In January, while doing what we all do with the month of new beginnings, I wrote about my quest for minimalism in 2016. Simply put, I was frustrated and shocked/amazed at all the stuff my little family of 3 had collected and something needed to give. As promised, here’s an update on how the process is going and what I’ve learned thus far. I wanted to make this a public journey so that I was accountable and also because I think there are some real truths to be told when one wants to get rid of all the stuff and become more minimalist.
What I did:
I completed the month long Minimalist Game, or progressive purge. Basically, starting February 1st I put aside 1 thing that I could get rid of, on February 2 it was 2 items, February 3 it was 3 items and so on. By the end of February I had 435 items to do away with! It was easier than I thought. Maybe it’s because I have an embarrassing amount of stuff or maybe it’s because I stayed away from the really personal items- but I just walked around the house and threw stuff in a box! I did need reminders and I most definitely forgot a few times or stockpiled items so that I didn’t have to do it everyday. I’m not sure whether this is cheating or not, but by the end there was a huge pile of things that I decided we could get out of our lives.
I was more mindful about what new items I brought into the house. For one, I have begun to avoid stopping at non essential stores and sales. I know that my willpower is low when it comes to shopping (and even worse when a deal is involved) and this just makes it easier. Before making a purchase I really tried to ask myself if we needed it, how very minimalist of me! Bringing a 3 year old along on all shopping trips has been a surefire way to combat any lengthy trips where I could go off track. No preschooler wants to ‘be good’ while mommy tests all the new spring lipstick shades.
I actually got some of the stuff out of the house. Some things I gave away to friends and relatives and some items were given away on the Nifty Thrifties Facebook Page. If you have not checked this page out, you should. It is all local and everything on it is free. This was a really easy way to share some of my overabundance with others and everything was picked up quickly from my doorstep with no hassles and zero no shows. I took 4 full bags, mainly clothes, and donated them to the Bissell Centre Thrift Shop. I also threw less in the garbage than I thought I would, so I guess this is a win.
I planned a swap. Some Modern Mama Members and I got together one night and swapped our clothes. This was so much fun and my favourite way to let go of the things I was totally over while getting some great new items in return. I’ll be sharing how you can plan a swap on the blog soon!
What I didn’t do:
I did not read The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. I read the first chapter one afternoon in the bath tub and never picked it up again. It’s not that I didn’t like it, I just couldn’t get into it and I’m really bad about sitting down to read.
I did not actually remove ALL of the ‘get rid of items’ from my house. I may have created a new mess by moving things from my bedroom to the basement. Most of it are items that I would like to look at selling, and this takes time that I can not seem to find right now. Or maybe I’m subconsciously not letting it go for some reason. Whatever the case, it’s down there and we have the space, so that’s fine with me right now. I can see where a service like Just Junk can come in very handy here as they get rid of all of it for you and do the sorting!
What I learned:
I learned that this is a process, not an overnight change. Much like losing weight or making any other life change. It requires constant evaluation and a shift in the way I approach things. I don’t think I will ever be ‘done’.
The process is easier and more fun when you give it away to someone who needs it. Giving always feels good.
I hate making garbage. On that note, did you know that the re-use centre will take used Christmas cards and most eyecare clinics will take your old glasses? Almost everything can be repurposed, donated or reused in some way.
I have not missed anything. There is not one thing that has been removed that I wished I have kept. As a matter of fact, I can’t even remember half of what I threw out. This tells me it was high time.
It takes time and effort. Just deciding to live like a minimalist or become one after years of collecting all the things will not just happen. It is exhausting if you do it all at once, and yet if you don’t stay on it you can fall off track easily. Maybe I do need to read the book….
*This post was sponsored by Junk Junk, but as always, all opinions stated are my own! Just Junk is a junk removal service that will come to your house/office/renovation site and take it all away, so that you don’t have to. They will take all items except hazardous waste. PLUS they go through your junk and determine what can be recycled, what needs to be pitched and what can go to a local charity and do all of that for you.