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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.
Solved! Go to Solution.
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.
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!
Since it seems decluttering is part of minimalism (yay), I have a suggestion. A label maker!
To me decluttering starts with dividing things into things I want to be able to see, and things I don't need to see. I want to walk into my home and take in a deep breath and think how calming and nice things look. And it has to look nice to both me and my husband. Our home is laid out with almost a great room: foyer, kitchen, dining area, living room and dining room are almost one room. So all of those areas need to be as free of excess visible things as possible. The kitchen is an exception where efficiency wins but still I wont buy another appliance that needs to sit on the counter.
But of things I don't need to see, I organize them by how often I need to get to them. Only things that are needed or used at least a several times a year are in cupboards in the kitchen. Big party entertaining stuff is in the storage closet. Clothes we only wear on cruises or for formal events are in the storage closet, everything else is in the regular closets.
And the only way I can keep them organized is... drum roll... a label maker. My go to is a Brother P-Touch.
The P-Touch has been around for ages so maybe there's something better out now, but what I love is that the labels stick and last so long. If I don't label boxes, not only can't I find things later, but I don't put things away where they belong.
In my kitchen pantry, if the shelves and plastic bins aren't labeled, it would be a hot mess in a month. And my husband would never find or put away ANYTHING. My bathroom cupboard shelves and plastic bins are all labeled too. And the further out storage areas are filled with boxes and bins with labels.
I also keep a spreadsheet of where all of the boxes of things that are further away than kitchen cupboards or bedroom drawers are, and what's in them. But I don't think spreadsheets are appropriate for most people. Remember I'm the "declutter yes, downsize, no" person 🤣, so I need them.
it must be difficult living in a house with no bedrooms.
No we have bedrooms - the "public" rooms are like a great room - although the dining room (aka the sun room, aka Nina's dream room) is separated from the living room and kitchen eating area by a bigger than a double door opening and an open pass through window.
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.
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".
> 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.
@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 )
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?
@ninaTx Hey Nina! I have a question for you, if that's ok. When you pass away, who will be responsible for going through all your sheds of things you've kept? Thanks! : )
Happy to answer. We have no kids so whoever survives the other between me and my husband will go through the two sheds we have. One is the mower, and assorted lawn and field stuff. My husband will probably ask our neighbor what to keep since our neighbor is our "field hand." I will just keep it.
The other has tools and paint, and suitcases and I doubt my husband will toss any of it because it's all useful. except one box of supplies for an event I hosted, and he doesn't host events. He might again, as our neighbor to go through some of it and will toss the one box.
We also have a garage - my half has more tools, light bulbs, spare parts, useful stuff. His half has music stuff which is useful to him, not to me. So I'll have to sort through that. We also have a big closet off the garage and that has fancy clothes we don't wear too often but do wear once in a while, and the winter comforter, extra blankets for guests and lots of party supplies because we give occasional big parties which I doubt he'll do.
My guess is he wont do a thing about any of that for quite a while, as is his right. But everything's labeled so it should be easy to go through.
We also have boxes of family mementos but my "I'm dead. Now What?" Book has instructions for mine.
I don't mind questions at all, but "all your sheds" sound like "think of your poor poor family dealing with all your stuff" in the question. I apologize if that's just me being defensive.
And for what it's worth my husband has WAY more stuff than I do. But I am thrilled that he loves it all, remembers it all and uses most of it. The effort it will take to sell and get rid of his stuff is nothing compared with the good feelings it all brings to him and therefore to me.
@ninaTx It's wonderful how respectful you are of your husband's stuff, and that you get joy out of seeing him get joy from his things. ( I need to work on that when it comes to my hubby's clothes! ) The fact that you both use nearly everything you have, it's organized and you gain pleasure from it, is basically the end result of what the majority of minimalists are striving for. We shouldn't get caught up with the number of items. Everyone's "number" is different. Christine
@ninaTx The reason I brought up your sheds was because you said "and we have SHEDS" in another one of your posts. I had no way of knowing if that meant two or twenty-two! Ha! I didn't say "think of your poor family dealing with your stuff"...EVER! In my own post, I mentioned that I was the one to go through my parents things when they died, so I didn't know if perhaps you had children or not. I was merely asking. Now, however, I won't be asking anything.
Rosemary - this is a discussion board. People can have different ideas and ask questions and it WILL happen that people will misunderstand things. In fact often the most learning and most connecting comes from untangling misunderstandings.
I hadn't read that you had been left with an unpleasant 'going through stuff" problem in your family, and would not have mentioned how your question made me feel had I read your other post first.
I would be very sorry if you never asked another question, here. But if people can't undo misunderstandings... then I think we all lose.
Please don't stop asking questions.
I will. There are a lot of us out there who enjoy estate salesmm
And either my husband or I will eventually make some estate sales lovers very happy. And since we have no heirs, other than personal things - the proceeds will support the survivor and eventually go to a few charities.
@KSAA676329 My husband and I love checking out estate sales. Usually it's the children of a deceased parent who do this. Estate sales often tell a story of the former occupants, and it's fascinating. My mom passed away two years ago from sepsis. The only thing we did to prepare for an estate sale, was make sure a few of her close friends got a memento of their choice and a few family members too. Because my mom had Alzheimer's, I had to find all the places where my mom hid her nice jewelry too! Then an estate company handled the rest. Christine
@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
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.
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