Week Six: Endings & Beginnings

 

2014ccwk6 Is this the end or the beginning?

If you kept up with the tasks, a pat on the back to you. It’s hard to keep that momentum going right into February. Congratulations to everyone that just increased their home size without increasing their mortgage. It always feels good to make your home an easier place to live in.

Wrapping up the 2014 Clutter Cleanse with some resources for those of you soldiering on with more trips to the Salvation Army with a full car or anyone reevaluating a manic Monday to Friday schedule. My start with minimalism was a plan to get it all done in two weeks. Four months later I still had a pile of goods in my dining room waiting to find new homes. Slow and steady works but I find I need to keep decluttering on the brain to not let things slip away. One week you’re easily parting with that gorgeous dress you never wore and the next, you’re opening that email about the flash sale and with a few clicks you’re a bit poorer and wondering why you just bought summer sandals for everyone in your family when it’s a) winter and b) as far as you know everyone still has sandals from last summer.

Ideas for staying motivated past the Clutter Cleanse:

  • Find a decluttering buddy. One of the biggest factors in my early success with getting rid of thing is that I could check in with my sister who was also downsizing her stuff. Find someone with similar goals and make a pact to check in with each other for motivation and support. Your buddy need not be pursuing the same goals as you but merely be on some kind of  journey with a tangible result. Training for a couch to 5k, a home renovation project and quitting smoking all require the same methodical work and consistent effort to see improvement.
  • Keep the simple life on your mind. I found it really helpful to read a lot of blogs from other people that were downsizing their stuff. Look through the archives here and check out some of these wonderful blogs about simplicity and downsizing: Slow Your Home, Little Eco Footprints, Be More With Less, Smallish Blog, Miss Minimalist and the list goes on. Please add your favorites in the comments.
  • Let go of searching for that done feeling. It’s that mistake we so often make: I’ll be happy or feel good about _____ once I’ve _____. Embrace the process, get into making new consumer habits and enjoy where you’re at right now. There is no finish line.

Decluttering is mostly free if you don’t have to take anything to the dump. Often it’s a way to make money – hooray! So don’t think that you need to hire a professional organizer to make this work. An extra coffee and a few hours to get ‘er done works wonders.

resources

Of course, extra motivation and tools from books can be a great help too.

I’ve bought quite a few ebooks and Kindle books in the last three years on the topic of simplifying and minimalism. It’s been really helpful to me to read different perspectives, learn new tactics and stay inspired to aim for the simple life when the norm for most people is buying more and buying bigger. I’ve made back my investment in these books many times over in savings from not buying stuff or selling things I wasn’t using. So if you’re looking to turn the year into one big Clutter Cleanse think about investing in one of these helpers:

  • 30 Day Clutter Bootcamp by Tanja Hoagland. Very popular decluttering ebook that busts through every room in your house in 30 days. If you need to peel back another layer and can commit 20-30 minutes a day for the next month, this is a helpful system.
  • The No Brainer Wardrobe: love this book and I come back to it for a read when I’m thinking about expanding or streamlining my wardrobe. Excellent advice by Hayley Morgan for the fashion challenged, people that hate shopping for clothes (me!) and anyone wanting to build a capsule wardrobe.
  • Clutter Free with Kids: rave reviews for this just released book from Joshua Becker of the Becoming Minimalist blog. Change your thinking. Discover new habits. Free your home.
  • Simplicity Parenting: this is a book for over-scheduled and stressed out parents and kids. While there is guidance for decluttering for children, the focus is on the well-being of each family member and how to achieve harmony and connection by eliminating unnecessary distractions and stuff.

Finally, thank you to the new and not-so-new readers of this blog for sharing your victories and struggles in the comments, by email and on the Facebook page.

I continue to be inspired and challenged by the conversation here and it thrills me to see people connecting and helping each other. It can feel quite alienating to get on this band wagon and if you don’t have other like minded folk to look to for support in real life, it’s all too easy to give up. Thank you for encouraging others when you leave a comment or like a Facebook post or drop me a note letting me know you can finally park in the garage.

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Comments

  1. Alison says

    I have always been a minimalist so there was no defining moment for me, but I still loved this. Things creep in – that’s life – so it’s important to re-evaluate often. I think people should do this sort of thing every year. With four kids, stuff creeps in every day. I probably moved on about a car load of stuff, which is good for me because I didn’t have that much stuff to begin with. We have a huge, practically empty, rumpus room at the back of our house, we are now considering turning into two bedroom (via a partition wall – no extending) and giving everyone their own room.
    All due to less stuff! Yay :)

  2. Kaetlyn says

    Thank you so much for this series. I’ve followed along a bit and cleared out so much clutter and noise from our lives! My husband tells me that our house is getting bigger by the day, yet he hasn’t noticed anything missing.

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