Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Minimalizing to Live Maximumly

I love minimalizing.

It started when I was a child. Every year when we changed our winter and summer clothes, we would try on all the clothes about to fill our dressers and closets. We made sure we liked the styles still and that the clothes still fit. Clothes that did not meet these criteria would be passed on to the next oldest girl cousin.

When I came to college, I learned that I had a love for thrift shopping (i.e. thrifting). But when I started regularly thrifting, I began to use an item in-item out policy. If I wanted a new book, when I got home, I'd set aside one to donate. If I wanted a new clothing article, one would be leaving the house within days.

Just after a year of marriage with my husband, we moved to our second apartment. And we had a lot of stuff to move. We settled into a bigger apartment and our stuff filled up the spaces quickly.

Our campus ministry's annual yard sale was coming up and I started to read a book on minimalizing (Miss Minimalist). As I looked through our home, I saw extra things, needless things, cluttering things. We had a bigger place, but no extra room. We had a closet full of stuff at my parents house and a converted (it's Baptist now) coal room at his parents full of stuff. The minimalizing began.

I took at good hard look at the stuff that we have. I would take all the items out of an area and only put back the things that we wanted/needed/used. Two containers of bathroom products got converted to one. Overflowing bookshelves were able to hold all their contents. Crafts that the optimist in me got, only to realize that I didn't even like doing that craft, were removed from my craft area.

I had a three pile sorting system: keep it in the house, keep it in storage, or donate it. Room by room fell to my plan. As I sorted through each area, I noticed that they still looked full, but I had better access to things. I still had books, but they were my favorites. I still had silverware, but they all matched!!! We still have way too many blankets, but we have less now. :-)

So what are some benefits to minimalizing?
1. Less stuff to clean, wash, or deal with.
2. Someone else can use, enjoy, or treasure your stuff (if you donate it).
3. Potentially more money for you (if you sell it).
4. Less busy surfaces.
5. Not feeling bogged down by stuff.

How did I minimalize?
1. Select one small area of the house each day. (It might be one cabinet, one bookcase, one drawer).
2. Take everything out of that area and put back only what you want to go there.
3. Decide what you're doing with the stuff that doesn't go there.
4. Put away, store, or donate the stuff you don't want in that specific area of the house.
5. Repeat on other areas of the house.

My husband and I have used this system to de-clutter our lives. Our house is still full, but there is more room to do things and less things that we don't use. Our stuff has a place it goes and there's less stuff to put away. We have a very comfortable life and home, but by having less stuff, deciding on a game night, movie night, craft projects, clothes, and other decisions are made easier by not having so many options.


  1. Doesn't it feel good to down size and declutter?!