I was an only child with a father who spent most of my early years homeless! Until I was 13 I spent most of my life living with my single mom, who when not working tirelessly as a dental assistant loved to live life adventurously out of the box. Early on I realized you really do not need much to be happy.
Some of my best memories as a teenager were when my dad after being witnessed to in jail, gave his life to the Lord and started his life over with a cardboard box as a table with a mattress on the floor. I started living with my dad about this time and we literally had NOTHING- just boxes and old foldable chairs and a table, 2 mattresses in the same room side by side and a few of the bare necessities for clothing. So many of my memories of those days were so humble, pure and happy. We sat and talked, played games at the table and just enjoyed each other. No TV, no money to go anywhere but everything we needed in one another.
The excess, extravagance and waste of today makes me sick, and I am 100% guilty. A Minimalist lifestyle is what I crave and will someday create in my own life post kids, yet the reality of that with 6 very adventurous and athletic kids with lots of equipment, gear and tools requires me to take a lot of deep breaths and accept the process.
In the long journey to minimalism with a large family I have learned to accept the process while loving every opportunity to incorporate “min hacks” into our home from the excess of many things to the essential
My first things I have to say I am learning to do more of is my 3 step process to avoid decision fatigue and LET IT GO:
- Examine- how does my life really benefit, what will I feel if this is gone; if there is no loss- gone it goes.
- Extract- To remove or take out that part of the whole that does or does not support, serve or satisfy. It does not mean all things go, but that which can be extracted without leaving a void can GO. I know I can be one that goes on a frenzy and removes everything in sight only to I swear the next week after holding on for so long finally lets it go and then the need arises and I wonder why I threw it out?!. I think, “Did I manifest this?” …..O’h my the mind games we play… for goodness gracious throw that junk out. So to avoid this I try in the moment to extract the meaning of why something could be so worth holding onto – if it’s just the cost to replace then maybe it is gone, I will realize when I go to buy that I really don’t need it and wont buy it anyways!
- Enjoy- If it stays I better enjoy it or else someone else needs to enjoy it more than me.
These are just some of the ways to begin the process to minimalism to maximize your life. I truly believe we all are happier with less stuff and more special moments with each other. The search of a feeling or defining an identity from stuff only leads to a deeper void, shallow feelings and loss of identity. If you can be exactly who you are without anything to make you feel happy you have finally discovered true happiness. SO clean out those closets, clear the clutter, cut out the noise and trust me friend you will think, breath and be much happier because of it! More “stuff” steals your joy, more time for things that matter reproduces joy!
My top 5
- No more kids toys- memories/experiences last a lifetime, plastic fills up a landfill.
- No individually pre-packed food snacks etc, it doesnt fuel a child it “fixes” the feed. Teach kids to eat for sustainability rather than SNACKING!
- Take in a new -get rid of an old- clothing, kitchen, shoes, etc. Be ready to let something go to receive something new.
- Keep it classic and basic- sheets, towels, clothes, – don’t buy into the trendy styles. Create your clean space without the busyness of someone else’s branding!
- Touch something ONCE. Dont’ pick something up to just put it down, to later need to pick it up again and put it somewhere else. If you have it in your hand be done with it when you put it where it belongs!