A few “things” keep me from being a minimalist, and it’s not just my curtains or my junk drawer. I’ve been so inspired by minimalists over the years like Joshua, Bea, and Francine. I’ve poured over minimalist homes and have been so encouraged and inspired by stories of minimalists. I’ve even gone through our own things and made some hard choices to let go of the excess.
Yet, we’re still not minimalists. I even cringe a little when people call me that, lest they see our closets and cupboards and judge us for some not-so-minimalist choices. So here I am, caring about simplifying, sometimes even struggling through it, but never quite measuring up to minimalism. Perhaps you can relate.
I still think people like you and me have a place in the simplifying journey… even if minimalism doesn’t describe us or isn’t our end goal. That doesn’t count us out. For me, the term simple offers a little more of the grace and flexibility I’m aiming for. Sure, simple could be Joshua’s, Bea’s, and Francine’s minimalist homes. It can also look like Myquillyn’s cozy minimalism or Maxwell’s collection of apartments or even our own messy and imperfect family-friendly space.
We’re not typical minimalists, and don’t really plan to be. It’s easy to blame American Consumerism, the kids, or a non-minimalist spouse on my not being a minimalist after all these years. The truth, though, is that it’s myself keeping me from being a minimalist. Here’s a few reasons why.
Have you been feeling the need for simple? I have. It doesn’t matter how much we simplify, eventually life gets away from us and clutter shows up all throughout our home. It’s the papers I “hid” and forgot about on top of the fridge when we had company. It’s the clothes the kids have grown out of and the clothes they’re growing into, that are all mixed at this point. It’s the toys that we didn’t get rid of before Christmas and their birthdays.
I used to be discouraged by this ongoing process of simplifying. I thought this recurring clutter meant I was doing it all wrong. I’m learning that’s not always the case. Sometimes that clutter simply means we got busy and careless and it’s about that time to get intentional again, to get things back to how they should be. The pleasant surprise is that the more we do this, the more we maintain and return to these simplifying routines, the easier they get.
The first cycle or two sorting through and simplifying our belongings was quite a challenging process (mostly because of my emotional attachment). But once that initial hard work is done, these seasonal upkeep routines can be done much quicker and often more easily. As I get ready to do my yearly Spring Simplifying, I’m sharing more about it in this post, and would love for you to join me.
I longed for a simple home, but didn’t see an end to the clutter. I wanted to believe that a simple, welcoming home was possible for me. Then, sometimes more than that, I wanted to give up. I wanted to call it quits on that dream and assume beautiful, simple homes were reserved for people with bigger budgets, better style, or less attachment to things.
In last week’s post, Why Your Home Isn’t Simple Yet, I shared some hard facts I had to face in order to find the simple home I longed for. Those truths were a little bit focused on theory, so today I’m going a little deeper in the very practical ways I was able to finally simplify our home. read more…
My #1 mistake in simplifying was thinking it would or should be easy. It all started shortly after getting married.
We lived in a tiny 2-bedroom apartment that really wasn’t big enough to even have two bedrooms. Our “furniture” included: A free sofa we found on the curb after our rainy wedding weekend that needed dried out, aired out, and Febreezed out; an air mattress borrowed from my cousin; and a rather rickety $20 book shelf we bought new at Target.
Looking back that probably should have been the simplest we’ve ever had our home. Yet, it wasn’t. I was overwhelmed by excess stuff that filled that excess bedroom. None of it valuable enough to sell or really improve our situation in any way. It was all tokens and mementos from life already lived. College papers, trinkets and notes, clothes and shoes in high school styles we’d never wear again.
We spent our date nights at Barnes and Noble (and still do), where I’d pine over pictures I saw in Real Simple magazine. I wanted everything to be organized. I wanted a simply decorated space. I wanted to feel calm and welcome in my own home. That seemed simple, even easy, enough.
So then, when it wasn’t easy.. when I found myself struggling with letting go of stuff… when I got overwhelmed by the little details of a too full closet, then I thought I must have it wrong. It was all too much. The flood of memories when I’d try to address the things in that spare bedroom was debilitating. “It was supposed to be easy!”
I’m Trina, the girl behind Simplifying Home. You can learn more about me and my simplifying journey here. Enter your name and email below to keep in touch. And use #SimplifyingHome for your simplifying photos and posts on social media. Look forward to encouraging each other toward simple!