Why 2018 Will Be the Year of Editing

minimalist, edited life, minimalism, new year

Good-bye 2017

While many people are spending these first few weeks of December frantically scrambling to make their Christmas ideals a reality, I’ve already skipped over Christmas in my psyche. We finished funding our Christmas budget over a month ago and we’ve already picked out and purchased most of what’s going under the tree. So, we’re pretty much just waiting for the day to actually arrive.

Since I’m not anxiously preparing for Christmas, my mind has been on loftier things. The approaching new year.

Investing in 2018

It’s no secret that New Year’s Day is my favorite holiday and January is always my favorite month. It’s a new beginning. A clean slate. A time when all the possibilities are possible…  A fresh start.

I love the idea of gathering up all the experiences of the last 34 years of my life and investing it all into the new year to make personal progress and grow in all areas of my life. That may sound profound to some, but as a highly introspecting person, it’s just normal for me.

I had a strange epiphany last year that not all change has to be big and small steps in the right direction are still growth. Last year I was wading into uncharted waters when New Year hit and my life in general had had some pretty big changes. The pressure I was putting on myself to have some huge New Year’s goal or plan was downright depressing. So when I took a step back and gave myself permission to ease into this new change one baby step at a time, it gave me a sense of relief that I wasn’t slacking or letting myself off the hook completely.

2017 has been inspiring. It’s been eye-opening. It’s been refreshing. It’s been jam packed with opportunities and I have thrived. I’ve learned more about myself, my potential, and my God-given purpose in life. I continued to ruthlessly declutter and minimize my belongings. I’ve opened up space, physically and mentally and the year has just flown by.

Seemless transition of growth.

Now 2018 is staring me in the face and once again, I’m struck with an awakening. I’ve always looked at New Year as a way to jump start change. I’ve always planned a big New Year’s project to tackle as soon as Jan 1 gets here and then some other personal development items to take on immediately thereafter. But this year, I’ve realized, I don’t want the new year to be a jolt of change anymore. I want to edit my life to the point where the transition from one year to the next is a seamless progression of growth.

I don’t want to stagnate. I refuse to become complacent. (It’s just not possible with me anyway.) What I want is steady growth as a way of life. Moving methodically from one challenge to another without the expectation that this change is going to “revolutionize” my life or suddenly make me who I’m supposed to be.

Living an edited life.

My journey to minimalism has ripped off so many personas of who I thought I was or who I wanted others to think I was. I’m comfortable in my own skin now and I have clarity of mind. I don’t feel the need to do a complete turn-around. I know I’m headed in the right direction.

That’s why 2018 will be a year of editing. I want to hone my skills, carefully weigh my options, swap things I like for things I love, invest in meaningful relationships, and make the distinction between things that are useful and things that are needful.

What does “editing” look like in a practical manner? I’m still working that out, but I think it’ll be a series of challenges. Twelve challenges actually. One for every month in 2018 to cover topics like health, business, relationships, cleaning, hobbies, and such. Stay tuned for the finalized list… hopefully before January first arrives.

What are your plans for 2018? Are you wanting to make big changes in your life or are you also wanting to edit what’s already going well? Let me know in the comments.

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Minimalist 10 Day – 10 Minute Challenge

I spent nearly 2 years pouring over minimalist blogs, reading about minimalism, and creating minimalist boards on Pinterest before I jumped in with both feet. To be honest, I’m still a work in progress. Of course, minimalism is not a destination that you arrive at but a way of life. It’s an intentionally curated life surrounded only by the things that bring you the most pleasure.

If you’re like I was, a maximalist with hoards of books, clothes, dishes, and what-nots, those first steps towards a minimalist lifestyle are incredibly daunting. Every cupboard, shelf and drawer was stuffed to the max and I had run out of places to store the cast-offs. The garage was full, the attic was full, and the basement was full. When I came across an item I no longer needed, I had no where else to put it. My only option was to jettison some stuff.

I had spent so much time and money accumulating, process of letting go was foreign. Just like learning a new language, I had to start small and slow. One thing at a time. What I found was that when I focused on getting rid of 1 thing, I found 5 to remove. Or when I decided to spend 10 minutes sorting though items, I spent 20 minutes. When I actually started doing it, the time passed before I had realized it. Eventually, I built up the muscle of letting go to the point where I could feel the freedom and calm that goes along with it.

If you’ve been thinking of trying out minimalism but don’t know where to start, I’ve created this quick and easy 10 day challenge. Have fun with it. Take the pressure off and think of it as an experiment. Without a doubt, as you go through some of your possessions, you’ll learn some things about yourself. And that process of learning is just as important as deciding what to keep and what to toss.

Give it a try and let me know in the comments how it went!

minimalist, minimalism, challenge, declutter, organize, clear, clean

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Declare Your Independence

minimalist, minimalism, materialism, independence, declutter, clearingIt’s July 4th, Independence Day, and 2016 is officially half over. The “year of clearing” has proven to be just that thus far.

My journey toward minimalism is still underway. Although it seems strange and satisfying at the same time that I’ve stuck with it this long. Often new ideas that strike ebb after only a few weeks.  Six months have come and gone and I’m still feeling highly motivated.

I have been consistent with my weekly decluttering habits each month. My hired motivation came every Friday to help and we tackled the dragon together.

Some days we scrubbed out cupboards in the kitchen.  Some days we vacuumed spiders out of the basement. Other days she only listened to me ramble about memories while I sorted through and released old letters and photographs.

I filled my car almost every week with boxes and bags for donation.  I anxiously watched through the window on trash days to see if the garbage men would refuse to take everything I’d put out on the curb.

Week by week, I emptied every square foot of my house of things.  I touched every single item and I made a decision about each one.

Trash. Donate. Keep.

With each decision I declared my independence from stuff.

I had to get clear about the truth about me. Who I really am and what I’m really about.  I realized with more clarity that much of what I owned was for the sake of a false identity.

  • Books to prove I was a philosopher, artist, musician.
  • Photos to prove I’d been here and there or met this person or accomplished that.
  • Duplicates for “just-in-case.”
  • Dishes for “if” the occasion arose.
  • Complete collections of this and that to prove I had it all, even though I never used it.

When I realized none of those things made me anymore of who I am, it was easy to let go of all the stuff that was weighing me down. All that stuff was causing me to believe falsehoods about who I was. A fantasy self.

Now that it’s gone, I can just be me.

Minimalism isn’t about having nothing.  Minimalism is about declaring your independence from the lies your stuff tells about you.  Creating space where you’re free to be yourself.

Minimalism is also about pledging allegiance to that which is most important to you. People and passions. Suddenly you have time and energy to invest in relationships and meaningful work.

My house isn’t empty by any stretch.  We still have plenty. More than enough, even.

I’m much more aware, however, of what we use, what we love, and what really matters. And I’m excited to see what my life will look like when I finish whittling down what doesn’t belong and polish up what remains.

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10 Unsightly Places In My House

cleaning, organize, declutter

cleaning, organize, declutter

I really wanted to start this post by telling everyone how organized and OCD I am.  I mean, don’t I have to have a spotless home to post beautiful pictures on social media sites?  Isn’t that a mandatory part of being a blogger?

Then I decided that listing ten embarrassing places in my house is just too much information.  Talk about opening myself up to be judged. No one needs to know.  I could list five places, sympathize with other slackers and vow to be perfect by the end of next week.

Then I thought… Haters gonna hate.  So what.  Judge away.

10 Unsightly Places in my House

1.  My bedroom.  I can’t seem to keep things put away.  It’s behind closed doors so maybe I don’t care as much.  There are too many blankets, papers to be filed, and clothes.  Just too much stuff.  There isn’t a place for it all.  I really need to get rid of some stuff in there.

2.  Hallway.  Our house is tiny.  There is one hallway.  It serves too many purposes.  Our coat racks and shoe racks are there.  The microwave.  A tote with our winter gear, hats, mittens, scarves, etc…  A shelf unit with pantry items. An overhead shelf with small appliances and extra paper goods.  My cleaning supplies.  The only thing it’s not good for is walking through… hmmm.

3.  Attic.  Who’s attic isn’t a wreck?  Really?  It tends to be a catch all for us.  If something isn’t currently needed or in use, it goes into the attic.  Some of it we find and use as needed, but a lot of it gets shoved to the back and never seen again.  I’m sure there is stuff there that could disappear and we’d never know it.

4.  Garage.  Ugh! It really seems like we clean out the garage every spring and fall.  And every time it fills up again.  We have never parked a car in the garage in the nearly five years we’ve lived here.

5. The kids’ bedrooms.  There are two of them but I’ll list them here as one.  My 13 yr old son just doesn’t take care of his clothes.  Clean or dirty.  They just hang around.  My 10 year old daughter collects things.  And most of them end up on the floor.  If anyone has any tips on motivating your kids to clean their rooms, PLEASE let me know.  I’m out of ideas.

6.  The screen porch.  This is probably most embarrassing because it’s the first impression to my house.  And it’s winter right now.  Shovels, patio furniture, returnables, and Goodwill fodder.

7.  The freezer.  It seems like we put things in the freezer, but very little ever comes out of it.  The last few times we emptied the freezer was because someone left the door open and ruined everything inside.  I’m so ashamed.

8.  Basement.  Okay.  So there’s probably not much I can do about this.  One wall is field stone and the basement is damp.  When it rains hard we get little streams of water running through to the drain.  Everything down there is up on pallets.  It’s not really a pleasant place to be.

9.  Under the couch.  It eats things like pencils, candy wrappers, and socks.  Actually, I’m pretty sure the kids feed it.

10.  Top of bookshelves.  We have a lot of books.  So we have a lot of bookshelves.  The tall ones that have five shelves. It’s pretty rare that I think about dusting off the top.  Anything that’s up there has a layer of dust and cobwebs.

 

Yuck! That list makes us sound like slobs.  I really wish I was OCD.  Maybe I will be by the end of next week.  Right.

What areas do you find embarrassing in your house?  What do you wish you were OCD about?  Comment below. 🙂

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