhile welcome aboard!The minimalist lifestyle isn't for everyone, but it has been beneficial to me in a number of ways.
The financial rewards are obvious, minimalism discourages needless spending and allows me to live in a smaller, less expensive home.
The psychological benefits were the biggest surprise to me. It is freeing to know where everything is, that the items I choose to keep are in working order, are used frequently and generally serve more than one purpose. I no longer have nagging thoughts of bulging closets and junk drawers stuffed with unused items that need to be purged and reorganized.
Time is priceless and I have more of it to focus on what is important to me. Managing, maintaining and storing possessions is no longer a priority - relationships are, especially my relationship with God.
My transition was very gradual, and began when my father passed away. My mother wanted to downsize and I helped her through that process. At some point, I realized the burden of "excess". I started by greatly reducing my purchases, then began donating unwanted items and duplicates. As time went on, my mindset shifted to "less is more". Over the past six years I estimate I reduced my possessions by at least two thirds.
It has been a worthwhile journey for me.
This! Thanks, Jane, for your excellent post. I need to heed it. I'm so busy trying to prepare meals and all my other household tasks that I haven't yet decided to begin with downsizing my 'stuff', but I sorely need to.Time is priceless and I have more of it to focus on what is important to me. Managing, maintaining and storing possessions is no longer a priority - relationships are, especially my relationship with God.
I've been brushing with baking soda for many years. Recently I have been adding some sea salt.I’m trying to minimalize on products as well as other stuff. I recycled a small jelly jar by putting some laundry powder (Tide) in it to use for toilet bowl cleaner and cleaning sink snd tub. It doesn’t take much and like it much better than the actual toilet bowl cleaner. I recycled another small jar by putting baking soda in it if need an abrasive; usually for helping clean the sink.
Accidentally I bought some toothpaste with hydrogen peroxide in it and it tears my mouth up. I used a small container and put baking soda in it then added mineral oil to make a somewhat paste that I can scoop up on my finger and put on toothbrush. I added a bit of lemon extract and mixed well. It makes my teeth feel cleaner than the toothpaste did. I’m sticking with it. The mineral oil is in the laxative section so it’s food grade.