I just finished “The Joy of Less” by Francine Jay and wanted to recommend it to anyone flirting with the idea of minimalist living or simplifying. She does a great job of breaking it down and truly defining it.
Initially, I know, it sounds like this great self sacrifice. Like living a life of denial. It isn’t. Minimalism, and living simple is about freedom, space and time. It is about having only what I really want … and not constantly tripping over and stacking what I don’t.
It struck me, as I was reading the book yesterday that what I really want is to feel like I am living in a nice hotel. (not the tiny cheap dirty places… much more high end). The small space is decorated to be inviting. Not only is it clean from dirt, but there isn’t a spot of clutter or stuff in sight. It is a place where friends could stop over anytime without embarrassment, kids can always find a place to work or play, and a place that is easy to go to sleep in and wake up to. … if only I could figure out the daily housekeeping and the breakfasts 🙂
The key to minimalist living is not organization or more color coated totes. It is really simplifying. It works on the 80/20 principle that says that you really only use 20% of your stuff 80% of the time…. Which means, most of it could be gone and you wouldn’t even notice.
We have been minimizing for several months now. It has been a process. I first went through stuff last winter and pulled out lots to get rid of. Since then I have gone through stuff several more times and gotten rid of more. We moved beginning of May and got rid of lots. Since May we have gotten rid of more stuff at least once, and now I am going through everything again to see what we can cut back before winter so we can park the car in the garage. I wanted to emphasis this. It is too hard emotionally to get rid of everything right away, but get rid of a little first. That bit gone feels so good and it is easier to look for more to get rid of. Each time there is less to go through and it is easier to notice if you have actually used it. Each time gets easier and more fun. Each time there is less mess, less hassle and more space.
I truly think everyone would benefit from being a minimalist. That said, everyone has a different definition of what enough stuff is. I talk about us and what we are doing as an example, but to someone else it might be entirely different. The point is, know what you have, only keep what you need and love in your house and your schedule, and create your life around it. Stuff can take over your life with maintaining, cleaning and paying for it. Schedules can run your life. That sucks… don’t let it happen… fight back (and read Francine Jays book for breakdowns and steps, she says it better than I)