5 Reasons Why I Want to be a Minimalist

A few weeks ago I had this sudden urge to declutter. Not in a I-need-to-tidy-up way, I did need to tidy, but this was different. I felt this urge to make a change. To get rid of my stuff. A lot of it. And to become that person who was no longer weighed down by her stuff. It stemmed from a conversation from a fellow Mom of two, whose second was born around the same time as mine. She talked about how when you are sitting in a chair breastfeeding (which can take 8 hours or more a day) you look around your house (which, for both of us, was filled with toddler AND baby mess) and you hate everything. HATE EVERYTHING.

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I want my house to be clean and uncluttered.

So I decided to start clearing things out, in a dramatic fashion. I went though a drawer and ruthlessly got rid of things. Then, an hour later, I went through it again, and got rid of more. A week later, I got rid of even more from that same spot. A month after this urge began, I discovered The Minimalists (a blog all about minimizing and simplifying your life), and I decided to book a mentoring session with one of the authors, Ryan Nicodemus. I need to be more extreme in my de-cluttering, and I need someone to help me. Although I can’t do the “extreme minimalizing” he has done (kids are one major hindrance to this, amongst others) I want to reduce my personal belongings by at least a quarter, if not, a third.  Here is why I really want to become a minimalist.

1. I can think clearer. I’ll know where my things are. I’ll be able to focus. Ever since I “discovered” I want to minimize, I’ve felt very weighed down by my stuff. I’ve wanted to come home from work and just throw things away, because my stuff has been distracting me. I’ve been unable to properly focus because what now feels like piles of stuff (my things used to be a positive, they aren’t anymore) is getting in the way of me thinking clearly. And one massive benefit of this clear out is that I will have less stuff and all of my current stuff will have a home. A proper home/shelf/drawer/space that it will not have to share with piles of other crap. I want to know where things are, and I don’t want to stress about finding them – when they are needed.

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Imagine walking into a room and knowing that everything has its place?

2. I won’t be tied down by stuff. My husband and I have talked about moving to Europe for a year, once the kids get to school age. Just the thought of packing up our house to rent it for a year  puts me off this idea completely. But once I’ve minimized, it will be easy for me to get up and go. I moved so many things to Europe, and SO much back again, and the bulk of those things were useless. All they did was make it more difficult for me to move freely.

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I want my closet to look like this.

3. I’ll spend less money and be less wasteful. The strangest thing about my decision to try and become a minimalist is that I’ve lost the urge to shop. In fact, a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders, because I no longer have to save a ton of money for our trip to Sweden this summer, because I won’t feel the need to buy a ton of clothes. Normally I go to Europe with the aim to buy as many clothes as possible. Now, I’m going to Europe to relax, hang out, and enjoy myself. Of course I’ll buy a few things, but those will be meaningful, interesting things that I really want. Not piles of fast fashion.

4. And I’ll get to buy better things. And of course spending less money on things means I’ll have more of it, and I’ll be in the position to buy a few really nice things occasionally, instead of buying tons of things frequently.

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I’ll be spending my summer relaxing in a Swedish country house, not consuming cheap clothing.

5. I won’t spend my weekends clearing up. My husband will be thrilled at this prospect. Once everything has its home, and there are fewer things in the house, it will be easier to clean up. Yay!

I’m starting my mentoring with Ryan on Monday, so I will let you all know how it goes.

What does this mean about the blog? Just because I am minimizing, doesn’t mean I am no longer searching for style. And I have always tried to talk only about product I love and believe in, so I’ll still be sticking to that mantra. But maybe there will be a little less fast fashion and a little less of the frivolous  short-lived trendy pieces we all don’t need more of. And that’s not only going to be a good thing for our closets and wallets, there are a lot of other things wrong with our desire for over consumption.

Image sources: room, kitchencloset, and swedish summer house.

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  • Jill

    What a great post. I am with you on every single point here! I had to laugh about breastfeeding and how you end up looking around the house hating it all while you’re in the middle of it. Oh did that bring back memories! Get a system in place now because, I tell you, I am drowning in school paperwork now that my son is in 5th grade and my daughter is in kindergarten. I have to write everything down so I won’t forget it all but I live for lists so this is not a problem.

    I’m also with you re less stuff in general, particularly in the closet. My closet has gotten smaller since having kids but it works for me and the only place I’m spending money now is in accessories.

  • emclean

    When you get to the handbag and shoe minimizing stage please let me know and I’ll book the first flight over. Dibs!

  • alexandrasuhnerisenberg

    The plan is that once I do a clear out, there will be room to store incoming stuff. I need a system!

  • http://moiminnie.blogspot.com/ moiminnie

    I started the process of uncluttering my life last year and it’s so liberating having more space in your home and possessing only necessities. Great post, you wrote the most beneficial things about becoming a minimalist. x

  • Sienna

    Alexandra this is one of my favourite articles of yours because it touches on so many issues. I am currently recovering from a brain injury and have lost a significant amount of weight (people don’t seem to realize weight loss can be bad). In the process of necessary organization and shedding clothes (many of which I hadn’t worn or still had their price tags on) I have begun to re-evaluate my life. What if I moved to another place or smaller space? What if I lost/gained weight? What if I had a fire (knock on wood)? We buy (clothes and other products) like there is no tomorrow. I have shed more than half my wardrobe (flood relief needs it more than my closet). I now try to ask myself 1)Will I regret not purchasing this? 2)Will I still love this item 2 years from now? before making a purchase. Financial writer Suzy Orman simply and brilliantly stated “Clutter costs money”. It also causes stress, time wastage, and focus away from priorities.

  • alexandrasuhnerisenberg

    A like minded person! I ask myself those questions, too. And I’d like to think that I’d be able to walk away from my house on fire, with my family and pets, and be ok. Sure, I’d miss a lot of things, but I want to be less attached to my things. And I love the “clutter costs money” quote because I have been thinking recently about the amount of stuff I shipped back from my thirteen years in Europe, most of which could have been thrown away.

  • @Elaryen

    I’ve been on a similar journey in the past year, with similar thoughts. Started to declutter the whole house and asking myself with every purchase if it is really “needed”. And it is true, the moment you decide you “hate” having so many useless/unused things, you lose a lot of the urge for “shopping”.

    For fashion, I’ve adopted the following system: Unless it’s a 100% sure thing I leave it in the shop and if I still remember it the next day and still want it, I might go back or pick it up next time. If it’s gone, so be it, I am most certain I shall survive without.

    I echo what you said about not being able to focus in a home that’s full of clutter. For me it seems that with every item I toss, I gain thinking space. The only problem is that I grew up with the mentality of “it might still be/become useful one day”

  • alexandrasuhnerisenberg

    Great system, I do something similar with online shopping (hence why I have only bought 3 things in the past four months.) And I totally agree with you about the thinking space. It feels SO good to get rid of things, every item I “lose” makes me feel lighter.