We have officicially been ‘Empty Nesters’ for almost a year, and although I will never get used to not seeing my kids every day, I am adjusting (having 3 dogs to sleep with and talk to helps immensely). The oldest has finally cleaned out their bedroom and we’ve since turned it into an office while the youngest will keep a bedroom here but is coming this weekend to decide what she wants to keep and get rid of the rest. This process has made me realize that we all have so much ‘stuff’ in our lives. Even when the kids weren’t living here, you would think that they were since their closets and dressers were full. In the last year, I have tried to go through the house, closet by closet, one junk drawer at a time to pare down on our posessions. The minimalist lifestyle calls to me and I am fascinated by the idea of open living space. I can’t be the only person out there who feels a direct correlation between a cluttered house and a cluttered mind! Also, I don’t want to be that person who leaves my kids with the insurmountable task of clearing out my house when I pass away.
It has been an incredibly slow process as I am trying to find the balance between minimalism and sentimentalism. Before re-homing anything I need to think about whether future generations will feel the loss. Photos, letters, diaries, school projects… How will they impact not just me, but my children and their children. I am learning slowly and here are the two main tips that I can share with anyone on the same journey.
- Does it make you happy? I am not a striving for true minimalism as I don’t look for the need of an item, but the happiness that it brings me. Example: Makeup makes me happy! I will always have makeup and nailpolish, but I am getting better at getting rid of unflattering colours and clumpy polish. I also know that I don’t need 20 different shades of red.
- Have you used it in the last 90 days? Are you likely to use it in the next 90 days? If not, it’s time to rehome, recycle or chuck it.
Sounds simple, right? Most importantly, think small. Don’t look at your house as a whole, because you will give up before you even start. Begin with something easy like a closet. Take a day and try on every article of clothing you own. Once you have a pretty good idea of what you’re keeping and what you’re getting rid of, invite friends over to help give you feedback on what looks good and find different combinations of outfits that you may have not thought of before. Take pictures and post them on your mirror. You will not remember what combinations you came up with at 6am Monday morning! As a bonus, friends who were over can also take home anything that you’re getting rid of (if they’re so inclined) before you pack it all up to take to your local thrift store.
Overall, I am starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. 6 more months and I’ll be clutter free!