Home Forums Unclutter Your Life in One Week Your story Uncluttering and minimalism

This topic contains 23 replies, has 15 voices, and was last updated by  Abeline 8 years, 10 months ago.

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  • #158202

    I never thought I’d be drawn to minimalism, but I started looking into it when I began the process of uncluttering. I don’t think anyone will ever call me a minimalist, but I’ve found that having less stuff has been really useful, and I’m thinking of going down the minimalist path a bit more–just to see what happens and to find out how sustainable it is. Does anybody else find the ideas behind minimalism useful or appealing? Has anyone taken minimalism too far and regretted it?

  • #160583

    EraserGirl
    Member

    Uncluttering and minimalism

    Do you scan the Shed Working and Tiny House blogs in simple envy? i am always amazed that people can get their possessions down that small. And i try everyday to remove some clutter from my life…hmm i think i will do some right now.

  • #160598

    zchristy
    Member

    Uncluttering and minimalism

    I love the idea of minimalism but within reason. To me, I love empty counters and organized drawers, but the idea of doing away with anything that isn’t practical will never be my style, There are a few things I keep around just because I love them.

    I have taken probably 30+ loads to the thrift store in the last 2 years I haven’t regretted one thing. Not ONE…blows my mind that there was that much of my life that was “out of sight out of mind”. My sweet Grandmother died last week and for a split second, I regretted taking this one angel she gave me to the thrift store several months ago. But then I remembered that I had some favourite, meaningful things and that angel was…well, with all due respect…made of a mop head and very ugly. 🙂

  • #160618

    RemixedDave
    Member

    Uncluttering and minimalism

    This website started me uncluttering, once I started I discovered I was having fun and really enjoying the freedom that less had. I read a bit of Zen Habits and it has given me an interesting insight.

    There is a good balance, I haven’t regretted anything yet but if something takes far too much effort to get rid of try and work out why. My item that I’m having difficulty removing is my old Sega Genesis console, it has huge sentimental value because it was my first videogame system. Yes it is a thing, but as long as it has a place and its tidy I can consider it uncluttered, just don’t allow yourself too many of these.

  • #160619

    Uncluttering and minimalism

    I believe in minimalism, but not asceticism. With minimalism, there is always the potential of doing away with too many things. Minimalism appeals to me precisely because it offers openness and peace of mind, but I realize that there are many objects which have their place in my home, if not for their utility, then for their sentimental value which I would not ever consider getting rid off just to see an open counter space. The challenge with minimalism, for me at least, is always trying to strike a balance between the useful and the useless. Something which I found very useful before obtaining the uncluttering/purging mindset was to affirm my faith in transience. There is no use in enjoying the benefits of minimalism if you are going to regret giving that one or other object away, you have to make a compromise and thus let go off one thing to achieve another.

  • #160639

    Sky
    Member

    Uncluttering and minimalism

    I love the clean, sleek, uncluttered minimalist rooms in magazines. Yes, EraserGirl, I do envy the tiny space people. I would love to live that way and only have what I need and truly love.

    As much as I have decluttered, there is still so much. Maybe I love too many things!

  • #160643

    Uncluttering and minimalism

    Erasergirl; I’d never heard of Shed Working before! I was happily skimming the Shed Working entries when I saw a link to their sister site, which is all about bookshelves. Mmmm, bookshelves!

    One thing about pictures of pretty shelves is that they all seem to have a museum-like, spacious quality about them–which makes me want to have an uncluttered space even more!

  • #160655

    Claycat
    Member

    Uncluttering and minimalism

    I enjoy reading Zen Habits, too, Dave. Also, Serene Journey! I think Sherri at Serene Journey had a link to Unclutterer, and that’s how I found my way here.

    I like the idea of minimalism, but I’m an artist, so it would be difficult. However, Georgia Okeefe had a very minimal existence in her later years. I saw photos of her house at Abiqui, and the rooms were almost monastic, but they looked so calm and peaceful!

  • #160657

    Uncluttering and minimalism

    Claycat, I adore Zen Habits! I hadn’t heard of Serene Journey before, though—OOooooOOoooh! I’ll have to go take a look…

  • #162117

    Uncluttering and minimalism

    I started my minimalist journey about 8 months to a year ago. It was after a long day at work (I’m an insurance agent) filled with complaints from various people. Some were obsessing over the jewelry they had listed on a policy (was it enough coverage? Too much? Should they insure the expensive silverware they were given? What about the artwork and fur coats?) I had had it. I was sick of the materialism, sick of the consumerism, sick of the greed. I said that I didn’t want to turn into one of these people who spent hours trying to figure out which of my items I wanted to insure. And since then, I have been minimalizing non-stop. I was always into having less things but things that I truly loved, and this just inspired it!

  • #162118

    bandicoot
    Member

    Uncluttering and minimalism

    i guess i am a minimalist, but i don’t like to suffer spartanly either.
    i like beautiful things as much as the next person…but i have trained myself not to bring them all home.
    if say, i need a new kettle, i’ll spend plenty of time finding a beautiful one that works properly, and then i’ll keep it for the rest of my life.
    i live out in the country so buying anything at all and dragging it home, is a huge chore that i really want to keep to a minimum.
    replacing stuff is wasted energy, in my opinion.
    i like to buy it once, buy the very best i can, and use it for ever.

    i had a look at the shed working blog : i not only work in a shed…i live in a shed too. we are shed freaks around here! our road is full of converted sheds now that i think about it!

    i love/live to travel, especially in asia.
    i am always inspired by how little “stuff” you will see in say, a traditional balinese home.
    i took photos last year in rajasthan inside people’s homes, away out in the desert here and there. extreme minimalists! yet, it was all beautiful and comfortable and practical. they had exactly what they needed to run their lives. everything was orderly, shiny, serene. the people were calm and happy. it was beautiful.

  • #162139

    nellieb
    Member

    Uncluttering and minimalism

    How interesting to read everyone’s comments. I, too, have been reducing my belongings. 251 items are gone from my life since December 16th and I have no regrets about any of them. As you said, out of sight, out of mind!

    After Hurricane Ike, I pledged to get rid of 20-25% of my stuff. I did it quite easily and the idea kept fermenting. In December, I realized I wanted to get rid of half of what I own. Most of what I plan to eliminate is not my style or taste at this time in my life. I also no longer enjoy having minature and small items. I want a room that is simply furnished with quality beautiful furniture…and not a whole lot of it! I love art and only want those pieces around me that give me joy! As much as I love books, I now keep very few (for me) because it’s just as easy to borrow from the library and then return them when I’m done.

    My whole perspective has changed as I’ve worked with adults whose parents have died. So many of them are tied to their parent’s possessions and have a difficult time letting go. I think that’s what pushed me to the belief that I want a more minimalistic lifestyle. When I die, I don’t want someone to come in and be overwhelmed by all the stuff that’s left!

    I also subscribe to Tiny Houses. I love the functionality of the way one item is used for multiple purposes.

    If you are interested in following my journey, as well as adding your comments and experiences, feel free to check my blog at http://drawerbydrawer.wordpress.com/. Had I known about the unclutterer forum, I probably would have started it here instead.

    Thanks to all of you for your belief in having less. Most of the people I know are unable to understand why I want to give away so much stuff!

  • #162140

    charmed2482
    Member

    Uncluttering and minimalism

    i never thought it would be drawn to minimalism either. i can’t remember what website i started on, i thin it was 43 things.com and i saw one of the goals was to unclutter or something like that and started reading people entries and that got me motivated. then someone linked to zen habits and unclutterer and it just went from there. i read every minimalism, uncluttering, and simple living blog i can(within reason when i have time and feel like, sometimes i just skim) and that further inspired me. i haven’t regret anything I’ve gotten rid of so far, and moving to a new city where i could only bring what would fit into my or my boyfriends car was a huge help. i keep getting rid of stuff and i still feel like i have to much, so i keep going, i figure i will just know when i need to stop. sometimes i get a point and think there isn’t anything else i could possibly get rid of and then a few weeks later realize i don’t need several more things.

    sometimes making sure my stuff gets a good home is really helpful, i hate to throw useful stuff away, which is why i love Freecycle. we have a pretty good freecycle group here with good moderators and so far i am only having a problem with one person not picking something up.

    this year i decided to try the 100 things challenge, i want to get my personal possessions down to 100 or less. this doesn’t include anything i share with my boyfriend, and i don’t think i am going to count books, or i will count them all as one thing since i still have a lot of those. i did get rid of a lot though and am only keeping the ones i really want to read that. but if i start a book and it seems boring and i can’t get into it, it goes on bookmooch and i move on to the next one.

    i would love to have a minimalist apartment, but my boyfriend has a lot of crap he’s holding onto. i don’t complain though b/c if he got rid of the stuff b/c of me he would just be unhappy. he usually get motivated when he sees me getting rid of stuff anyway. i just really wish he was more organized.

    but we did just get rid of the couch and coffee table so thats a step in the right direction. usually i just have to suggest something and give him time to digest it, and then eventually he’s on board with the idea. i mentioned meal planning and he said it would take to long, and then the next day when we were getting fast food, he said he was interested.

    ok enough of my long ranty post

  • #162160

    Bobbi
    Member

    Uncluttering and minimalism

    Is “minimalism” a means or an end? If it becomes the goal, then there are criteria that must be met, like rooms with nothing on the surfaces and lots of open space. If minimalism is the means, then we unclutterer forum members are reaching for the minimum that makes us happy.

    For me to be a died-in-the-wool minimalist I would have to get rid of my husband, cats, home business and hobbies. These are what make me happy and require a certain level of stuff. My challenge is to get down to the minimal level of stuff required for these important aspects of my life so I can enjoy them without having to be cumbered with the other unnecessary, unimportant stuff. I’m too far along in life to compete for some standard that doesn’t fit me. One of my questions is “How much is enough for me?” This is a better standard (differently defined for each of us) than trying to fit a one-size-fits-no-one ideal.

  • #162161

    opadit
    Member

    Uncluttering and minimalism

    It took more than one thing to get me to start de-cluttering my life, but a big one was having to help empty my grandmother’s house when we moved her to an assisted-living facility about 8 years ago.

    She had been a child of the depression and had started raising her kids during the Second World War (in Canada, where it started 2 years earlier than in the States), and her husband abandoned her and the 2 kids. So she kind of had a double-whammy, there, of keeping anything that might possibly be useful in the future, rather than throwing it out. We found a dozen empty, cleaned margarine tubs in the kitchen, for storing leftovers in.

    In addition, she was always afraid of forgetting things. So she kept decades’ worth of letters, canceled checks, utility statements, and so on. We found dozens of letters she’d received from “snowbird” friends who’d gone to Florida for the winter … in the 1970s and ’80s.

    She was very well organized. While there weren’t piles of old newspapers or trash lying around, she had absolutely filled every drawer, closet, and cabinet with stuff. It was really hard to move her out of the house, even though the house was small, because, first, there was so much stuff, and second, because she found it so painful to discard things. It took three trips up to the house to clean it out; we had to wait until she was moved into the assisted-living facility for the third trip, so that she couldn’t stop us from working.

    Long story short, when it’s time to move me into an assisted-living facility, I have two big concerns. First, I don’t want it to be that hard for me to get rid of things. If I get rid of things now, or even better simply fail to acquire too many things, then I don’t have to deal with it when I’m older and already feeling cranky about having to leave my home. Second, I don’t want to shift the cleaning-out burden onto my family. It’s a pain in the *ss; it’s inconvenient; it’s expensive (in time and money).

    One thing Grandma had kept was the ration books the government had issued to her for her children, my dad and my aunt, during the War. I kept them as family mementoes. I showed them to my parents a few weeks ago, and we had a giggle as to why she’d kept them — did she think she could re-use them in the next war?

  • #162164

    charmed2482
    Member

    Uncluttering and minimalism

    Minimalism can mean different things to different people, you don’t have to get rid of everything, it can be the same with just uncluttering, getting rid of excess so you can focus on the things you really love and enjoy. i don’t plan on getting rid of the bulk of my books till i read them b/c i already got rid of the ones i didn’t want or already read, and i have them on a bookshelf and they look neat so i am happy with that. i also have art supplied i am not parting with. so my hope is once i get rid of the things i don’t need or have an attachment to i will have more space for the things i do want to do, like using my art supplies.

    i do plan on organizing my boyfriends stuff, i would never force him to get rid of anything b/c i know that would just make him unhappy. i do try to ask him questions to make him question why he is keeping something and sometimes that helps him to let go of things and sometime i realize that thing just means to much to him and tell him not to let it go if it means that much. like he has these VHS tapes from when he was in band, he can’t watch them b/c we don’t have a VCR and i don’t know if we can get them transferred to DVD or if he would ever bother to do it if we could. he says they were expensive and he would really miss having them b/c he really enjoyed watching them so i told him not to worry about it b/c if he would miss it that much its worth keeping. he has a bunch of stuff on a bookshelf like that that never gets looked at and it just sits there. the main reason it bothers me b/c most of it is in piles and isn’t neatly organized, the computer and built in web cam face that bookshelf so that what people see when i am talking to them. i organized it once and he just messed it back up again b/c he leaves things in piles instead of putting them back where they belong.

    once i am done dealing with my stuff i am going to organize his stuff while he is at work, but i don’t make him get rid of anything he doesn’t want to. he keeps trying to get me to sell a monitor i am not using right now, but i know i am going to use it in the future and i am just not ready to part with it. it was expensive and works just fine. its a flat screen tv/monitor and has picture in picture and i want to hook it to my laptop and use it as a 2nd monitor like i did before i moved in here with him.

    i think i will be a lot happier once i get down to just the things i really love, like my books and art supplies, a minimal amount of clothes and a few pieces of jewelry i love. then i just need to keep surfaces clears(which we don’t have a lot of) and keep things in their place and i will be happy.

    i am at the stage now where i am giving things away on free cycle b/c i like to see them go to someone who really wants them, and also scanning things so i can get rid of as much paper as possible. i don’t even keep pay stubs except the last two and I’ve have yet to have a problem b/c i through something away. i keep a small binder with a few important things, like my birth certificate and car title and a few other things, but i scanned or just got rid of almost everything else.

    but there are no set rules for someone to call them self a minimalist. just by not having a couch or coffee table i am probably more minimal than most people, but we both agreed we wanted to get rid of it b/c it took up all the space in the living room and we barley had room to play the Wii, and one of us was always throwing stuff all over the couch.

    its more of a journey to me, i know at some point i might say ok, I’ve gotten rid of everything i don’t want so I’m done, but more than likely down the road i might change my mind and get rid of all my art supplies b/c i don’t feel like using them anymore. i also don’t plan on buying to many more books, once i read the one i have, i give them away, except for a few i like to read over again. to me that’s minimalism but it might not be to someone else.

  • #162165

    Uncluttering and minimalism

    I love this thread! I am in the process of getting down to the minimal amount that I feel comfortable living with. I won’t ever be able to do the “100 Things Challenge” because my CD collection alone wouldn’t allow that. And I don’t think I would be happy with just 100 things… However, I want to keep cutting down on the things I have so much of (bags, shoes, work clothes, etc.)

  • #162177

    charmed2482
    Member

    Uncluttering and minimalism

    you can make your own rules for the 100 thing challenge, i have way more than 100 books so i’m counting those all as one thing.

  • #162179

    Sky
    Member

    Uncluttering and minimalism

    opadit I’m with you, I don’t want to leave this world and leave a big mess for my family to deal with. I don’t want to be a minimalist, but I only want what I use and love. Clearing out the excess, paperwork, personal letters, etc. that only mean something to me. I prefer to dispose of them as I want to.

  • #162183

    nellieb
    Member

    Uncluttering and minimalism

    I love the idea of getting to 100 things I truly love and need…and as someone wrote, that would eliminate my cats, bird, and dog, and oh, yeah, my boyfriend! Oops! Guess I’ll have to have a higher number of items to keep!

    I have begun to donate more and more items to a wonderful charitable organization (WHAM) that resells items in their shop and then provides free groceries for anyone who comes in. I’m almost at the point where if an item is not worth at least $100, I would rather donate or give it away than spend the time listing and selling it.

    I’m dedicating time this weekend to donating or gifting furniture in my storage so I can continue the process of emptying it.

    Dusting is becoming much easier with less furniture and fewer collectible items!

  • #162198

    Abeline
    Member

    Uncluttering and minimalism

    I have always eagerly saved photos of Japanese-styled interiors and envied their emptiness and brightness. In reality, I don’t see a way to make that happen in my own home. Even pared down to my idea of minimal, I’d still have too much stuff to attain that look. It frustrates me.

    So far the closest I’ve gotten is to put bamboo place mats and an orchid on the dining room table.

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