One day when feeling extremely stressed over having to pick up and clean up more stuff, I decided to check the internet and see about how to de-clutter. I stumbled upon an article by Joshua Becker from Becoming Minimalist. I began to follow his facebook page and in my newsfeed, I would see short daily quotes about owning less and what a minimalist really is all about. It isn't just throwing away or giving away things you do not need. There is so much more too it. Like everything in my life, I tend to jump in with both feet. I began to read and watch everything I could get my hands on that was shared by Joshua. I just felt like everything he had to say was somehow locked inside my soul and he was just opening that key. It was becoming a little too close to how I really felt inside that I told my husband that he must of been my twin separated at birth!
I thought I'd share a few ideas of what my journey looks like since everyone is different, but yet we all can learn from each other. We all have different values, family size and goals that we want to accomplish so it will look different from family to family. Let's start with just a little bit about my family. My husband and I were married 16 years ago. We have 5 children between the ages of 1 to 13 years old. When we were first married, we lived in a one bedroom condo. Within three years of being married, we went from a one bedroom condo to a two bedroom condo and then into our first home with 4 bedrooms. We had just one child at the time.
We were giving an opportunity for a job promotion that took us from the city of Los Angeles to a rural town in Pennsylvania. We traded traffic for trees and built our "dream home." Within less than 4 years we had moved 4 times and increased our square footage from 600 square feet to almost 6,000 square feet. To make a long story short, after 7 years in Pennsylvania, we moved to Arizona with 3 kids at the time and pregnant with #4. We downsized to a two-story 2,200 square foot home and then continued to move for the next 5 years, 4 more times decreasing in size and then to where we are right now. Let's just say we should of opened up a moving company with the amount of moving we did!
Our biggest move, of course, came from PA to AZ as we had to cut out about 75% of all we owned. We sold a lot of it on Facebook by creating an Yard Sale Group Page and then one yard sale right before we left. I still cringe to think of all of the stuff that we didn't sale or were unable to give away. We paid a company hundreds of dollars to take it! That's nuts. It makes you look at your stuff in a whole new light!
Fast forward to today. I have always struggled with keeping the house organized, cleaned, and tidy. I am a major failure when it comes to housekeeping. I LOVE a well cleaned house with nothing on the counter tops and floors spotless, but maintaining it with 5 children tends to be more than I can handle. I am also a very busy person. My brain flies a hundred miles an hour from the moment I wake up, until I go to sleep at night. That tends to make me jump from task after task and not always putting away what I am currently working on before I jump to something else.
One day, my friend told me to go into her house and grab her sewing machine that I needed to borrow while she was away. I couldn't believe how clean her house was. I mean it was always clean when we went over to visit but I didn't think it was that cleaned and organized all the time. I remember wishing that was my house and that I could always keep order in my own home. I told my friend about what I thought and she said I needed to take the 8 second challenge. She explained that it only takes about 8 seconds to put something away after you use it. I think I could write a whole blog post on the 8 second challenge. Anyways, that was one of my first hands-on approach that struck a cord with my soul.
Back to minimalism… As I listened to some of Joshua's ideas, he shared a very different approach that was more on the positive side of minimalism that has helped me look at my struggles with keeping my cluttered life differently. Joshua Becker says, "that minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of anything that distracts us from it." Oh, that just rang true with my soul. I came across a powerful talk that he gave in Europe. I have probably listened to it at least 30 times, no joke, I began to make some serious changes. If you need to clean and de-clutter your home just listen to this talk and you will be chucking things right and left! I call it my "throw-away tunes!" Really, this is one of the best talks on this subject that you will ever hear. Not so much of the do's and don'ts but about the ideas behind it all. I could go on and on about it, but just take an hour to watch it. I am sure it will change your life as it did mine. Listen to it while you do laundry or clean the kitchen!
As I started posting just a couple things about me cleaning out my garage, I got a few questions starting to come my way so I thought I'd start to blog every now and then about what I am learning too. I have only just begun and I have so much more to learn, de-clutter, maintain and refocus my life to help me feel content with my physical environment in my home which I already have discovered bleeds into my spiritual, mental and emotional life.
So, where did I start?
I knew the easiest place for me would be the closet plus it was the furthest place in the house so I thought I'd move from there and end up in my garage. The idea of just keeping things I really love in my closet was kind of funny to me since I am not a clothes person. I wear clothes to cover my body, be modest and stay warm but other than that, I am not too attach to much of anything in my closet except maybe a concert t-shirt that my husband bought for me when we were dating back in 1998. It didn't end up in the give away bill, it is holey but I still love it and wear it around the house.
Here are a few before and after photos of my closet, at least my side of the closet. My husband still needs to catch up with me as I have been taken by a whirlwind of purging lately! This clutter was far worse in our bedroom which is always the drop place when my kids help clean the downstairs. Totally embarrassing, but I hope to be as transparent as possible so you can see my journey and hopefully give you encouragement if you struggle with some of these same things. If not, you can just pat yourself on the back and be grateful your room doesn't look like this.
Here it is after about 2 days of purging, cleaning and a car load of things given away. Still need to hang a couple pictures and get rid of those drawers in the corner, but it is getting there.
Wow, looking at the bedroom in an image makes me realize how "minimal" our bedroom decor or lack of really is. I guess it's pretty minimal already just filled with too much clutter. This room has definitely stayed pretty clean. Probably the first time in my life, I have been able to keep it pretty much looking like this for the past month. That's a win-win for Step 1!!
Remember when I said that we built a home in Pennsylvania? Well, here's a picture of our bedroom there. It was about as big as all three upstairs bedrooms and loft combined! There was a library when you first walked into the room, huge bedroom, side sitting area room the size of my kid's bedrooms now, a dressing area and large bathroom. Over kill? Yeah, just a bit. So much wasted space and unneeded but well you live and learn. At least I got that whole large home wish out of my system!
We also had two separate walk-in closets. Here is me trying to better organize it years ago with built in shelves. You can read the full article here. Now, on to tackle another room.