I took this photo of my kitchen this morning and smiled - I feel like I've really come a long way in my quest for minimalism in my home over the last few months. Two different friends have now described my home as "refreshing" which makes me just want to happy dance. That's exactly how I want my home to feel, not only to visitors but also to me! I want my home to be a haven. I want it to feel like a big deep breath. And we're getting there! It feels great.
But I feel like there are a lot of misconceptions about minimalism, or people might think it's too hard to take it on for themselves. Here are some of my random thoughts on the subject.
- Minimalism doesn't necessarily mean you don't have any stuff. Sure, some minimalists have an end goal of living in a tiny house or living on the road out of a single suitcase. That is not our goal, though, and it doesn't have to be the goal of everyone desiring to live minimally. Minimalism is exactly what the word implies - having the minimum number of things for any given subject. We have stuff, lots of it in fact! We have hobbies and like to cook and have a baby and I run a business from our home and so all of that requires stuff. But we're taking a hard look at all that stuff and asking ourselves how much of it we really need. Do we really need 4 colanders or can we get buy with 2? Do we need 8 coffee mugs or will 4 work? Do we really need 6 pairs of soccer socks when we only play once a week and do laundry in between? That kind of thing. It's not about getting rid of every single thing you own and living the rest of your days out of a backpack. It's simply about paring down, letting go of EXCESS and living with what you actually use.
- Organization doesn't equal minimalism. You can buy all the Rubbermaid containers in the world and every cute glass canister for your pantry and be an organizational queen, and still have too much stuff. If you're constantly bringing more stuff in, you're always going to have an organization problem. The answer isn't more bins. The answer is less stuff.
- Think about minimizing spaces in addition to stuff. What I mean by this is looking at the spaces in your home and thinking through how you can streamline them. The biggest area we've done this for has been our kitchen. I put every appliance in a cabinet, except for our coffee maker which we use daily. I mounted our paper towels inside a cabinet. I cleared the windowsill of all the knick-knacky things. Instead of having our wooden spoons and cooking utensils in a jar out on the counter, I put them in a drawer. Now we have tons of counter space that is empty and it feels like a breath of fresh air to walk in here.
- Decide your why. It's not enough to feel like minimalism is a trend and so you want to hop on board. You have to dig down deep and decide for yourself WHY you want to live with less. For me, I was just tired of the energy it took to clean, dust, maintain, fix, clean up and replace all of our stuff. With a new baby, it just felt exhausting. Now, cleaning my whole house takes just under two hours start to finish. It's 1100 square feet. That includes dusting, sweeping, vacuuming, doing the insides of windows, the bathroom, mopping the floors, wiping down counters and cabinets and the stove. Because I spend less time cleaning and messing with our stuff, I have more time to actually live my beautiful life. It's awesome.
- Living minimally frees up brain space. I don't know how to explain this in a way that makes sense, but I'm going to try. I think everyone has that pile of stuff in the garage that needs to be taken various places - Goodwill, the landfill, the recycling place, the shelter. Or maybe you have a drawer full of junk - receipts to file, that necklace you've been meaning to fix for years, the watch that needs a new battery. But those things never get done. It's just too much on top of everything else. Well, when you streamline the everything else, suddenly you have brain space to deal with all that random stuff. Since letting go of lots of our stuff, I feel like I have the mental space to get a bunch of that random adulting stuff knocked out. Old paint cans in the garage to the hazardous waste center? Check. Random stack of papers that needed to be shredded? Done. Big pile of stuff to donate to the shelter across town? Doesn't seem like that big of an errand after all.
I'm excited to start sharing our real-life rooms and spaces, and break down how we've minimized and how it's working for us. I have lots of posts in the works on this subject so stay tuned! XO!