In April of 2010 my husband, Shawn, and I decided to move our family of five into the same home as my parents, my grandmother, and my two remaining siblings that live at home. We are now a family of ten plus three dogs and two cats. As you might imagine, there is nothing about the beginning of my story that has to do with minimalism. Combining two households into one has been quite a daunting task.
We decided to move in together because both of our families wanted to focus on the important things in life…each other. My parents also decided that they did not like the prospect of a soon-to-be empty nest. Shawn and I also saw this as an opportunity to simplify our life and our possessions in order to spend more time with our kids.
A Not So Simple Beginning
Things started out simply enough. My plan was to go ahead and make the move, put the house on the market, and gradually clear things out of our house. I knew things would never stay picked up if we were still living there with three kids making messes everyday. Shortly after we put the house on the market we got a call from our Realtor asking if we would consider renting our home to a family whose house burned down. “Sure,” we said, “when do they need to move in?” The answer that quickly ended my leisurely efforts to declutter was, “They need to move in four days.” Thanks to my amazing family we got everything out and into two storage units and the rest crammed into our newly combined household.
We had been making small progress while we adjusted to living together, but it just began to feel like we were drowning in all of our stuff. It had been a continual frustration to keep things picked up. Because of the speed we had to move out I did not get to do all the purging of possessions that I had planned. Plus, I knew that I had two storage units crammed full of more things to go through and it just became overwhelming.
A Minimalist is Born
I began to do research on how to declutter, when I discovered a blog on how to become a minimalist. Just reading the word “minimalist” stirred a desire inside me that said, “Ahh, I want that.” I wanted….less! I wanted less mess, less cleaning, less organizing, less fussing at the kids to pick up their toys, less time given away to chores, and less stress dealing with it all. Because what I really wanted was….more! More time with my family, more camping trips, more joy, more relaxation, and more happy memories being made.
Something snapped in me that day. I couldn’t read enough about minimalism! I have not been more excited about something in such a long time. Everywhere I looked I saw things that I wanted to give away, some things that might be worth selling, and just so many things that needed to be thrown out.
On a Journey
So now I’m on a journey in a quest for less mess and more time. I’ve gotten rid of so much and I’m still not done. I’m still at the beginning of my journey but I am already thrilled at the progress I’ve made and I can’t wait to share my journey with you.
Article originally published on 09/08/2010