Thank you to Rachel Jonat from Minimalist Mom for this guest post. This is part one of three posts on minimalist living. Read post two. Stay tuned for more posts from Rachel and check out her site for even more great information.
When my son was 10 months old, when the shock of motherhood had worn off, I looked around my home and knew something had to change. Like a lot of unsuspecting parents, I had assumed that being off work with a new baby would be a time for both baby bonding and home organizing. I could never have imagined the joy of staring at a wrinkled newborn and the great number of hours I would spend breastfeeding in those early months.
Getting my closests in order wasn’t even on my radar with the exhaustion and elation of my new life as a mother. When my son was 10 months old I looked at our home, a modest 1100 square foot condo with very little storage, and decided something needed to change.
I had read a few articles on radical minimalists, people living with just 100 things. I was inspired. I knew we couldn’t reduce to a set number but could I clear my home of just what we used? Could I find some peace living with less?
Owning a lot of clothing, baby gadgets, books, DVDs and drawers of things we might need someday, was taking up my time and mental energy. I never felt that my house was in order or clean. The unfiled mail, the pile of unworn clothing from my son’s early months, the sewing machine I had used once in the last year, all of it was a weight on my days.
I started with my wardrobe. I had heard that most people wear 20% of their wardrobe 80% of the time. That was very true for me. I donated the 80% I didn’t wear and sold my wedding dress on Craigslist. My clean closets immediately brought an ease to getting dressed in the morning. I was on my way.
Are you feeling overwhelmed with clutter? Do you:
- have drawers of things you mean to organize but never get to
- can never find things when you need them
- feel like a lot of your day is spent picking up and putting away
After getting rid of over half of our possessions, including our car, I can tell you that living with less will give you more time. Living with less has allowed me to stay home with my young son. It’s given me clarity about our family values and helped us get our days in line with them. Health, happiness and connection are at the top of our lists. Recognizing that I was working long hours to buy more stuff, to have a bigger home, to buy a new car, was a game changer. Realizing that buying and owning a lot of things, things I didn’t use much, was not bringing me happiness, has been a catalyst for great change in many areas of my life.
In the next few posts I’ll explore both the nuts and bolts of embracing minimalism and the many benefits. No, you don’t have to give everything away to get the benefits of living with less. We still have a dining room table and a television and yes, even some DVDs. My son has toys. But we now have more time and space to enjoy being a family and pursue passion projects. You can too.
Melanie Mayo-Laakso is the Content Manager for Mothering.com. Mothering is the birthplace of natural family living and attachment parenting. We celebrate the experience of parenthood as worthy of one's best efforts and are at once fierce advocates for children and gentle supporters of parents.