Minimizing things, Maximize experiences life brings
A Professional Organizer's road to making her lifestyle less cluttered and more fun.
I am currently in my third month of motherhood. It has been challenging and rewarding, at the same time. It has definitely put things into perspective for me, seeing the world through my daughter’s eyes, makes everything seem novel. It also makes me reconsider what things are really important and what values I want to instill for her in this big, new world.
Previously I have dabbled with the thought of minimalism and living minimalistically. I have read a couple books and watched a few documentaries. We currently live in a home that is over 2,000 square feet and every single room is filled with items. Some we use daily, others not so much. Sometimes I find it ironic that I sit and watch people on TV building and buying tiny homes all day, while I sit in our big house. I know this is more room than we need, but at the same time I have found a way to fill all the space we currently have.
Occasionally, I go through bouts of purging, as is my organizing nature. But the problem is that once I purge, I eventually find something to replace it with. I also am a sucker for deals and discounts, which in my opinion, is the mortal enemy of minimalism. Yes, in minimalism you can still buy and own things, but you think about quality over quantity. And you don’t get something just because it is a good deal (which is something I battle with daily, darn those promotional emails).
I decided that now is the best time to start practicing a minimalist lifestyle. With my maternity leave, we have to mind our budget more than usual. My husband and I hope to move in the future, so not only will this help the moving process (less stuff to take), but it will also aid in us getting a smaller home, which means a smaller mortgage. I would really prefer to spend our money on experiences versus material items. Whether that be art classes, new hobbies, or fun vacations.
I would like to invite you to come along on my journey. I know there are bound to be ups and downs. I know I will struggle to “get it right” and make it work specifically for our family. I don’t plan on becoming an extreme minimalist, but I do hope to fill our home with only functional items that we love. Maybe this will inspire you to experience more while having less too.
First Project: My clothes
I decided to tackle my clothing first. This seemed like an easy place for me to start as I am already reviewing my clothes postpartum. I really want to have pieces I love that go with everything and not feel overwhelmed when I enter my closet or open my dresser drawer. I pulled out the 2 totes that I put my pre-pregnancy clothes in and went through each piece. I am focusing on the style I want to have and making sure that the quality is up to par. I have several well-loved items that I think I should retire. Whether I feel I wore them too much or they have seen better days, some will be taken to resale, donation, and others tossed in the trash.
My current closet is a modest size and I plan on using what space I have and not keeping clothes in other storage spaces as much as possible (under the bed, in the basement etc.) I know this seems tricky since I live in the Midwest and that calls for all sorts of clothing based on the weather.
I am going to do my best to keep more of a capsule wardrobe that works throughout all the seasons when paired with layers. I hope this inspires you to get rid of that item in the back of your closet that you never wore, and let’s face it you probably never will.
I will also challenge myself to wear items that I really want to keep but haven’t worn lately or at all in the next 2 weeks. If I have not worn it by then, I will find it a new home with someone who will love it and take it out for a candlelight romantic dinner :P
7 pairs of jeans (yikes!)
3 pairs of jeans (light wash skinny, dark wash skinny, boyfriend jeans)
I definitely went through an emotional roller coaster while doing this downsize activity. It was tough to see how some items didn’t fit me the way they did before I was pregnant. I know I should give myself some more time to “get back to my size” as some people have said. But I don't want to keep items that still may not fit me in a year from now. (Full disclosure: I did keep several items that I would consider “too tight” knowing that I may continue to lose weight as time goes by and I become more active, like I was pre-pregnancy)
The hardest part for me was getting rid of things that I knew cost a lot of money, or seeing the volume of items I was getting rid of and seeing that as wasted cash. I kept reminding myself that those items all played a role in my life, but now that time is over. It is better for the item to get worn by someone else versus getting dusty in my closet because I repeatedly choose to wear other items in my closet. No one said this would be easy, right? I found a couple things useful when doing this project, check out my tips below!
Listen to an audiobook or find a youtube video about minimalism before or during your purge. This always gets me fired up and helps me keep only things I love and know I will use!
Check for stains, discoloration, and ripped seams on the items you plan to keep. Try not to fall into the trap of saying that you will get it fixed. Unless you have sewing skills and the time to repair it, do not keep a pile of clothes that needs to be repaired before you were them again. I promise you that it is not worth the clutter.
If you find an item you really love and you like the fit, but haven't worn it in awhile, grab your phone. Open up Pinterest and look up that item for outfit ideas.
“Diamond patterned pant outfits''
With what results pull up ask yourself several questions:
Do I see myself rocking this style?
Do I already have the other items in my closet to complete this look?
Are there multiple ways to style this item or does it just work one way?
Other things to consider:
Before diving in, I recommend taking a moment to reflect on what your ideal wardrobe would be. What would make you feel comfortable, chic, trendy etc.? Depending on the vibe you are going for. If you imagine that you would always dress super trendy, with bright colors but your wardrobe consists of blacks and grays, then it may be time to do an overhaul of your clothes. You do not have to do it all at once, but start finding items that speak to you and make you feel good about yourself and slowly swap a new piece out for an old one. And I am not saying that you have to want to dress super chic all the time either. If you prefer comfort and work from home and wanna rock comfy clothes, do that too. Make sure you find comfortable clothes that make you feel good about yourself and get rid of the tight, stuffy shirts in your closet you will never wear.
If you aren’t sure of what style you like, I suggest searching Pinterest and creating a board of outfits you like. They don’t have to fit into one category, but this will give you an idea of what your ideal closet would consist of.
Bracket and Bin Organizing