Mac here! Today, I was reflecting on my recent journey towards minimalism, and I thought I’d share just a few things I’ve learned through the process:
1. YOU are more attached to your children’s toys than they are.
Or, at least, I was. As I worked through my 15 Days to Minimalism (more to come on that), I found the place I purged the LEAST was in the toy department! Stuffed animals stare at you with their big sad eyes. You’ll find yourself struggling to part with toys that are part of a set, in which one item is played with and the rest of the items are toy box clutter.
Then there are the cute toys. The ones where you think, “Oh, but they love these wooden blocks…” and you need a girlfriend there to mock you saying, “Oh, but YOU would LOVE it if they actually loved those wooden blocks!” because your kids NEVER play with the things.
2. Everyone will support your choice to embrace minimalism, until you tell them what you’re getting rid of.
You’re reading this and you KNOW I’m talking about you, because the response is so universal:
ME: Hey! Would you have any use for an old grill (or a tote of kid’s clothes, or some scrapbooking stuff, or some cookbooks…) We’re really trying to get rid of stuff. We’re going for minimalism.
YOU: Oh! You GO girl! Do it now, before the kids get old enough to stop you!!! I’m a minimalist at heart, but my spouse (or kid) wants to kill me when I get rid of ANYTHING!
ME: Ha ha! Oh, boy, it’s liberating, too! Just yesterday, I got rid of (X).
YOU: WHAT?! You got rid of (X)?! But (Y)!!!
We can fill in this equation with any variety of nouns and adjectives. “You got rid of that doll?! But it was part of your childhood!!!” “You got rid that purse?! But it was a Coach!!!” “You got rid of that dresser?! But where will you put your clothes?!!!” “You got rid of that trivet?! But it was magnetic!!!” “You got rid of those drapes?! But you could make something with that fabric!!!”
Obviously, everything in my home was something I loved, or at least liked, or at least seemed like a good idea–at the time. But we are a growing changing family with needs that change and evolve over time, and tastes that change and evolve over time. Just because something was valuable to you at one time, doesn’t mean you have to be stuck with it forever. Your friends might protest, but stick to your guns. Stuff really IS just stuff. Bless somebody else with it.
3. You might be a bit disoriented at first.
Shortly after I finished my 15 Days to Minimalism, I got that unsettled feeling in my guts. Lucky for me, as someone who’s made a couple cross country household moves, I recognized it. It’s the “new apartment” feeling. Over half our stuff was gone, and now, when I pick up all the toys and do the dishes, my home literally looks like it’s staged to sell! I probably wouldn’t have felt this way had I not torn into the process so suddenly, but it is what it is and the feeling went away after a few days, just like it does when you move into a new home! A couple weeks later, I’ve adjusted to our new normal, and I regret nothing!
Hope that helps with your summer de-cluttering!
Just a note, I’ll be on vacation for a few weeks. Double up on your bloggy love for Bectoria and Stephanie! I recommend this post from Bectoria to spruce up your summer self-care routines and this classic from Stephanie will have you double checking your house for child safety hazards.