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Minimalist Living – To Let Go Or Not to Let Go

April 28, 2010

Mother's Day FlowersToday I read a little concerning minimalist living! Without realizing, I have lived this way for years. I began simplifying my life years ago, when I first started to understand that we complicate our lives with too much stuff. Clutter is something that can wear on us emotionally.

I even went so far as to rid our home of some cabinet space and drawers. I removed flowerbeds and anything that led to more work for me in the yard. This may seem excessive and seem as if I eliminated beauty in my yard, but to me, it looks great. Minimalist living has various meanings to people and options do come into play.

Letting go is something that we cannot do enough it seems and there are many ways to do this. We can start by looking around our homes and clearing unnecessary items. I have had many yard sales to rid my home of unwanted things. “Out with the old and in with the new” is an expression that cannot be overstated. After each yard sale, I refused to return unsold items to our home; I donated them!

As our home started to resemble a tidy and organized living space, my feelings began to relax. It is simpler to clean and more agreeable to look at too. When I do encounter something that I want, I decide before I purchase the article, if I may be willing to let go later. If my answer is yes then I determine if I really want the item, and why. Is it functional, can I sell it later, for a reasonable return? Is the item something that I may enjoy giving away when I am through with it?


Clutter Can Cause Agitation

My mother was agitated a lot. Once before a yard sale, I visited her to help go through her belongings. As we proceeded throughout her house, I listened to familiar comments. She sounded exactly like me, when I embarked on this idea. “I ought to get rid of this.” “I cannot get rid of this, it was a Christmas present.” “This was expensive, so I should keep it.” “I have had this forever, I had better, hang on to this.” “I forgot I even had this, or why I bought it.”

We cleared drawers, cupboards, and storage rooms. We disposed of clothing, board games, movies, dishes, and many other useful items. We both laughed when mom said, “I had better, keep some of this stuff, because I cannot stand an empty drawer!” Before long while we cleaned another room, she commented how she did want to keep a particular item. “If only I had a place to put it,” she said. Then she remembered that she had an empty drawer in which to put it. After the yard sale, she told me that she had a difficult time, even remembering what she had sold; that is how little the stuff meant to her.

People remark how my house is always clean and some accuse me of being a neat freak. They fail to recognize that my house is simply organized. Mom expressed that someone who sincerely does clean EVERYTHING daily has told her that her house looks, cleaner than theirs. Regardless of how expensive things are, too much stuff in an area is clutter!


There is More than One Way to View Minimal Living

There are many ways to view this idea of minimal living, though, and it may be possible to flow over into extreme living. My grandmother, kept everything to a minimum. So much that she used a wringer washer well into the Eighties! She rarely spent money on anything that she considered frivolous, even though it may save her time. She did save money on her electric bill, by utilizing a lot of her time and energy, though.

Some people have gone bankrupt, because they are unwilling to believe that they can live without cable TV, cell phones, and going out for dinner. Many people live an extreme life and are unhappy or financially pressed. The responsibility of living that is too simplified can stand in our way of progress just as buying all the latest comforts. Therefore, in the end we must be practical and accept that there is a better way sometimes. Perhaps letting go is mental or emotional more than material. The clutter in our thinking works, its way out, into our physical world.

Sandra Hendricks, EzineArticles.com Expert AuthorWe can clear our closets, drawers and rooms, eliminating some stress. However, unless we change our thoughts, we may reestablish the material clutter over time. Cluttered thinking manifests cluttered living, so we must do more than clear away debris in our homes. We must let go of the notions that more things are better, and that there is never enough. We could end up believing that we cannot keep up with necessities. We must allow ourselves the room for change!


2 Comments to “Minimalist Living – To Let Go Or Not to Let Go”

  1. Russ Hamel says:

    Oh, the stories I could tell. My wife Maggie’s middle name should be Packrat. She keeps EVERYTHING!

    When we first met nearly five years ago and I came to her place, I could hardly breathe. There was stuff on top of stuff on top of stuff… it was incredible.

    As you may well guess from my tone, I am the opposite. And we have had more than one discussion about this difference. :)

    Having said that, we have struck a balance of some sorts. I’ve been allowed to put my ‘stamp’ on our home – Maggie had the better place when we got married, so we decided to make that our residence. It’s a smallish 2-bedroom high rise condo which we love. It just doesn’t have the necessary room for Maggie’s ‘collection’ habit.

    Kid’s toys went first. We sat down with the girls and told them they could keep five of their favorite things out of the original 105 they EACH had, always scattered about the house.

    Next was the THREE sets of unmatched dinnerware in the cupboards, including every mug she ever got since childhood. There also were old pots and pans that were long overdue for the scrap heap.

    Bit by bit, I was able to convince Maggie that clutter-LESS was a good thing. The one thing that she clung to – and I have to admit that it is a good thing – is her kid’s clothing collection. We are blessed to have relatives who are bigger than our girls and thus we get a LOT of hand-me-downs. The clothing is in good shape and still stylish – the girls have never complained. (they wear school uniforms, so the hand-me-downs don’t affect their all-important social status at school). This has saved Maggie A TON of money on clothes!

    Plus there were a few other times when we ‘needed’ something. You guessed it; Maggie had just the thing packed away in one of her suitcases in the closet! :) “SEE”, she’d laugh at me. “I just saved you $X!”

    I’m going to Goodwill with yet another load this morning, mostly old clothes that the little one outgrew, plus some of the girl’s old toys that never got replaced with the new incoming Christmas and other gifts.

    I’d still prefer just a little less clutter. But ‘compared to’… I’m one happy guy! Plus, Maggie has proven to be a great steward, eventually USING what she has stored away. I really can’t complain as we’ve struck a nice balance.

    All the best from Toronto,
    .-= Russ Hamel´s last blog ..Guilty Until Proven Innocent =-.

  2. Minimalism is a great topic…

    The modern way of life is getting more crowded by the day, with literally dozens of new obligations, unnecessary items and procedures. It is becoming harder and harder to get a quality life in all that mess.

    Beautifully written text, Sandra… too much clutter is harmful, we need to focus on what is most important to us and remove everything that is unnecessary, in order to grow.

    .-= Marko — Calm Growth´s last blog ..The Current State of Personal Development Scene — Part 3 =-.