The journey to Minimalism


Two years ago I thought we might be moving. I looked in my closets and could not imagine having time to pack all the STUFF, not to mention how we were going to move it all. Then I realized, a lot of the STUFF we didn't ever use. Did we really need it?

I'm a What If person. We might some day need 12 large quilts. I might need 6 wicker garden baskets next year. You get the picture. So I have a hard time letting go of things.

But, the thought of the time and expense of moving all our STUFF got me motivated. I went through all of our closets and took items we rarely used to the Goodwill. Some I tried selling on Craig's list, but living a ways out of town, being a busy homeschool mom, etc made it more time efficient to take items to Goodwill unless it was a high dollar item.

I wish I had a collage of pictures of all the bags of STUFF we gave away. I think I would be floored!

But we didn't move. We had a baby, added more stuff, rearranged rooms in the house and settled back down.

Meanwhile I started following the blog http://www.becomingminimalist.com and learned a lot about minimalism. I think my family thought I was going to throw out just about everything we owned. And I did think about it. I mean, do we really need 4 spatulas??

A year ago we decided we did need to move and put our house up for sale. Thanks to the awful real estate market, it's still for sale. Maybe next week we'll have a buyer!

To prepare, I went through the house again, getting rid of more STUFF that had come to the surface that we hadn't used in the last year. Some of it that I wasn't sure about I put in a box in the garage. If I found I needed the item, I went and got it out of the box. What was left in the box after about 6 weeks - set your own time period - I took to Goodwill or our local charity home, depending on the type of items.

After 6 months with no house buyer, we got serious. We hired an auction company to do a real estate auction of our home. It wasn't a distress sell, but a hard property sell. We have a large home on 30 acres 30 minutes out of town, and that's not what the average buyer is looking for. The auction was a way to get more interest generated.

So, if it sold in the auction, we would have 30 days to move out. In that time period we had already 2 trips planned and paid for. I had about 6 days free to pack the entire house and move it out to wherever we were going. I had to find that landing spot too in that same time period.

I decided I'd better get packing.

Meanwhile, I had also been selling extra farm supplies that we had laying around in the barn. Through this I had met a couple that had just moved and had boxes. This played right into my minimalism theme - I wouldn't have to buy something we would soon have to throw away and we could keep something from going to the land fill that could be used again. I hoarded their boxes! Then I slowly started to pack up our closets of out of season items that we wouldn't need in the next three months, china dishes, decorations, pictures, anything we could live without for the next little while. Our house was going to sell, right?

But it didn't! The only ones who showed up for the auction were people who just wanted to see what an auction was all about. How disappointing! And I was ready to move!! I had even found us an apartment that would let us rent it for a month at a time until we had more time to find us a more suitable home for a family of 7.

It's been 3 months, and you know, I haven't had to unpack very many of those boxes. I hadn't packed away our everyday items, but just things we didn't use very often or didn't need in the summertime - scarves, boots, plus decorations. I had neatly put the boxes back on the shelves of the closets and I've taken very few of them down to get something out of them. I am glad for detailed descriptions of the box's content that I had written on 2 sides of every box so I knew exactly where the items where that I needed.

Some of the boxes contain keepsakes that we would never get rid of - things from our wedding, photo books, baby books, etc.

But what about all those other boxes that sit in the closet, unopened, just waiting for whenever the moving truck comes? Should I keep them ready to move, unpack and de-clutter each box again, or take them all to the Goodwill?

2 comments

  1. Angela, first of all I'm sorry about your home not selling. :-( Hard to be understand sometimes... I think your place would be PERFECT for me! (But then I love living on land 30 minutes from the city!). Loved your post and wanted to say that about 6 months ago Andrea got me interested in the 333 Project (have you heard of that? you can google it) and WOW has it changed my life as far as clothes are concerned. I had the very best summer with just the necessities in my closet and drawers. Starting a new season now and I'm ready to get started on the BINS (and I do mean bins) of my fall/winter clothes. Basically this is it in the nutshell: 33 items of clothing for each of 3 seasons. Hard to do, easy to continue once started. I cannot believe how much it has simplified my life. Hugs to you all - COME SEE US AGAIN!!! - Dori -

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  2. I've heard of it! I'll look more into it. I do hate to get rid of my clothes bc even though I may not wear them, I do like them. A hurdle to get over!

    Our house will sell when it's meant to. We love it here, but with John working in Nashville most weeks, it gets hard doing it all yourself. And then he works himself to death when he is home.

    We would love to come again. Let us know when you are headed our way! :)

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