The idea of minimalism has been percolating in me for a while. Then in October 2015 I took a trip to Amsterdam and Paris, and it was in Paris that it really took hold.
The BF and I stayed in apartments we’d rented through AirBnB, and the one we stayed in in Paris was particularly tiny. Despite its small size I thought to myself, I could live here! Well…if I got rid of most of my stuff. That thought stuck with me for the five days we stayed there as I cooked in the tiny kitchen, got ready in the tiny bathroom, and cleaned the whole place in, like, 5 minutes flat before heading off to see the city. I love my apartment which is a one bedroom, and quite large for me, but the idea of living in a smaller space with less stuff, and not having to spend so much time cleaning was intriguing. When I got home I had an overwhelming need to get rid of any unnecessary stuff in my apartment, and after I overcame my jet lag I immediately got to work creating a donate pile while recycling and trashing the rest. Did I actually think I was moving to Paris? No, sadly. But I wanted to lighten my life by getting rid of everything that was weighing me down or holding me back. I went through my whole apartment, every closet and cupboard, and got rid of what I didn’t want, didn’t use, didn’t need, or didn’t love. And hey, maybe one day I will pickup and move to Paris! A girl can dream.
I became a reverse hoarder
I got rid of a carload so full that BF couldn’t see out of the rear window. I felt weightless when we got back to my apartment which seemed cleaner and larger somehow. For a while I just sat on my couch and looked around, smiling. But by the next day I already felt like I needed to do more, and two days later I had started another donate pile, although a little more passively this time. As I went about my days I would add things to the box on the floor of my closet when I came upon them. Not quite the urgent purge I’d had that weekend.
A week after that first carload I realized I had completely forgotten to go through my two (two!) junk drawers, so I emptied those. If I couldn’t remember what was in them, and couldn’t remember the last time I went into them to get anything, then I didn’t need the stuff that was in there. I basically went through and without much thought got rid of all of the contents. I was officially a minimalism convert!
A work in progress
My first and second passthroughs weren’t perfect. I’m still in the process of getting rid of the excess in my home. I have quite a large pile of things to donate in my office right now, and I’m waiting until I think I’m done before I ask BF to help me haul it out of here. But I think to really get the job done I’m going to try the KonMari Method as discussed in The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. When I first read it I was interested, but since I had just spent a week going through everything I didn’t want to jump right into it immediately and get decluttering fatigue. I’m ready now, though, and I’m going to start with clothing this weekend. My general wardrobe is already pretty minimal, but I have a lot of workout gear, loungewear, and my sock/underwear drawer is way too full. This whole minimalism challenge I’ve placed on myself has really helped me to see what’s important to me, and it’s freed up time for me to do more of the things I love, like writing this blog for you!
Do you have any tips for someone transitioning to a minimalist lifestyle?