How do you want to feel?
This is the question that I started 2017 off with. Based on the teachings of Danielle LaPorte, I identified my 3 Core Desired Feelings of 2017 as Nourished. Clarity. Growth. In all that I do, I need to feel at least one of these feelings. Something that shocks many people about me is that I am a hardcore homebody and introvert. My batteries are recharged in the quiet. I am a chronic nester. And because of this, in order to feel how I want to feel, I need my home to feel in order. I am at peace when my environment is also at peace. Contrarily, when these areas are cluttered, often my mind is as well. The fridge, the cupboards and my car are all barometers of my mental health. When they are a disaster… I am a disaster.
Clutter makes me crazy. I feel scattered when things don’t have a place and unsettled with piles that need to be put away. I know what you’re thinking and I can assure you that the problem is not that I have too much time to organize my things or that I have nothing better to do, the problem is over consumption. Buying without a purpose. Buying a new top but not replacing the new with the old. Adding. Stuffing. Piling. Filling up the empty space just because we have it. Empty drawers and empty shelves bring me joy.
A few years ago I read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and I Kondo’d my life. And yes, it was magical. I still follow many of these principles to this day, to the best of my ability. One of the greatest points in that book for me was learning that the purpose is not to better organize, the purpose is to eliminate so that we don’t need to organize. Because of this, I have refused to buy more plastic totes. If I need another storage tote, I don’t need to organize my stuff, I need to eliminate stuff. For the record, I definitely over consumed in 2016 as I have way too much shit.
Fast forward to today. By now the gyms have emptied out as the majority have fallen off the resolution bandwagon. Do not fret, it happens to the best of us. Like most years, I started 2017 off with a cleanse. And no, not the diet/bowel/juicing cleanse, a much more healthy one. This cleanse is one for my mind, body and soul. This cleanse is tackling clutter. Like most things, it’s better with friends. For this month, along with a good friend, we are tackling the 30- Day Minimalism Game. We are keeping each other accountable and challenging each other on what stays and what goes. We are buying less and selling more. Most important, we are becoming very intentional with what we do. Because yes, minimalism is intentionality. However, our end goal is not to live as a minimalist, our goal is to be Minimalish.
I have defined Minimalish as being mindful in what we consume and how we spend our time. Being Minimalish is not living with the bare essentials but rather having a true inventory of what you do have and what you give up. I know I’m only half way through the challenge but I’ve come up with a few lists if you’re interested in Becoming Minimalish.
Disclaimer: The kiddos take up ALL the time and are largely responsible for ALL the stuff. I know this looks different for every house and every family. I know in most ways, this is very easy for me. I know this because my co-minimalisher is a full-time working mom of three young kids. We have learned so much from each other. Perspective is EVERYTHING. As always, this is a judgement free zone.
Minimizing Clutter: Adults and Kids
The thought of minimizing and de-cluttering can be very overwhelming. Here are 5 easy (and quick) examples to create momentum:
1. Delete emails instead of scrolling Facebook:
Road trips are a great time to get your Minimalish on. And while you’re deleting emails, unsubscribe to them as well. Not only will you clear out automated clutter, you won’t be tempted by the Lululemon weekly email of what’s new. Two birds.
2. Set the timer on the stove and GO:
This was one of the greatest tips from one of my super mom friends. She sets the timer on the stove for 20 minutes and does some speed cleaning. If her littles are home, they ‘play’ along and tidy up their toys. I do this when I lack motivation and I often choose a room, a closet, a bin or a drawer and I start. Once I have the momentum, I often keep going. That or the timer beeps and I call it quits.
3. Kitchen Utensils:
Open your kitchen utensil drawer and eliminate two items right now. Seriously. Go.
4. One for One:
I can guarantee that many of us are sitting in a house FULL of stuff. Therefore, for every new purchase you make, replace it for something you already have. New shirt? Get rid of a shirt. New book? Donate an already used book. New nail polish? Please toss that colour that you will wear someday *unused in 5 years.
5. The bottomless pit that is under the bathroom sink:
Turn on some Adele, roll into the deep (see what I did there?). But seriously, roll up the sleeves and get ready to garbage/ donate. If you have not used the sample lotion/soap/body wash/spa treatment yet, you are not going to use it. The someday ship has sailed. Not willing to part with the item? Then please run yourself a bath right now, drop in the bath bomb, put on the mask, soak your cuticles, exfoliate your body and relax. When you get out, dry off and lotion up. You’re welcome.
1. Is it possible to cancel party bags at birthday parties? I’m asking for a friend
2. McDonald’s Toys have a limited shelf life. It’s okay to toss it when the kids are in bed (assuming it isn’t tucked into bed with them). Kids love shiny and new, we all do. But let’s teach them to love what they have, to make the ordinary, extraordinary.
3. As an aunt to many kiddos, I promise to not bring your child little ‘gifts’ (junk) when I come to visit. You know I love them. I know I love them. They know I love them. How about instead I will offer to play with them with a toy they already have?
4. Art. This one is so hard as it is all SO special. I also know that you will drown in a sea of papers if you keep it all. I also don’t want your little Picasso’s heart to break if she sees you throw out what she felt was a masterpiece. Perhaps there is a way you can tuck them away for a few months at a time. Display the most recent. Put away the older pieces. And then, go through them with your little. Choose what you want to save, together. And before you toss the rest, snap a picture. Photos of treasures take up less space and you still get to look at them.
5. TOYS. So many households are drowning in toys and people like me are guilty for enabling the problem. I have started a practice (and will do this more consistently) of gifting experiences. Movie passes, gift cards towards a family friendly restaurant or perhaps you can gift a date night with the child (ice cream and mini golf). Experiences have a much longer shelf life than toys. In the era of instant gratification, trust me when I say relationships are everything. In the meantime, what the hell do you do with toy mountain? Donate it. My friends have shared how they have their kids choose toys to donate and I love this.
Five Tasks to Becoming Minimalish:
1. Take Back Your Mornings
I was a DISASTER in the morning. Literally. I believe that mornings at our house could be categorized as a Category 4 Hurricane. As Hurricane Lisa moved through each room in the house, the debris was astounding. That and the way I felt was rushed and scattered- not great for someone living with anxiety. To address this I decided to heed my advice I often give to others, I decided to set my alarm a half hour earlier in the morning. Since doing this I have slowed myself down. I have found stillness in the morning. I make time to write in my Desire Map Planner. I get up early to do this and I actually enjoy my coffee. This practice has shifted my entire day. No more do I leave the house in a fury with a trail of debris. For those of you who are sleep deprived, hitting snooze may be your version of taking back your mornings. I get it. We all have our own form of nourishment. You do you.
2. Do Less
Saying “No” has been freeing in so many ways. A part of my morning pages includes listing 3 things; 3 things that I will do today and anything after that is a bonus. This practice has blown my mind. It appears that I needed permission to do less and now I have it. Each morning I choose 3 things I want to accomplish and I set out to do that. My list of 20 followed by disappointment is no longer. And you, what are your 3 things for today?
3. Spend more
Say what!? Quality over quantity every single time. When we spend more, we buy less. I keep a wish list on my phone of my needs and my wants. This helps me with conscious consumption. Whether it is a book, a pair of jeans or a washing machine. It goes on the list and then I budget, I save and I watch for sales of that specific item. By doing this I avoid buying just because. The equation works out in my favour; by committing to quality, I may spend more, but I buy less and in turn, I spend less. Conscious Consumption.
4. Finish what you have started
Finish what you start otherwise you are dragging around dead weight. Currently, I have a personal embargo on all new books, new stationery and new online courses. I must use/ do/ read what I have before I make another purchase.
5. Do what you can. When you can.
Minimalish is not about adding another chore to your overflowing to do list. This is (hopefully) about changing how you live. How you go about doing it, is up to you. Find what works for you. Something that has always worked for me is keeping an empty bin or basket in my closet and adding clothes to it as I go. If I put something on and it doesn’t fit/ I don’t like it, I don’t hang it up, I put it in the donation bin. When I know I want to tackle clutter mountain over a weekend, I keep an empty tote in the spare bedroom, filling it up as I clean. If de-cluttering is something you really want to tackle, I highly recommend the book The Life- Changing Magic of Tidying Up. It is a process that does require a lot of time and energy. It is thorough and it works. Again, you do you and that is more than enough.
Becoming Minimalish is a process. It is a journey. There is no right or wrong way to do it. Hell, no one says you even have to do it. I wanted to share my process as this is something that makes me tick, it works for me and it is essential for feeling the way I want to feel. Whether you choose to tackle some clutter or join me on the quest of Becoming Minimalish, I want you to find a moment today, pause and ask yourself these two questions:
1. How do I want to feel?
2. What can I do to make me feel the way I want to feel?
Until next time, I will be VarageSale’ing my way into a more nourished, clear, and growth filled 2017.