Putting Minamalism Into Action

“Imagine a life with less. Less stuff, less clutter, less stress and debt and discontent.”

– The Minimalists

Day 90.

January has come and gone, much like an old, beloved song on the radio. The same goes for many of the items in our home!

I sat on the floor of my son’s room, trash sack in hand, neatly folding his clothes into the bag. Suddenly, I found myself feeling a sense of sentimentality and a sense of loss. “What am I doing?” I thought to myself. “Why am I doing this? I can’t do this!”  I paused, and without thought enshrouded the soft, green pajamas around my face; deeply inhaling my son’s scent. After several long minutes, I realized what had caused the abrupt sense of disquietude.

It felt as though I was throwing away a part of my son! As though I was about to lose something of great importance and value. Suddenly, the simple task of gathering together ill-fitting clothing seemed… difficult. But why?

Oftentimes we hold onto things to fill a certain void in our lives. We tell ourselves, “I simply cannot bring myself to part with this,” or “if I throw this out I’ll be losing a part of that person, or myself, or the memories tied to this item!”

There are copious amounts of reasons as to why people have a difficult time letting go of their belongings:

  • The item(s) hold certain sentimental value
  • We feel guilt over the amount spent on that item, whether we bought it ourselves, or it was gifted to us
  • We worry we may need the item in the near future
  • The item becomes a “someday” item, meaning we tell ourselves, “someday I’m going to become a seamstress and will need all of this fabric!
  • We struggle with an obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • We struggle with hoarding

Based on a scientific study done over a 23-year span by Jack Samuels at John Hopkins University, not all people who have OCD are hoarders. “Now, we know that only one-third of people with OCD exhibit hoarding behavior, that many people without OCD hoard, and we suspect that genes can play a key role in it.

http://archive.magazine.jhu.edu/2011/11/why-can%E2%80%99t-some-people-throw-anything-away/

My reasoning for not wanting to discard my son’s clothing was nary so momentous as someone struggling with hoarding or OCD. Alas, I couldn’t help but feel sharp pangs of guilt weighing heavily upon my heart.

So what do I do now?

“How do I move past these feeling?” 

“Is this ok that I’m feeling this way, should I be feeling this way?” 

I took a deep breath, inhaling through my nose and exhaling through my mouth. I let my eyes fall shut and at that moment, a small giggle heedlessly egressed from my lips. I opened my eyes and said to myself, “it’s just stuff… that’s all it is!” Once I heard these words I repeated them aloud, again… and again… and again.

Everything I was experiencing was perfectly normal, and I’d given myself the few moments required to feel what I was feeling. I knew if I wanted to truly continue on this journey I had begun, I had to be stronger than my emotions. I had to set my emotions to the side and allow logic to play its part. I couldn’t allow the things filling our home to control me.

With a renewed sense of purpose, I took the green pajamas that belonged to my son and plunged them into the large white sack. As an added encouragement I asked myself, “what is it that has brought me to this point?”

  • I had established my goal at the beginning of the year; to live a calm, minimalistic, peaceful life!
  • I am a person who enjoys doing research before diving into anything. I began by watching the documentary on Netflix, The Minimalists.
  • I had the respect and support of my loved ones.
  • I expanded upon my main goal and made it a point to get rid of one unnecessary thing each day.
  • Each time I felt any sort of hesitation to discard something in my home, I paused and closed my eyes. Telling myself and asking myself, “It’s just stuff! Is this something you truly need? Is this something deeply sentimental? Can I live without it?”
  • I made two very strict rules for myself: #1. If I’ve not seen it or used it for 6 months or more, then it needs to go. #2. Once the item is in the bag or box, it cannot come out!
  • And finally, refusing to give up!

Never Give Up Quotes By Famous People The 25+ Best Not Giving Up Quotes Ideas On Pinterest | Love Qotes

 

 

 

January Clarity

50.

This is the number of days that have passed since I woke up with a renewed sense of purpose. A realization that things needed to change. I felt an urgency to transform my quality of being. An almost animalistic desperation to find the happiness in my life that I have yearned for all these years.

Everywhere I looked, and everywhere I turned, I could see nothing but chaos and clutter. Mayhem and Mess. Things were strewn about our home. Our days were empty and exhaustive. Our lives were what I would define as, mere insanity.  We were doing the same things over and over again… and expecting a different result.

We asked ourselves the same question every day, “what are we going to do?” Neither my husband nor myself ever had an answer. We would stand silent, for what seemed like an eternity, staring at each other with vacant expressions on our faces. “I don’t know,” was always our answer.

We were what I would call a, “fly by the seat of our pants” family! There was never a plan, never a schedule, never a clue what we were going to do. It wasn’t working. Life wasn’t working. The maelstrom of war… a war going on at home. We were fighting amongst ourselves, and my husband and I weren’t the only casualties. We had unknowingly and unintentionally enlisted our two children into the same battle.

My 7-year-old son is Autistic, he has Asperger’s Syndrome and both he and chaos mix together like oil and water.  My 4-year-old daughter is not Autistic, but she no more needs chaos in her life than my son does. Children need a place they can call home. A place free of chaos, clutter, and calamity. They need clarity. We need clarity… and January gave us just that!

Fifty days ago we began a minimalistic journey, one that would lead us on a path to acquiring more by learning to live with less. Less chaos and disorganization, less time spent in front of electronics, and less junk-food and unplanned meals. Acquiring better health through less processed foods, and more healthy meals. Acquiring the answer to the age-old question, “Mom where are my shoes?” Acquiring more unforgettable moments spent together as a family…

and acquiring a life that is truly unimpeded!