Decluttering and Organizing: Molding Your Home to Be a True Reflection of You

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Quote: “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” 1 – William Morris

Introduction. Have you ever felt like decluttering is one of those skills that you are either genetically predispositioned2 to be able to do easily or are just genetically unfortunate3 and have to struggle with decluttering? Have you ever spent hours watching others on YouTube or other programs that show people decluttering, and think that you will be able to pick up on what key thing it is that makes decluttering easy for them? Yeah, me too.

There are many of us that aspire to live a more Simple or Minimalist life that feel that we got on the wrong side of the genetic gene pool4 when it comes to decluttering and organizing. However, there are things that I have seen and learned over the years that have given me hope when it comes to decluttering and organizing, – and I hope that after you hear it, that it gives you hope and encouragement as well.

Decluttering and organizing may seem like it is some of those elusive skills that we all long for, but that only the rare few have been so fortunate to have learned. Fortunately for us, that is not true. The secret to being good at decluttering and organizing is that with practice, we can get better and even develop each as a skill. For me, I remember that when I initially began decluttering and organizing years ago, it was a real struggle. It was something that I dreaded because it did not come easy to me.

However, I can say that it has been years since I originally began to practice decluttering and organizing, and it definitely has become easier. It has taken consistent practice, but I no longer dread doing it. (Don’t get me wrong, there are some projects that I may not be crazy about working on, but overall, decluttering and organizing are not near as bad as they used to be.) Actually, I found that the more that I decluttered and organized, the easier it was, and found my own way / knew what types of things that I usually decluttered and which items that I usually kept.

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Project: Part 1 – The Planning. The one thing that has helped me is being able to see an area or room that I have previously made progress with. If you are new to decluttering and organizing, just pick one room, and one small area within it to begin. Work on that one area regularly – whenever you have time, until that area is finished, then move on to another area within that same room. Preferably, it is better to finish the room before moving onto the next room.

If though, you have several areas that are getting to you, come up with a plan. Write a list of the worst spots that you would like to declutter and organize. Then, place it into your schedule with a specific date and time for each area on your list. I have found that this works so much better than just making a list that you want to work on; helping to ensure that the list will be taken care of instead of having the list sit around for an undetermined amount of time.

Just remember to treat the “reminder or appointment“ like you would a regular appointment outside of your home (ex. like a doctor or dental appointment). After all of your worst areas are done from your original list / scheduled appointments, then you can go back to choosing one room to declutter and organize until it is completed. As time goes by, I have found, that the more that you get decluttered and organized, the more that you will want to continue finding areas in your home and life to improve.

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Project: Part 2 – The Decluttering. There are several tips that I have learned through my own decluttering and organizing experiences. If you would like to try these tips, they may help in making it easier when working on your decluttering and organizing projects:

1. Before beginning to declutter and organize items, categorize the items into different categories. It helps in making it easier to see all of the items that you have in each category so that you don’t later find that you have kept too much of one type of item. (Ex: Keeping 5 green shirts!)

2. When looking at each category of items, begin by picking out all of your favorites items that you would like to keep and set aside in your “Keep” pile.

3. Next, pick the items that you definitely do not like or want to keep. Set these items into your “Donate” or “Sell” piles depending on the items and your preferences.

4. The “Holding” Pile (also known as the “Maybe” Pile) – Now, depending on how much that you want to declutter at one time, the Holding Pile can be used to either further consider whether you want to get rid of the items. You could also do like Marie Kondo teaches to do with the “Maybe” Pile; take these items and donate them as well.5 Either method is effective. Do whichever you feel comfortable with and matches with your goals of decluttering.

If you should decide to temporarily hold on to the items from the Holding Pile, you may find that it may help if you are having trouble deciding whether or not you want to declutter the items from this pile. If you look at the items in this pile at least once a week, for a few weeks or so, and think about how it would feel if you get rid of the items, it may help to remove that initial panic of what to do with the items.

I have found that after a period of time, it makes it easier to make the final decisions of what to declutter and what to keep. (I would recommend putting a date on your calendar of when you would want to finalize this task so that it is measurable; placing a determined amount of time on it. This will ensure that your decluttering project does not go stagnate and keeps progressing. Afterwards, your project can be finalized. That way it can be donated with your regular donations for the week or month, and not have to make an extra run to the thrift or consignment store.)

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5. When decluttering, get your items out of the house and donated as soon as possible. (I found that this definitely helps me! The idea of “out of sight, out of mind” certainly applies here. It helps to prevent second-guessing, and gets the items to the people that need them the most more quickly.) If you cannot get to the thrift store immediately after decluttering, I have found that putting the donation items into my car’s trunk helps me; they’re ready for when I can go to the thrift store – and again – “out of sight, out of mind”, so that I am not rethinking about what I have decluttered.

6. When considering what to declutter from the “Holding” Pile, think if you will truly use the item. What will happen to the item if you keep it; will it just be put away and go unused? Will the item be put to good use now that it is not lost in the excess?

When thinking of these things, if I find that the items will just go back onto a shelf or into a closet (most likely unused), I then think about how someone else could use this item. I try to picture in my mind someone else finding this item at the thrift store and being excited that they found it – or – picture them wearing it or using it in their home and feeling so happy to have it. For me, picturing this makes it so much easier to declutter the item that I would have just initially thought of storing. I would rather have someone else that needs the item or would absolutely love and be grateful for the item to have it.

Keeping this mindset when decluttering is one that helps me. It makes my decluttering go better and is a more pleasant experience / activity to do then. Try doing this as you declutter. I think that it will make your decluttering so much easier for you, too!

7. Don’t worry about organizing until after all of the decluttering and cleaning is done in the space that is being worked on. Items can collect dust so easily. Wiping down the “Keep” items or washing them, seems to make them look newer and fresher. If not anything else, the act of doing this definitely helps in making you appreciate the item all over again. After the items are cleaned and the areas where the items will be placed have been cleaned, then the organizing can be considered.

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Project: Part 3 – The Organizing:

8. I think of organizing in several ways; categories, containers and accessibility. First, look at the items that you have kept and see if they can be put into categories. Make sure to take time to do this because it makes containerizing the items so much easier. Once this is done, it is easier to see the size of containers that are needed for each category of items.

Once the containers are picked, place the empty containers into the space that they will be stored to see how they can best be placed to ensure that they will fit well. Next, take out one container at a time, wipe it out and fill it with the pre-chosen, categorized items. Then, one of the most important things to do is to LABEL the container.

I see labeling as a step that is missed many times with others that I have seen declutter and organize their items. This is necessary so that everyone in the household will know what goes where. In the future, others in your household will be able to put items away because they will know where the items belong. If you live by yourself, it reinforces where items go – and if we forget, the labels will help. Also, in an emergency, others can help get items that you need to bring to you. So again, LABEL, LABEL, LABEL.

9. After the containers are all wiped, filled, labeled and put in place where it is to be stored, take a moment to enjoy all of what you have done. Believe me, you will have such a nice feeling of order every time that you look at what you have done – and you will feel proud of yourself. Taking photos of your finished space is another way to enjoy your newly decluttered and organized space. (As a matter of fact, taking photographs of the “Before” and “After” can help you appreciate your finished room or space even more!)

After taking a moment to enjoy your finished space, take out any remaining items to shred, recycle and trash and dispose of them. Then, if you have not already done so, get your donations packed up and ready to go. (As I previously mentioned, I put mine in the trunk of my car.) The important thing is that they are ready to be donated.

In some areas, the thrift stores even have a free service where they will pick up your donations. Usually, they have certain days each week that they pick up in certain towns and cities. So just call the thrift store that you want to donate to. They can either schedule your pick-up or give you a number for their administrative office that will help you schedule your donation pick-up. After that, make sure to write that date and time into your calendar – and then, it is time for a well-deserved break time!

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Closing Thoughts. When we declutter, we are molding our home to the way that we want it to become. We look through our home, space by space, item by item and decide what should belong to our life now – in the present. (It is fine to keep sentimental pieces from our past, but there is a place and a limit to have for them.)

Most of the items that we are keeping are because they represent us in the now and will help us in the future. As William Morris has said, “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” 6 This is a very good reminder and a goal, actually, that we should try to keep in mind when decluttering and organizing our spaces. By decluttering and organizing, we are taking the steps that will lead us closer and closer to that dream.


What areas of your home bother you the most? Where do you plan to begin decluttering? How do you feel about planning out your decluttering projects? Have you found in the past that decluttering seemed easy or difficult for you? (Either way, just remember, decluttering will get better and better with practice!)

Please leave your thoughts and ideas that you have in the Comments’ section below. We would love to hear your thoughts, ideas and opinions. Thank you for visiting Simplicity’s Journey. Take care and see you again soon!

Copyright © 2021, 2022 – Kyra, Simplicity’s Journey – All Rights Reserved


References:

1, 6 – BrainyQuote:

(1) – (https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/william_morris_158643)

(6) – https://www.brainyquote.com/search_results?q=william+morris

2-4 – Flylady – Examples where the Flylady talks of “Being Born-Organized” – may have a slightly different connotation in this article:

(2) – http://www.flylady.net/d/br/2021/12/27/did-you-skip-home-economics-class/

(3) – http://www.flylady.net/d/br/2021/09/10/i-dont-have-time-right-now-2/

(4) – http://www.flylady.net/d/br/2022/01/06/24363/

5 – Marie Kondo – Discussion on her Teachings – Video is on Christina Mychas’ channel (YouTube). Video is called: “I Got a Master KonMari Consultant to Help Declutter my Closet. Here’s What Happened.”

(5) – (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EDsee-jSf2s)


Minimalism: How It’s Become Mainstream

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Introduction. Minimalism is a practice that goes way backin history. However, the interest in the “Modern Minimalism” as it is today, has grown exponentially over the last 10-20 years or so. Witnessing this growth over the years leads us to ask why and how minimalism has grown so much over the last decade or more? As someone that has been practicing minimalism for well over a decade+ and witnessed the changes in the amount of people wanting to participate in the lifestyle, I have seen four main reasons that minimalism has grown and become mainstream. These four contributing factors are:

  1. The Internet with its Blogs and Websites
  2. The Interest and growth in the Tiny House_Movement
  3. The Trends that have been introduced to the minimalist community and general public which encouraged first-hand participation in Minimalism.
  4. Media – Availability of books on the topic as well as TV programs

The Internet.

Around the year 2000, the President of the US announced that the government would give rebates to anyone that purchased a home computer that year. Why would this be done? It was done to make more homes in the US have home computers. Back at this time, few homes had computers. With this rebate, the number of homes having computers increased dramatically within a few years so that the majority of homes in the US had at least one computer in the households.

How did this increase in computers effect the internet and the overall computer usage? There was a huge growth in the number of people that had personal emails to share information about their day-to-day lives. Also, the internet began to have more websites and even blogs. Blogs became very popular during this time. So, if someone had an interest in a certain subject, he or she usually could find at least a few blogs and / or websites on what he or she was interested in reading about.

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Minimalist Influences.

As far as minimalism, there were numerous blogs and websites being added in these early days of the internet and our “Modern Minimalism” of today. In regards to minimalism, there were three websites / blogs that inspired its readers and helped to get them interested in decluttering and the minimalist lifestyle. The first website was the Flylady website (www.flylady.net) by Marla Cilley. The Flylady often spoke about decluttering your home. She spoke about the importance of decluttering and to make a regular routine of doing it.

Mrs. Cilley normalized the conversation and act of regular and consistent decluttering to her Flylady Community as well as her readers in her freelance articles. By bringing decluttering to the forefront of conversations, the Flylady helped to bring the idea of creating a better life by means of decluttering. This led her community and readers towards considering and enacting the lifestyles of Simple Living as well as the Minimalist Lifestyle.

There are two, additional blogs / websites / social media accounts, that came along some years after Flylady, that have made additional, notable contributions and an impact to helping others learn about the world of minimalism. Both blogs / websites, along with their social media accounts, do so by talking about their approaches to beginning and maintaining the Minimalist Lifestyle. Joshua Becker of the website, “Becoming Minimalist” (www.becomingminimalist.com), has been an avid and continuous voice to the education and growth of minimalist movement of today.

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Mr. Becker began his minimalist journey while cleaning out his garage.1 After speaking to a neighbor who had knowledge of minimalism, Mr. Becker decided that he wanted to adopt this lifestyle; being tired of dealing with the extra clutter that he had such as what was in his garage.2 Since that time, Mr. Becker has been a devoted Minimalist. As he grew and became more experience with minimalism, he wanted to share the lifestyle with others. Throughout the years of Mr. Becker’s writings about minimalism, he has firmly established himself as one of the leading experts and contributors of the minimalist community.

Another leading contributor to the minimalist lifestyle were two men, Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, who coined themselves and their website, “The Minimalists” (www.theminimalists.com). Mr. Nicodemus began his journey into minimalism by packing up everything that he owned into boxes.3 He decided that whatever he had not used or missed within a predetermined amount of time would be donated and removed from his home.4 As for Mr. Nicodemus started to enjoy the benefits of the Minimalist Lifestyle, he began sharing what he had done with his close friend, Joshua Fields Millburn.5

After seeing the success that Mr. Nicodemus had with his home, Mr. Fields Millburn followed suit and repeated the same process in his home as well.6 He found the same success as his friend.7 They both became so happy and enthusiastic with their results, they made other changes in their lives and eventually began their website/blog. Since beginning their website/blog and social media accounts, they have become one of the leading voices and authorities in the Minimalist Lifestyle.

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The Tiny House Movement.

As the Minimalist Lifestyle became more known, there was another movement growing as well; that of Tiny House Living. Of course, both lifestyles compliment each other, going hand-in-hand. There were various members of the Tiny House Community, however, there is one person who lived in and wrote about her experiences living in a Tiny House that stood out. Tammy Strobel became widely known for her writings on her website/blog, Rowdy Kittens (www.rowdykittens.com). There, she described her experiences in decluttering and preparing to downsize from an apartment into a Tiny House.8

She also would write and give updates throughout the time that she and her husband were having their Tiny House built.9 It was during these updates that Mrs. Strobel would include photos throughout the different stages of their Tiny House’s building process.10 Eventually, their Tiny House was finished and Mrs. Strobel and her husband got their new home situated and they moved in.11 Mrs. Strobel continued writing and sharing photos of their Tiny House – giving her readers a first-hand look into the life of Tiny House Living.12 She not only described how she and her husband adjusted to their new home, but also how their two cats lived within the home and played in the yard where they established their Tiny House.13 Through showing her life in her Tiny House, Mrs. Strobel gave her readers the insight and alternate experience of what Tiny House Living was about, along with its many benefits.

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Trends: First – The 100 Item Challenge.

Another factor that helped to bring Minimalism into the frontlines of the mainstream public were trends. Certain trends have been popular among the Minimalist Community as well as those interested in the lifestyle. One example of such a trend was the “100 Item Challenge”. The “100 Item Challenge” was about trying to see if the person taking on the challenge could reduce all of their belongings to 100 items or less. To be truly successful with the challenge, not only did the person being challenged need to reduce their items, but he or she would need to be able to live his or her life consistently with their remaining 100 items.

This challenge became really popular, especially with those that were young, single adults. As some of those taking the challenge became successful with the challenge, they opened blogs and sometimes social media accounts, to complement their blogs to make their experiences available to a wider audience. They then began writing about their experiences of the challenge and how they lived with only this number of items.

There were even some that would go traveling since they had such few items to deal with. Their blogs would show photos of their travels and would describe how they packed and dealt with all of their belongings. Many of these blogs dealing with a form of “Extreme Minimalism” were very popular.

The “100 Item Challenge” trend was one that got a lot of attention which helped the minimalist community and everyday people, that may not have been previously interested, focus on Minimalism. It made them also begin to ask themselves how much they truly needed to live a happy, satisfying life as well as how much they could declutter to reach those two goals.

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Second Trend – Family Minimalism & Traveling.

A second trend during this time was where couples and families would declutter and sell all, if not most of their belongings. Many doing this trend also sold their homes or would rent them out so that their families did not have anything preventing them and their families from traveling. Many of these families also started blogs (and sometimes social media accounts) describing their experiences with decluttering, how they felt about giving up most of their belongings and would then include their family traveling as a new lifestyle. They would also describe how their various family members dealt with this extreme form of minimalism.

Because couples and families were drawn to this trend, it also became an early form of Family Minimalism. Even though Family Minimalism today does not usually go to this extreme in general, the Family Minimalists from a decade or more ago still share many of the same desires and goals with today’s Family Minimalists. Both want/wanted to create a Minimalist Lifestyle that would suit their families’ needs and keep clutter from interfering with the happiness of their lives.

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Third Trend – Project 333.

A third, popular trend that helped contribute to the furthering of minimalism become well-known is Project 333 (https://becomemorewithless.com/) Project 333 was created by Courtney Carver.14 Ms. Carver created Project 333 as a way to minimize her wardrobe.15 The way that Project 333 works is that the person taking on the challenge remove and separate their clothing from their closet.16 For the challenge, there are certain clothing exempt; that do not count as part of the 33 chosen items17:

  1. Pajamas
  2. Underwear / Bras / Slips / Socks / Nylons / Tights, etc.
  3. Loungewear
  4. Workout Clothes18

What is included in the count of the 33 items are:

  1. Fall / Winter / Spring Jackets, Coats, Gloves, Scarves, Hats, etc.
  2. Jewelry
  3. Shoes19
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The clothes are separated into a way that helps identify the person’s favorite and most versatile pieces so that they can be made to mix-and-match into as many different outfits that work together as possible.20 He or she will then box up any remaining clothing pieces after identifying items to donate or trash.21 The person then taking on the challenge will commit to only wearing the chosen 33 pieces for the next 3 months.22 After the 3 months is over, the person taking on the challenge will repeat the same process, and so on.23 Eventually, by continuously working on the Project 333 challenge, the person is able to declutter and minimize their items to the best, most functional pieces of their choosing.24

Project 333 became a well-known trend back 10+ years ago.25 It was one that helped people see that having fewer items did not equate with having fewer, workable outfits to wear.26 This was one trend that helped bring attention to Minimalism; making it an important one amongst the top, notable, Minimalist trends. The trends that arose for Minimalism helped both the Minimalist community and the general public. For those that were already Minimalists, the trends helped to ensure that they were not becoming stagnant in their current lifestyle. It helped them to continue to evaluate their individual belongings and question their usefulness of these possessions in their lives.

For the general, everyday person, couples and families, these trends challenged them. It gave them an opportunity to actively participate in the Minimalist Lifestyle; helping them to either “Dip their Toes In” or dive fully into the life of a Minimalist. When trying out, if the Minimalist Lifestyle felt comfortable and right, then these individuals, couples and families ended up permanently adopting the lifestyle.

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The Media.

The other area that helped bring minimalism out to the general public enough so that it became a generally-known lifestyle was due to the media. Examples of this type of media would include items such as magazine articles, books, audiobooks and television programs, etc. Over the last decade, in particular, books about Minimalism have grown in leaps and bounds. One of the biggest contributors to writing about the Minimalist Lifestyle were bloggers.

With their experiences living in this lifestyle and becoming comfortable writing about it through their blogs, websites and possible social media accounts, it makes sense then, that they would want to write about it. The beginnings of self-publishing through companies such as Amazon, made this even more possible. Eventually, many books were also being made into audiobooks. With the availability being made into different formats, more people had access to learning more about the Minimalist Lifestyle.

The other form of media giving exposure to the Minimalist Lifestyle was television. Several channels, such as Home and Lifestyle ones like HGTV (“Tiny House Hunters”27, 28), FYI Network and A&E’s (“Tiny House Nation”29, 30), The Style Network’s (“Clean House”31, 32) and TLC’s (“Clean Sweep”33, 34) made shows early on about decluttering, simplifying and on Minimalism. At first, there were just a few individual programs that were put on, but as interest of the lifestyle grew, so did the number of programs grow.

Eventually, there were whole television shows, such as “Clean Sweep” – (2003 to 2005)35, “Clean House” – (2003 to 2011)36, “Tiny House Nation” – (2014 to 2019)37, and “Tiny House Hunters” – (2014 to present)38, that began to be aired. Usually these shows and ones like them showcase decluttering, cleaning, organizing and redecorating. These shows emphasized the importance of decluttering and would show how having “too much stuff” would clog up our homes and lives. These shows became very popular over the last 10 – 20 years. Due to popular television channels shining a focus on Minimalism, many people in the general public grew aware and began adapting their lives to become Minimalists, or at least, to simplify their lives.

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YouTube.

In addition to formal television shows like the ones on HGTV, TLC, The Style Network, and the FYI Network and A&E, there was also an informal channel that gave additional information on Minimalism. Over the last decade+, YouTube has given a firsthand, grassroots-type of exposure to the Minimalist Lifestyle. Viewers could go on to YouTube at any time of the day or night and watch other people – just like themselves decluttering, cleaning and organizing their homes. They could see the differences in their spaces. They could also hear about how the person, couple or family felt, and how it impacted his, her or their families’ lives. Time and again, they would feel that their lives had become happier, easier, and more fulfilled due to Minimalism.

Having the availability and access to see others’ Minimalist, personal accounts and experiences, helped to increase the education of Minimalism in general. It also encouraged the viewers to at least consider trying out the Minimalist Lifestyle to see if this lifestyle would work for them; resulting in a growth in the Minimalist community as well as causing continuous interest in Minimalism overall. It continues to have this effect to this day.

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Closing Thoughts.

Minimalism has been around for many, many years and has gone through many transitions on what it affects or concentrates on, etc.39 Keeping this in mind, the last 10-20+ years has had a profound effect on how Minimalism is today as well as how it has become mainstream to the everyday, general public. Through the use of technology in particular, Minimalism has gone from a mostly, relatively unknown topic, generally-speaking, to become a subject that the average person knows of and has some knowledge about.

Through the use of blogs and websites discussing Minimalism, it became easier to spread the word about it. Trends that were shown on the blogs and websites helped generate further interest in Minimalism – even by some people that otherwise may not have considered it. These trends helped to create excitement for the Minimalist Movement. From the most popular to the smaller-known blogs and websites, each were taking part in the “Overall Conversation” on Minimalism.

In addition, during the same timeframe, interest in the Tiny House Movement coincided and intermingled with the Minimalist conversations going on in the internet as well as in the media – such as magazine articles, books, audiobooks and television shows. Together, the Minimalist and Tiny House Movements furthered each other in the public’s eye. Due to the culmination of the Internet’s blogs and websites, the Tiny House Movement, Trends and the Media, the Minimalist Movement transitioned into the “Modern Minimalism” that we see today.

If you are a Minimalist, how long have you been on your Minimalist journey? If you are choosing to create a Simple Living Lifestyle, how long have you been on your journey?

Please leave your thoughts on Minimalism and Simple Living in the Comments’ section below, we would love to hear your thoughts and opinions. Thank you for visiting Simplicity’s Journey. Take care and see you again soon!

Copyright © 2021, 2022 – Kyra, Simplicity’s Journey – All Rights Reserved

______________________________________________

References:

Merriam-Webster Dictionary: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/

Flylady: https://flylady.net/

1, 2 – Becoming Minimalist: https://becomingminimalist.com/

3-7 – The Minimalists: https://theminimalists.com/

8-13 – Rowdy Kittens: https://rowdykittens.com/

14-26 – Project 333 – (Trend – 2010): https://bemorewithless.com/project-333-challenge

https://bemorewithless.com/about/

https://bemorewithless.com/how-to-live-in-the-land-of-enough-space/

https://bemorewithless.com/simplify-your-closet/

https://bemorewithless.com/goodcloset/

YouTube Channel – My Green Closet – Project 333: https://youtu.be/fUbeF0Cz9o0/

27, 28, 38 – Tiny House Hunters: https://www.hgtv.com/shows/tiny-house-hunters/

https://m.imdb.com/title/tt4799404/

29, 30, 37 – Tiny House Nation: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiny_House_Nation/

https://m.imdb.com/title/tt3869500/

31, 32, 36 – Clean House: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clean_House/

https://m.imdb.com/title/tt0381740/

33-35 – Clean Sweep: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clean_Sweep/

https://m.imdb.com/title/tt0397137/

39 – Minimalism – (Brief History & Influences): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minimalism

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Planning Out and Creating Our Simple and Minimalist Spaces

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• (Brainy Quote) •


Introduction. Henry David Thoreau is a man known for his minimalist views. Even during the time in which he lived, he understood the true value of living a simple life. When we begin and continue on with our Simple Living or Minimalist journeys, we discover this value, firsthand, as well.

We look at our cluttered spaces and envision the way that they could look, feel and function for us once our living spaces and/or storage areas are free from the clutter. As we begin to slowly free up these spaces from the clutter, the vision that we have for these areas starts to become more and more apparent. Once we get one of our spaces freed up from the clutter, the more that we realize how much this excess clutter is actually costing us.

Analyzing Our Spaces. When we are first choosing a space to work on decluttering. We can sit down and really take a look at the area. What are the positive qualities that the space has? What are its negative qualities? We can write these qualities down (for ex: on sticky notes or in a journal-type planner) to help us keep these aspects in mind while we are working on decluttering the area. As we are working, we can try to bring out and use the positive qualities while reducing the negative ones of the room.

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The next thing that we can do is take photographs of the area. It is good to take multiple photographs from several different angles. This can help us plan our end results out as well as to be able to have a reference to look at so that we can see the progress that we are making. Taking measurements of our spaces can be beneficial, too. The more that we plan the look and use of our spaces, and plan around the dimensions of the room, the better that we can create the rooms that we truly want and need once the excess clutter is gone.

Inspiration. Henry David Thoreau once said, “It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” I love this quote! It helps us to move past all of the clutter and negative aspects of our spaces and believe in the promise of all of its possibilities. To further help us to plan out and keep track of all of the information that we have gathered for our decluttering projects, we can make a vision board.

Vision Boards. When making our vision boards, we can make them digitally, on the computer, or we can plan it all out tangibly on paper; such as on a poster board. Of course, creating it all digitally will be the least expensive way to make a vision board, especially if cost is an issue. However, printing it out or creating a tangible vision board has its advantages such as being able to hang it up in the room that we are working on. Vision boards are a great reference tool for us to have and to use for our decluttering projects.


The photo shows someone creating a digital, vision board for his/her decluttering project.
• Photo by Ketut Subiyanto on Pexels.com

• Photo by John Diez on Pexels.com

While planning out our vision boards, it is beneficial to separate the board out by categories that we want to address in the room. Depending on preference, the board can be separated into four squares on the front page OR can be split into halves on both the front and the back pages of the board. Either way, each vision board will enable us to plan out our decluttering projects well.


The Make-Up of the Vision Board. Essentially, two sections of the vision board will address the qualities that we want to bring out in the room. The other two sections will address the qualities that we want to fix or reduce in the room.

In the two sections of the vision board that plan out the positive qualities of the room:

  • 1. One section can plan out the functions that we want the room to do. — (Ex. for a home office: work on the computer, be able to file, work on artwork, have an area to read at as well as store books, etc.)
  • 2. The other section can plan how we want the room to look when we are completely finished with the space. — (Ex. of a home office once again: the type of furnishings for in the room, the layout, the paint colors, type of curtains, and the use of any items that we already own and can utilize in the room, etc.)
• Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

For the other two sections of our vision boards, they will plan for how to deal with the less favorable qualities of the space that needs addressed:

  • 1. One section can show the “Before” photographs of our rooms. — (For Ex. with a cluttered home office: We can use these photographs to identify and make a list of the particular objects that we want to get rid of out our spaces. We could also decide which pieces of decor should be decluttered from the office space, and for a further example, if a window would interfere with the planned layout of the room, etc.)
  • 2. Additionally, we can plan out mini-projects that we can do to fix the parts of the room that are not working for how we want the area to function or look overall. — (For Ex. with a home office: We could decide that the desk is either too small or too large for the size of the room and could then plan to replace it with a different one that would work better in the particular area that we want to place it in. We could also figure out that the shelving might need placed on a different wall from the one that it is currently at. Additionally, we could also decide that painting a focal wall would make the office look too small, so the office should then be painted all one color, etc.)

So, utilizing vision boards to help us with our decluttering projects, is a very useful method or tool that can be used. They can aid in making our spaces turn out the way that we planned, and how we would like them to function overall.


• Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Closing Thoughts. Working on decluttering our spaces can be work, but planning out the various aspects of our decluttering projects can really help in lessening the time and total work involved. Clutter in our homes, and within our various rooms, masks our spaces of their true functions, beauty and peacefulness. However, the more that we can envision our spaces without the clutter, the more encouragement that we will have to continue to finish our decluttering projects. It also will give us a chance to remember how much we originally liked these spaces, as well as to remember, what our spaces can once again be.


  • – What room would you first like to begin decluttering?
  • – Have you ever previously used a vision board for any of your decluttering projects?
  • – If so, how did you like using it to plan out your decluttering project(s)?
  • – If using a vision board is new to you, tell us what you thought of using it, and how it helped you during your decluttering project(s).

• Please feel free to talk with us in the Comments’ section below. In the meantime, consider Henry David Thoreau’s quote. It could be a good source of encouragement for all of us with our future, decluttering projects. • Take Care and thank you for stopping by Simplicity’s Journey. – Sincerely, Kyra


Copyright © 2021, 2022 – Kyra, Simplicity’s Journey – All Rights Reserved

Simple and Minimalist Living: Excess Belongings Do Not Give Security

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Introduction. Living Simply or being a Minimalist ultimately means that we have faced the facts about owning too much clutter and have begun working on reducing the amount of items that we own within our homes. As we continue with the decluttering process, the beneficial changes that this brings to our lives range from small to quite significant. The initial change that happens is that we realize that there is an unbalance between what we own and the space that we have to live in. Noticing and becoming increasingly aware of this unbalance is what leads us to one of the biggest changes for us, and will be a constant focus to help us re-balance the amount of items that we have in our homes.

In considering the unbalance and over-abundance of belongings that we own, will at one point or another in our Simple Living journeys, lead us to realize that our excess belongings do NOT give us the security that we want to achieve in our lives and in our homes. So, how does this excess actually take away from the security that we are trying to establish in our lives? To look at this, we have to realize what security means to us; defining it so that it can be used to help us with our decluttering goals and projects in the future.

Each of us have our own, defining ideas of what security is for us. However, there are a number of things in common that each of us needs to feel secure. Obviously, having a home to live in, food and water, and appropriate clothes for the area and seasons that we live. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary also includes “freedom from danger”1 as well as “freedom from fear and anxiety”2 to the ideas of what security is and what we need to feel that security.

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So, when we think of these elements of security, how does having too many possessions take away our security? First and foremost, it can cause us a lot of anxiety and worry. Anxiety over how the house looks and feels due to the excess in our homes. Not only do we have to constantly pick it all up and at times, clean around it, but we also end up worrying about needing to eventually declutter the extra, unwanted items in our homes.

This issue has caused a great amount of items to be donated, which is great in many ways. However, there is a lot of items that donation centers and thrift stores cannot take, so there is such a great amount of decluttered items being sent to landfills. Overall, it is a huge problem in a number of ways for us to deal with and worry about.

Another aspect of this that causes us a huge amount of anxiety or worry is about the space that the clutter takes up and the amount of time that it will take to declutter our living spaces. This process of decluttering is very valuable and rewarding to do in the long run. However, it can take up a great deal of time to accomplish; taking time away from family and friends, as well as the loss of time that could be given towards our favorite activities or hobbies.

• Photo by Gary Barnes on Pexels.com

When we have too much clutter, these factors are ones that we definitely face in order to declutter our homes. Even though it is a big downside, decluttering rather than ignoring the issue will prevent the eventual, decluttering process from being a terribly difficult process. It also prevents our living spaces from becoming too much to deal with, prevents safety issues and concerns, and reduces the anxiety and worry that we have over the project itself of decluttering our homes.

An additional cause for worry on the clutter in our homes is the amount of money that we have spent on all of these excess objects. Many times, we buy items with such good intentions; we want to buy things for others as well as ourselves, thinking that it will give happiness or fulfill a need. Of course both of these reasons are reasonable ones for buying something. There are several things to consider before purchasing:


  • Do we have the extra money for what we want to purchase?
  • How well is the product made?
  • Do we have room/a place for this item?
  • Will this item be used for at least six months to a year – or even longer?

If after answering these questions, we still think purchasing the item will be something that we still want, it may be a good idea to wait a pre-defined period of time (ex: a few days or even a week), to prevent us from making impulse purchases. If we can slow down the amount of items coming into our homes, the less items that we will have to declutter in the future. In regards to helping the environment, the less that we purchase/consume, the more that we will be able to all help in contributing to bettering the environment by preventing so much consumer waste.

• Photo by Samuel Theo Manat Silitonga on Pexels.com

So, the less that we buy unnecessary items or ones that are questionable in terms of the length of time that we will need or want them, the less resources will be used and taken from our environment. By carefully considering our purchases before we buy, the less we are negatively impacting our natural resources, the more money that we will save, and the more that we are preventing clutter from infiltrating our homes.

All of the points that we have be talking about demonstrate that having excess belongings in our homes and lives does not give us the security that it initially appears to. Between the:


  • 1. Anxiety and worry
  • 2. Increased debt or loss in savings
  • 3. Loss of space due to clutter
  • 4. Possible safety issues depending on the amount of clutter
  • 5. The amount of work and time needed to declutter in order to get our homes’ possessions within an initial, reasonable order

An additional issue, outside of the security problems in our homes and lives, is the personal impact and responsibility that we have on the environment due to our purchases. The negative impact of over-consuming is a problem that can impact our security as well. The scarcity of natural resources and damage to our ecological systems will in fact be something that we as a society need to continue addressing.

In regards to our consumption, I am not suggesting that we forego purchasing items that we need and occassionally want. However, I think that we should always consider and try to be increasingly mindful and careful of what we purchase – and how often we do so. If we can do this to help slow the amount of items coming into our homes, along with regular decluttering that we do in a responsible way, we can lessen the impact on the environment and build the extra security that we desire in our homes and in our lives.


What area of your home do you plan to start working on decluttering? What items are the most difficult ones for you to declutter? What additional things can we do to continue to improve our environment and make it better for everyone? •

Please leave your thoughts of how excess belongings effect all of us in the Comments’ section below, we would love to hear your thoughts and opinions. Thank you for visiting Simplicity’s Journey. Take care and see you again soon!

Copyright © 2021, 2022 – Kyra, Simplicity’s Journey – All Rights Reserved


References:

1, 2 – “Security” Definition. (2021). Merriam-Webster Dictionary Online. Accessed 12.17.2021. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/security#learn-more

wikiHow Staff. “How to Add a Website to a Bibliography”. wikiHow to do anything… (09.15.2021). Accessed 12.19.2021. https://www.wikihow.com/Add-a-Website-to-a-Bibliography


Here’s to the Short Races….

• (Photo by Martin Damboldt on Pexels.com) •


This image signifies the short races that we need to do when creating a simple or minimalist life. Sulky Cart (Harness) Racing, pictured above, is very much the same. The races are done in short burst with many races having three laps around the track. The horses then take a break before racing again; just like we need to do when we are decluttering and organizing our home. https://simplicitysjourney.com I Quote source: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/walter_elliot_190719
• (Brainy Quote) •

Podcasts of this Article can be found on:


Introduction – Perseverance. In thinking about the quote above, I immediately began to think about how it applied to our lives as we simplify. Having perseverance when we have committed ourselves to do something can be challenging. However, if we keep in mind what it was that originally made us want to make this decision, it can help us to reaffirm our commitment to simplify or become more of a minimalist whenever we feel our commitment waning. (Remember, whether we are interested in simplifying our lives or to become a minimalist, we will be changing our lives in a positive direction no matter which one that we choose.)

The Short Races. The reference to “the short races” that Elliot mentions, is something that can really help us, if we try to apply the method to our simplifying. When we begin to simplify, we need to recognize that it is a start of a new way of life; a journey of kinds – “a race”. If we want to be successful in our main goal to simplify or minimize, the best way to do it is to break down our main goal into manageable, smaller projects, or mini-goals.

Once we plan out the initial, smaller projects / mini-goals, we can look at our calendar to see when we can work on each one. Keep in mind, being flexible with your scheduling is important. For example, say one of the smaller projects / mini-goals takes you more than one session, but you only planned for one. You may need to adjust your schedule to fit the second session in. Do not be hard on yourself about a smaller project or mini-goal taking longer. You are working on accomplishing your main goal(s) and that is what really counts!

• (Photo by Jess Bailey Designs on Pexels.com) •

Enjoying the Races. If we think about it, each day is filled with tasks that help us accomplish many things. If we recognize them for what they really are, small steps (small projects / mini-goals) that are really helping us to succeed in making our bigger goals and dreams come about, then we can see their true value. Even in doing this, there will be times when these day-to-day steps may still seem unimportant, dull, boring or frustrating.

However, whenever we find ourselves feeling or thinking this way, let us stop and recognize how we are feeling. We can then use those thoughts and feelings as a way to know when to turn our thinking around, so that we will want to complete the task(s) in a positive manner and frame of mind. We can then go on by changing our thinking; purposely thinking about the way that this activity is actually helping us. Once we really look at things in this light, let us challenge ourselves to make these activities fun or enjoyable in some way so that we will truly want to accomplish and complete them.

Completing the Short Races. Life is really about enjoying the tasks that we do; both the large and the small ones. These tasks really are important towards our main goals, even when they seem insignificant. If we can re-train ourselves to think and see the things that we have to do in our day-to-day life in this way, it will really help us.

• (Photo by Ketut Subiyanto on Pexels.com) •

We can challenge ourselves to find ways to make these tasks and activities fun. Sometimes pairing a “boring” task with music or an audiobook can make the task more enjoyable to work on and complete. Having a movie on or talking to a friend or family member on speaker phone can be another way to make your task enjoyable. As long as the item or activity that we are pairing up with the task that we are currently working on, does not take away from our focus on this task so that we can complete it safely, then it should be fine and can actually be helpful to us.

Closing Thoughts. Completing these daily tasks in this way will slowly begin to help us change the way that we view them. This will make our life become more enjoyable and can add a spark to our step, so-to-speak. In the bigger picture, this is a way to enjoy the “short races”. It can also help us in building a stronger perseverance with our main goals, and with activites that help us to fulfill them, as Elliot recommends.

As for some goals, they are ongoing, just like our simplifying activities. So including and creating fun ways to work on our smaller projects / mini-goals will help us feel like they are worth working on, and that life is really and truly enjoyable for us. That way, we can work on our goals and enjoy the journey throughout the lifestyle that we are creating and persevering in; genuinely looking forward to what in the future is to come.


What main goal do you currently have in regards to your simplifying or minimalist goals? How have you been trying to enjoy completing each of the “short races”?

Please feel free to tell us your thoughts and comments in t!he Comments’ section below. Sharing your goals, and telling us how you go about making it enjoyable, so that you complete each step, can really help others in our Simplicity’s Journey Community. The way that you handle your “short races” may be the suggestion(s) that helps someone else in our community be able to continue to succeed in their simplifying process. So thank you, in advance, for sharing your experiences in simplifying with the rest of us. And for everyone in our community, remember, you can do it! • Thank you for visiting Simplici!ty’s Journey. We look forward to seeing you again soon!


Copyright © 2021, 2022 – Kyra, Simplicity’s Journey – All Rights Reserved

Where to Start Decluttering When You Are Unsure Where to Begin

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Podcasts of this Article can be found on:


Introduction. I was thinking the other day about the thrift store and the items that we go there to find. It’s always so exciting to walk through a thrift store’s doors. However, what is even better is watching the customers coming into the store. In almost every case, you see the customers come in, get a cart for their treasure finds and then enter into the very front of the store. Many will stop and scan the store; surveying its contents with exciting satisfaction.

The Thrift Store. Once inside of the thrift store, so many items can be found. Walking around, customers can be seen walking hurriedly from one area to another. Most thrift stores are broken up into different areas or departments. There is always the Clothing department. This area usually contains seasonal clothing items including coats. Within this department or in an area nearby are shoes, jewelry and handbags. Coordinated together, many outfits can be made.

Various Departments. While continuing to peruse around the store, the Entertainment department can be found. This area(s) have books, music, movies and games. I have noticed that many times, the book area is the busiest part of this department. Usually found nearby is the Technology department. This area usually has TV’s, Blu-Rays, printers, digital cameras, game boxes and other such items. These items were all once utilized as useful tools around the home – just like the items found in the Housewares department. All types of items can be seen there such as Kitchen tools, plates and silverware, towels, sheets and blankets. Within these departments, so many items can be located!


This photo shows an example of items that can be found at a thrift store. https://simplicitysjourney.com
• Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Decluttering Ideas. Now you might be wondering why I am talking about thrift stores and the items that you find there, when I want to talk about what items we can work on possibly decluttering from our homes. It occurred to me that if we look at the items that are in the thrift stores, these items are the ones that people are most often decluttering. So if you look at what was mentioned above, clothes are the most abundant items that are found in thrift stores. The other items that can be abundantly found are Entertainment items such as books, music, movies and games. Kitchen and home decor usually take up a larger portion of the thrift store as well. I was thinking of these items and overall departments that we find in thrift stores as guidance for what items that we could consider first decluttering.

Closing Thoughts – The Abundance. Clothing, shoes, handbags, Entertainment and Kitchen items, and Household items such as sheets, towels and blankets are items that are consumable. In other words, we use them until they are either worn out, we tire of them or get something new to replace the use of the older item. Because these items are in more of an abundance in our life, they could be the first areas that we look into and consider decluttering. The thing that is so great about decluttering is that it is a double win; we get to simplify our lives and spaces, and we get to help someone else with our donations!

What area(s) that we discussed today could you declutter from?

• We would love to hear what you are considering and decluttering in the Comments’ section below. For me, I have some household items that I am sure can go. With that in mind, I am off to declutter. So take care, Friends, and have a great day….and as always…. •

Happy Decluttering!


Copyright © 2021, 2022 – Kyra, Simplicity’s Journey – All Rights Reserved

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