How did I get to minimalism (or the great purge)

As I sat here looking around, I felt a kind of relief and then a little annoyance that there was some mess on the table. So I cleaned it all up. In 5 minutes. No joke. A task that used to take me 30 minutes to sort and clean took 5 minutes. Marie Kondo would say it’s because my stuff has a place. This is partially true. Most of my stuff has a place and if it’s not mine then it’s probably a child’s. It goes in their room and I try not to think about it to much. That’s one of Marie Kondo’s things too – you can’t force other people into this. They have to come to it on their own. If they have no interest in it, they’ll simply reaquire stuff and be back where they started. So, I try not to look to hard at other people’s stuff. But I am still amazed at all the progress I’ve made so far.

Getting here was a task all on its own though. I mean, I’m 40 years old and I had stuff in my house from when I was 16 years old. It’s moved numerous times and was still buried in a storage box somewhere because it was “sentimental”. Most of that stuff is gone. Actually, with the exception of some pictures, it’s all gone. I didn’t want it, I didn’t need it. I was keeping it out of some sense that it “meant something” to me but for the life of me I couldn’t tell you what. I still don’t know what I was keeping it for but it doesn’t matter anymore because it’s gone. It’s wonderful.

That sounds weird to most people. Heck, a couple of years ago I’d have thought that it sounds weird. This purging of stuff to get down to what you truly love is a strange thing. Another blogger described it as a sickness and in a way it kind of is. You have this odd feeling that you have to get rid of stuff and you can literally walk through your house and start seeing things everywhere that can get tossed (or donated). It’s all you think about sometimes. As I’ve reduced the amount of stuff, the feelings have decreased and I feel less of an urge to declutter. I still have my moments though. I’ll find myself wandering through the house looking at things and thinking about if I still want them in my life. Often the answer is yes but occasionally I still get a no. Marie Kondo promises that you do get to a point where you no longer feel the urge to do this. Of course, she also does her “tidying” in these marathon sessions where you do everything at once. I’m moving at a slower pace and I’m not doing this exactly the way she does since that would make a giant mess that I can’t deal with. But the overall theme is the same and it’s still working for me.

The most useful thing for me is that I feel less anxious about things. There is less mess and thus less to worry about cleaning up. Actually, when I stay on top of it and do my daily cleaning like I’m supposed to, there’s no mess at all. If I let it go for a few days, I get small piles of stuff forming but since I know where everything goes, it gets put away quickly. I feel as though if other people could feel this same feeling they’d get it. They would understand why that desire to toss things is so strong and have that same feeling of relief when looking around at a space that is clean and full of things that are joyful. I used to look at those hoarder memes and think to myself “At least my house doesn’t look like that!”. Now I look at those memes and think to myself “They just need to declutter a little and those problems will go away.” I used to think storage boxes were the answer. Now I realize that I don’t need that many (and have gotten rid of a lot!). I used to wonder how people could live in a house that was only 500 square feet. Now I can see how it could be done. I would have to declutter a lot more before it could happen but it could happen. That’s not a plan of mine, by the way.

There’s something to be said for this way of life. After all, life’s not about stuff. Keeping up with everybody else isn’t the goal and ultimately, there’s always somebody who has more money, and thus more stuff, than you. Also, those people are rarely as happy as they seem. Finding out what really makes you happy and getting rid of all the extra stuff makes life better. There’s less cleaning to do and the things that you love shine through. I think that’s the best part because life should be about what we love. Until next time!


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