I dream of white spaces.
Imagine a home of simplicity, with bright white walls, clean lines, comfy furniture, and a few vibrant green houseplants. Imagine clear counters, one or two beautiful pieces of art, and sun filled rooms. That’s my dream home.
When setting goals, we’re often encouraged to imagine what it would be like to have already achieved that goal. When we visualize the end result, it gives us focus for what direction we need to move in. Is each new step taking you toward or away from your desired result? Having clarity on the goal becomes the best guide.
How would your life be better with less?
I had bought into consumerism. Even though I tried to convince myself it wasn’t true.
I didn’t spend copious amounts of money on shoes, purses, or designer clothes. I was thrifty and hated to pay full price for anything. Yet, when I looked around my house, I could see all the things I had acquired because I thought it would make me feel better.
Books that would make me smarter, even though I couldn’t possibly read everything on my shelves. Wall decor with inspirational sayings to help me feel at peace with my circumstances. Dishes that were never used because they were rare, making me feel like I had something that few other people owned.
All things. Things with no real purpose. But things that I had somehow entangled my emotions in.
With an overwhelming feeling of claustrophobia in my own home, a visualization of my dream home, and a burning question, “How would my life be better with less?” I set out to make a change.
The Minimalists have a game they play to help people ease into minimalism. It starts at the beginning of a month and on the first day, the participant gets rid of 1 item. On the second day, the participant gets rid of 2 items and so on through the month. By the end of the month, nearly 500 items have been removed from the home.
That sounded good to me, but I wanted to jump in with both feet. So I did the challenge backwards. On day one, I got rid of 31 items. On day two, I got rid of 30 items and so on.
The challenge was freeing. It was hard. And it was strangely emotional.
I found I could justify keeping just about everything. Which is what I had been doing all along. There were feelings of guilt, anxiety, and loss along the way.
- I felt guilty about getting rid of things that were barely used or gifts that didn’t fit in my dream home.
- I felt anxiety over wondering if I’d regret getting rid of some things or wondering if I’d ever need it again.
- And mostly, I felt a great loss over my identity that I’d wrapped up in those things.
Most of the items were donated to the local thrift shop. Some items went into the trash. And a few went into the attic until I could decide if I really wanted to let go and sell them.
At the end of the challenge, I felt lighter and more spacious. The house looked tidier. And the process of decluttering things was only just beginning, as my eye had been trained to pick out things that didn’t serve a purpose or add value.
The More of Less
The funny thing about this process is, as I’m clearing out more spaces in my home, I’m discovering that I am living in my dream home. Even if the architecture, building materials, or structure aren’t exactly what I would chose.
However, I am uncovering bright white walls, clearing counters, and letting the sunshine in. I can relax and enjoy the few pieces of art that are really meaningful and get value from the items that are used in daily tasks.
Perhaps your goals of living a more meaningful and contented life aren’t so distant. Perhaps they’re buried under the clutter you’ve been sitting in for so long. Maybe all it takes is removing the useless to find the valuable.
I challenge you to find out.