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How many of you are embracing minimalism?

Read today that the average American household has 300,000 items!  Don't have anywhere near that amount, but recently married and moved,  and my husband and I discovered we had more than we needed. There is a real freedom getting rid of what you don't use.

 

Would love to hear other minimalists stories.

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Here's an idea that helps me when paper needs to be GONE...place the papers in the sink, thoroughly soak them till they nearly dissolve, squeeze out the excess water. Now no one can read them and you didn't inhale paper dust. Doing large batches at a time, you're done in no time rather than spending hours in front of a shredder.   Now you can toss them or turn them under in the garden and the worms will love you for giving them bedding to rest in.    

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I process my mail every day, keep a donation box available at all times, hold a garage sale each year.  And in September 2020,  I went through my clothes closet - donating anything that didn't fit (size wise or lifestyle wise), then I turned all the hangers in the opposite direction that I normally hang them. When I wear an item, i hang the hanger in the opposite direction.  In September 2021, any hanger that is not reversed means I didn't wear that item of clothing for 1 year - into the donation box it goes!

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I'm all for decluttering, and my decorating style is uncluttered but not minimalist. But as to "stuff" I'm all for it. My husband also has more stuff (and clothes) than I do. BUT we live out in the country, we have a decent sized home for 2 people, and another building with a big garage and storage closet and my husband's music studio so his music stuff is no longer in our den as it was in California. And we have sheds. 

 

So as long as I know where things are - I have not, and do not intend to embrace minimalism. I'm not a collector like my husband, but the things I have, I want. I do go through them regularly to see if I still like them, but I like a lot of things. I worked and work hard to afford them and I'm going to keep them. 

 

As for my husband's stuff, I've told him he either needs to throw out, article for article, old clothes when he buys new, or he needs to pay for a new shed.  But the thing is while I can't remember where I got the t-shirt I'm wearing now, he remembers where, when and why he bought the suit that he hasn't worn for 15 years and why he wants to keep it. So as long as it isn't bothering anyone, his stuff stays. 

 

But my minimalist story is that when we moved, I wanted to be more uncluttered and organized, so I was googling that and hit the minimalist information, and decided "I have to read Marie Kondo's book."  ARGGHH. She was, at that time, 30 years old living in Tokyo. I've been to Tokyo it's not rural Texas, and on the prairie no less, so my vistas are not the building across a narrow alley but the woods a mile and a half away. I got claustrophobic just reading the book. And there seemed to be some sort of morality associated with minimalism, which I didn't feel was necessary. 

 

I learned that uncluttered and minimalism are not the same thing.  And I think it's important to remember it's not evil to like stuff. 

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Right stuff is not evil unless it controls your life, food, money, relationships, shopping, working out, it's all healthy unless it becomes unhealthy. 

Minimalist lifestyle means living with intention not living without. Just asking when you bring something into your home, is it going to bring me joy or make me feel "bad". 

 

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Right stuff is not evil unless it controls your life, food, money, relationships, shopping, working out, it's all healthy unless it becomes unhealthy. 

 

I totally agree with this, but sorry, not so much with the following

 

Minimalist lifestyle means living with intention not living without.

 

I think you can live your life with intention without living a minimalist live style. For example, you also said

 

Just asking when you bring something into your home, is it going to bring me joy or make me feel "bad". 

 

I am very intentional in my whole life.  But to me minimalism seemed to be about things you have in your home. And things I have are a tiny part of what goes into my idea of an intentional life. 

 

But even talking about "stuff," I have things that don't bring me joy and I've tossed things that don't make me feel bad. In addition to things that bring me joy (which to me is beyond just happy fun things), I keep things that are useful or may become useful, to me or someone else. There is no joy in them. But I don't feel bad about having them.  I keep things that are silly and don't bring me joy, they are too trivial. But they bring a small smile or giggle once in a while, or I think they might bring someone else a giggle. 

 

I keep things that hold memories some of which are painful, but it's still better to hold them. I have things that inspire me to do something creative with them - although as of right now I can't for the life of me figure out what that might be, and haven't for ages. But part of my intentionalism is intentionally living with enough space to keep those things. 

 

I do go through stuff once every year or two to see if things still are worth keeping, but that "joy" or "feel bad" feels too limited to me. 

 

Or perhaps I was just turned off to the concept because when I was exploring it - what I read seemed overly judgmental and carried an overlay of morality with it. And I didn't have the opportunity, as we  have now to interact with people who see minimalism differently.

 

I will try to be less judgmental - but I still think you can live an intentional life without living a minimalistic one. 

 

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@l15030s Nailed it! You have stated what minimalism is more concisely and  eloquently then I ever could! Love, love love it "Minimalist lifestyle means living with intention not living without." I just made a note of your definition for future use. Thank you for joining us on The Girlfriend forum.  Visit anytime, look forward to future post and responses from you!  Christine ( minimalist for life )

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Thanks so much - I do this for a living so I am glad I nailed it to the public. 

 

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😀  Looking for more great topics for The Girlfriend forum!  Christine

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Thank you for responding @ninaTx .  I don't see stuff as evil.  Minimalism is simply getting ready of the stuff that isn't serving you, to do the stuff you want. Christine

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@ChristineH635132 wrote:

 I don't see stuff as evil.  Minimalism is simply getting ready of the stuff that isn't serving you, to do the stuff you want. Christine


That sounds lovely. But it's not generally what people talk about - or at least not what I've seen, and I admit I got most of my ideas about it from that Marie Kondo book and her website and pinterest - not very highly intellectual sources.

 

But everything I see is about down sizing, throwing out, less is more.  It really does seem to create a "more is bad" atmosphere, as opposed to what @l15030s said about stuff being bad only if it interferes with other parts of your life. 

 

I agree with that in terms of "stuff," and drugs, and food, and relationships and work etc. Weighing one aspect of our lives against how it impacts other aspects I think is part of living an intentional life. Also part of an intentional life for me is how much bad stress (I believe there's also good stress) it brings into my life. 

 

So when you say are you embracing minimalism, were you thinking about less is more when it comes to things in your home, or were you thinking of something broader?

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Since the pandemic I have downsized. It is hard because hubby wants to hold onto stuff. I through things away while he is at work.

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@MsTanyaB , My husband had a lot of "stuff" too (especially clothes! ).  But I didn't throw or give away anything of his.  I've always tried to be mindful that it's his stuff to do what he wants.  But over time, he began to see the real freedom of having less stuff to process.  Looking at it as "inventory" has real dramatically changed how he looked at his stuff. Continue your decluttering process for your things, and celebrate your journey.  

 

Maybe over time, he will pick up your "good vibes" of freedom and want to join.  Meanwhile, it would be good to stop talking to him about all his stuff ( girl, I've been there ) and praise him for anything he is willing to discard. People are sensitive about their stuff. 

 

P.S. My husband is awesome, but he still has a lot of clothes. Just got to keep saying "his decluttering journey, not mine." He's come a long way. The other day he actually said " it's ok to have an empty or almost empty drawer!  Yeeesssss!     Christine

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A couple years ago I remodeled my condo literally floor to ceiling. That meant getting rid of much furniture, many old school books from my master's and phd years, more than half my wardrobe. When the remodel was done and new flooring and paint everywhere, the difference in the energy of the space was incredible. I have tried since then to add back only absolutely necessary items, and not buying new clothes without getting rid of old ones.

 

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Deah, Now that's embracing minimalism! My husband and I just bought a new house and moved in yesterday ( 4/16/21 ) and we are going to be very intentional about how much we put on walls, and not over load with furniture.  Glad we decluttered a lot before move, but more to go.  Christine

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@ChristineH635132 wrote:

Deah, Now that's embracing minimalism! My husband and I just bought a new house and moved in yesterday ( 4/16/21 ) and we are going to be very intentional about how much we put on walls, and not over load with furniture.  Glad we decluttered a lot before move, but more to go.  Christine


Congrats on the move.  When we moved we were also very careful about what we kept visible. Our home looks quite decluttered and even minimalistic. It's very open, bright and modern with home colorful touches.  Because we intentionally separated out our living quarters from most of our storage - we can have both lots of stuff and a very decluttered living areas... except our bedroom. The master bedroom is small so our bed, two night stands and our dressers make it look cluttered 😥. I wish we could expand it but it's about 10th on our list of possible projects, mostly because of the cost. That and being asleep most of the time when we are there. 

 

 

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I process my mail every day, keep a donation box available at all times, hold a garage sale each year.  And in September 2020,  I went through my clothes closet - donating anything that didn't fit (size wise or lifestyle wise), then I turned all the hangers in the opposite direction that I normally hang them. When I wear an item, i hang the hanger in the opposite direction.  In September 2021, any hanger that is not reversed means I didn't wear that item of clothing for 1 year - into the donation box it goes!

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@notauser17 ,  That is awesome!  If we only wear 20% of our clothing 80% of the time, I bet it would be quite a shock for those that try your idea for the first time.  Eventually, the idea is to get to the one in one out stage.  I always tell people that if they let go of something, the new idem is an "upgrade."  Easier to part.  Also the old item can bless someone else.  Thank you for your contribution on The Girlfriend form.  Always looking for more contributors.  Christine 

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I'm a staunch believer in the minimalist lifestyle but haven't come around to practicing it, yet. 

Wanjiru Warama
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@WannjirusBits, Forgot to add that wanting to start is the first step. Now just put it into action.  Look forward to hearing more from you, and your progress.  Remember, baby steps! Also, celebrate each of those baby steps, then you will get more momentum.  You can do it!  Christine

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@WanjirusBits,  I say start small so you are not overwhelmed.  That junk drawer we all have is a good place to start. Or even a shelf.  Would love to hear more from you on The Girlfriend forum.  Christine

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I avoid clutter by not allowing anything to accumulate. While I probably keep more "may be useful later on" things than necessary, everything has a place where it belongs. I am currently selling some books from my three bookcases to make room to display photos.  I also donate regularly to Goodwill and Habitat for Humanity, my favorite local charities.  The latter will take off-beat items such as doorstops, screws and other hardware as well as soft home goods like linens and tablecloths.  Now if only there were a magic way to go through all those old photos and slides...

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@bj445 , I'm not a great tech kind of person.  But there must be a way to upload the photos.  Culling the duplicates, out of focus ones would be a good way to start. We are trying to get more contributors to The Girlfriend forum, if you have something to post or more great responsses, would love to hear from you.  Christine

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I participate in my local Facebook Buy Nothing group. I get good feels to see my well loved stuff go to younger families for their use and enjoyment in my own neighborhood. Makes me take a critical look at what I (don't) use.

Newbie

2 tips:

If going through area, have small plastic grocery bag, I put items in to donate. It immediately goes into car so can drop it at nearby donation centers as quickly as possible. Not holding until have 'a lot' to donate at one time.

Friend always gives lots of 'stuff' for Christmas, birthday. While I adore thoughtfulness...many times just too much. I quickly do a 'photo day'. Stage each item (using neutral background), take picture then place in in 1 of 3 piles: donate to specific charity, donate to general charity, really have space for item. I then download all photos, they have appropriate names, into one file. I can then do slide show of those items on my computer at any time, and think about the great friend that gave them to me. That could also be done if helping family member declutter...it is often more about the memory of how the item was acquired, not the item itself. The 'electronic picture show' takes up so little shelf space!  

 

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@JanM680120 , You are rocking it!  Keep those creative ideas coming on The Girlfriend forum.  Christine

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@ JanM....  WOW!  That is positively AMAZING to me that you gather up the gifts you don't want to keep, actually stage them (I know how much work that takes, believe me), take photos of things that you then download, and place them in files.  I think I would perhaps keep one item (if I needed to remember the person who gave me something), and immediately donate what I didn't want or like.

For me, it's not sweating over keeping things, but all the damnable (can I say that here?) paper that accumulates that I don't know what to do with.  Some is super easy to throw away ASAP, while other things I don't know what to do with.

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OMG you are hired when can you come to Boston MA and start inventory on my house. 

Great idea. 

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I don’t have to clear clutter because I don’t accumulate it.  Keep things up to date year round and there will be no need to "de clutter"!

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@2Papa You are who I want to be in my minimal journey, super disciplined! Christine

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Oh my! How I admire you. I'm a chronic clutterer of clothes and papers

Wanjiru Warama
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@2Papa  That's great, if you have the time to sort through all the paper that comes your way in the course of a day.  Unfortunately, not only do I get tons of it in my personal snail mail, but in my business mail as well.  And I mean TONS of it!!  WOW!

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