Here is where I’ll tell you what I learned from Experiment #1: Downsizing Eyes.
Imagine you are moving into a tiny one bedroom home next week. It has a small living room, kitchen, bathroom, and very little extra storage. What would you take with you? What are your favorite things? What do you use all the time? What is most important?
What I Did
- I made a list of all of the areas in my home that hold items I use and/or own. I did not include my children’s bedrooms, my husband’s study, or the shed in our yard.
- In each area, I examined the items found there and thought about what I would do with each one (in the experiment scenario). Would I take it with me? Should I declutter it right now?
- I got rid of 8 useless items and a 1 inch stack of paper.
- I took notes about what I got rid of, and what items I would want to take with me.
- I analyzed my notes taking frequency of use into account.
What I Learned
- I’m almost a minimalist! I realized that most of the items in my home do not belong to me. And many of the items that belong to my husband and me, I would let go of when we downsized. I think the reason I don’t want to call myself a “minimalist” quite yet is because there are two areas in my home that I haven’t “finished” yet. They are the basement, (where I’ll be asking my husband and my kids if they are ready to part with their stuff) and two shelves in the school room closet that contain photographs and memorabilia. Once I finish decluttering those two areas I’ll be there.
- I really don’t need many possessions. I think glasses and contact lenses would actually be my most important items. Living without those would be very difficult. The next most important items would be the ones I use daily and weekly. These are toiletries, clothing, appliances, tools, some furniture and kitchenware, journals, books, my iphone, cleaning supplies, office supplies, my money belt, laptop, and van.
- I discovered what items are important to me. Although I could live without all of these, I am happy to have DVD’s, slideshows, and scrapbooks of my family. I love that I have the crucifix that used to hang above my grandparents’ bed, and a few items that were meaningful to them. I also love certain framed prints hanging on my walls and books sitting on my shelves even though I know that they are replaceable.
- The way I see my home has changed. As I knew before I started, this experiment didn’t help me to get rid of any of my husband or my children’s possessions. I have often felt overwhelmed by the amount of stuff in our home. It felt like I was always trying to catch up and I was always going to be behind. I think this has helped me to see reality more clearly. I can easily take care of my own stuff. I can set boundaries and my family members can take care of their own stuff. I am also reminded by my mother’s experience, that this is only a season in my life. I am grateful that I still have the presence of these wonderful people in our home.
- I can focus on maintenance. (That is, after I go through my last two areas.) I have a tendency to procrastinate dealing with paperwork. I can focus on keeping up with the paper coming in and not allowing my kitchen desk to accumulate clutter. I can work with my family on the habit of putting items back into their homes. When we do our regular kitchen, bathroom and laundry chores, the house looks good. If we add in tidying up our own stuff once or twice a day, then it will look even better.
I plan to set aside time to work on the last two areas. I’ll be calling myself a minimalist by the end of 2020! I will also get the whole family involved in consistently taking care of our home and possessions. Maybe that will be one of my next experiments.