Minimal Living | Two Year Review

My journey to minimalism has not been a straight line. It started by reading about capsule wardrobes and becoming obsessed with the idea of having a versatile wardrobe. I spent a lot of time researching the topic, purging my closet, and planning (not kidding, there were spreadsheets) a capsule wardrobe. Now, capsule wardrobes seem to be all the rage with fashion bloggers and you can find a variety of articles about the topic here, here, and here.

I went from wanting a capsule wardrobe to a tidy home. I read Kon Mari’s famous and ubiquitous book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Not to sound overly dramatic, but this book did change my life and the way I view “stuff.” I’m much less sentimental about things, and I find it easier to let go of things that I’m not longer using. I also like to surround myself with things that I love to use and that are useful.

I enjoy reading Be More With Less by Courtney Carver, Becoming Minimalist by Joshua Becker, and Zen Habits by Leo Babauta. On Netflix (or online), I highly recommend the documentary Minimalism.

Like previous posts, I’m going to review my Wins, Losses, Next Steps, and Lessons Learned during my two-year journey into minimalism.

Wins

The biggest win is my ability to let go of things that are no longer useful in my life. This can be clothes, cosmetics, accessories, books, dishes, cups, souvenirs, toys, etc. If an item has sat unused in a closet for x number of years, then it’s very easy to let go.

Another big win is the time I save by simplifying my life. By owning fewer items, I’ve streamlined a lot of chores around the house. As an example, my family of four now owns 2 laundry baskets. One basket is in the laundry room for clean clothes coming out of the dryer, and the other is upstairs in the master bedroom. All dirty clothes go into the one basket in our bedroom. Once it’s full, I take it downstairs to the laundry room to start the washing machine, and I bring the basket full of clean clothes up. This has dramatically cut down on how much laundry piles up and how much laundry is laying around the house.

Two years in and I still find myself decluttering at least once a month. Earlier this month, I decluttered our china hutch. When we moved into our house, we put everything glass and silver into the hutch. I thought I was being sorta minimal because everything was on display, not hidden away in a cupboard. But a lot of the items in the hutch were things we never used and I never saw us using. So I finally took everything out, took an honest review, and donated about half of the items.

My shopping habits have changed dramatically since starting this journey. I used to be a mall rat, and I shopped as a form of entertainment. Now, I buy things to last. I don’t really shop at the mall anymore because so many of the items sold there are not made to last. When I do shop, I shop with a purpose. If it’s clothes, then I’m filling a pre-identified need. If it’s for the house, same thing. I don’t casually shop anymore.

I also make an effort to be present in whatever I’m doing. If I’m with my kids, then I’m not looking at my phone. If I want to hang out with my husband, then we turn off the TV.

Losses

A more accurate title for this section would be “Struggles.” With two kids under 4 years old in the house, messes are a constant struggle. Our older son loves to build forts, but he doesn’t love picking them up, and he usually wants them left standing. When it’s time to pick up toys, I make a big deal about how much space we have to play when we pick up. Our oldest does like to run around after we pick up, but it’s still a daily struggle to get him to pick up toys.

The bane of my existence is the garage. It is a giant disaster. I’m honestly embarrassed to have the garage door open.

Digital clutter is slowly starting to build up again. I need to unsubscribe from about 100 mailing lists (slightly exaggerating) and unfollow some pages on social media.

Next Steps

I’m still on a mission to declutter our house. My husband and I have talked about doing a No Buy Challenge sometime soon, so I would like to pick a date to start that challenge.

I also need to declutter my calendar. My husband and I both need to be more physically active, and we’ve talked about ways to simplify our daily routines to free up time for exercise. Recently, I started a dinner calendar and that helps with planning ahead (shopping, defrosting, etc.), but I’d like to use the crockpot more or prep some freezer meals. I also feel like my weekends are consumed with chores, and I want more time spent having fun with the kids and friends.

Lessons Learned

Minimalism is a journey, not a destination. I’m not sure if I’ll ever feel like my life is 100% completely balanced, but I can see changes have occurred and I feel like I’m heading in the right direction.

There are a lot of reasons why I look for “things” to make me feel happy. If I’m feeling bad about my baby weight, then some new flattering clothes will make me feel better. If I’m feeling bad because my hair is frizzy, then there are lots of hair products that promise to give me shiny, beautiful hair. This list can go on forever. By taking a step back, using the things I’ve learned from minimalism, I can identify when I’m looking externally for things to make me feel better, rather than dealing with the negative feelings.

P.S. I haven’t blogged since our youngest on was born in October 2015. I’m looking forward to blogging again, and really doubling down on lifestyle improvements.

P.P.S. Happy first day of spring!

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