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Mimimalist Mamas

post #1 of 152
Thread Starter 

Minimalist Mamas take de-cluttering to the extreme! Chat about projects in progress, emotional detachment to stuff, our accomplishments and set-backs, helping people understand our lifestyle etc.

 

Welcome!

post #2 of 152

Well HELLLLLLLOOOOO to all the minimalists mama's!!!! I will start with how I came to be a minimalist.... ; )

 

I think it just comes naturally to me. I was never one to keep stuff. That was my Mom who did all the keeping. Even as a child, I loved to play with Barbie. My mom found one of those Barbie trunks that you can put the 2 dolls in and all their things. I was in HEAVEN!!!! I organized by outfit and shoes and Barbie only had what she needed. 

 

When I was 18, I moved out on my own. I only had the 1 bedroom at home but I wasn't interested in anything in my room. I collected some cat items, mostly figurines and I had around 50 books and maybe 2 bins of other "stuff". I donated it the animal shelter I was volunteering at for their annual yard sale. It was freeing to start completely fresh.

 

I joined the military a few years later. All of what I owned fit into a duffle bag, back pack and one other small bag and I loved it. This was pre-computer time, which would have saved me more space for photographs and paperwork I had to have with me. I could have scanned it all and fit it into my backpack. Still...I travelled lightly.

 

When I got married, we combined households and that is when I realized hubby was not a packrat, just very disorganized. It took me a complete 2 weeks of hard work to declutter, donate and organize what we had. Since then, I worked at geting down to less and less. I think in the 8 years of marriage, I have donated enough stuff to fill a 3 bedroom home, completely furnishes with all the bells and whistles.

 

Then came the story of my mother making me pick up the rest of my stuff and I (seceretly) donated all of it because she would have had a fit.

 

The now of it is- I am getting a divorce. I have my DS and myself to worry about. I just started a new job in a lovely place in Texas. We live in a 1 bedroom apartment that is around 600 square feet and I love it. I will post my list later of what we have, as I am working on this and tweaking it a bit. I am so free now. We can clean the entire apartment in less than an hour, we can find everything, it is organized and clutter free yet comfortable. I tried to create a zen like spa feel.

 

The best part is DS and I get a lot of fun time together when I am not working and he is not in school. He is starting to play sports and we spend a lot of time at parks and the library and finding free things to do. We also like to swim and go for long walks. it is great!!!!

 

We don't go without. Really- I have found that we have more than ever and it's the important stuff. The clarity is awesome as is the freedom.

post #3 of 152

I also feel that I'm a natural minimalist -- with no real interest in holding onto things. But, I come from a very object-oriented family, and while we would purge and organize regularly, i would also be shamed for "overdoing it" and often my mother, father, or sister would question every item I'd "trashed" (usually to donate), and then they might grab stuff out of there and 'reorganize" it for me so that I would have it 'just in case.'

 

When I went to university, I got everything into one box (it was a large box, but still), and I loved living so simply. My roommate was sure I was nuts, with how little I had, but i was happy.

 

My big opportunity came when we moved here to NZ. We got rid of basically everything. We have 25 boxes stored in the US -- I may have them shipped here later this year (should cost about $500). Those are mostly books, CDs, DVDs, souveniers from our travels, and shoes. Also some art and a chair. 

 

It feels good to live so minimally here. And, I already feel like I own *a lot* of stuff. So, before we move into our beach cottage, I'm doing another purge of this place and moving over those things that we need to move over. Get the keys today, so I've started taking over the suitcases that store our off-season stuff.

post #4 of 152

Are aspiring minimalists welcome?

post #5 of 152

I'm here!!

post #6 of 152

I think aspiring ones are also welcome. :D

post #7 of 152

Hello! I'd be an aspiring minimalist... DH and I both come from pack-ratty families and try very hard to keep our 2 br townhome as clutter-free as possible. His family immigrated about 10 years ago. I don't know if anyone else has experienced this, but sometimes immigrants can really hold on to things as a result of having to leave everything behind before. My family... I don't know what their excuse is! My mom is a collector but has recently started thinking about freeing herself from some of the stuff.

 

Now that DS came along we have been given sooooo much stuff... hand-me-downs, gifts, toys I played w as a child (yep ma still has 'em)...When I was pregnant I hardcore nested. I made three crib sheets for a child who hasn't slept in his crib for more than 15 minutes his whole life. Dang I spent $200 on a crib that's used as a storage place for extra pillows and a drying rack for diaper covers!

 

A few weeks ago I got a claustrophobic feeling sitting in my living room. I started taking photos of the stuff I don't need and am going to put them up on Facebook and Craigslist to see if I can get rid of them. Whatever's left after a month goes to the thrift shop. 

 

I really want to raise DS as a creative kid who's free from clutter and doesn't need a whole afternoon to clean up his toys. LVNTEXAS, I liked what you said about cleaning. I have fibromyalgia and it's hard for me to keep up with the house. I figure the less I have, the less I have to clean. For me the hardest things to get rid of are those that people gave me. Not because I have a big attachment but because they will be insulted if they come over and don't find those things here. With my parents they know how I am, but it's hard with my in-laws... they just don't understand!!

post #8 of 152

Aspiring or otherwise!!! : )

 

I like reading all your stories. I look foward to reading some more. : )

post #9 of 152

I'll join!  I'm semi natura/semi aspiring.  Can I be both?

 

I've always preferred to have space and everything organized just so.  When my friends were excited to trade up from twin beds to queens and kings, I was asking to get a twin bed instead so I'd have more floor space in my room (middle school hehe)  I prefer for everything to fit perfectly in a space and as a result, I've always had to let go of things so that fitting could happen.

 

However, I am a collector.  I am MUCH better now than I used to be, but I struggle with having just SOME of something.  As a teenager, I wanted to own every CD I MIGHT like just so I'd have them all and always be prepared with the right song.  That turned into DVDs and now it is toys for kiddo... I can't get her just a couple of her favorite animals, I want to get one of each in case her favorite changes or she wants to play zoo or something so she always has options (I love buying the Anamalz brand wooden animals hehe)

 

I'm pretty good now though and only 'collect' things for kiddo and there is so little she likes (books, blocks, animals, babies) that its easy to keep her toys minimal and really organized and in fact it all currently fits on one shelving unit aside from a few larger toys (trike, rocking horse)  I love shedding STUFF.  We will probably be moving at the end of the year into a place smaller than our current small home and I look forward to it.

 

I also find cleaning is so much easier and faster with fewer things.  It is less overwhelming too.  Even when things are picked up, having open empty spaces makes it seem even cleaner whereas every corner filled always feels like it is dirtier than it is.  I know for me personally, the more dirty the home feels, the harder it is for me to actually get up and clean it.  Living minimally means I clean more often on top of cleaning already being easier <3

 

It is really freeing having only what we need.  I feel it gives us more focus on things that truly matter, such as spending time with each other rather than with our things.

post #10 of 152
Hi there. smile.gif

I'll keep this super short as we only have a few minutes of computer access. Currently my family and I are traveling in the U.S. and essentially living out of our Civic. We're not homeless, just waiting for our house to sell so we can buy another. We'll be staying with my mom in Florida for a while and looking for a house in the mountains of Tennessee, but right now we're still just in the traveling phase. With two preschoolers, a cat, and hubby and myself in a small car, we have to be very minimalist... We do still have household stuff in storage back at our old house but we pared down a lot before the move.

The adventures of yesterday's drive consisted of out-running tornadoes - the same system I woke up to this morning featured on CNN because it killed 89 people in Missouri. Nice. There were tons of accidents and people crying and we saw three small tornadoes around us but we outdrove them. My heart goes out to the people that lost their homes or lives or loved ones. It's very sad but I'm grateful we are safe. We stayed overnight south of St. Louis and we're heading down towards Tennessee later today. smile.gif

I'll write more when we have access to Wifi again.
post #11 of 152

I'm a minimalist at heart...born to at least two generations of packrats!! My mom didn't SEEM to be a packrat for most of my growing up since they were missionaries and HAD to keep things to a minimum for ease of travel every year or two...but since they moved back to the US almost five years ago I am AMAZED at how much my parents have accumulated. We almost hate to go to the farm for a visit as it feels so claustrophobic!! 

 

I think I was a tiny bit of a packrat for my teen years, but managed to keep it from getting out of hand. After college I worked as a live-in nanny whose place was actually the above garage apartment my employers had lived in while building their custom home. It was a beautiful one bedroom (with just a bed and small cabinet in it) apartment with a small kitchen (with no real stove--just a hotplate and microwave and toaster oven)...but with a gorgeous main room with high ceilings and tiled floors and the only things in it were a couch, chair, coffee table, bar height table w/two stools, and the lightweight wooden bookshelf that served as an entertainment center. I added books to the bookshelves and to the deep windowsills and that was it. I loved having such an open space and loved to keep it all clear!! I think that was the real beginning to my desire for minimalism.

 

After nannying for a couple years I prepared to go to Romania as a non-conventional missionary (working with orphans, teaching English, and working with youth groups and summer camps). I did ship a small crate of stuff over (mostly ministry related or things I couldn't get hold of easily or cheaply there)...but it took almost five months for me to get it. Meanwhile I lived out of a duffle bag, a rolling carry-on bag, a big rolling briefcase, and a huge ugly purse!! I first lived in a furnished apartment and then had someone GIVE me a bed, table, chairs, and bookshelves when I moved to an unfurnished apartment. The only things I went out and bought were a CD player and a hot sandwich maker. Later after the crate arrived my roommate and I bought a TV and DVD player and my landlady provided a gas hotplate. The whole time we never had a washer, dryer, fridge, or microwave (and yet we DID have cable and internet...funny)...and we made it work!! This then was my epiphany about how little I really and truly needed!!

 

I moved back to the US in 2006 to get married. My husband found out after my cleaning up/clearing out of stuff that he much prefers a minimalist look to the house...yet I have the hardest time parting him from various sentimental trinkets, his Star Wars stuff (which has been in storage for most of our marriage yet he wants to keep it), his tools, and his clothes!! He is totally okay with my getting rid of and clearing out of most everything else though!! He is even the one who suggested selling our 50" TV, our Xbox360, and our DVD player...now that he has a snazzy iPad2 for us to watch Netflix on (we haven't had cable in over four years and haven't watched network television in two years...we just do Hulu, Netflix, and Redbox).

 

Anyway, we are constantly on a minimizing kick and seem to be continually working to get our belongings ever smaller. We moved from a 600sq.ft. apartment to our 1600sq.ft. house two years ago and love the open feel of the floorplan and lack of clutter....but our dream is to be a location independent, single car family with him having a job he LOVES and us living in a fifth wheel...spending more time with family (but in our own space) and traveling around visiting various parts of the country...and escaping the oppressive summers in Texas!!

 

Funny, as we drove back from a weekend away at a friend's wedding yesterday I mentioned some of the threads I've been reading here on minimalism and about keeping/not keeping sentimental stuff. I said I'd probably only want to keep my baby book and my college yearbooks (which would go into storage while we travel) and then get all my photos scanned and saved to two separate hard drives. He surprised me by saying he could get rid of all of his sentimental stuff except the letters his grandfather wrote back home when he was overseas during WWII!! Now that we are actually back home and in the process of clearing out our home office I will get to see just how serious he was!!

post #12 of 152

Ohh...Texan!!! Those letters sound great...maybe you could scan them and make a book for Father's Day for him!!! With a pic of him and his Grandpa. : )

post #13 of 152
Thread Starter 

So glad to see everyone here!

 

I am not a natural minimalist, though it comes naturally to me now. We were poor growing up so I didn't have a ton but I held on with all my might to the stuff I did get.

In my late teens/early adulthood I went crazy buying things. I had my son at 17 so I was independent pretty young, and when I finally had my own money I went crazy buying stuff. Mostly clothes/shoes/purses but also stuff for my son and things for my apartment. I couldn't believe I could go to the $1 store and come home with 30 things! I cringe at that thought now. lol.gif

 

After I got married the three of us moved to a HUGE nice house in the suburbs. It was the nicest place I'd ever lived and I couldn't believe it was my life. I continued to buy stuff, not even nice stuff cause we were broke, but I just felt the need to fill up this big house. I had my daughter and my husband worked two jobs, I was isolated and stressed and I think shopping was just all I could do. I look back at that time as such a hazy, weird time for me. I was totally lost.

Anyway, one day reading on this forum probably 5 years ago, I saw Delight's little apartment that is so popular. Something just clicked for me and I was like "what the heck am I doing?!". I realized that I was so trapped by all the stuff in my house. I realized what a huge negative effect it had on me to walk from room to room with piles everywhere and cabinets full and closets full in this big house in a neighborhood I hated, and it all just fell so out of line with who I am, or who I wanted to be. I started getting rid of stuff and immediately felt better. The more I ditched, the better I felt. We decided to move back into the city into a small apartment. It was closer to DH's work, closer to the school my son wanted to try, and it gave me the excuse to get rid of 90% of our stuff. We had a huge yard sale, gave tons away, and sadly took a bunch to the dump too.

 

It felt amazing! We were really happy in our little apartment for a year. Not having a yard was hard, and it was a bad neighborhood and our van almost got stolen twice so we decided to move again.

We moved further into town, into a bigger house again. My focus became clutter. I de-cluttered frequently. I didn't have unnecessary piles everywhere, and everything was organized. It was easy to maintain, except for the fact that it was big. There was an exterior storage room and a shed out back and I let things pile up in there. We ended up getting robbed there and I was shocked because it was such a nice little neighborhood. It scared me and I was ready to move again. lol

At the same time, my grandmother had a stroke and was going into a nursing home so we moved into her house to take care of it while she was in the home. That's where we live now. This house is smaller so we got rid of a lot when we moved here. Again, my focus has been de-cluttering and organizing. If something isn't clutter, and it has a 'home' and can easily be taken care of, I have felt like that was my ideal.

In the last couple months though something has clicked in me again and I'm realizing that minimalism is really what speaks to me more than having organized stuff. I love the idea of being an RV family but the rest of my family doesn't. :-) I thought about what it is about that lifestyle that appeals to me and aside from the traveling and seeing places and exploring, what appeals to me greatly is the simplicity and freedom that comes from having less. I decided I can at least have that part now!

 

I have gotten rid of all the shelves in the living room and bedroom. I got rid of all the extra tables and bookcases and everything that was held in/on them. I don't want stuff that requires something to hold it, and I don't want a surface that requires stuff to be on/in it. I don't want to have so many things that they need to be organized! I have pared down my clothes/shoes/accessories. I have purged the kitchen. The pantry. The closets and cabinets. This time not focusing on organization or clutter, but really getting down to the bare minimum.

 

I am loving it, it just feels right. I feel like my mind is clearer the more I get rid of. I feel like I have more time. I've still got more to do, but I'm loving the process. We have to leave this house in 6 months and I'm struggling with finding the right place. With three adults and 2 kids, there's only so small we can go.

 

Anyway, that's what my experience is. I'm happy to find people to talk to about this stuff because I just love it and I don't have people IRL who are interested. :)

post #14 of 152

I'm aspiring! I have packrat relatives, although I didn't realize it at the time because we moved around so much when I was a kid. We never had time to accumulate much, but once my mom settled down the stuff really piled up, and my grandmother lived alone in  a four bedroom house full of stuff for forty years.  I moved once a year (at least) during my twenties, and that was great. I could move everything in the back of my car - a box of books, a typewriter, a little folding foam futon bed, some clothes. Then I married a packrat who owned a home, and who inherited lots of his dad's junk when he passed away, I feel tied down with stuff now, and it's gotten  worse since we had our daughter, and people have given her so much. We've also bought some heavy furniture over the years.

 

We've moved a couple times in the last few years, so that's  helped. I've been consciously chipping away at it for six months now, and I really value the clear space. Sometimes I lay on the floor and just stare at the ceiling, thinking that's how I want the rest of the house to be. When we moved back into the house we are in now, before the moving truck arrived with our stuff, we had a couple weeks of just a bowl, a chair, a couple plates,  etc, and tons of space for cartwheels, dancing, and hanging out. It was great, but eventually I did miss the coziness of having a few more of our things. I'm just looking for a balance now. I don't want to get rid of everything, but I need to have space to  move around. Fortunately my daughter has started to be able to let go of her unused things after years of clinging to them, so that's great. I"m looking forward to hearing everyone's stories and where you all are on the continuum.....

post #15 of 152

I'm a minimalist from a family of (mostly) minimalists, but my husband and his family are all maximalists.  Our house is what you might expect as the result :(

 

I am having an especially hard time figuring out how to handle all the giftiness.  In my family we used to make deals on gifty holidays: I won't buy you anything if you don't buy me anything!  Or we'd give flowers or food or tickets or something else that wouldn't hang around collecting dust.

 

DH's family give gifts all the time for no reason - almost always stuff I don't want and wouldn't choose for myself.  I feel bad because I don't reciprocate (I WOH and do not have the time or energy to spend shopping for random gifts to give my ILs - not to mention I hate shopping) and at the same time I have a really hard time managing the influx of Stuff.  I don't feel I can possibly ask them not to give us gifts any more than I have already without being rude.

 

My DH has come over to my way of thinking a little bit over time, but he still is one of those people who just really loves a Deal, and will buy three or four of an item if it's a good deal, even if he really only needs one.  When I decide to buy something it is because I have thought about it a lot, I really need it, I have found exactly the thing I want, and at that point the cost is not a major factor.  (This is another reason the gift thing is so irksome to me - because the need to store and manage all this stuff I don't want actually prevents me from buying the few things I do want, because I would have no place to put them.  People who give me gifts I don't want or need are depriving me of things I do want/need!  But I can't tell them that!)

 

Isn't there a whole Decluttering forum somewhere around here?  Under the Mindful Home I think?  I don't really go there much but I would think you might get more traffic there than here.

post #16 of 152
Thread Starter 

There is, a bunch of us were posting over there and decided to make it a tribe. I think it's easier this way than starting all new threads for each new convo. :-)
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mambera View Post

I'm a minimalist from a family of (mostly) minimalists, but my husband and his family are all maximalists.  Our house is what you might expect as the result :(

 

I am having an especially hard time figuring out how to handle all the giftiness.  In my family we used to make deals on gifty holidays: I won't buy you anything if you don't buy me anything!  Or we'd give flowers or food or tickets or something else that wouldn't hang around collecting dust.

 

DH's family give gifts all the time for no reason - almost always stuff I don't want and wouldn't choose for myself.  I feel bad because I don't reciprocate (I WOH and do not have the time or energy to spend shopping for random gifts to give my ILs - not to mention I hate shopping) and at the same time I have a really hard time managing the influx of Stuff.  I don't feel I can possibly ask them not to give us gifts any more than I have already without being rude.

 

My DH has come over to my way of thinking a little bit over time, but he still is one of those people who just really loves a Deal, and will buy three or four of an item if it's a good deal, even if he really only needs one.  When I decide to buy something it is because I have thought about it a lot, I really need it, I have found exactly the thing I want, and at that point the cost is not a major factor.  (This is another reason the gift thing is so irksome to me - because the need to store and manage all this stuff I don't want actually prevents me from buying the few things I do want, because I would have no place to put them.  People who give me gifts I don't want or need are depriving me of things I do want/need!  But I can't tell them that!)

 

Isn't there a whole Decluttering forum somewhere around here?  Under the Mindful Home I think?  I don't really go there much but I would think you might get more traffic there than here.



 

post #17 of 152

Sounds like your DH's family's love language is objects. Look up the four love languages, and it will explain a lot.

 

I had to explain to my parents/family -- whose language is objects -- that I don't experience those objects as love, but as stress. AND *i* had to learn to buy them objects regularly because my gifts of experiences or consumables was *not* a gift to them (and therefore disappointed them, rather than demonstrated love). 

 

Took a lot for me to learn.

 

Because I now live in NZ, if I find something that I think my family will like, I pick it up and put it into a box. When the box is full, I wrap and label each item (we use recycled paper that DS colors on), and then pack it and ship it to them. So, they get boxes of gifts randomly. Most of the gifts also come with a little letter -- that I write at the time of purchase. 

post #18 of 152

So what have been the benefits of your minimal adventures so far?

 

1. More time with DS, less time cleaning. thumbsup.gif

2. I lost 15lbs already from eating healthier- time to focus on my health more. I also have been doing yoga for 2 weeks straight and doing more physical activity in general.

3. Refocused on my career and my Masters degree.

4. More money in the bank, less debt. bouncy.gif

5. No more panic when someone rings the doorbell. Sheepish.gif

post #19 of 152
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by LVNTEXAS View Post

So what have been the benefits of your minimal adventures so far?

 

1. More time with DS, less time cleaning. thumbsup.gif

2. I lost 15lbs already from eating healthier- time to focus on my health more. I also have been doing yoga for 2 weeks straight and doing more physical activity in general.

3. Refocused on my career and my Masters degree.

4. More money in the bank, less debt. bouncy.gif

5. No more panic when someone rings the doorbell. Sheepish.gif


Awesome!

 

I think the biggest benefit for me has been just a general sense of peace. The more money thing is nice too, though our budget is still tight and we spend more on 'experiences' rather than stuff so it hasn't made a huge difference yet.

 

post #20 of 152
Thread Starter 

Oh, and not dreading moving! I think packing will be pretty easy.

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