I am going to preface this post by saying two things:
- Minimalism works different for every person/family. Being a minimalist does not mean that I will only own 1 pair of shoes or never shop again, it means that I will make conscious purchases based on what my family and I actually need, as opposed to receiving an email from a store about a special sale and making an impulsive purchase of things I do not need because I would be “saving money” or “missing out on a great deal”.
- Throw out the preconceived perception that minimalism is that specific Instagram Scandinavian/everything white/expensive curated aesthetics thing we see everywhere. Although those things are absolutely gorgeous and inspiring, they do not reflect the majority of our lives/budgets/lifestyles. Create your very own minimalistic lifestyle, just like I am doing.
Ok. Let’s get this started!
A regular day in my life would look something like this: wake up sleep drunk with a very much awake baby at 5:45-6:00 am, tripping on absolutely every kind of random crap on my way to the kitchen, making coffee right away, and feeling immediately discouraged by taking a glimpse at how destroyed every single room in my house looks like. Toys, unfolded laundry, more toys, a thousand sippy cups, wrappers, more toys, stuff from the kitchen the girls insist on playing with, nothing had a set place to live…. literally a nightmare. Does this sound familiar or am I the only one who should have appeared on the tv show Hoarders? I did not know much about what I could do about it, but I did know one thing: I could not spend another full weekend moving items from one room to another, buying more organizers and wasting time I would rather be enjoying with my family because I had to CLEAN. THE. FREAKING. HOUSE.
So… one Friday evening, I had a fight with my husband and, although I do not remember what it was about, I do remember both of us being very overwhelmed that day. We were always stressed, angry, frustrated, and uneasy and we did not know why. To cope with our fights I clean… that is what I do. I started cleaning my kitchen, and there was SO MUCH STUFF. STUFF. STUFF. STUFF EVERYWHERE. Dozens of extra and unmatched storage containers, unused and broken appliances, dozens of mugs and drawers stuffed with ridiculous things like those brushes to use on turkeys, like I don’t even know the name and I HAD 2 UNUSED ONES! I was so on edge, that I said loudly: THIS IS IT! I went on a purging spree that cleansed my soul. That was exactly what I needed, and in that moment I knew that things were about to change for good. I asked my husband if he minded if I got rid of some things and since we were not talking at that moment, all he said was: get rid of everything, and got back to playing with Hazel. I purged about 50% of our kitchen, most went straight to the trash bag(S), and some items I offered to my family and friends. About 2 hours later, I stared at my counter in disbelief: it was CLUTTER FREE.
HOW I TACKLED THE HOUSE
I decided that I needed some guidance, so I plunged into Youtube and found a couple of videos where people decluttered their homes. After watching a few channels like “Pick Up Limes” and Allison Anderson, I embraced the “IF YOU DO NOT ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT, ABSOLUTELY DO NOT KEEP IT” method. Simple and straight to the point. Can you live without it? Yes? Then TOSS IT or DONATE IT. Do you absolutely love it? THEN KEEP IT. Make sure to be ruthless at times, but also very realistic. I kept 1 box of special memory items for the girls and 1 for Tim and me, and that was surprisingly enough to keep all of our sweet memories. I also kept my collection of bobble heads from The Office and my collection of snow globes from the countries I have visited, and nothing else besides that.
We also got rid of one of the biggest instigators and probably the biggest cause of our clutter and shopping problem: our e-mail subscriptions. Tim found a free website online (there are tons out there) that gets rid of ALL of your newsletter/sales subscriptions. I was subscribed to 44 websites that sent me sales on a regular basis and Tim was surprisingly subscribed to over 400, like WHAT!?
After doing some more research, I came across the documentary “Minimalism”, that is on Netflix. OH.MY.GOD. It changed my entire life to the point I was in tears.
The main point of the documentary is to make us understand that we don’t need things. We hunger and thirst for meaningful relationships and experiences, peace of mind and a quality of life that will lead us to one day looking back with pride at our legacy and story! I do not want to look back and remember how many hours I spent trying to organize a house that was overflowing with things that I did not need which lead to debt and kept me from making memories with my family! Dear God I am getting HEATED over here!!
Some people recommend to start small, conquor room by room to not overwhelm you, but I was so incredibly fed up that I reclaimed the entire house in about 5 days. Don’t ask me how, because before that I kept whining about how little house work I was able to do during the day because of the girls, but I pushed through anything and everything with some help from the TV and the iPad and the husband to keep the girls entertained during my family’s life-changing process.
The more I purged, the more I wanted to purge. 60% of our closets was donated, that was about 8 contractor bags. 2 bags of toys, 1 bag of kitchen items, 2 bags of house decor, 8 items of furniture, 5 linen sets, and an unbelievable number of 17 contractor bags of GARBAGE. YES. GAR-BA-GE. Garbage was cluttering my home, my mind, my time, my life! Everyday when Tim came back home from work, he would say, oh my god, the house is feeling less and less cramped, this looks amazing, AND IT SURE DID!
On Sunday night when I finished purging the last bit, we made dinner. We ate and finished our meal, and it took me 4 minutes to clean the kitchen. Tim and I sat in the living room and I could hear my voice echoing around the room when I said: This does’t feel real.
We were overcome with joy. All that stress and excess and distraction and NOISE…. it was all… gone. We felt light. Free. Decluttered inside and out. We spent the rest of the night playing with the girls, singing and just being together. I put together some before and after photos below:
Does my house look like the perfectly clean pictures above everyday? Absolutely not, BUT now it is much faster for me to organize the house since everything I own I love or use, and they all have a place to live. I usually deep clean the entire house in about 1 hour twice a week, which I think is pretty good and allows me to spend time doing what I actually want to be doing: playing with the girls, going out and cooking! I stare at my own home so proud of finally understanding that what really matters is not the things I have, but the quality of life that I want to live and the lesson I want to teach my daughters about consumerism and consciousness.
By being intentional with my purchases, I have been re-thinking my old habits and choices. I am thinking about what I eat, what I wear, what kind of people I want to have in my life, how much waste and trash I create and because I have stirred the pot, many emotional changes have happened… good and bad, but so many positive things have come from this lifestyle change and I cannot wait to share them all with you.
I still believe I have plenty more of purging and decluttering to do. Just like everything in our lives, downsizing is a process and for now I am enjoying looking empty drawers and clear countertops!
Coming up, I will write about how I am slowly upgrading my wardrobe, and avoiding to purchase crappy and cheap items, but investing a tad more on staple pieces for a capsule wardrobe that will last me years. I will also write about minimalism & kids, since we need so much to entertain them, will update you on more decluttering I am doing not only in my house but in my life, and decluttering techniques that have worked for me.
Thank you for your support always, and I truly hope that if you have just been waiting for the motivation to start, that you do start. That’s all it takes!
All my love,