Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Minimalist Tag Questions! Living With Less

I've seem some interesting minimalist-related tag questions floating around Youtube, so I thought it would be fun to answer them as they apply to my life. If you've done them, please link up or leave them in a comment below - it's interesting to read others' answers who appreciate minimalism as well!

Minimalism Tag Questions
1. What drew you to minimalism?

I naturally feel overwhelmed by an excess of clutter, and can't stand the idea of not knowing what all you have or what's going on because there are so many layers upon layers of clutter. As a kid, I remember feeling comforted and inspired by hotel rooms, because they were clutter free, knick-knack free, and contained only the essentials. I always knew I wanted to live this way "when I grew up". It's also more than a physical state too....I have found that if physical, mental, and digital clutter is kept at a minimum, I feel more calm and in control.

2. How did you start the de-cluttering process?

The de-cluttering process started in my closet! Clothes are something that I've had a history of having too many of, and blindly/thoughtlessly consuming too much of, so I have to make the most conscious effort in my wardrobe to keep it at bay. I have taken de-cluttering one area at a time. I did my closet, my toiletries/makeup, my filing cabinet, my computer files, my photos, kids' toys/clothes (a CONSTANT struggle), and am about to take on my kitchen. I revisit areas one at a time to do any intermittent clearing out or cleaning up.

3. Have you ever counted all your things? If so, how many things do you own?

I don't have the patience or time to count all my things...but I do like to keep a count/inventory of what is in my wardrobe:
  • 35 regular clothings items as of now
  • 3 "fancy" bras
  • 2 sports bras
  • 10 pairs of undies,
  • 6 pairs of shoes (including running shoes and Chacos)
  • Probably just under 6 pieces of workout clothes (I've sold quite a few recently)
  • one set of PJs
I don't set a limit, necessarily, but I do like to track it so that if it starts growing I can think about when it is appropriate to scale back or get rid of "duplicates". As I move into the kitchen, I may actually do a full out inventory and count how many of each item I have. I think counting can work well when you are making decisions on what needs to be cut, and thinking about what you really do need.

4. What are your tips for dealing with the desire for more?

I have a few practical ways that I curb my desire to bring more things into my life:
  • One in, one out. If you bring something new in, you have to let something else go.
  • For clothes, I keep a wish list of things I think I'll be wanting or needing. I give it time, and wait until the need is more imminent.
  •  For makeup and consumables like food or toiletries, I try to follow the "one of each" philosophy. For example, I can get some new makeup, but only after I've used up the particular type of what I currently have, or got rid of it because it didn't work.
  • For home decor, instead of decorating with trinkets and knick knacks, I like to bring in fresh flowers, or make some sort of improvement to a fixture or painting. I do have a ton of built in open shelves all around my fireplace, so still thinking of what to do there....that's where perhaps a few decorative items may be necessary and inspiring.
  • Being on a budget in general makes me prioritize what I really want...having limited resources means that you have to make some hard decisions about what you can actually get. Better for your bank account, and better for a clutter-free home!

5. How do you deal with non-minimalists in your life?

I wouldn't say I have to "deal" with them, as they are free to live their life however makes them happy. I don't feel too compelled to force my ideals on my non-minimalist relatives or friends, unless they ask me about it. However, the biggest issue that could arise is people trying to give you their stuff. I realize that they are coming from a good place, but ultimately I still have to be surgical/analytical in how I decide what comes into my home, even if it's being offered from someone I care about. I can't be afraid to "hurt feelings." I deal with this scenario by thanking for the offer, but ONLY accepting an item if it truly is something I need in my house. I have lots of hand-me-downs in my home, but I have to admit that I've turned a lot of hand-me-downs down as well, and I'm okay with that. As it turns out, they were too!

Another thing that can arise is people giving your kids tons of stuff. This is not really a battle I fight, because I think it's important to let family be generous to the kids as they please (hey, the kids aren't necessarily minimalists, after all). However, during times like birthdays or Christmas, we do go through and donate our kids' old stuff to make room for the new stuff. I think the process is actually valuable to the kids, and can teach them a lot.

6. Do you have any guilty pleasures where minimalism doesn't apply?

There are always areas where I can get a tighter grip on my ability to practice minimalism in my life, but I wouldn't say any of those are "guilty pleasures". If anything, my husband is the one who has guilty pleasures of hoarding workout equipment. Ladies and gents....if you live with someone who isn't quite as minimalist as you, letting them have a designated space to keep their clutter (which is out of your sight) is a marriage-saver! My husband is lucky enough to have a man cave that I never go into, and that's his space to keep whatever he wants. Other than that, he's got the same mindset that I do for the rest of our belongings, and the rest of our life.

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