Today, as I started purging and reorganizing some of our things, I noticed myself feeling angrier and angrier.
Why do we have this item tucked away in a place where we can never use it?
Why do we have so much stuff? Ugh.
When will we have the time to dispose of or find a new home for all these things?
I recognize that my problem is totally a first-world problem. I feel frustrated that I’m even angry about having too much stuff!
Now hear me out, I’m typically a calm and patient person. Not at all quick to anger. But attempting to live with less stuff triggers an anger response in me. I think I’m feeling overwhelmed with the process of going through items, making decisions, then actually removing those things from home. It takes time, and time is something that we’re all short on.
I don’t think I’m the only one on this journey to minimalistic living who finds themselves feeling angry in the process. I’ve had others tell me that the fact that they are more on-board with minimalism than their partner or kids drives them mad. So what is a person to do when they feel angry in their attempts to live more simply?
For me, I think that I’m going to attempt to take deep breaths and remind myself that little by little, I’ll eventually get there.
What about you? Do you ever feel angry while trying to rid junk from your house? What helps you to remain calm and positive?
Over the past year, a goal of mine has been to do a closet purge. Instead of donating a clothing item or two, I wanted to go big this time. I was sick of hanging on to clothing that a) I wasn’t wearing b) I didn’t love. Recently, I finally had time to clean out my closet. Here’s a few tips that worked well for me when getting started:
- take ALL of your items out of the closet
- have three designated areas where you can place piles of clothing
- separate clothing into three categories: 1) love it & would wear it 2) not sure 3) this needs to go
- put #1 clothes back into your closet. take #3 clothes out of your room, put them into a box or bag and next to the door (or straight into your car). these clothes are being donated
- go through your #2 clothes, the “not sure” pile. try on every piece of clothing and see what you think. you’ll be putting some back in your closet and others will go to your donation pile
- if you are still stuck with some “not sure” items, sleep on it. but don’t put these clothes back in your closet. keep them someplace visible and go through them again in a day or two.
When I reflect on this experience, I’d say that it was the most productive and efficient spring cleaning that I’ve ever done. While I was overwhelmed to start the closet purge, when I finally got going it was simple and quick. I LOVE how my closet looks now vs. before. It’s a lot easier for me to find what I want to wear in the mornings.
Surprisingly, I’ve run into one hiccup post-closet purge. Remorse. Of all of the clothing that I donated, there’s ONE sweater that I miss. I attempted to wear it the other day and then realized that it was gone. I gave it away because it doesn’t fit me well (read: not flattering), BUT, there was just something about it that I liked. And it holds some sentimental value. I feel sad that it’s gone. Part of me wants to scream, “get a grip!” but then I remember why we have hoarding and cluttered homes. We DO get attached to stuff. To things. We all know that we shouldn’t, but we do. So what do we do when we find our self kinda sad that we gave an item away in the pursuit of minimalism?
For me, the following has helped:
- I pray for whoever wears my sweater next (& hopefully it’s more flattering on them than it ever was for me)
- I remind myself that even if I kept the sweater, it could get ruined (staining or in the wash) or lost
- I think: better to give it away now while it’s still in style than to keep it for many years and then no one wants it
- I remember that I can’t take material items with me when I die
- I smile when I think of a precious time when I was wearing the sweater and I’m thankful for the gift of memory
Thinking of cleaning out your closet? Go for it! Have reflections from doing a major closet purge? Please share. And for those pursuing a minimalist lifestyle, keep on keeping on. It IS a journey. But I’m so glad to be on this road.
Recently, I’ve become very interested in becoming a minimalist. Doing away with clutter and excess sounds great to me! What I’m finding so far is that becoming a minimalist is a process: one that takes time, perseverance and patience. In short, here’s what I’ve been learning so far.
1. Purging my wardrobe should be a monthly event until I feel happy with the amount of clothes I own. I tend to purge every 6-12 months and think that I’ve gotten rid of so much. Then I go and do the same thing 6-12 months later and feel the same way. This should not be. I think I may need to up the ante with wardrobe minimalism by limiting myself to a certain number of clothing items for each season (I live in a 4 season climate). I do stick to the rule of one item in = one item out.
2. I can’t expect others to share my interest in becoming a minimalist, at least not right away. I need to lead by example instead of harping on say hubby re: him having too much stuff.
3. Your best bet is prevention. People tend to feel good about purging. It’s not as “feel good” to deny yourself a purchase that you want. Reducing the amount of stuff that comes in your front doors in the first place is a critical step that can’t be missed.
4. Being a minimalist in regards to baby items will be an uphill battle. People love to buy stuff for your baby but rarely check first re: what you need vs. what you already have plenty of. I don’t know what to do about this. You don’t want to come across as ungrateful yet you also don’t need 50 stuffed animals for your 6 month old.
5. You may get rid of an item and think about it later wondering if you should have kept it. This is normal. It helps to remind yourself of why you got rid of it in the first place. And if someone else is enjoying it more than you ever did, cling to this reality and be glad.
Here’s to living more fully with less. It may be a process but I believe it will be worth the effort. If for nothing else, those who have to clean out my house after I’m gone will thank me then! 🙂
Here’s the write-up for “7” taken from Jen Hatmaker’s website:
American life can be excessive, to say the least. That’s what Jen Hatmaker had to admit after taking in hurricane victims who commented on the extravagance of her family’s upper middle class home. She once considered herself unmotivated by the lure of prosperity, but upon being called “rich” by an undeniably poor child, evidence to the contrary mounted, and a social experiment turned spiritual was born.
7 is the true story of how Jen (along with her husband and her children to varying degrees) took seven months, identified seven areas of excess, and made seven simple choices to fight back against the modern-day diseases of greed, materialism, and overindulgence.
Our church book club read “7” by Jen Hatmaker several months ago. Jen’s a fairly well known Christian speaker/blogger/writer and this was the first book of hers that I read. If you follow her blog, this book has a similar tone and style. The premise of “7” is that Jen sets out to simplify her life from excess by eliminating certain items per month (over 7 months) and she reflects on the challenges and shares her insights along the way.
Our book club was a little divided on reviews. Most really enjoyed the book and were personally challenged. One didn’t like the writing style and Jen’s gregarious personality. With that said, everyone appreciated Jen’s heart and humility. We all loved certain stories she shared re: giving up their brand new boots, giving away her purses, and an Easter service for the homeless, etc. All of the ladies at book club agreed that it would have been nice to read Jen’s thoughts and reflections a year after her experiment. Since this book was written while she was in the midst of eliminating an area of excess each month, we were curious what the long term changes for their family were. Overall, “7” was a worth while read that helps one to consider how much we waste, how much stuff we don’t really need, and how to better focus on what really matters.