It’s April! One of my favorite Spring months! The weather seems to be warmer. Flowers are blooming, and the trees are starting to bud. It’s a season of new growth and new beginnings. It’s the perfect month to focus on something that makes me feel SO GOOD inside: DECLUTTERING and SPRING CLEANING!
If you’ve known me for a very long time, you know that decluttering and cleaning is NOT something I’ve always been into. When I was younger, I probably could have sat in a hoarder’s home and not been bothered by the stuff all around, as long as it was clean-ish. I’d be bothered if there were bugs or if everything was actually dirty, but being just plain ol’ messy did not bother me in the least. Somewhere in my home, I have a photo of my dorm room from freshman year. In that photo, my side of the room looks like a bomb went off. My roommate’s side of the room was perfectly polished. It must have been torture for that poor girl to live in the same room with me! For the most part, I kept everything contained to my side… I think.
After getting married and creating a family, I starting to get an itch to go minimalist and to be more organized. When it was just me, my things were somewhat manageable. However, with each new person we added to the family, our stuff grew more out of hand. One morning I woke up and took a good look at the zoo I was living in. I could feel all those brightly colored toys taking over my soul. That was a moment of clarity. My family had way more things than we needed.
Truth be told, I was also inspired by a particularly awesome mom friend who was ruthless with purging her stuff. If she didn’t need it or want it, she had no qualms about tossing it. How liberating?! I used her as inspiration and started dabbling in getting rid of stuff here or there. At first it was hard to let go of things:
Maybe I’d need it later…
But it was a gift…
I spent a lot of money on that…
However, the more you throw out things you don’t want or need, the easier it becomes and the more you realize that you don’t need all that stuff.
Eventually my moment of affirmation came from selling our old home. Our real estate agent encouraged us to remove NEARLY EVERYTHING in our home to showcase the space appropriately. She asked us to remove all the toys. ALL THE TOYS, PEOPLE!! We have three children, and this lady wanted us to remove ALL THE TOYS.
So guess what we did?
We mostly removed all the toys. I kept whatever number of toys that reasonably fit into a small basket that I kept beside the sofa. Should we need to show the house, we could toss all the toys easily into the basket to clean up quickly to make our getaway. I made the children pick TWO stuffed animals each to keep in their beds. We made their beds EVERY SINGLE DAY and strategically placed those stuffed animals on their pillows. I kept a small selection of books and tried to display them simply.
And guess what happened?
The kids didn’t complain at all. They didn’t miss all the stuff. And I loved how big our house looked and felt. Turns out without all the clutter, the house felt spacious, light, and airy. Of course, it didn’t look like children lived there, but boy was it tidy.
That experience validated minimalism for me. To be clear, I don’t think I could actually keep up with that sort of extreme minimalism forever for a number of reasons. However, the experience taught me that clearly my family can live (dare I say thrive?) with less stuff!
So this month I’m setting aside time to go through my house and belongings. I want to channel my friend I mentioned above, and get rid of things that we don’t want as well as things we no longer need. Clutter can be mentally taxing. Getting rid of things we don’t need can be like lifting a weight from our shoulders. I’m ready to prune our belongings and lighten up our lives a little! 😊