When we started minimizing our possessions and obligations, we were doing it in hopes to find happiness. We have since been living by the mantra “less is more”. It can be applied to anything we’d like to minimize, so that we are able to have a positive outlook on the situation and it makes perfect sense to us. For example,
- Less stuff is more freeing
- Less stress is more relieving
- Less obligations leaves more time for what’s important
We have recently started feeling more comfortable with the process and decided it was time to begin the next step, which is to help others experience the same joy we did and still continue to experience. Our first subject, (sort of) voluntarily of course, was my mother. And so it has started. Project Mom.
We figured that to get the ball rolling, we needed to pick an area that was seen often. This is often the case, whether minimizing your own possessions, or helping someone with theirs. If you are visually reminded on a regular basis of the difference minimizing made, then you are more likely to be motivated to do it again.
With these details in mind and the suggestion of my mom, we decided to start with the garage. The garage sees quite a bit of traffic on a daily basis and removing just a few large things can quickly declutter an area. It is also generally used to store things that we no longer use, or don’t use often, which is a very targeted area when minimizing and decluttering.
We started with holiday decor, which was an easy hit or miss. If the item held meaning and is displayed on a yearly basis, it was a clear winner. It was kept and put with the others of its kind. If the item did not hold meaning, or is not displayed regularly, it was obvious that it needed to go. It was very clear-cut and went very smoothly. My mom did promise that she would visit the decor again as the holidays came and remove that which was no longer necessary.
Being that the holiday decor is not used but once a year, it was also easily stored in deep storage on the top shelves in the garage. This keeps it from being the in way during the remainder of the year. The next area we visited were things that are used semi-regularly, or seasonally. These included things like sleds, beach chairs, hammocks, summer toys, ect.
Being that it is (finally) warm at this point, we put the sleds into deep storage, and brought the chairs, toys, and the like down to the lower shelves where they would be accessible, yet still out-of-the-way. This was another area that seemed very clear-cut. Either the item was used regularly, or it was not. There were some things that she was unsure about, but that we will assess as the season continues.
One thing to keep in mind: make sure that the donate and sell piles are kept separate. This way, confusion is easily avoided and the donate items can be loaded up when everything is finished. It seems to make everything run smoothly, especially when you’re out of energy at the end.
After we were able to knock out the holiday and seasonal things, we moved on to the shelves containing the stuff for everyday use. Now, this is where it got a bit tricky. You don’t exactly use bird feed year round, nor do you need the power-drill every day. However, there are things that can be clearly eliminated. When there are comments like “what’s that?” or “I got rid of the ___ that goes to years ago”, there is no reason to hold onto it any longer. Beyond that, duplicates are easily discarded and the same goes for things that are so shelf worn that you don’t recognize it.
There was great progress in this area. While the majority of stuff that was removed went into the garbage or was donated, there were some items kept aside that will hopefully add yet another perk of minimalism, which is profit. She showed some interest in working on other areas in her home, but was pretty clear that she was done for the day (understandable). I was even shown some interest by my younger sister!
So how did your Minimalist Monday go? In what areas have you minimized the “stuff”? Have you helped anyone minimize their belongings?