Minimizing May – The Re-Cap

Photo Credit: klangkult from

I recently commented that I don’t want to be responsible for cleaning more than two, preferably one, bathroom a week. Saying things like this has an interesting effect. One, people are always wary that you are somehow judging them. And two, most people don’t quite understand aspiring for less since we are so conditioned to aspire for more.

For the record, I honestly don’t care how many bathrooms you have, I just don’t want to have to clean them.

About a year ago I wrote about the benefit of living in a space that is used daily rather than occasionally. For example, why have a guest room if you only have guests once a year? This philosophy can be applied to thinking about stuff. We (okay, I’m going to blame MJ) have a large selection of dining dishes, serving platters, funny tools to poke cheese with. Heck, we even have the gear to make you Vietnamese coffee. Gesh. All of these items are retained with thought of, ‘What if….’ or ‘Someday…’ These are certainly not things that are used on an everyday basis. They cost money, take up space, need to be organized, cleaned, maintained, etc. In my mind, they are unnecessary.

The month of May was time to reflect on the idea that minimizing makes room for other things: time, money, space, even peace of mind. It feels like the project of minimizing our household should have been more than one month. I now know that minimizing is less of a project and more of a mindset. That said, this month we tried to reduce our life in many ways:

Getting rid of stuff. We dropped off 12 garbage bags to Goodwill. However, there is still WAY more to go. I’ve learned that downsizing is very time consuming. If it has taken years to accumulate all this stuff, it’s going to take a while to reduce it. I am also aiming to make some money on the side by selling our clutter, and this takes time. We made $65 through Kijiji, but I still have things for sale. I also have items at consignment stores waiting to be sold. I haven’t done it yet, but I will soon say goodbye to my wedding dress.

Not acquiring new stuff. This project made me think about the ease with which we bring things into the home, especially when it comes to the kids. In the past, I wouldn’t have thought twice about picking up a hot wheels car (Banana loves them!) or more crayons or stickers while we were in the grocery store. But every time I thought about purchasing anything (even if it was a GREAT deal, or something second-hand), I forced myself to think about picking it up off the floor 100 times. This thought was enough for me to put it back on the shelf.

Reorganizing our space. MJ and I tackled our bedroom this month. The goal was to make it a place that had just the basics and very few surfaces or things to dust. Although the changes are seem slight, the room feels more streamlined and there is less to clean. The end result is encouraging and I hope to start on the other rooms in the house.

De-cluttering other areas of our lives. For example, I unsubscribed from all the e-mail newsletters or lists that I rarely open.

Reducing the output of money. We rethought our grocery bill.

Living simply means less of a focus on stuff. Because stuff takes money, time, space, and attention. It is easy to lose yourself in the accumulation, reorganization, replacement, cleaning, and maintenance of stuff.

It’s not easy, but I’m aiming for less. Oh, and only one bathroom to clean.

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Inspiration for free-range parenting or simple living

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