For some time now I have been following several minimalist living blogs. I found the concept of minimizing stuff and possessions very appealing. I had been moving this direction for a while and after I spent time in Africa, I came home more determined to weed out the stuff in our home that wasn’t either (1.) being used or (2.) brought enjoyment to our life. The contrast of simple Tanzanian homes with just the essentials and a few prized possessions and our American homes stuffed to the gills with junk no one uses was stark.
For the past few weeks I have been attending bible study at my friend Kit’s home. Kit is an interior decorator and her home is beautiful. Not in the “stuffy, don’t touch anything” way, but it’s a home that is warm and inviting. (Of course a great deal of that is due to Kit’s welcoming hospitality.) There is no clutter and no excess junk on the surfaces. There are also no random groupings of stuff on the floors and in the corner, unlike my home where the camera bag collection lived in one bedroom corner and the canvas totes of books and binders lived in another.
A couple of weekends ago I began tackling the clutter issue with what I like to call the “Inspired by Kit” projects. It began with my bedroom and closet. I began in one corner and meticulously made my way around the room. I went through drawers, shelves, and every inch of the room. Out went old clothes, clothes we hadn’t worn in a year, books that we had already read and a host of other things. Had 2 large bags to Goodwill and another hefty pile to friends that are having a rummage sale to raise adoption funds. Which by the way is a huge Win-Win situation!
The next day I moved onto my bathroom and entryway. Again out went the expired, unused, and torn. The living room got it’s turn and another load left the house. Onto the kitchen! Out went the plastic storage containers without lids, stuff past it’s prime and half of the mugs. (How many do you really need!) Pans with past-its-prime Teflon….out! The baskets on top of my cabinets that just collect dust….gone! The shelves once again have breathing room, and you know what….so do I.
With clear floors and counter tops with uncluttered space and a renewed commitment to completing some basic daily upkeep, my stress level has dropped dramatically. My husband deserves a huge shout-out! Not that he ever was a slob, but ever since I returned from Africa he goes above and beyond to help carry the load around her, and I am very grateful!
Is my home perfectly pristine? By no means! After all there are still 4 people who live in these 1400 square feet and one of them is an eight year old….you do the math. Are we moving toward simplicity and being able to focus on what’s important? I think we are, slowly but surely. Thanks Kit for inspiring me! Garage! You’re on my list….I’m coming for you next!
**My favorite minimalist blogger….Joshua Becker at www.becomingminimalist.com