What I Have Learned as I Begin to Live with Less


First, disclaimer – I, by no means, am a minimalist! Actually I am quite the opposite. I love going through the Target dollar section, Bullseye’s Playground, thrift shopping, and garage saleing. However in the last few weeks, I have felt my home being overcome with stuff. It got to the point where I got a little anxiety about it. I even got to the point where I thought we needed to begin to look for a new house. One with more storage space, an open concept, and more rooms. However that is the last thing we need to do! One because the more space we have, the more space we have to clean and two because this house is fine for our current lifestyle. Jon has his man cave, I have my office, there is a guest room, more than enough room in our kitchen. It is it my dream home…no, however it is our’s in a community we enjoy.

So after killing the idea we need to upgrade now, I decided to look around at what stuff we weren’t using. I thought I would take a box or two to Goodwill and feel accomplished, but this time it wasn’t the case. As summer approaches (PS I am so excited for the nice weather to arrive), I decided to start with my clothes. It was time for me to start to rotate my winter items out and my spring and summer items in. This time I decided to cut, slash, rid myself of the excess. I had flip flops in almost every cloth Old Navy came out with last year, other shoes I hadn’t worn since college (I have almost been out for a decade), and dress that just didn’t cut it as a mom. I posted items on a local Facebook sales group and what didn’t sell, I donated. Oh the feeling of getting rid of stuff I knew I would never wear, felt so good. Where there things I questioned, yes, but as soon as they were gone, I was ok with it.

Rule of Thumb #1: If I didn’t wear it last season (or in the last decade), it is time to get rid of it!

Rule of Thumb #2: The things that looked “well loved” need to go. You are a grown up. It is time to get some nice stuff. You don’t need 15 pairs of flip flops, maybe you just need one nice pair.

After the clothes, I was feeling pretty good about myself. I was talking to a co-worker and she was going through something similar. We began to talk about our excess and the dreams of becoming a minimalist. I wasn’t quite there, but living with less did seem to have an appeal. I had already begun to see how easy it was to get dress with less stuff in my closet. I turned my energy to my kitchen. I gave myself one lunch hour to get rid of as many things I deemed unnecessary for my current lifestyle or things we were using because they were cheap and we were “afraid” to use the nice stuff. Cheap plates went, glasses that were too small for a drink, plastic utensils that were falling apart, an extra knife set, it all left my house.

Rule of Thumb #3: Give yourself a time limit to get decluttering done. I only had one hour to finish my task at hand so there wasn’t any time to debate with myself if we need to keep it or not. If I questioned it and it was fairly inexpensive, it left my home immediately.

Rule of Thumb #4: Give yourself a deadline. I made an appointment with a local women’s shelter. There was a specific day and time I was making the donation. My goal was to make as big of donation as possible.

That night still being fairly proud of myself of what I had done in my closet and in my kitchen, I decided to make a list of five more small areas I needed attack. Within a half hour, I had decided to donate all of my garage sale stuff that I was storing, winter coats I had been holding on to a couple of years but never worn, cookbooks I never looked in, accessories I never wore, and cleaning supplies I wasn’t going to use. It only took me another half hour to finish filling up my car for the donation appointment.

Rule of Thumb #5: You don’t have to spend days or weeks decluttering. A little at a time can make a big difference. I would prefer to spend a week going through everything in my house, but the more time I would have the more I would debate with myself. With limited time, there is very little thinking that can be done. You either love or you don’t.

In the end, this is just the beginning of this journey for me. I hope to continue to live with less and make more space in my home for memories, not stuff!


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