Sunday, January 6, 2013

It All Started with an Underwear Drawer

My first taste of minimalism was the kids' toy revolution, but I hadn't decided to be a minimalist yet. I kept reading blogs and wrapping my brain around this new idea that stuff isn't so important. Have you ever encountered a new word in another language? I find myself rolling it around in my mind, saying it over and over, like my mind is fascinated by this different sound. The minimalist idea was the same. I was trying it on for size and wondering if it fit me. If it fit us. 

While I was still toying with it, I was not about to apply it in a concrete way. I was overwhelmed by that thought. I have a house with fifteen rooms or closets that would need to be gone through. I couldn't imagine where I'd start. Then one day, I read this list of quick tasks to jump-start your de-cluttering. I zeroed in on number three.

This I can do. I happily went to my bedroom and got rid of panties I avoided, sets of bra straps that didn't currently match any bras, you get the picture. It was easy and fast so I was surprised how my lightened underwear load had a big impact. I loved not digging through my bad underwear to get to the good ones. I loved it so much, I started asking a question when I used anything. "I'm choosing this one. Do I ever choose the other options I have here, or are they wasting space?" I did this with belts, purses, earrings, workout shirts and more. I kept a little pile in a corner of my bedroom of things to get rid of, which I would sort later. Every so often, I'd take it to the basement, to get it out of the way and await the sorting. 

I'd like to address two things you may encounter in this process. 
  1. If you're frugal, you may discover you've hung onto things you really don't like while you wait to buy something ideal. This is valid if you are using the sub-par item while you wait. If it's just a place-holder and you're actually doing without, get rid of it and write what you want on a shopping list. 
  2. Minimalism is not an exercise in self-deprivation. I found this process actually clarified what I liked/needed/used, making it obvious to me where I was filling my closet with everything except what I needed/wanted. Those items went on my shopping list. I didn't go buy them right away, but when I was shopping, I didn't get distracted by other items. I wanted the missing pieces, not extra pieces. What I've found is, your life can be better equipped with fewer items. 
If you'd like to spend less of 2013 hassling with your stuff, this is a place to start. I'll be focusing my January posts on minimalism, since this is a great time of year to stay inside, go through and then be ready in the spring for a big sale, if that's your thing. :)

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