Recently, I was cooking and I had an epiphany. I have two colanders. No, that can’t be right. Why do I have two colanders? I don’t need two colanders. Not only do I have two colanders but I also have sieve for smaller grain. Immediately, I looked at my two colanders, decided which was more of a valuable asset for my home, and promptly took the other one to the continuous donation pile I have behind the bedroom door.
I strive to grow as a minimalist.
You’ve probably been hearing that word a lot lately. But it isn’t so much exclusively having possessions that bring you joy and it isn’t about decluttering. It’s about having value in having less.
Each reminds me of the simplicity that I strive for in their own way.
Some, like The Minimalists, impart simple rules that are easy for my household to follow, like the 6-month rule: Have you used this in the last 6 months? Will you use it in the next 6 months? If not, get rid of it. Or the 20/20 rule: If you really needed this again could you get it in under 20 minutes for under $20? They also have a great documentary if that helps you as a starting point.
Mrs. Jaquith immediately hooked me with her hard truths like, one day you will die and someone will have to clean out all your crap. Or, your grown children will look at their kindergarten artwork for maybe 5 seconds before trashing it, why hang on to that? As we are both pregnant, I follow her advice on fluctuating clothing, I look at my clothes now and think, “will this really fit again in two years?” and if not, I get rid of it. I don’t stress. I can always buy more clothing – there is never a shortness of opportunity.
Becoming Minimalist has articles I keep up on, especially on the subject of kids and toys. In our home, every single toy can be put back in it’s place in under 5 minutes. That’s a goal I strive to keep! On birthdays and holiday,s we try to focus of the experiences we can give rather than the things we can get/collect/add to a cumulative pile of stuff we already have.
It isn’t always simple or as easy as I hope it is. I don’t have a capsule wardrobe. I could not fit my entire life into one suitcase. My walls are not bare, or simple for that matter. But I do continuously make the effort to live as simply as possible. Part of that means going through areas of my house, constantly, and part of that means continuous conversations with my husband about what is materialistically important to us.
I really struggle with my media collection and photographs, which I’m very insistent on having on every available space in my house. My husband struggles with sentiments and gifts from others. But we keep going, knowing it is much simpler to have less. We also want our children to grown up without the burden of being materialistically tied. To understand the value of the things they have, to put their money in things that are important to them and to understand the importance of giving to others.
Thinking minimalism might be for you? Start here:
Do I have something else I could use instead? Could I borrow it from a friend or rent it for the short time it is imperative in my life? If I was at the store would I buy this again? Will this be more burdensome in my household to keep? Will it add more cleaning? Do I need to find a spot for it? Is it broken? Will I actually ever take the time to fix it? Does it have a lid/pair/match/piece missing? Is it permanently stained? Is this item at all helpful to me in my family life?
Do I really need this?