I'm looking around my home office and I'm seeing a lot less stuff than there used to be. As weird as it sounds, it's refreshing to look around at blank spaces where there were once papers, too many knick-knacks, books, and who knows what else.
Face it, we get bogged down with all the stuff we have. I know I do, and I'm finally doing something about it, but I also know it's a process and takes time.
For me, the beginning came when I stumbled onto a podcast called The Minimalists. The hosts, Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, had it all before the age of 30. They had six figure incomes, luxury cars, big houses, etc. All of the material things that are "supposed" to make people happy, but these guys discovered that it wasn't all that it was built up to be.
So, they embarked on a minimalistic life. And, as they will attest, minimalism doesn't mean that you get rid of everything, but rather get rid of the excess that isn't necessary and make room for more experiences. They started with writing a book, starting a website, making a documentary (that will come out in May), and now their podcast.
As I read more about what they have done, it has inspired me to take action in my own life to get rid of the excess. At first, I just wanted to jump in and do everything at once, but then I took a deep breath and started making a list of what I really wanted to accomplish. Here are my starting points:
1. Each day I'm doing a 10-minute declutter. I set a timer for 10 minutes and then I go through a drawer and make quick decisions about whether it stays, gets given away, or goes to the garbage.
2. Once the time is up, I put the things back that I think might make the final cut.
3. In 30 days, I will start going back to where I started and do another cut. I know this one will be harder, but my question will be, "Have I used this item in 30 days?" If I haven't then it goes. If I have, then it stays. It's as easy as that.
The key to this though is to go through your stuff. Begin with you unless your entire family buys into the concept. I don't know how my adult kids would feel about me getting rid of their stuff, so as I come across their items I put them in boxes and will move them into storage. Then when they are ready, they can go through it themselves.
As for your spouse, if he/she is not ready, then don't force the issue. I know the only concern my husband has at this point in my process is whether or not he's going to make the cut (insert laughter here). In fact, he flat out told me last night as I did my decluttering session that he's worried he's going to end up in the get rid of pile in my zest to get rid of things. I keep reassuring him, but I don't think he believes me.
I'm a lover of life, an eternal optimist, and I have an intense desire to add value through simple living and positive vibes.