You learn a lot about what you own, and why you own it, when you are forced to live with two other people for two weeks in a 900 square foot space.
I shouldn’t be complaining, really, because that 900 square foot space came fully equipped with one bedroom, a small living area with a pull-out couch, a bathroom, and a full-size kitchen.
Oh, and it was in Maui.
Truth be told, we take this trip every two years and have always found it easy to navigate the space. We pack what we know we will need. And we buy groceries for exactly what we need in order to cook our own meals [almost] every night.
Our daughter sleeps on the pull-out couch and unpacks her clothes into the small drawers under the television stand. And Bob and I have a good-sized, six-drawer dresser with more room than we need for what we bring.
Having packed just enough, and having just enough space to move freely made me very happy.
It gave us the freedom to enjoy our time and easily make decisions.
Even the tough ones we had to make daily about where on the beautiful island we would plant our umbrella.
All joking aside, it gave me some pause to be reminded, yet again, how little I need to make myself happy. It actually happens every time I go on vacation for longer than a few days. So when I got home I started to wonder why I have a dresser and closet full of clothes, most of which I might never wear in a given year.
Of course, I do know why. I know that life is fluid. Things come in and if you don’t pay attention to what you really need or like, you will eventually have a dresser drawer of workout clothes that looks like this:
It is pretty messy. And stuffed.
Yes, I am a minimalist. And yes, clutter happens to me, too.
That is the thing about minimalism, it is not a prescribed way of living; it is self-described. You are the one who has to answer the questions and determine what it is you need, and how you want to feel in your space.
And you are the one with the solution conquer your clutter first by purging what isn’t essential. And then, moving forward, being deliberate to only let in what fits your space and your life.
Clearly, things got away from me. It happens to the best of us.
I wanted to get back to feeling happy about my space. And that is why when I came back from vacation, I did a nice little purge of my dresser drawers, letting go of what I haven’t worn, or was too worn. I questioned and decided. And created this nice pile of clothing to donate.
The questions I asked were beyond whether I liked, needed, or used an item. I asked myself questions like, “Would I buy it again today?” If it were the only thing I had to wear, would I feel good doing so?” And, “With limited room, would I choose this to bring on vacation?”
My goal in minimizing is simple: I want enough, but not too much. I don’t want to feel as stuffed as that drawer. I don’t want to be overwhelmed every time I have to find something to work out in.
Now the drawer feels manageable. I feel lighter and clear.
I have a very good sense of what I have, and importantly, that I have enough. And perhaps not surprising at all, nothing makes me feel happier.
Now, I want you to do the same thing.
Pick a drawer and empty it out. Then sort the contents by like-items and decide on whether you like, need, or use it. Does it still fit well? Would you buy it again today if you had to?
Put what can be purged in a pile to donate. You can even put it in a bag and store it in the basement for one month to see if you have a need for anything that is inside. Baby steps are still steps in the right direction.
Tell me how you did in the comments below!
And to see a quick video of me organizing what was left of my purge, click here.