By no means am I a minimalist! However, being a mom of 4, I have been learning a thing or two about the phrase: “Less Is More”. Part of our daily, weekly and monthly routine is simply shopping. Shopping for food, clothes, furniture, cosmetics, kids’ stuff, toys, shoes, supplies – the list just goes on and on. THIS is where it all starts. We love the “rush” when buying new things, that exhilarating feeling of being whole and bringing beautiful new items into our lives is really exciting! But… how about if we shop for what we really need, as opposed to what we really want? This is called mindfulness. I believe that shopping mindfully will serve to bring clarity into our lives. By allowing only the most necessary items to enter our homes we appreciate each and every one of them so much more and won’t take them for granted.
2). WHERE TO BEGIN?
Getting rid of things can be extremely difficult and sometimes even bewildering. What to keep and what to get rid of? Happily enough, in our digital world, we can learn from others who have been doing this for years. Youtube, Instagram, Pinterest and bloggers all have a wealth of information we can untap easily from the privacy of our homes. On a more personal basis, we can look to our friends and our very own organized neighbors to help us out.
3.) BABY STEPS
Small steps is the name of the game. Remember, it took you years to accumulate all of these items. Make an agenda to get rid of 5 things that are no longer in use. When you are done with them, add another 5 items to your list. It could be that pasta with the expired date you never got around to cooking, or the skirt from your high school years that may or may not fit when you lose weight. Start with a specific place, like a closet in a bedroom or the pantry in the kitchen, and when done, move on to the next adventure!
4). HOW TO DEAL WITH EMOTIONAL BELONGINGS?
We love holding on to things because it brings back sweet memories. Who doesn’t enjoy a bit of nostalgia? We look at that old worn-out pot with the very outdated handles that grandma gave us for a special event and can’t fathom throwing it out! It took me a long time to come to that stage but I’ve learned that if an item doesn’t serve me anymore and uses up my very limited “real-estate” in my home, it’s time to ask friends and neighbors if anyone would like a nice pot/coat hanger/planter that is no longer useful for me. In this very digital world, one can always take a nice picture of a memorable item and place it in a file where it will be easily accessible for future happy memories.
5). HOW MANY DUPLICATES DO YOU HAVE?
In the past, whenever I saw a great-looking pair of shoes, a dress at a remarkable price, or one of those buy-one-get-one-for-free sales, my first reaction was: “Hey, let’s buy as many as I can!” But I’ve learned the hard way… those duplicated (and triplicated) items will end up causing me more grief than happiness, both in terms of space and money. I used to buy clothes and shoes in different colors for “just in case” moments, and those moments rarely showed up! In my closet are a pair of sandals that due to pregnancy, I have never ever worn. So my policy now is – I will buy it when I need it, not a moment earlier.
6). DON’T DO TO OTHERS WHAT YOU HATE
It’s understandable that we want to show the important people in our lives that we love and appreciate them, and many times we do it by buying them THINGS. Things that they might not need, want, use, or like. Think about it. If you buy your very busy sister a nice plant for her birthday, she will now need to water it, take care of it, find a place at the house for it, and it will quickly turn into a burden as opposed to a very nice memory of taking her to a restaurant, a spa, or in today’s day and age, bestowing upon her a gift card. Another lovely idea is donating money to her favorite charity in her honor.
I truly believe that less is more. Please share your thoughts and decluttering experiences with me!