I can’t claim to be an expert minimalist. I don’t count my possessions, I can’t fit everything I own in a backpack, I don’t have a spartan tiny home.
But goodness, do I have less stuff than I used to. I aspire to minimalism.
I applied the KonMari method to my entire home when pregnant with my second baby. Call it extreme nesting if you will.
I did it again as we were packing up that house to move.
And I’m doing it again right now in my new home (how did this stuff even get MOVED here?!)
It is the best homemaking decision I’ve ever made, and here’s why:
1 – Minimalism forces me to think deeply about purchases and gifts
Before I buy anything for my husband or kids, I think seriously about whether it is amazing and going to be used frequently. This results in usually buying one joint large gift for Christmas – and this last year we skipped in entirely. We went on a 2-day vacation with our dear friends instead, and it was so much better than a gift!For our children, we follow the 4 gifts principle – something to wear, something to read, something fun, and something they need. (Clothing, a book, a toy/game/ticket to somewhere, new sheets, dishes, etc.) Since they have grown up this way, they don’t expect anything more lavish. My 3 1/2 year old still gets excited when we put his “new” sheets on his bed, and talks about how he opened them on Christmas.
2 – I am more motivated to finish the laundry and the dishes.
I only have enough sippy cups and coffee mugs for two days. I also only have enough kid dishes, good knives, and pans for two days, so if I’m feeling unmotivated I can only possibly let the dishes go for a day before we run out of necessary items. (Sippy Cups and Coffee Mugs would make a great blog name – feel free to borrow that one!)Likewise, we have pared down our wardrobes to the point where I can’t skip laundry. Maybe this doesn’t happen to everyone, but before KonMari I could skip laundry indefinitely. I had SO. MANY. CLOTHES. that it didn’t matter if I washed them or not, the closet just kept giving! Now, my boys only have 6 pair of pants, so I have to wash them. I use a capsule wardrobe, so I actually wear every piece in my closet and need to wash them to have options for the next week.
3 – Broken items rarely bother me
Fact: Kids break things. Little Known Fact: My husband, somehow, breaks even more things.This used to bother me immensely, but the process of decluttering and reducing my possessions has definitely changed my mindset about material possessions. Minimalism functions under the theory that possessions are not important, period. Because of this, I’m not going to get upset at a person who accidentally ruins one. I actually say, “Well, there’s one more thing I don’t have to own!” It helps me let go of even one more item – it has been decided for me by being broken.
4 – Less guilt
This is a problem I didn’t even realize I had until I became familiar with the KonMari method of minimalism. I had no idea how much guilt I was inviting into my daily life by keeping possessions around that I didn’t love.
“I should really be using that, _____ gave it to me.”
“Forgot I had that. What a waste of money!”
“I need to go find _____ and set it out so _____ thinks I’m using it.”
“I should dust. Haven’t touched that shelf of things in months.”
“Here’s the box of ugly things I have to keep around.”
“Let’s sort the Christmas ornaments: Ones we like, ones we can get rid of, ones we don’t like but can’t get rid of.”
“I need to find a place to put _____ where nobody will really see it.”
These are true. Not exaggerated. I actually had to think these thoughts routinely about possessions in my home.
I heard it so many times, but didn’t truly believe it until I decluttered objectively: The people you’ve loved don’t cease to exist just because you get rid of “things.” I didn’t need to keep around heirlooms, gifts, greeting cards, what-have-you from deceased or faraway relatives simply to remember them by. I’m not going to forget them! I do have some heirlooms and gifts that I really, truly love and use almost everyday. I enjoy that those particular items happen to have come from people close to me. Beyond that, I’ve learned to let go. And now I don’t have to hear those guilty thoughts inside my head anymore. (Katie from The Decluttering Queen wrote a great post about “keepsakes!“)
The same goes for money spent You already “wasted” the money. Having the items staring at you all the time isn’t going to help the situation – it’s just going to make you feel bad daily, instead of once by decluttering the item.
5 – Ease of cleaning, dressing, packing, etc.
Less clutter on surfaces = easier to wipe or dust.
Fewer toys = even if the kids empty out the whole playroom, it’s not that much to pick up.
Capsule wardrobe = just count outfits to pack. Everything goes together, everything fits, everything feels good to wear.
And this is why I continually look to minimize our home even more. It has brought such a relaxed, peaceful mindset about possessions and really helped me curb my attachment to them. There is so much more mental space and time in a day to work at things that truly matter, because I’m not devoting time to shuffling items around (physically or mentally!) picking out clothes, avoiding housekeeping, lingering over decisions about keeping or storing.
What benefits are you hoping to see from your minimalism journey?
What positive experiences have you already had along the way?