Why be a minimalist?

I’m a pack rat by nature and love collections.  Thankfully I moved around a lot growing up or I think I’d have much more stuff in my possession.  Between graduating from college and moving into my first house with my hubby I had moved 5 times in 3 years.  You’d think that would have taken it’s toll on me but moving so often as a child toughened me.  It wasn’t until we moved into our second home, two years later, that I started to wonder why we/I had so much STUFF.  Did I really want to keep moving 10 boxes of just books?  Our second home is a little smaller so that only helped to  magnify the clutter.

Over the past 4 years most of the stuff stayed in boxes in the basement.  There comes a point when you realize that you are living just fine and dandy without whatever it was that you  boxed away.  About once a year I’d get sick of seeing things bulging from a closet and I’d start purging a little here and a little there.

A couple months ago we put our house on the market.  Before we did, our realtor said we had more major decluttering to do (ya think?).  So we boxed up our lives.  We had a yard sale.  We donated.  We trashed.  Now it feels SO good to walk into the house and not be bombarded visually.  Freedom.  We could feel the stress seeping out of our bodies and relaxation setting in.  It’s like a drug.

It was only the beginning, however, because it really isn’t gone, just out of sight.  A couple weeks ago we were challenged with this idea of becoming a minimalist.  We attended a special event at our church with guest speaker Joshua Becker on “Simplify” and his blog “Becoming a Minimalist”.  We’d never really heard of this before, but we loved it!

Now we are on our journey to do all we can to simplify (I like this term better than minimalist).  I started the next day by pulling out all those boxes in the basement and some from the garage and purging.  Maybe half went back into the basement!  Of course the other half is sitting in various piles around the house waiting for us figure out how we want to get rid of it.  Do I want to take the time and effort to sell on craigslist, eBay, or a yard sale?  Or can I let go of the idea of how much money we’d lose if I just donated everything?  What to do, what to do?


13 thoughts on “Why be a minimalist?

  1. When it comes to getting rid of things, I have the same problem when deciding HOW to get rid of the items. Garage sales are such a huge task. Even when I donate, I make it more complicated than maybe it needs to be by itemizing everything we are giving away on paper so that we can claim it on our taxes at the end of the year. Which makes me hang on to the donations longer until I can get around to that itemizing. *sigh* I think my biggest problem is just getting motivated!

    Most of the time, when it comes to selling an item, I guess it would depend on how much return $ you can expect as to whether it would be worth selling or not? A treadmill or furniture, sell on Craigslist. Clothing, small items or knick-knacks, donate.

  2. so true. I’m trying to explore other options for selling but not really coming up with much. Oh well. I’ll probably end up donating most of it. At least it will be out of the house!

  3. Wow!!! That is our story just about exactly!!! I can feel your struggle because that is what I think of too….some stuff seems too good to toss…but then do I try to sell it or just donate it….

    When we were selling we also had a garage sale and the sight of just that stuff was stunning!! I swear it looked like a store!!! I still shake my head at that one….

    So, I saw your link on Becoming Minimalist and wanted to send over some encouragement!! I’m also just starting….will be starting on the garage tomorrow….but it’s been a few months in the making in my mind. I’m excited to get started and I’m excited to find your blog!! I know I’ll be back to find some encouragement myself!! 🙂 Thank you for sharing!!!!

  4. i have been actively decluttering and downsizing my stuff for some time now.

    the whole dilemma of *how do i best get rid of this* is a good thing in disguise.
    the harder it is for us at this stage, the more we will stop and consider when we are about to purchase the next thing that we have to have.

    when i look around my home at the lovely clear surfaces and the uncluttered walls and the big spaces of light simply reflecting off the floors, and think about how long it has taken to get to this point, i am incredibly disinclined to go shopping for anything at all.
    i recall all the angst over sell it?/trade it?/donate it?/ trash it?/ recycle it?
    and nowadays it just seems mostly simpler to not bring the thing home in the first place.

  5. When I first began decluttering a few weeks ago (I’m new to this concept as well!) I had aspirations to sell so many items and make money back, but at some point the thought of that becomes overwhelming! I’d like to echo what Amber said above, anything large, that you know you can get more than a few bucks on try craigslist, all the small stuff and clothing, I say donate and take the tax deduction!

    Good luck!

  6. There’s something extremely liberating about taking stuff to Goodwill and driving off before they can even give you the form to claim your donations. It feels a little more like a donation when you know you aren’t going to get any “reward” for it. I admit I would claim something big like a TV or gym equipment or something, but when I’m just dropping off bags of clothes or books or little house stuff, I find it less stressful to just drop and run and not worry about the tax stuff.

  7. It is a lot of work to sell things. The money “is lost” whether you give an item away or it just sits in your basement. And the time required to sell things is worth something too. I simply give things away to charity shops – it is a reminder of how rich I really am that I can give things away.

  8. Best of luck to you in the minimalist journey. I’m visiting your site from “Becoming Minimalist” and enjoyed reading about your progress. I”m going through the same process myself, and really enjoying it so far.

  9. it is encouraging to know that i am not alone in simplifying my existence. what i do is decluttering just 2 hours a day once a week, usually every saturday. and i avoid accumulating new things.

    i guess slowly but surely is more likely to work for me.

    good luck to all those who are in the process of simplifying!

  10. After researching various methods of selling stuff, I decided that donating worked better for me – I had to admit that I simply did not have the time for a garage sale. Actually I just took six cartons of video tapes to Goodwill today and have accumulated a nice tidy pile of receipts this year to use when tax time comes. I’m a minimalist and don’t have a lot of my own stuff, but you should have seen all of the stuff my children left behind when they moved out.

    Sounds like you are gaining some serious ground on your decluttering. Best of luck to you!

  11. Good Luck! I’m just getting started myself, and I too find that the hardest part is figuring out how to get rid of everything! I want to be able to make some money off of the stuff, but at the same time I just want it gone. I think that handy drive through drop off at Goodwill is sounding better and better to me! Good luck to you!

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