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Old 02-18-2013, 09:05 AM   #1
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What Has Minimalism Done For You?

Would love to hear some stories on what minimalism has done for your life! Like how it's made you feel, what changes you've noticed in your family, what letting go has allowed you to pursue, stuff like that.

I'll be back in awhile to share some thoughts in awhile.

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Old 02-18-2013, 06:25 PM   #2
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I can share so many examples. It's streamlined so many areas of my life. I hate washing dishes by hand, it takes longer and it dried my hand out. I also don't prefer to wash plastic dishes in the dishwasher. So... Easiest solution is to get rid of all the plastic dishes so I just don't have to worry about either choice. Now, my girls are young but use real flatware instead of plastic. Instead of spending time washing plastic after a meal, I use time before the meal to reach my kids to be responsible with real, breakable plates. They are responsible, mature kids. Now I can trust them at a friends house, or to help in the kitchen, or eat at a nice restaurant without being afraid they'll break real plates because theyve never used them before. They learn value for objects and appreciate them. All because I don't want to wash plastic. It's a win/win.
There's also far less crying when there are fewer clothes to pick from. I've learned to let go of the guilt that comes with wanting to dress my kids cute all the time. If I'm tired of washing a certain item of clothing for whatever reason, I get rid of it. The kids will barely notice. And it's not like I'm taking away a chance for them to be happy. They'll be just as happy the next morning when they still get to pick a shirt they want. They are taught to respect their clothes, because they don't have that many to start with, and we won't be replacing it if it gets lost or stained. I'm also not afraid to let then play outside or do crafts in their clothes because none of them are 'to cute' or expensive. Don't get me wrong, I do try to get them cleaned but I've freed myself from stressing over it.
I also realized that now I get to go shopping for myself more often for clothes AND enjoy them more. I can either buy more expensive clothes for myself because I'm not buying as much. Or I can buy something a tag cheaper knowing it will wear out because I wear it so often. I have one pair of jeans. I know it will probably last six months, because I wear them six days a week, then i can buy a new pair. If I had five pairs, I'd wear each one 1/5 as much so they'd last five times longer, and if I didn't like them I'd have to keep them for years before they wore out. My closet is actually calming to walk into. The floor is completely bare other than one dresser. All the clothes are hanging freely and not cramped. I smile each morning when I get dressed. I can dress in the dark because in my uncluttered closet, I put my pajamas in the same place each morning and can find them at night easily and quickly.
I've changed my mindset. If I leave something slightly undone, I am now compelled to complete it. If I toss shopping bags in the closet then swing the door closed, I can't take more than one step before I think 'how does this save me time?' And I go back, hang up the bags and close the door fully. Next time I go for the shopping bags, I thank myself for putting them away.

I really do feel calmer in almost all aspects of my life when I am conscientiously living. I actually do feel sometimes that my work is done when I look at an uncluttered room. I can vacuum a room without moving anything. My kids play more creatively and collaboratively when I strip their environment of distractions and toys, and just have wide open spaces and rooms. The bonus room becomes the grocery store. The guest room becomes the day care. They run up and down the hall playing in rooms and sitting on spare beds and under the coffee tables, which they couldn't do before because of the clutter. Now they play freely in any room without me worrying.
I enjoy the light and airy feeling of my rooms rather than feeling cramped. When I open windows, light and breeze seem to penetrate farther. I can put the baby on the floor and not worry that anything can fall on her or that there's no room to walk around her.

In short, its freeing and amazing.
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Old 02-18-2013, 08:24 PM   #3
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Well said, Elizabeth!

I am not quite there, but hope to be soon. For me, minimalism has made my home livable. I can host play dates and cook meals with ease now. My kids have almost no stress getting ready for school in the morning because my laundry system is now functional! I have realized that I don't want/need this much space and now have a house that I'll be able to sell.
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Old 02-19-2013, 03:06 AM   #4
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Re: What Has Minimalism Done For You?

I don't stress as much when the kids make messes because I know I can clean it up fairly easily.
I like the open feeling of the rooms, something that I am finding happening now, after decluttering a lot of the smaller things, I have empty shelves and cupboards, dressers etc so have been able to get rid of a lot of the bulky, heavy items of furniture and it makes the rooms feel so much bigger and brighter.
I find myself buying better quality items, quality rather than quantity.
I am getting a lot more household projects completed, we just replaced the carpet in a bedroom and it is so much nicer and should have been done a long time ago, somehow didn't make it a priority before now.
I like cleaning a lot more than I used to, one of my big problems was spending so much time moving stuff before I could clean, I was worn out by the time it got to the scrubbing part. Now it's easy to clean and I seem to notice the dirt more, then clean it so it's cleaner all over.
I don't have so much guilt anymore, I had a lot of piles of things, piles of fabric that 'one day I will make clothes with", a bunch of half finished stuff that just made me feel inadequate everytime I looked at it, very freeing to just let it go.
Less time looking for things, know where everything is etc, etc
I still have a way to go but have come a long way, now the house is mostly under control I feel like I can start to tackle other things, number one priority - weight and diet/health.
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Old 02-19-2013, 03:09 AM   #5
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Re: What Has Minimalism Done For You?

It's knowing where everything is because everything has a home now. It empowers children to help with household chores because they are not overwhelming, they know where everything goes. It's less to pick up. It's a walk to the bathroom in the middle of the night without running into or tripping over anything. It's picking up/cleaning the whole house in 30 mins every night. It's just more breathable.

I also agree that is better room for my kids to play. The more toys we get rid of the longer they play and the more they play with toys in general.

It's just having things around that you love! All the rest, the piles, things that aren't used and loved are gone to free up space and mind. I have been working on it for almost a year and feel sooooo much better already.
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Old 02-19-2013, 07:04 AM   #6
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Re: What Has Minimalism Done For You?

Quote:
Originally Posted by clothlover8 View Post
I don't have so much guilt anymore, I had a lot of piles of things, piles of fabric that 'one day I will make clothes with", a bunch of half finished stuff that just made me feel inadequate everytime I looked at it, very freeing to just let it go.
Minimalism has given me much, but this has been the most freeing! I have passed along a lot of fabric, all my jewelry making supplies, and many books that I intended to read. Looking at those items (which I never used) always made me feel insufficient, like I was failing to get the crafts done or read the right books. I've just begun considering parting ways with my knitting materials which I nearly never use since having all these children. Maybe this is the week
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Old 02-19-2013, 08:34 AM   #7
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Re: What Has Minimalism Done For You?

I don't have so much guilt anymore, I had a lot of piles of things, piles of fabric that 'one day I will make clothes with", a bunch of half finished stuff that just made me feel inadequate everytime I looked at it, very freeing to just let it go.

Very nice!! I love this! I could use it in some areas I'm not quite ready to deal with yet, like fabric and crafts.

For my kids, they are much more receptive to helping pick up toys. I reduced their toys by at least half, then put half of what was left away to bring out later. I got all the toys out of the living room (okay, except the legos) and I can clean the whole place after a long weekend of play in less than 10 minutes. I culled the books down to about 2 feet on a bookshelf. They used to take up about 6 feet at one point. We are getting good mileage out of some really good books.

All the kids' clothes fit into one dresser now. Perhaps my 5yo is growing up, or perhaps she's less overwhelmed with choices, but she willingly picks out her clothes and dresses herself now. And she has cute stuff, dresses, sweaters, etc. Just less of them overall.



In the kitchen, I find myself digging stuff out of the dishwasher all the time instead of just fishing another one out of the drawer or cupboard. I kinda like it that way. My DH doesn't leave stuff on the counter for me to put away because he doesn't know where it goes. I'm not saving stuff to have on hand when something wears out. I do still have food and toiletry stockpiles, but they are reasonably sized and contained well.

It's just a more user friendly, calmer house. I look forward to making a "second pass" through now that I've mostly completed the first round of major minimizing.
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Old 02-22-2013, 08:35 PM   #8
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Re: What Has Minimalism Done For You?

I'm glad you asked this question. Here are a few thoughts.

Minimalism has really helped me to live. I feel like I have time, energy, and space in my home and my life for what matters to me and my family. I'm not embarrassed to have someone drop by. I can clean up the whole place in thirty minutes. I keep up on dishes because I put most of them in a box (this is huge for us). I know where things are. My closets aren't stuffed full, so I can easily access everything. I no longer dread cleaning, because "cleaning" now means an hour once a week (or at least once a month, lol) scrubbing the shower, toilet, sinks, and wiping counters; not moving everything around, and just spending hours being overwhelmed.

I feel more emotionally healthy because I don't have undue connection to things. I'm focusing on people, and relationships. I'm breaking unhealthy thought patterns of feeling like I have to keep something or accept a gift because someone gave it to me. I feel like I'm loving myself more and taking better care of me.

I like feeling "caught up" because I handle things immediately so they don't clutter up. I now love being in my home. I love the openness and "white space". I love the feeling of lightness I get by owning my stuff, and not being owned by my possessions. I don't dread getting dressed because I know everything fits and I don't have to dig through for what I want. I love the feeling that my life is more simple, more manageable, and my home is becoming a refuge from the chaos of the world; not an extension of it.

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Old 03-01-2013, 05:17 AM   #9
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I forgot to add this, but funny story. As I was typing this post the other day, DH asked what I was doing. I responded that I was posting a response on a minimalist forum. 'awful hypocritical of you, isn't that?' He said.

What? Come again? I'm sorry, what else do you think we should get rid of?

Comments like that discourage me that maybe it's not a minimalist as I thought. But otoh maybe that means he still thinks we have too much and won't mind getting rid of more.
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Old 03-01-2013, 07:50 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by elizabeth.scalf View Post
I forgot to add this, but funny story. As I was typing this post the other day, DH asked what I was doing. I responded that I was posting a response on a minimalist forum. 'awful hypocritical of you, isn't that?' He said.

What? Come again? I'm sorry, what else do you think we should get rid of?

Comments like that discourage me that maybe it's not a minimalist as I thought. But otoh maybe that means he still thinks we have too much and won't mind getting rid of more.
Kick him in the butt for reals. He doesn't seem too nice. Are y'all real young? My DH was at his not smartest when he was 27-30. Haha

I think you are plenty minimal.

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