When I first started our journey towards minimalism, it was easy to look around me and see all the stuff that had overwhelmed my house. The trouble was, a lot of it wasn’t mine. And for some reason, I gravitated to the items that weren’t mine as I felt like they were the problem!
The main issue with this was that it was not my place to get rid of other peoples items. I needed to start with my own items, and encourage my family by example! Little did I realize the powerful ripple effect that would happen in my home.
Looking back at my house, before minimalism, and then at my house now, I would have never believed I could have inspired such change in my home. As a stay at home and homeschooling mom, I have so much influence on our home. It is truly my sphere of responsibility since my hardworking husband is gone to the office every day.
I was unhappy with this reality at first. Why should I have to do all the laundry? Why should I have to do all the cleaning? I didn’t want to do the dishes. The kids made messes everywhere. It fell completely on me. I had to do it all. I hated the responsibility. Honestly, I felt so angry. Looking back on this, I think this is actually a direct reflection on the fact that growing up, I never did many chores. My parents, amazing people whom I have nothing but respect and love for, had us focus on our studies primarily. All three of us achieved great things in school, with university degrees and college education. I was gone at school all day long (when my mother would be doing home chores) and after school I was busy with sports and drama and other things. I did the occasional bathroom clean, or vacuum with much grumbling. I was expected to keep my room tidy, which I kind of did. Mostly I would shove things into boxes and closets and other out of sight places. This all came to a head when I was freshly married, and I struggled with keeping the home. A year into our marriage, with a toddler, a newborn and pregnant with another baby, I was completely unequipped to run a home. Things started piling up, and I was so busy putting out fires that I didn’t have time to do things the way they should have been done.
What does all this have to do with my journey to minimalism? I think that the reason we hold onto things, or let our homes get out of control, is always rooted in something. We don’t hold onto things for absolutely no reason. I discovered that the reason my house was completely out of control was that I had to learn how to keep a home. Part of my learning process was realizing that having so much stuff was holding me back. I am not sure what part of your life is contributing to your clutter, but if you think about it I am sure it will show itself! This is the true first step, because once you deal with the root issue, you can move on and learn how to get past it!
Once I realized what was holding me back, I focused on what I could change about my own items. I went through all my stuff and only kept what I absolutely needed or loved.
Here are some of my spaces to show you what I kept.
My closet. This is all my clothing (minus some skirts that I had put aside for the winter and a shirt that was in the wash). It also houses my bath towel and all of my books.
I also have a few drawers in my bathroom that house my personal items.
And then under my sink I have my hair dryer, straightener, and our scale!
This is all my stuff. I don’t have anything else, with the exception of my doll making and sewing stuff that is in my studio. It feels so good to know that there is a place for everything. Nothing I own is just clutter, since it always has a place to be put away.
This is where the ripple started. After I had done my own items, I began working on the kids clothing (our family closet), to help reduce some of my daily burden. I let the kids choose what items they kept out and packed the rest away or donated it. My husband saw how wonderful our changes were and started working on his own items! His closet has a few more items as he wears a suit and tie to work each day, but it is still very minimal. His bathroom drawer is also minimal (without me asking him to do it).
As I worked on my own items, the whole family became more “on board” with what my vision was. Granted, I did eventually begin working on family items, since I helped my kids. Toys were the next biggest job after laundry, and the kids were involved completely in the process here too.
Everyone in the house is now on the same page with regards to minimalism. We all are working on a common goal – having a neat and clean space that lets us live rather than being slaves to our stuff! All of it started with a change in my own perspective, and then a change to myself.
In the next post (you can find it here!) I will elaborate on our journey, from hidden storage places to organizational ideas. As always, if you have any questions feel free to ask in the comments or message me over at my page Faith & String.