The Maybe-Minimalism Project

For a long time I've thought about becoming a minimalist. Not a scary owning-50-things minimalist with a mattress, a laptop, and a fridge, sleeping with one sheet and eating a raw diet and having nothing in my life solely for the purpose of bringing beauty on the scene. I always thought of a minimalist as the creepy bald dude who wears only white and entertains himself by chanting and is so focused on simplicity and meditation and becoming one with the air that you can hardly hold a conversation with him.

Right. Not so much me.

In my efforts to pare down the embarrassingly huge amount of stuff in our belonging, I became drawn to blogs about organization, and later, minimalism.

The organization blogs never really cut it for me. There's only so much organizing you can do. My obvious problem was organization, yes, but my real problem was having too much to organize. As Flylady says, you can't organize clutter. And that's so true.

Having too much stuff is frustrating! Knowing I have something but can't find it, or not being able to use closets or entire rooms in my house because they are too packed full of stuff, tripping over things, not having any floor space.... It wears on you. There's the physical inconvenience, which is frustrating enough. But then there's the guilt. Guilt for having so much that isn't used. Guilt for wasting all that money. Guilt for repurchasing things because you cant find the original one you know you bought. Guilt over the CHAOS (Can't Have Anyone Over Syndrome) and the fun times you know you're missing. Wasted time, wasted money, wasted energy, wasted life.

That was me for years.

Moving to our current place and having to unpack each and every belonging was the fresh start I needed. Making countless tiny decisions to 'keep, sell or toss' made me feel like I was getting my (OUR) life on track, maybe for the first time ever. We've taken truckloads to donation centers and more belongings leave every couple of weeks.

It's like losing weight, or like coming out of hibernation.

We're moving again next month, and our sum total of possessions will be reduced even further.

We've trimmed so much that at this point that I can see - feel - the benefits. I keep wanting to trim more, and more and more and more.

Hence the consideration of minimalism. And I'm talking pragmatic minimalism, not radical minimalism. I'm married to a collector, after all, and there's only so much I could do away with without landing in divorce court crossing some boundaries. My stuff, however, is under review. Same goes for general house stuff, as long as I consult Brian before tossing.

Whenever I touch something or see something around the house, I wonder how easily I could do without it. Most of my paring down efforts are in the kitchen and in my wardrobe. Those are tough!!

Will I ever have a minimalist wardrobe with 30 clothing items to my names? No, probably not. But I certainly don't need everything I have - wardrobe and beyond.

It's time to change.

I'm going to be giving period updates here among the random whatnot on the blog. I invite you to join me on this journey if you're in the same place. You can do a search for the minimalism tag any time to find posts on this particular topic.

I'm excited! The idea of having less to pack is a nice one!

Up first, clothes. Oy.

(This post is a part of Company Girl Coffee. Click here to play along!)


  1. Congratulations on the new place, Ashley! It sounds great, and so much more convenient with the dogs.

    May I join you on your minimalist 9sort of) quest? I may be buying a condo as soon as late next spring, and feel a real burning desire to NOT move everything I have. The culling process has begun (the little area of the duplex basement that is mine is almost complete), but I need to keep on track, and accountability helps!

  2. Good luck with the move!

    I have been in a constant state of decluttering for awhile now. It feels so good to just let go of "Stuff". We are definitely not there. Home schooling lends itself to a lot of "clutter" by nature....but we are trying! Can't wait to hear about your progress.

  3. I am a purger, much to my husband's and children's chagrin. But it is so easy to get dependent on things that I think giving away what we have and do not need benefits others as well as ourselves.

  4. Have a good move! I know what you're talking about. We have old schoolwork...why? No idea. Need to get rid of that stuff. Thanks for the enthusiasm and inspiration.

  5. I empathize. We've been in a constant effort to declutter, in part after our own recent move and also in part to just stop having quite so many things to look after and take care of.

    It's harder than it looks to reduce the things you have, and that's not even imagining what it would be like to get down to 100 items.

    PS: Thanks for the laugh on the image of the creepy bald dude. Maybe I'll get there someday...!

    Casual Kitchen

  6. Oh yes, my soul longs for a more minimalist lifestyle. Really, just look at my linen closet. I have sheets that don't fit any of the beds we have......just in case of what??? Anyway, I'm trying to take bags to the donation centers much more often and it is very freeing to let stuff go.

    I look forward to your updates! Let us know how it goes!

  7. Moving is always a great time to pare down... we'll be doing the same in the next few weeks. We have a general rule of thumb that if it's not a seasonal item and it hasn't been used in the last 6 months, it need to go. Goodwill is about to LOVE us! :)

  8. Oh I am so with you on this...sometimes I wish I could move just to be forced to get rid of 'stuff'! I get so frustrated, on Sunday morning..when I am looking for a certain pair of shoes and can't find them..or maybe only find one...I end up just pitching everything..end up in a not so nice mood..plus when I get home from church I have the huge mess to clean up and put away! Good Grief!

  9. Good for you! This is so encouraging to me. I'm in the process of de-cluttering and minimalizing as we prepare to bring # 6 home in 8 short weeks(AAAAAAHH). I'm struggling to get it done. You've inspired me to keep on...

  10. I will be minimalizing toys this week!

    I'm bad about holding onto kitchen stuff.

    Man it feels good to declutter. It seems to free up space inside your head and your heart, not just your home.


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