Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Minimalism Side-Effects

One of my most favorite things in life is being able to look back on something after a few months and being so glad you started. It happens when you keep up with your exercise routine, or starting any new habit really. A few months ago I began a bit of a minimalism journey, and now I can look back and see both progress and places I'd still like to see growth. 

Decluttering and reassessing my life was literally the most enjoyable part of 2016 for me. I LOVED it. I went through every room in my house and critiqued everything I owned. I asked myself why I did things and why I had things. Brutal honesty was difficult, but SO freeing. I wound up with a humongous Yard Sale pile, and countless bags to give away and throw away. 

I've made a killing on Ebay selling a bunch of random stuff like cookbooks and old electronics. 
I had planned to have that Yard Sale this month. But, we had piles of stuff looming in our shed, and it didn't seem like much more needed to be gone through. We rescheduled it for January instead. I forgot how much I hate Yard Sales!! The worst people show up to your house and insult your stuff. But you have to be nice to them because you want them to give you a few bucks. It's ridiculous. I was thankful to have my sister there to be nice to the customers, while I rolled my eyes. 

A friend of mine drove by our house while we were having the Sale, and she saw me loading up a bookshelf into a lady's car. She was so surprised by that. But it was really really cool to tell her that I didn't need that shelf anymore because I didn't have any books to put on it! After the yard sale we ended up with about 5 rubbermaids that are just sitting empty, because I have nothing to organize in them. It's just the coolest thing to me. 

If you look closely here you can see some items that went into the Yard Sale. Perfume that gave me a headache, office supplies...and old neck pillow! Not a single drawer went untouched in our house. 
I still have artwork and knickknacks around the house, but everything here is serving a purpose, or is here because it makes me happy. I love interior decorating too much to ever have bare walls. But I do have cleared off surfaces, and that is really calming. 

The whole point of starting this process was to get us back to Keeping It Simple. Our life had become to cluttered and busy with unimportant things. I had too much on my plate and  I needed to change that because it was causing me so much anxiety and guilt. 

I needed less stuff to clean and maintain, but interestingly, now I don't want to buy any more stuff. My Amazon Wishlist went from 3 pages to 4 things. Getting ready in the morning isn't as hard because the clothes I have are ones I like and fit well. I literally had a cookie jar filled with pens and markers, now I have a small cup with just a few that are easy to see and grab. We were able to pay off 2 debts in one day- which was so exciting and definitely motivation to keep going.

We still have stuff! We have movies, but those bins used to be bursting. And that console table used to have photos and candles on it. Now it's nice and clean! 
Less stuff means less to think about. Well, more time to think about important things. That's the side-effect I wanted to talk about! I wasn't expecting that. All I could see was the hurdle of clutter that I needed to take care of. I didn't know or imagine what it would be like on the other side of it. 

For example, at work last Friday we had the slowest day I can ever remember. I accomplished everything on my desk, and tried to find any little thing to do after that. Even cleaning the microwave...But I still ended up twirling in my desk chair with 2 hours to go. Normally I would have just messed around on my phone. During this minimalism journey I also decluttered my phone. I only have a select number of apps and I unfollowed over half of the people I was following on Instagram. That coupled with very limited use on any other social network gave me about 15 minutes of scrolling through my phone. So, I ended up a little bored, but also really excited. That's exactly what I wanted a few months ago. I wanted to waste less time on pointless things and really focus on other areas. It's what I wanted to happen, but it's still taking me by surprise!

Before, I was just coping with my schedule and recovering when I could. But now I feel a lot more in charge with how my time and energy is spent. So, that's what I have to figure out next. What do I want to do with my time? What can have my attention now that I have it to give? 

We've had a ton more time to enjoy our back porch with the pugs! 
It's a super cool problem and an awesome side effect I wasn't anticipating. It's kind of like having a bucket list, and then actually having an opportunity to check some things off. I have a ton of goals, but they seemed kind of idyllic before. Instead of just slowly chipping away at them, now I have the ability to accomplish them.  

I won't say I'm completely over the 1st phase of minimalism. Because you do have to continue to assess your things and not let clutter creep back in. There are also some habits I'm working on to keep us on the simplification path, like chores I need to do daily instead of weekly. But, it's so nice to be able to be proud of something. I really can't wait to look back on this post 6 months from now and continue to see growth! Thanks for letting me share!

Leave a comment below if you have done something in the last 6 months or so that have you proud of yourself! I'd love to hear your decluttering progress or what you would do with your extra time! 

1 comment:

  1. Very inspiring post! Hopefully I will start down the same path once I'm done with work. :-)

    ReplyDelete