I have bitten by the bug. The Minimalism bug. A few weeks ago on Facebook a link was shared with me from the blog Becoming Minimalist. I followed the link and starting reading about the rewards of Minimalism and living a simple life. I checked out some other blogs and for the last week have been hooked. Now this does not mean that I am ready to get rid of everything we own, for me it has become more about simplifying to avoid drama in my house.
The last few weeks I have been trying really hard at succeeding with the Orange Rhino No Yelling Challenge. I found that I was cool, calm, and under control while we were out. I still had to bite my tongue but found that it was pretty easy to keep cool. The problem came when we were searching for something in the car, or rushing somewhere and couldn’t find something, or the house was a mess again. I realized that the problem isn’t that I am a raging lunatic (well maybe) or that my dear children are maniacs ( maybe).
It is the clutter.
Now please do not misunderstand me. I am not a hoarder, but I do have hoarder-like tendencies.
I really like getting a good deal. It is a priority in my life. The problem comes when I feel compelled to buy too much of a good deal. Yard Sales and thrift stores are a gold mine for this. I buy almost 96% of what we wear and use second hand. This saves lots of money and is a good thing. The problem comes when I find a good deal like 25 cent jeans at a yard sale and then buy 6 for each of my girls. They don’t really need that many pants and on top of the rest of the clothing, it becomes overwhelming quickly. (please note: If all of us had 6 pairs of jeans that would mean 54 pairs of jeans in our house!). This is truth for many areas in my home. For example, last summer I was on the hunt for bed sheets. I was specifically looking for older sheets made in the 60s, 70s and 80s. I had become frustrated by all of our sheets tearing or simply looking like garbage after only a year. I found that sheets made a few decades earlier had a higher cotton count and would be less likely to tear. I was on a mission. I was very lucky to find a lovely older woman at a yard sale whom just fell in love with the kids and ended up giving me a hope chest full of vintage linens for a song, as well as 15 sets of vintage sheets to boot.
I was so excited.
Almost a year later, I am no longer excited.
You see, we never really needed 15 sets of sheets. Certainly not in addition to the sheets that we already had. So what was once a blessing became a curse. Everytime I opened the linen closet they were there. Piled in a mess. Falling out every time someone opened the door. This had to change or I was going to get crazier. So after reading about simplifying and minimalism. I became proactive. I have dwindled our sheet count down to 7. This may not be enough for some but it definitely is enough for me.
Decluttering has been freeing. I have filled up our 12 passenger van twice and haven’t looked back. I have carted about 3 bags of donations to Goodwill a day for the last 10 days. I have not regretted getting rid of one item. It is truly freeing.I just grab a bag and grab. I then put into the van and grab another.
I have finally donated the girl clothes I have been holding on to for years. My last two children have been boys and I really saw no reason to be toting around anymore handme downs that we didn’t need. I saved items that were special to me(two clothing items per child) but the rest hit the road!
I was sad but not really.
I had moved with them 4 times. My littlest girl Nadia will be 6 in a few days.
IT was time to let go.
When we moved into this house we moved with 35 rubbermaid totes of handme down clothes. Crazy right! 35 tubs of old clothes. The frugal part of me felt great that I had clothes planned out for years for my kids and would not have to buy anything. The truth is, that kids don’t always follow the same growth pattern and clothes in storage deteriorate over time.I have stopped my maddness am only saving clothes right now for my youngest two because they are only 19 mos apart. If I really need anything it only takes a weekend or two to find the same items in better shape at a yard sale for 25 cents.
I wish I you could see the space in our garage! My camera is MIA, but it is beautiful and so spacious!
I would also like to mention that I have carted over 9 boxes of books. I love books but we have books given to us by a homeschool friend that have not been touched in the last 3 years. They became a dusty burden not a blessing.
Today I am gearing up to tackle the toys. We don’t really have a crazy amount of toys but they get out of hand quickly and the kids really only play with certain toys anyway. I’ll share my donation count with you tomorrow.
Please let me know if you have been purging too!