Let me begin by being extremely honest: I admire minimalists. I have frequently found myself envying the beauty in such a simplistic and clean lifestyle. Bright, white, classy and wholesome. What a wonderful thing to aspire to!
Regardless of my appreciation for those whom thrive on minimalism, I am not a minimalist. I’m far too sentimental- and even if I wasn’t, my husband is even more sentimental (as I stuff into folders our daughter’s coloring pages that he won’t let me throw out).
I do believe that life and one’s home can easily be overthrown by clutter, distraction, and unnecessary stress; which is why I have been (slowly but surely) working toward minimizing.
Our journey began when we purchased our first home. We had already moved from single adults with plenty of “stuff”, to newlyweds with a registry’s worth of more “stuff”, and had been living in apartments, renting a storage unit, and not wanting to let go of any of it.
When we moved into our house we were extremely intentional in not decorating every room too quickly. We chose neutral colors as the base for paint and furniture in each room, with pops of color that are easy and inexpensive to update if we change our minds. We also reminded ourselves that just because we have something, doesn’t mean we have to use it.
Some items made the cut, some are still on the proverbial decision-making cutting board, and some we have let go of.
The result, thus far, is a home that is not over-decorated, that we love and are proud of. We still have stereotypical items such as family photos displayed, and our choices are personal and warm; but on a limited scale.
As a bonus, we are able to sell the items we no longer need to fund pieces we absolutely love and that have purpose for our family.
It’s a continual work in progress, though.
Along with acquiring a home, we have added two children to our family, and naturally, toys to spare. We are currently working on organizing in that category, so stay tuned.
In the meantime, one thing we’ve implemented in an attempt to quell the chaos is that we keep just one small box in the living room for toys. The rest find their home in bedrooms or the basement. This isn’t to say that plenty of extra toys and books don’t make their way into the living room- two year olds are funny that way; but it certainly cuts down on what could be a disaster (our basement is proof), and clean-up takes just a few short minutes.
Another priority in “operation minimize” has been my closet. I would love a capsule wardrobe, but like I said, I’m sentimental and haven’t been able to let go of everything I don’t wear; I AM working on it. I’ve found that pregnancy has helped this process. Anything that I didn’t miss wearing while pregnant or that is no longer flattering on my mom bod, or no longer appropriate for my age (read: crop tops; sorry T-Swift) goes into the donation pile. I get a little gutsier each time I clean out my closet, and it is so freeing!
*One thing to note about my wardrobe is that I have three of them; normal, pregnant, and transitional- because heaven knows my normal jeans don’t fit again overnight! Can I get an amen, moms?!
Lastly, I am intentional in organizing. I keep each of our storage spots in a loose rotation, and on the occasional (rare) event I have some extra time, I clean one of these areas out, purge what is no longer needed, and reorganize. It’s easy to let areas like the pantry, spice cabinet, and medicine chest get outdated and overfilled. Keeping these areas in check reduce (my) stress and keep the things we actually need readily available. How big of a bummer is it when you have a cold and realize your cough syrup expired two years ago? No, thank you. The pay off is really worth the effort.
I’m excited to continue to minimize as we dive into spring cleaning and continue our efforts to make our home perfect for us.
Minimalism isn’t for everyone; but neither is excess and clutter- you CAN have a happy medium.