About two years ago, I was pregnant with severe morning sickness, caring for two foster toddlers, and homeschooling my middle schooler. Oh, did I mention we also decided to open the first of our businesses that year. Needless to say, I was super busy. It was then I realized, I needed life to change.
No matter what I did, my house was cluttered and so was my life. I couldn't change too much in my life; my middle schooler still needed to be educated, I was still puking every two hours, and toddlers, well, if you have had two toddlers at once, you know there is little you can do to ease the pressures. It seemed to make sense, since I couldn't clean out the busyness in my life, I needed to clean out the clutter from my house. It was then that I started the first of my minimalist efforts.
With two toddlers in diapers and one on the way, I used a lot of diapers and in turn had a lot of empty diaper boxes I recycled. So I made the decision for every box that came in the house, I would fill with donatable stuff. Since I was buying at least two boxes of diapers a month, this seemed very reasonable. I then would find a charity that was worthy of the items and off that box would go.
And I Don't Miss A Thing
So now, I am nearly three years in this venture, and every diaper box still manages to get full of stuff to donate! Seriously! How does one accumulate so much junk! And yet, I am very far from being a minimalist. I still have boxes and boxes of clothes from my teenager's childhood, despite having given loads to friends and family. I still have five bookshelves full of books... and yet still there are random stacks throughout the house. I could go on and on about the loads of stuff I have throughout my house. I won't bore you.
But as things are getting less and less, I am realizing that I have not missed any of the hundreds of stuff I have donated. Honestly, if I do run into something, I can always buy it again.
Is It Selfish to Hold Onto Things Others Could Use?
Over the past few months, my thoughts have gone to those items I have gotten rid of. I then give thought to the stuff I still have. How much of it goes unused or rarely used? Many of it is just dreams of being used. I dream that I will have a baby boy, so I hold onto foster boy's clothes. I dream of crocheting a blanket, so I have skeins and skeins of yarn. I dream of painting hangings as I did in my youth, so I have hundreds of tubes and bottles of paint. Some that probably need to be thrown out anyway.
The thing is, those could go to other people. Is it selfish that I am holding on to some really nice things, that others could use? These are not even my passions anymore.
This then brought me to the idea, what do I realistically want to spend my time doing? What items do I need for those activities.
Truthfully, I want to spend time with people. I want to sit on the couch and talk, I want to go for walks, I want to laugh about old memories. Yet, instead, I spend hours cleaning a house of stuff I don't even want or use. I need to declutter my house, so I can declutter my life of all the nonsense that just wastes my time, so I can go on to do the things I want to do, such as have friends over, talk, laugh.
Make a Plan
Maybe, this box a month routine needs to become a bigger commitment in my life, so I can fulfill the dreams I really have, rather than waste my time I had on dreams I no longer really want. So over the next (well however long it takes) I am going to actively rid my life of all the unwanted stuff. Who wants to go with me on this journey? I don't know if you have want to live the minimalist life as has become the fad, or just like me and want to just rid your life of all that clutter, but here are my goals for over the next few week:
This is just a modest list, but it will get me started. Any other ideas? Any good minimalist blogs that will help me? What does your list look like?
Angela Michelle Schultz
I am abnegating my possessions for the sake of the good things in my life like my church, my husband, my daughters, my family, my friends, and my writing. I am learning the joy of having more time and money for what matters by removing the stuff that doesn't.