As I have shared a few times before, my one word theme for 2021 is Simplicity. I have been working my way towards an easier way to live my life for quite some time and I thought you might be interested in hearing about it. Simplicity and minimalism have literally changed my life.
Simplicity and Minimalism
I was initially attracted to the simplicity of minimalism for a variety of reasons – I was stressed, messy, constantly looking for things, I felt distracted and overwhelmed and felt like I could never really get anything finished. Motherhood compounded this for me – my home and my schedule felt completed stuffed full and it was making me feel like a nervous wreck. Reading stories of people who were living a more minimalist lifestyle sounded so appealing to me.
The Minimalist’s Netflix movie solidified a lot of concepts, as did the work of Courtney Carver who was the creator of project 333 – a simplified approach to getting dressed. I of course, checked out Marie Kondo’s book and rounded it out with an amazing book about parenting called Simplicity Parenting. I knew I was ready for a change and so I dived in head first.
How I Did It
- I first tackled the paper clutter, getting rid of about 15 huge bags of sheet music, paperwork, old college notes and just random paper we had accumulated.
- Deep dive through my closet and got rid of any clothes that didn’t fit – I still had some maternity clothes and clothes that I had from 15 years ago.
- I got honest about what I was actually going to have time to do, and honestly what I even wanted to do
- I decluttered books that I didn’t plan to re-read or read at all
- Got rid of teaching materials I knew I would never use again, selling them or giving away to friends and students.
- Went through the kitchen, getting rid of items we didn’t use or had duplicates (or triplicates!) of.
- We did a freezer/pantry challenge, where we worked on using up all the food we had in storage.
- Went through my son’s stuff and sold or gave away anything that didn’t fit or that he didn’t use anymore.
- Did a huge digital overhaul, deleting thousands of emails and files and organizing everything onto hard drives.
- Started using up the stuff that we had – candles, beauty products, travel sized shampoos, notebooks, nice pens, craft supplies and a bunch of other stuff I was saving for a “special occasion”
This was a tremendous amount of work that took place over the course of a couple of years and I couldn’t believe how much stuff we had in our home that we just didn’t need. By the end of that process, we got rid of around 30 garbage bags worth of stuff.
Maintaining simplicity and minimalism
- Try to avoid bringing extra stuff into our home
- No gift birthdays – 3 years that we have asked people not to buy our son a gift for his birthday. He’s totally fine with it and it has saved us from having so much crap!
- Essentials and consumables as gifts – my husband buys me gift cards for manicures and coffee and we buy each other things we know we’ll use like fancy salt, candles and this year I bought him a sushi making set.
- I now have a capsule wardrobe – I gave away more than half of all of my clothes and at the start of the pandemic I put another huge pile of stuff into storage. I knew I wasn’t going to be wearing suits or evening gowns, plus I don’t need 10 dress shirts. I mostly wear jeans and sweaters, so I have enough of those to last me a couple of weeks max.
- Total ban on buying office supplies, books and clothes.
- I always check our pantry and freezer before grocery shopping so we are using what we have.
- Speaking of food, we have a leftovers system where I plan when we will eat up any lprepped food, which has drastically reduced our good waste and grocery bill.
- Once I month I do a quick clean out of emails, photos on my phone, paperwork and clothes.
- We have saved a LOT of money. Like a lot of money.
- Cleaning our home is super easy – each member of my family have little tasks that they do every day. My son wipes down the bathroom sink every morning and empties the dishwasher, my husband cleans the kitchen after dinner every night and I have a roving tidying system that keeps our place really well organized.
- We use and enjoy what we have a lot more. A lot of our family activities are now organized around what we have – watercoloring painting, a puzzle, playing music together,
- My stress level has been dramatically reduced. I used to struggle a lot with anxiety, especially when our home felt like it was a total disaster all the time. The overwhelm feeling is very rare for me now.
- Our whole family is happier, because I’m not a stressed out mess all the time.
- Creative and resourceful – we tend to use our stuff more and we often have to be more resourceful when we don’t have every single thing we might need.
- I have found a lot of time that I didn’t think I would ever find. I homeschool our son, I run a busy private studio and my online course business and I’m still managing to post 2-3x a week on my YouTube channel. And I don’t feel overwhelmed by doing all of this!
For anyone out there who is feeling like they are overwhelmed and drowning, I can’t recommend simplifying and minimizing enough. I know for a lot of us, we aren’t able to really dig into what we really want to in our lives because of all of our commitments. For me, getting rid of a huge amount of stuff has helped me make that room.
Is this something you have been wanting to do?