You Have to Start Somewhere

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By Renée

I’ve been reading books on decluttering and minimalism trying to find the perfect way to get my house cleared out and am dealing with some serious analysis paralysis. As I looked around our 1300 square-foot, three bedroom house I starting asking myself what needs to go? Of course, my mind immediately flew to the master bedroom closet shelf where my almost 21-year-old wedding dress resides. I felt my stomach clench and then I realized that this was not the place to start but rather the place to end. If I have learned one thing in my reading it’s that you start with something easy. You need to build momentum so that you will stay energized and make it to the finish line.

Going from room to room and looking over what we have I noticed that there are three layers of stuff in our house. The first layer is what I call The Eyesore Layer. It’s the clutter that makes our house look like a mess and makes me say bad words and get angry. The second layer is The Excessive Layer. These items are put away and not a mess but we have too many of them. Books, clothes, DVDs, CDs and dishes make up this layer. The third layer is two categories that we have a similar motivation for keeping, The Emotional Layer and The Expensive Layer. Gifts and keepsakes added to things like watches we don’t wear or kitchen appliances we spent a lot of money but didn’t use after a month.

We’re going to start with the first layer and work our way down. We’re beginning with what my husband calls the junk room. It’s our third bedroom and was supposed to be a craft room for me but then really turned into a dumping ground for anything that we didn’t have a place for. I’m setting a 15 minute timer for today and diving in.

Time to Leave Neverland

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By Dave

Let me start by clarifying that minimalism is my wife’s thing.

That’s not to say she is wrong and I am “putting up” with some hare-brained scheme. What I mean is that she has caught the vision and I haven’t yet (and, to be honest, I’m not sure I want to).

Part of the difference between us is that a little bit of chaos kind of works much better with my spontaneous, up-for-an-adventure nature. I want to move on to the next thing and cleaning up my mess from the last fun thing slows me down. An excuse, perhaps, but one I have let drive my actions in the past.

While maintaining a house up to the standards of June Cleaver or Carol Brady was not a daily expectation in either one of our homes, at my house, we took things to the next level. I won’t get into specifics here, because it isn’t all my story to tell, but a little bit of “slothfulness” in this area wasn’t considered one of the Seven Deadly Sins in our home (perhaps in retrospect it should have been).

But when I walk by the junk room, where the furniture for my wife’s studio is trapped by so much clutter that it look like we’re trying to build a conservatory in a war zone, I am convicted it’s not healthy to avoid this problem forever.

So, whether I am ready to do so or not, I suppose it’s high time to leave the responsibility-free Neverland I have created for myself and get aboard the Minimalism Train as it leaves the station.

Hopefully in a year there will be enough change to make the effort worth it.

Making Sense of Our Mess

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By Renée

You are probably asking yourself “Who are these crazy people and why are they inviting me into their messy house?”

We really aren’t crazy at all; we just have a problem we’re trying to solve. I know that should really explain it all but you were probably looking for a little more to go on. We’ve been married for almost 21 years and next to our money problem which we sorted in 2011 (thank you, Dave Ramsey), keeping the house tidy and decluttered is the number one thing we fight about. We came to this marriage having been raised in very different homes but neither of us ever really got the hang of being organized and picking up after ourselves. We decided that this is the year we are going to figure this out once and for all.

This past summer I started listening to podcasts for the first time and experienced something I call “drinking from the fire hose,” which really just means that I was exploring lots of new ideas at once. One of these ideas that I really started investigating was minimalism. I started reading books and blogs and listening to podcasts and trying to get a feel for what it is, what it isn’t and how it could work for us. The more I read about minimalism the more I realized it was what I was craving.

Due to some health issues I realized that we have way more belongings than I can possibly manage with my energy level, so downsizing our stuff will be key. Knowing that I accomplish more with external accountability, I came up with the idea for this blog and hopefully if there are two or three people out there reading it, that will be just the motivation I need.