You may have already recognized this fact, but in case you haven’t, I’ll just put my cards on the table. I’ve lost a little momentum on my Minimal Challenge. I’ve managed to find something in my life to minimize just about every day, which has turned into a fascinating journey (in my mind). But, in terms of actual material goods, well … I guess I’ve been slacking.
I am, however, attempting to expand my mind and learn from the journeys of like-minded minimalists (see sidebar at right). Then, my good friend–who totally gets me and knew exactly what I needed–shared her copy of Gretchen Rubin’s book, The Happiness Project.
Naturally, I’ve only made it through one chapter so far (because that’s how I roll), so I cannot give you a thorough book review just yet. But after the first chapter, I can tell you I am inspired all over again. It’s not that she’s done anything drastically different from what I have … we share the same approach toward minimalism–cleaning out closets and organizing shelves. But as she shared the liberating freedom that she felt after accomplishing her goals, I was reminded of that pure, unadulterated euphoria I, too, felt a few months ago when I first tackled my own closets.
Suddenly, I found myself restless. I could not keep reading. I bookmarked her journey and returned to mine. I wandered into our bedroom to assess the clothing situation again.
Ohmygosh … I can’t believe I haven’t mentioned this earlier … ever since I started protesting the laundry around here, my husband (bless his heart), has taken on the monumental task of addressing our “laundry situation.” I can’t even tell you the stress this has relieved in my day. The clothes are always clean. The kids always have something to wear. We can always find matching socks. And I am not breaking my back schlepping laundry baskets up and down the stairs any more. Neither is he, technically, since he moved all of the kids’ clothes into the empty armoire in our bedroom … so now all of the clothes belong in one room of the house, thus minimizing the headache of putting the clean clothes away. My husband is a mastermind of streamlining tasks to make them
less invasive to his golf schedule more time efficient. I have to give him that. I also happily give him more time on the golf course, because I know that when he gets home, he’s going to wash-dry-fold (WDF) another load of laundry. I call this a win-win.
Meanwhile, back to my obsessive-compulsive need to minimize something in order to produce the euphoric high of purging the chaos in my life. So, I wandered into our bedroom and realized I haven’t really accumulated anything since my last cleanse, and right now I’m operating at a pretty bare minimum. I have some ratty old sweatshirts I could toss, but I’m currently wearing one of them, and haven’t found a good replacement yet …
I was so excited I could hardly hide it. I found a plastic garbage bag, turned on the dance music, and ravaged that closet.
My kids are always a bit hesitant at first–But my auntie gave me that shirt. Or … I want to save that for when I have a baby. Really? It doesn’t take me long to convince them that we’re giving these clothes away to some other kids who really need them.
But, I have to be careful, because before I know it, my kids are throwing everything into the bag in the spirit of helping others. Even the new shoes we just bought–and which happen to be the only shoes that currently fit them.
I managed to slow them down only long enough to discover this treasure. The “Sassy” shirt I bought my daughter before she could read. And which seemed like a perfect fit. Then, her nanny (you know who you are) told her what it said one day, and really hurt her feelings. I guess some things are best left un-said. Or at least un-read (aloud).
Nobody should have to wear something that makes them feel badly about themselves. So, we tossed it. (And had a little pep-talk to restore her self-confidence–which I’m still not sure was actually damaged.)
We made so much progress in the armoire that we moved on to the shoe basket and the hallway coat closet. There was just no stopping us. We were liberating ourselves of useless junk taking up space in our every day lives … slowing us down when getting ready in the morning, frustrating us by trying to force our feet into shoes that don’t fit, and making us claustrophobic when we get our heads stuck in a shrunken shirt.
In the end, we managed to clear out three bags of too-small clothes, shoes, boots, and coats. And, somewhere along the way, we found some happiness. (But that could have been the dance tunes beating in the background.)