My journey toward owning less stuff started when I read Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne, which I started reading after a holiday where we had no toys but LOADS of fun. I wanted to somehow create the harmony we accomplished by the sea, at home. I do love a challenge (I’m naive).
Back in December, once I had finished the book, I binned several black bags of the kids toys and I noticed several benefits which you can read about here. And I decided to keep going. I continued to read about simplicity and minimalism, I watched videos and subscribed to blogs. And slowly I began to bin more stuff (when I say bin, I gave almost all to charity, friends and then recycled the rest).
Over the next 2 months, I gave away about 50% of my wardrobe, I binned the odd socks and scabby knickers. I gave away the kids clothes that they didn’t wear or had excess of. I donated books which sat on my shelves ‘making me look clever’ and ‘classic’ DVD’s, which I haven’t watched in years. I went through the kitchen and boxed up a load of ‘spare’ plates, cups and glasses (I’m not sure when I ever thought I would invite 19 people over for a cup of tea). I sorted through the lunchbox cupboard and recycled all those without lids which left me with 2! The list goes on.
And then last month I joined two friends who had started a 30 day Minimalist game: on day 1 we gave away 1 item, day two, two items until we reached 30 and I completed it just a few days ago.
I wouldn’t say “I’m a minimalist” yet, but I would say that so far the journey has changed me:
I spend less. I’ve become very conscientious about where and when I spend money. Suddenly things feel more valuable, I don’t want to bring more stuff in after working so hard on getting stuff out. This makes relying on one income a little easier.
I clean less. Anyone that knows me, will already know that I am not a good home maker, I am crap at cleaning, haven’t ironed a single piece of the children’s clothing and honestly I can’t remember the last time I polished. I told myself that mess didn’t bother me, but I knew it was a lie that I frequently told myself (and my husband). The truth is I did notice and I felt guilty, ashamed and like a failure of a parent most of the time. I didn’t tell anyone because I couldn’t see a way out and didn’t want to hear that I might have to do more than I already was. Taking care of 2 young children is hard core, keeping the house clean and tidy felt totally out of reach. Not anymore! I haven’t vacuumed in a few days, nor cleaned the bathroom and yet my house feels clean?! wtf? I should have done this YEARS ago!!!
I feel less stressed. Like I have less to do, my attention isn’t on the mess on top of the fridge, the piles of clothes and toys on the floor or the busy window sills. My attention is now on the kids, my amazing husband and me (I might actually get to blog more, yay for me!)
The kids are happier. We have more space for obstacle courses, more mind space for imaginary play and less things to argue over. At Christmas I recall them fighting over a whistle… A whistle!! And they both had one!!?! In fact until recently they would argue daily about what belonged to who. Shouts such as “that’s miiiiiiiine!” and “I had it fiiiiiirst!” would drive me to hide away in my bedroom hoping they would work it out for themselves (did I mention I’m naive?) But I haven’t heard a row like that in days! And that’s quite the miracle. Instead they get their little suitcases out and go on pretend holidays to our living room, they play mums and babies together or make a den under their duvet. The impact this has had on me (and hubby) is lush lush lush lush lush.
There are more benefits but those are definitely my favourite.
I feel excited about our future of owning less but having more.
Do you think you could do the 30 day Minimalist game? Email me if you have any questions.
I didn’t take any before and after photo’s, because for me the reason for owning less isn’t how it makes our home look but how it makes us feel xx