Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Simplifying My House of STUFF!


It's everywhere.

It's filling every room in my home. 

It's all over my desk at work.

It's in drawers, in cabinets, on hooks, on the floor, on shelves... 

So many THINGS. 


Minimalism is a term going around a lot lately. I started paying attention to the word more last year. I'd do small things, like go through my closet & toss some shirts in a bag to donate. 

A few months ago, I watched a documentary on Netflix called Minimalism.  It was a good watch, and set a small flame in my soul to dive into this theory. The theory (at least, what I gathered) was to use only what you need, or what makes you happy. Seems like common sense, right? But I think most humans buy things, to simply buy things - even if they don't serve a high purpose. 

 Do I really need that closet full of clothes? Particularly, that section of my closet where I put clothes to wear "someday" or clothes I kept just because someone bought them for me? Do I really need to go to Hobby Lobby & buy a bunch of decor? Do I really need more food containers from the Dollar Tree? Do I really need all them picture frames, stored in a bin, down in the basement? 

So I began letting go of things I no longer needed. Or used. Or wanted.

I started small. I started with my living room closet. Why on earth did the people who built our home put a closet in the living room, I still wonder. It's in a very weird spot. It looks like it was meant to be a pantry, but you can't even access it from the kitchen. Trust me, it's in a weird spot. This closet is small, but we had it filled with kitchen appliances, cleaning equipment, plastic bags, & various other random items. Really, I just needed to go through the closet & clean it out. We had two baskets in there full of tools - just because we were too lazy to bring them all back to the garage. I kept a few screwdrivers, nails, & a hammer in the bin, but brought the rest to the garage so those tools could go back home, to the whole tool family, & be with their friends. 

Yes, I think this way about inanimate objects. I'm weird.

I had two mops in there. Why? I don't know. So I tossed the one that looked in worse shape. Sorry, Mr. Mop. I tossed cleaning sprays that I never used. I tossed the smoke detectors that we had already replaced. I tossed the box my roaster came in. And, I tossed a crap-ton of plastic bags away. We had over 100 plastic bags, all balled up, inside other plastic bags. So, I kept a few of the nicer bags (Menard's has great bags!) and brought the others to that box at Wal-Mart that takes plastic bags. Jim also took some to his parents house, as they use them for bagging turkey legs & carp. 

And, now that I cleared out our plastic bag stash, it makes me not want them at the store. I bring my own bags from home. I don't need to ever replenish our stash. Plus, plastic is terrible for the world. So, if I can bring re-usable bags from home, why not? I just keep a few bags in each vehicle for easy use. 

Now, our living room closet contains only the things we use. Our Pizzazz pizza maker, our toaster, paper towels, garbage bags, my casserole carrier, a mop, a broom, the vacuum cleaner, a few cleaning sprays, a few plastic bags, my roaster, my veggie spiralizer, and a few other things - all things we USE. The few tools got the boot to another closet. 

Next, I moved to the basement. It needed organization more than anything. So, I organized it, but kept in mind the things I didn't need. We had a bunch of coats down there that we never wore - donated. I had a bin of clothes down there to wear "someday" - donated. I had some decor pieces down there to use once I found a spot for them - donated. We have a box full of cords & junk (that I still need to go through) down there, that I haven't touched in ages. Old picture frames in a bin to use "someday" - donated. Old Christmas decor that I never used - donated. Old dog toys & collars that Jack never saw - tossed. 

I rearranged our mason jars (we garden & can a lot). I rearranged our bins. I rearranged our shelves. I put that over-the-door shoe organizer to use & actually put the shoes into it. I vacuumed up some dead lady bugs. I swept. I wiped down the shower & added a curtain to it, so we could actually use it. The basement looks so nice now.

And then I moved on to my clothes closet. A few months ago, I cleaned it out pretty well. I got a large garbage bag of clothes out of it & donated them. This time, I was really going to hammer down.

I ended up donating 4 LARGE garbage bags of clothes. These clothes were ones I didn't love wearing. They were ones that were too small, or too big. They were ones I avoided wearing because they didn't go with anything. They were shirts that I got on this vacation or that trip, and kept for sentimental reasons... why? Why take up space in my home with clothes I don't need, in order to have something from a certain place? I have photos for that. 

It was a little daunting to be getting rid of four garbage bags of clothes. Man, what if I regret this? What if I have trouble finding things to wear? But, I haven't missed any article of clothing since, and I did this weeks ago.

I feel great! I open my closet & find it easier to choose something, knowing I only have so many options. It doesn't take me near as long to decide. It's awesome to not see all the clutter. It's wonderful to be able to easily find this top, or those bottoms. It feels good to not have all those clothes, hanging, never being worn. And it's dandy to know someone else, maybe someone in need, might be wearing those, thanks to DONATING! 

Every nook & cranny on my property will be gone through. I say "property" because I am not just going to minimize the STUFF in my house, but I am also going to go through the shed and the barn. 

I've never been one to like STUFF anyways, so my collection of things may already seem small, but it still feels nice to detox my life from unwanted things. 

Try it out! 

Start small: You could start by just walking around your home with a grocery bag and bagging things you don't need or want. Once the bag is full, put it in your trunk so you have no excuse but to donate it. Would you really bother bringing that bag in the house, once its already out of the house? Likely not.  
A few days later or the following week, grab another grocery bag and do it again! Put that bag in the trunk. Keep going each day/week/month until you are ready to take that trunk-full of items to the local thrift store. 
If you're ready to tackle more, do a room at a time. Maybe each Saturday, you can spend a few hours going through an entire room or closet? That is the method I do. I started with closets, then moved to the basement, and am now working on the kitchen. I realized I don't like much of anything on my counters, so I put the appliances in the closet until we need to use them. Do we use the toaster enough to take up valuable food prep space all the time? No. 

We've learned to value our space more & need less. We'd much rather buy things we will use regularly, then buy things for convenience to use occasionally. I've noticed it a lot with clothes shopping. I have been in dressing rooms, and the item looks or feels decent, not great, and it's cheap. In the past, I would say to myself "Why not?! It's only $7." Now, I say "It's not something I'm 100% comfortable in, and I could use that $7 towards some fish tacos in the Islands." Plus, walking out of a store empty-handed gives a nice feeling! 
I've also noticed it when registering for wedding gifts. Our registry is pretty small, but we really don't need much. And what we do register for, I make sure it is something we will frequently use, not just have "in case."  

I encourage everyone to detox their home of stuff. Of things you haven't used in months. Of items you don't use at all! Not only will you feel better with less things, you will become more mindful of the things you bring into your home in the future. 

Let me know how you plan to minimize your stuff!

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