I used to be the complete opposite of a minimalist. I had a thousand different outfits, twenty pairs of shoes, sixteen bottles of lotion, and a hundred different pairs of earrings. I had so many random “things” that I never used that just gathered dust on shelves. I used to be a very messy person and never could get anything in working order. My teenage bedroom was always covered in clothes and shoes and sixteen waters bottles all over the dresser. CHAOS! I used to joke and call it “art.”
Shortly after I got married, I starting becoming quite OCD about my “stuff.” Everything from kitchen towels to bobby pins, started to drive me insane if it didn’t have a specific place and purpose. Order is a wonderful and important part of keeping a household free from chaos. So I decided to embark upon a minimalist journey to rid my house of unneeded possessions so we could B R E A T H E easier. Having more possessions does not bring happiness it brings more chaos and the need to go and get more, more, MORE.
This is so true spiritually speaking too. When I get so much “junk” in my heart it puts a wedge between God and I. I cant get closer to God when there is a mess in the way just like I cant function when there is chaos in my home.
Why do we need so much “stuff?”
Personally, I think that we try to fill a void inside with the possessions we obtain. We think that they will bring long lasting happiness. I used to be obsessed with buying new things and having the greatest and latest. Then one day I stopped and this verse came to mind:
“Matthew 6:19-21 “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
This verse really woke me up to the fact that our “stuff” is just that.. “stuff.” We wont take it with us when we go to Heaven so we need not stress about how much or how little we have of it. With that being said, it isn’t bad to have earthy possessions. God most certainly blesses us with possessions. The problem is when we get so obsessed with the items and we only want more for ourselves. Obtaining possessions can easily become a god in our life. So many times I have wanted a certain item so bad that I could hardly stand it. When I would purchase the item it would be great for a few days until the new wore off, then I was back to wanting something more and something new. Possessions do not bring eternal happiness. They are great while they last, but we always come back wanting more.The wonderful thing is, JESUS brings eternal happiness. When our treasure is in loving and serving HIM we never leave wanting more, but we leave completely full.
With that being said, here are my top five tips for having a minimalist household.
MY TOP 5 TIPS FOR HAVING A MINIMALIST HOUSEHOLD:
1. Monthly Clean-out:
About once a month I go through each room in my house and take inventory of everything we own. I make sure I haven’t hoarded any unnecessary items such as papers, old beauty products, food items, etc. This not only keeps your home orderly, it also helps you see where you’re wasting items and throwing away money. If you consistently see that you’re buying a certain food item for example, and never using it then you’re less likely to buy it again and waste your hard earned money. I also go through all of our clothing and make sure if I have any items that I haven’t worn in several months then they either are given to someone or taken to Goodwill. When it comes to my baby girls clothing, I neatly put the clothes she has outgrown into a storage bin just in case they are needed in the future for other children. This quick and easy task keeps your home free from unnecessary clutter!
2. Have A Place For Everything:
This sounds really self explanatory, but let me further explain my point. Christmas is coming up and you and I both will most likely receive some sort of gift(s) from our loved ones. Whether it be a new Christmas ornament or a new kitchen utensil, you will have to find a place to store it when you get home. A good rule of thumb is to know exactly where those items will go when you bring them home. If you’re already really organized you most likely do know where you will store the said item. For example, I have a designated Christmas box in my closet where I keep all of our ornaments, decorations, and other Christmas items. I am not constantly searching for a place to stuff the new ornament because I already have a designated box for it. Minimalism is also a wonderful tool when you’re looking for a specific item and you can go straight to its designated box or drawer and KNOW that it will be there waiting for you. It is super easy to store another kitchen utensil in the already overflowing drawer or to store another book onto your shelf and then one day wake up and it has completely gotten out of hand. If this is the case I would suggest downsizing. That brings me to my next point!
Every time I hear the word downsizing it instantly makes me feel like I am about to be fired! LOL The good thing for me is that my job as a wife & Mom is 24/7. Two words. JOB SECURITY. On a more serious note, it is time to downsize if you are drowning in your stuff! This tip goes right along with the other two. Instead of making a new place for something you really don’t need, I suggest taking one room at a time and downsizing. Recently, I went through all my kitchen drawers and decided I had way too many kitchen spoons. Literally, I had 100 different kitchen spoons and I was using MAYBE 3 regularly. So, I got rid of a bunch of them and decided to put a few of the newer ones away in storage for a rainy day. Next, I conquered the bathroom storage area. I probably had around four, almost full body sprays that I have used maybe once in the past year. Those went bye, bye along with several other miscellaneous beauty products that my family hasn’t used in over a year. Why do we keep unnecessarily items just sitting around? I ask myself this question often. I don’t have a strict number of items we keep on hand in our house. Some die hard minimalists only have around 100 items total in their home, and I don’t really think that is practical when you have children, but thats just my opinion. I like to keep my items to a minimum and use the few items I have until they are completely worn out. If they can be fixed that is wonderful, but if not it is time to purchase new items. I have decided that we simply do not three hundred Tupperware storage bowls and sixteen of the same serving spoon. We need several to use often and to take care of and really it keeps everything at a minimum. Simplicity is a beautiful thing!
This one has always been a tough one for me. I LOVE clothing. The new fad today is to build a capsule wardrobe where you only have a few items in your closet, and then you mix and match to create many different outfits. I do not have a capsule wardrobe, but I also like to keep my clothing at a minimum..sort of.. I keep my closet at a minimum by not hanging onto items for longer than I should. If I haven’t worn it in a few months, I either sell it or give it away. After having a baby, I naturally wanted to hang onto those size four items that my hips will never allow. EVER. AGAIN. So off they went to my wonderful Sister-in-love, and it gave me an excuse to buy a few more cute items for my wardrobe, as if we need an excuse to shop! So, I keep several pieces of each type of clothing (jeans, shirts, sweaters, etc.) on hand and wear them until they cannot be worn anymore and it keeps my closet uncluttered!
5. JUNK ROOM/OFFICE/WHATEVER YOUR FAMILY CALLS IT:
Last but not least, I wanted to touch on the dreaded “junk room,” office, spare bedroom, etc. We ALL have that one area or designated room for the odds and ends of life to accumulate in. Our spare bedroom is an office/craft room. I feel like this one extra space or room is the easiest to get really messy really quick so I decided to do some cleaning out. Thankfully, my husband is really organized and tidy. We have several storage containers that contain our bills and important documents and it keeps them off of his desk and out of the way. As for the craft stuff it is still a work in progress, and I am pretty sure it always will be something I have to consistently work on. If your spare room is junked up I suggest dumping everything out on the floor and starting from the ground up. Dollar tree has really cute storage bins that you can use to put your small items in like yarn, buttons, etc. We even use old shoe boxes in our house to put birthday cards, love notes, and memorabilia in and then we store those neatly in the closet. I have several craft machines that I have to store as well and those fit perfectly in the closet along with all my husbands office supplies. When we cleaned out the office we obviously found a lot of items that needed to be tossed and/or donated to Goodwill. I can breathe so much better now when we walk into the dreaded junk room, and I hope this encourages you to clean out your junk in your junk room!
I definitely do not know everything about being a minimalist! I am learning more everyday! Hopefully these few tips will help you jump start your house clean-out. I hope you enjoyed this post, and I hope it encourages you to work towards having a minimalist household! Please check back for more minimalist household tips and tricks!