You did it! You purged your home of excess. You took the countless trips to Goodwill, wrestled with the things that were harder to let go of and convinced everyone else in your home this is a good idea.
There may still be some closets and drawers that need your attention or you may feel like you are ready to take a step further into simplifying your schedule or work but you are well on your way to living with less.
And it feels great! Take a moment and feel that sweet victory!
I remember a few weeks after I began purging, so much so my kids would cling to their lovies in fear, that I had that moment of satisfaction. About a third of my garage was piled with things we had decided no longer belonged in our home.
This wasn’t counting the broken or useless items we had trashed as we went through each room. Before deciding what would go straight to Goodwill and what would be saved for a yard sale, I asked my husband to come see this pile and his response was, “I don’t even know what’s there and don’t care!”
Realizing that purging our stuff and not even missing it was a huge a-ha moment for both of us. We began noticing little pockets of free time to spend with the kids.
There was a general peacefulness that settled into our lives and it came from having a neater home. One thing I did not miss was the “scramble to clean” that we’ve all done when last minute guests are stopping in.
After getting a taste of the peace and freedom that comes with owning less, one thing was sure; I did not want to go back to our old lifestyle.
So how can you stay a minimalist?
You did the hard work of purging, but staying minimalist requires a different kind of work to keep the clutter and accumulation of things at bay.
1. Create some daily routines now.
Some routines I highly recommend are going through your mail and kids school papers every day. Paper clutter adds up at an unbelievable rate and its one of those chores we tend to put off.
Having a nightly routine of tidying up can do wonders as well. Let everyone help to put shoes, toys, jackets, etc, away in their places before anyone goes to bed.
Another big one in our home is keeping the kitchen clean. This is more than a daily routine, but spending ten minutes after each meal, makes a huge difference to the feel of our home.
2. Think ahead for holidays and birthdays.
These are special times that can easily be overwhelming if you are not prepared.
Before kids birthdays, see what toys are ready to move on to create room for new ones. Afterwards, you can apply the one in, one out rule if there were a lot of gifts.
When relatives and friends ask, give them a wish list so items gifted will be ones you believe are right for you family. Also, be mindful of your own gift giving and set an example to others in how to give thoughtfully.
3. Be aware when shopping.
We’ve all giggled at the memes about Target, because we know they’re true. Many people struggle with bad shopping habits, whether it’s shopping as an emotional outlet or giving in to impulse buys at the grocery.
If you look to shopping to fill a void, know that and guard yourself. Begin to practice gratitude to help combat the desires to buy something to satisfy your soul. If you’re prone to impulse buys, make a list each trip and stick to it.
When it comes to shopping, much of it is about self-control.
I recommend taking some time to think about you and your family and making a game plan. Chances are, as you purged you realized the areas where you struggle.
If it’s hard to let go of items gifted to you because of who gave them, think through how to deal in the future. If the gifter means that much to you, make a point to gift one another experiences or time together.
If impulse buys are difficult for your spouse or when you’re shopping with your kids, make a plan and a budget for the occasional splurge.
There’s usually one member of the family who has that carefree personality we all love, but they lose everything and rarely think to put things away. Gently remind them and work with them to instill the habit of cleaning up when they’re finished.
In our family, I am that person and seeing the benefits of immediately cleaning up my projects has made me appreciate a life of minimalism even more.
As with many things in life, physical effort is only one part. Our mind plays an important role in maintaining a more simplified lifestyle. With some reflection, awareness and intentionality, we can continue to relish the peace and freedom that comes from owning less.
Photo credit: Ashley Schweitzer, Simple Mondays