The house was cluttered, my brain was cluttered, my life was cluttered. I struggled with depression and self loathing. I longed for answers. I knew the clutter that surrounded me affected my mood.
I tried decluttering for years. In 2008, I discovered a decluttering challenge: get rid of 2008 things in 2008. My husband, who was very supportive of decluttering, created a chart for me “2008 in 2008”.That’s when it started. The kids got on board and started getting rid of their stuff too so they could mark it off.
The end of the year came and I looked around…. Still SO MUCH STUFF.
So we did it again…. 2009 in 2009, and then 2010 and again in 2011.
And you know what? I am still working on it! Brian jokes about coming home from work and only finding a chair in the middle of the room…. but doesn’t that sound dreamy? Ha! I adore motel room simplicity!
We’ve limited everything in our house- from wardrobe to books to kitchen items.
Along the way, I started paying attention to my friends who “had it all together”. You know the ones – they seem to have time to do homework with their kids, volunteer in the PTA, and all the while, their home is always clean, the laundry is always done and there is never a dish in the sink.
What I started trying to learn from them, and I found that they have built in daily routines, that they have been doing for SO long, they don’t even realize they are doing them. (This is why, the same people don’t understand when others have a problem with clutter and daily household maintenance – they don’t even realize they are working at keeping their house clean!)
Embracing minimalism, for me, though it has been one of the best things I could possibly do for my mental and emotional health, and for my relationships with my family, wasn’t a magic happy pill.
I didn’t wake up one day and look at my beautiful clean home and never struggle with depression again, or have a conflict with my husband or children.
But it did make a huge difference and the entire process of learning how to develop cleaning routines, working through letting things go, realizing exactly how much I accomplished and that I was worthy of a nice home, has been one of the most helpful things I could do to combat depression.
My faith impacts my desire for a minimalistic lifestyle a great deal. Read about that here.
I don’t believe minimalism isn’t about a certain amount of belongings, it’s about being content with you as a person. That one can come to a place in their life where they don’t need “more” and we can spend our time impacting the lives of those around us, rather than caring for “things”.
People are the true things that matter.
Join me, let’s slow down and get to know our neighbors, our community, city and our world!
Need a place to start? Check out my Yearly Decluttering Challenge.