It seems that every day there is a new way to live a minimalist lifestyle along with even more mental health stories being shared, but this is what I found out when I decided to focus on minimalism in 2018 and continue to take care of my own mental health.
In 2017 I began seeing a Psychologist on a regular basis and it helped, at least for a while, but then we began to tackle some pretty big issues in my life and I realized that part of the problem was the “things” in my life. I am not here to tell you to purge everything, but I will share what I did over the course of the last year to make sure that my physical space was as clear as my mental space.
To be completely transparent I had no idea where to even begin when it came to getting rid of our stuff. I knew I didn’t want it to just hang around while I tried to sell it because let’s face it, that is sometimes more stressful than the purge. We made the decision to just donate everything to a local charity and have them come to the house to pick up and it was the best thing we could have done. Side note – I understand that if you are not in a strong financial position this may not be possible, so, by all means, have that yard sale or post in facebook groups, I just encourage you to realize the minute it starts to become too much, to just get rid of the clutter and realize the money you would have made may not be worth sacrificing your happiness.
For someone whose main issue was being overwhelmed easily, I knew that trying to tackle an entire house was going to be hard, which is probably why I put it off for so long and also why I am putting this blog post off for so long, because there really is no simple way to go through your stuff, you just have to do it. You have to open every single cabinet, closet, drawer and hiding place and just make hard decisions about items, but remember, that is all they are – items. I went room by room each day and implemented a lot of things I had learned from Emily Ley. If you have not heard of Emily Ley, hit that Google button and wait to be amazed. The very first thing she says in everything is, don’t buy more stuff to organize the stuff you already have – that is not minimizing, and that was exactly what I needed to hear. I challenge everyone to do her decluttering method – it was a game changer for me and we got rid of so much and did not buy one new
I was always someone who bought baskets, bins, and containers to organize. I was never just the person who would sit down and go through everything we had and get rid of stuff until I realized that not having a well organized and minimalized home was making me depressed and more anxious. There I said it. If you think for one minute that I am always a bright-eyed, smiling, perfect human who is a happy person 100% of the time you are 100% wrong. I got to a bad place and since I “work” out of our house, all the things we had accumulated in over a decade of living together were making me even more depressed. I never sat down and realized that to live a happy, simplified life, you don’t need a ton. That may not be
I was, and sometimes am still a market executives dream, maybe that’s why I am married to one, but I would buy the latest and greatest just to try it out and then it would sit around collecting dust. This was where I realized living a minimalistic life would get me out of just buying things, but to truly sit and think about if we truly needed it. I still have stuff that is sitting in drawers that I know will be minimalized one day, today just isn’t that day, or is it? There really is no set day that works to minimize, especially for an anxious person, I just have to do it when I have the energy to do it. Some days my husband is afraid to come home based on text messages he receives throughout the day and what I have been cleaning.
When it came to getting rid of stuff, I realized it was easy if I implemented one simple question – does it bring me happiness? I needed to be happy again and if I had things in my home that made me unhappy I was never going to get back to that positive patty I once was. Even the most basic item like a gray dish towel that didn’t match the rest of the red ones, I hated looking at it and it not matching, so that went. If a book was thrown aside because it just wasn’t interesting anymore but I “thought” I might pick it up again, it went as well. I began to realize that a huge weight was being lifted from me. I began to sleep better at night knowing my house was all put together. I should also note that my particular Psychologists office deals with anxiety and OCD, you can put two and two together, but when your goal is happiness you tackle all your issues at once.
It was probably a good six months into minimalism and having purged our house that I finally felt like a different person. It was like a stress I didn’t know I had was gone. Every little nook and cranny in our house was minimalized and I never looked back. I don’t think about the things I gave away and I don’t even miss them. I simplified a lot. I even got rid of my desk that had drawers and shelves and went with a writing desk that has nothing but a top and four legs and I made my husband do the same. No one needs to hide things in drawers for junk to pile up to then just have to clean them out every few months to find things. We have one file box with all our important documents and that is it. Mail comes in and mail goes out. I don’t buy a ton of items in bulk so my pantry isn’t packed full of food. If a new article of clothing comes in, something else has to go. I don’t buy any new products or makeup until the other is emtpy. We live in a world of convenience, so we don’t need to have a ton of backups just in case, my husband will argue this point with me until the end of time. We can walk across the street to the shops, we can Amazon Prime, or we can realize that maybe we just don’t need it after all. And that my friends is truly the statement that made me realize I am tackling this minimalism life. I constantly ask myself if I need something
It doesn’t end just because you purged your house once. I walk through every room in our home once a month and clear out anything that is no longer needed. The piles have gotten extremely small now and it is easy to sell things to make a little pocket change for our next big adventure. So my advice, just start and simplify your life. We live in
This new found outlook on how to live our life allowed me to realize that I still need my Psychologist to help with the bigger issues in my life, but I no longer worry about becoming unhappy because I feel the stuff in my house is making me unhappy.
Yes, we may have taken drastic steps to be where we are today. But I am happy and my husband is able to find anything he needs without asking a million questions, but that is what I wanted in this life – plain and simple happiness and for me, that starts in my home.