Hi guys! Hannah here. As a self proclaimed maximalist, this idea of getting rid of all of my things was a little crazy, terrifying, tearful – yeah lots of tears, probably not for me.
I knew from the first day I met Chad that he didn’t own a lot of stuff. And he knew that I owned A LOT of stuff…aaaannnnnd he still fell in love with me :))) I thought I needed all of the clothes in my closet, and the ones in my dresser, and the ones under my bed, and the ones hanging over that extra chair in the corner. I also thought I needed to keep every note and paper that I ever used in high school and college. I also thought that I needed to hold on to all of things that I MIGHT need, just in case, you know: 2 sewing kits, 400 bandaids, a chapstick in every coat pocket, at least 5 bottles of body wash in my shower, 4 kinds of cold medicine, 40 sharpies/pens/highlighters. The funny thing is that despite moving almost every semester for 2 of those years, it never occurred to me that I needed to (or should) get rid of things. I just kept buying more storage bins, and taking more trips back and forth.
Achieving minimalism doesn’t happen overnight. In hindsight, there were a lot of discussions and moments that helped me get to a point where (1) I think that I would be okay getting rid of SOME of my stuff, and (2) not having to worry about (or clean up) my stuff gave me more time to do things that I enjoyed. Chad has obviously been a huge proponent as well as a component of my mindset shift.
The moments that helped me recognize that the version of minimalism that we have defined for ourselves is achievable were when I would pack a carry-on to take with me on a weekend trip, home, and even Europe – I was stuck to about 10 pieces of clothing/shoes for a longer period of time.
Among other things, I realized that clothes cluttered my life – and still do! Another thing that I didn’t even realize was a problem until we moved to NYC was that I hoard food and body care items. I had boxes of both of those things up to the time we moved. We never even used it all.
To have a mindset change you need to start small, stay consistent, and think big. Open your mind and your heart. Really consider what you own and what is important to you. Removing clutter will give you freedom emotionally, physically, and spiritually.
Is there anything in your closet that you haven’t worn in 6+ months? Toss it (or donate it, this always makes me feel better about getting rid of it.) Is there anything that you own that you try on, but always change out of it before you leave the house because there’s something off about it? Toss it. Do you have any duplicates in your kitchen? Multiple spatulas? How many things are you actually flipping at one time? Water bottles? Ok, we’re guilty of this one; we each have at least three. Toss the ones you never use, they are just adding to your clutter.
Another thing, food and drinks. There is a strong love/hate relationship with food over here. My compromise? I never order special drinks when I go out, this includes coke and lemonade. Water is great and you can save $10+ in the food department and have $10+ in the fun department. Small changes add up. Seriously. You’ll notice.
I did not get rid of more than half of my wardrobe in one day – it took about 8 months. I knew I was moving to New York, and I knew I had to get rid of things. At least once a month I would set aside time to take another look at the clothes I had. I kept track of what I wore all the time, some of the time, and what just didn’t feel right. Become more aware of what you have. Every time you find yourself digging through a drawer, take a hot sec and look what’s actually in it. Do you keep pushing past a dingy looking pack of gum? Or an empty bottle of lotion? Or an old birthday card? Toss it. Eventually you won’t even have to dig any more.
What is going to be important 5 years down the road? 10 years? Our couch and bed were purchased in anticipation of owning them for at least 5 years, so we invested in nicer products. My wardrobe has made huge shifts in 1 year. It will always be a work in progress, just like everything in my home. I have to wear business professional to work so I have created a professional capsule closet that I will share in the next couple of months. This shift toward minimalism helps me recognize what’s important, mainly because I have to ask myself with everything: “Is this important?” “Does this enrich my living environment” “Does this have a place in my home?” We have very few “knick knacks”, but the ones that we do have represent what is important to us. We also have a couple storage bins of super important, meaningful things that hold childhood memories.
Both Chad and I can testify that having a desire to declutter your life is the very first step you have to take before anything else happens. Take a couple days to actually look at what you have and recognize what adds clutter to your home and your life. Decluttering your life isn’t just about getting rid of all the stuff you own, BUT THIS IS THE BEST PLACE TO START. Minimalism to us is more about putting time and money into what we think is important and less of that into less important things.
We will be sending out an awesome work sheet via our newsletter on Wednesday that is going to help you decide what is most important to you and what is less important to you. Subscribe to our newsletter below so you don’t miss out on our bonus material!