Before discovering the concept of minimalism, I was an Organizer.
I had this theory that if there was ever a spot in the house that accumulated too much crap, then I needed to rethink how it was organized. This often meant buying baskets, containers, drawers, shelves, hooks, even furniture… whatever made sense to house the clutter and get it organized. When the pantry got out of control, I bought new storage. When I couldn’t fit all my clothes and shoes in the closet, I bought a clothing rack and (yet another) shoe organizer. When I neatly packed another box of stuff-we-aren’t-using-right-now-but-might-use-someday, I labeled it and down to the basement it went. And it kind of worked, I guess. But it was exhausting and incredibly time consuming and I found I could never, EVER keep up.
I complained to my husband that I was overwhelmed by our house. “This house is too big,” I said. “I just can’t keep up with the picking up! It’s all I ever do!” Then my eyes were opened by my closet purge, and one day, after carefully reorganizing the kids’ toys AGAIN, I turned to my husband and said,
“Oh my god. Husband. It’s not the house, it’s the STUFF.”*
Yes, it was the stuff. It was the never ending battle of picking up, organizing, and cleaning all this stuff that made me feel like was running in circles.
I teach High School Economics, and I was immediately reminded of a lesson I teach my kids on Opportunity Cost. Bottom Line: Every good is SCARCE… your time, your energy, your money… and every time you choose to spend these scarce resources of yours in one way, means you choose to NOT spend it in another way. All of this stuff cost me not just the actual price of the items, but it was costing me my TIME. I was choosing the stuff over the people and things that I love.
And so… if I spend less time and energy dealing with the STUFF, I would have more time and energy to play with my kids, laugh with my husband, read a book, or call a friend. It is that simple.
And that, my friends, is my minimalism. I’m choosing to get rid of the stuff that is not important to make time for the stuff that is.
Starting with my next post, I’ll be getting specific on the methods we have adopted in our house to simplify, and how this process is looking for us. We have a long way to go, and I’m hoping some of you will tackle some projects with me!
*I have since figured out that it is ALSO the house, but more on that in a later post!