I recently read a very popular book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, which left me both inspired and excited to declutter my physical space. The process is simple, choose a category (clothing, shoes, etc) and look at every item from that category and ask yourself, “Does this bring me joy?” I wanted to start with my personal things first before I went anywhere else in the house to declutter. After a month long process, I ended up with a shameful 6 big garbage bags full of clothes, jewelry, shoes, makeup, handbags, belts, beauty products, etc. When I donated those items or gave them to people who I thought would appreciate them, I instantly felt lighter.
While we still have quite a bit of decluttering to do before I can say that our home is completely clutter- free, there are a few lessons that I’ve learned through this process.
#1 If you don’t love it or need it, get rid of it. After I finished decluttering my personal things, I lined up those 6 garbage bags in my room and just stared at them. A sense of guilt and embarrassment washed over me because it was me who had invested money into buying those items. It was me who was spending my precious time managing those items. It was me who was holding on to all those items that I thought I might need one day. Life is too short to hold on to physical things that don’t serve a purpose or bring you happiness. How many times have you skipped over the same tops in your closet because you didn’t want to wear them that day? “Maybe another day,” you’d think to yourself, only to find that another day never comes. It may seem like such a small nuisance, but those items are taking up space that could have been filled by something that you actually love. You deserve to be surrounded by only the items that make you smile, not fill you with anxiety or guilt.
#2 When you have less stuff, your home is easier to manage. I had to learn this the hard way. I would spend the entire nap time cleaning, organizing, and managing STUFF. Then of course, my toddler would wake up and wreck the home again within minutes. It was like running around in a circle with no stops. My main purpose for being a stay at home mom was to give quality time and attention to my child, not continuously manage the STUFF in our home. Since I’ve started my journey towards minimalism, I’ve definitely noticed a huge change in the amount of time I spend keeping track of everyone’s things. Of course, we still have to clean and maintain our home, this process is meant to make managing your home easier, not eliminate daily chores. But I have to admit that I enjoy my time and my home much more now that I’ve purged many items that didn’t serve a purpose or bring us joy. What would you do with your time if you didn’t have a huge pile of laundry waiting for you every day or hundreds of toys that needed to be cleaned/organized/put back several times a day? There’s a reason why kids care more about the box the toy came in rather than the actual toy, they crave simplicity. Having way too many toys or way too many of anything leads to toxic clutter which even kids can sense from a young age.
#3 Decluttering your physical space gives you a sense of mental clarity. I’ve been driving up to Goodwill to drop off items to donate weekly and each time I drive away with an empty trunk, I feel a sense of peace. It’s as if those physical things were holding me back from enjoying my life to the fullest. The negative thoughts that would cloud my mind don’t seem to bother me as much anymore. Marie Kondo talks about this phenomenon of how the physical clutter around you leads to clutter in your mind. Think about a time when you were really stressed about something and you had the sudden urge to start cleaning your space, how did you feel after the room had been cleaned? Whether we want to admit it or not, clutter does affect us on a subconscious level.
#4 When you begin the process towards simplifying your life, everything becomes more intentional. Like any woman, I love going to the mall and looking at new styles of clothing, shoes, or toys for my son, but lately what’s changed within me is that I look at items with more intention. I’ll ask myself, “Do I really want to have this item in my space? Does this fit my personality? Will I end up donating it in a couple months?” I know, I know, this sounds like such a tedious process but it has really become an innate routine to help me make the right decisions for me. This manner of thinking intentionally doesn’t just stop at shopping; it’s also come in handy when I need to make decisions with how I spend my time. At one point or another, we have all been in a place where we have more on our plate than we can handle and most of those commitments are not what we actually want to be spending our time doing. We were either pulled into those obligations through guilt or peer/society pressure. I feel like I have more control over my life since I began analyzing everything through an intentional lens because if an opportunity that requires my time arises, I don’t feel guilty about rejecting the offer if it doesn’t align with what I know will bring me peace and happiness.
I am sure there will be more lessons along the way as I go through the decluttering process to simplify my life. I’ll definitely do an updated post when I’m further along my journey. If this post sparked any interest in you to learn more about minimalism, I suggest you start with reading, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up or listen to the audio-book for free on Youtube. 🙂
“The space in which we live should be for the person we are becoming now, not for the person we were in the past.”
– Marie Kondo