Thursday, January 5, 2017

So far...

I am typing this in the most awkward way possible with a baby sleeping on me, but I really feel like talking about something that happened today so I'm going to make it work...and hopefully keep it short because this is not easy or comfortable. I mean the part about trying to type while balancing a computer on Olive isn't easy or comfortable, I'm really happy about what I want to share.

Over the past few weeks I have donated hundreds of things. My mom is the most helpful person ever and is making it really easy for me by letting me fill up her car when she visits and dropping things off at donation centres for me. I seriously can't thank her enough.

I want to back up a little and talk about the way I'm dealing with getting rid of things. I don't think I've mentioned this yet but it would be way to hard for me to go back and check because of the previously mentioned  sleeping baby making this difficult. In the past when I have gone through things to get rid of I always felt like I needed to start with the problem areas first. The basement has lots of big things we aren't using and getting rid of them is a bit of a pain so it's hard to get motivated to do it. Also, even though I have donated tons of clothes, I still have way more than I need. Same with shoes. Add kids toys into the mix and it all just feels too overwhelming to even begin.

When I was thinking about how to start minimizing our things this time I looked around and decided to start with the things around us everyday, the things that are in our kitchen drawers that we have to move around to get to the things we actually use. I had recently organized our kitchen drawers so this was a really easy place for me to start. I could see clearly which items we hadn't used since I had organized, those things that I was hanging onto just in case. Now, it was very easy for me to pack them up. I moved onto cupboards with too many plates, cups and mugs and have been continuing through the kitchen tackling whatever little area I felt I had time for or could mentally handle in that moment.

That's been huge for me. Just dealing with what I feel like I can handle. With Olive being so little still, I can't take a day where I can focus all of my attention on clearing things out, so sneaking a few minutes here and there to add things to a donation box has been the solution. Before, I felt like I shouldn't even bother starting if I can't make a big dent in the amount of things we have but I'm so happy that I've moved past that mental block and have been slowly chipping away, seeing progress, feeling lighter and so much happier. I honestly can't believe what a difference it has made so far. My attachment to things is fading and getting rid of these non sentimental kitchen items is actually making me feel comfortable with the thought of getting rid of things I never would have considered parting with before even though they are adding no value to my life.

An example of this is something that happened today that I want to remember. I have an original Nintendo system that belonged to my Grama. Pretty cool, but also sentimental because I spent a lot of time as a kid watching my Grama play Nintendo. I know, that sounds weird but I loved watching my Grama play video games. Tonight Ivan and I were talking about things that we don't need and he asked me about my Nintendo and all the games. We've played it a few times over the years but haven't pulled it out in a really long time. My immediate response was, "I'm not ready to deal with that yet". As soon as those words came out of my mouth I realized that it wasn't true and that I was totally ready to pass that Nintendo on to someone who would be really excited about it and use it. I am still so suprised by my reaction and it shows me how far I've come in such a short time. Nintendo reminds me of my Grama but I don't need to own a Nintendo to remember her.

I really wanted to document that shift in my feelings about things because it suprised me and made me feel really good. I'm looking forward to more moments like that.


Monday, December 26, 2016

What's the big deal?

So, minimalism. What's the big deal? Why am I so excited? This possibly sounds silly but I feel like it is going to change my life in the best way possible. It may sound even more dorky when I tell you I feel this way because I watched a Netflix documentary called Minimalism: A Documentary about the Important Things. You know what though, I don't care if people think I'm dorky; especially if it helps someone else. This documentary just said all of the right things to me and I am so excited I feel like I could burst into tears.

I think I am realizing that I have a minimalist and a hoarder living in my brain. Maybe I'll start this whole thing by taking a few steps back and talking about my past relationship with things.

I don't know how it started but I have always been very attached to my things. As a child I never wanted to get rid of anything and this definitely continued into my teenage years and adult life. I remember getting upset when my Mom gave some of her books away. HER books...not even my books! My mom really liked to get rid of things and it made me very agitated and upset when she tried to get me to join in. When she finally made me get rid of some of my very important things such as old magazines and literal garbage from Austrailia (yes...I went to Austrailia and saved a bunch of my garbage instead of throwing it out), I convinced Ivan's Dad to let me store it in his attic in case I might someday want to look at these magazines, use them for something or, you know, admire my Austrailian garbage. I feel like I should point out that these things are all still up there in the attic. I haven't needed that garbage once, can you believe it?

Up until a few years ago I also had the habit of saying yes whenever someone asked me if I wanted their old stuff that they were getting rid of. Absolutely any craft supply was hoarded, old, neat looking stuff was a definite yes and pretty much anything that I might someday use came home with me. I couldn't understand why people were getting rid of these things. Oh, and don't even get me started on thrift shopping.

Fast forward a bit and I started to understand. Our house was packed with so much stuff! Don't worry, it's very far from an episode of Hoarders over here (is that even still a show?) but I started to realize that I didn't want more things.

I think that was the first minimalist thought that entered my mind. I was quickly able to curb to need to take other people's junk. I became a really picky thrift shopper (and just a picky shopper in general) to the point of being able to talk myself out of buying pretty much anything I didn't really need almost all of the time. I realized that I didn't have a hard time keeping new things out of the was getting rid of things I had already accumulated.

People who don't share this desire to hold on to objects may not get what I'm saying. For me, letting go of things can be almost painful. Obviously, not everything is painful to get rid of but I have definitely gone through purges where I really want to get rid of the items but it's so hard that I just need to get them out of the house before I can change my mind.

Getting rid of lots of our stuff isn't a new thing for Ivan and I by any means. I personally have let go of tons of things in the last few years that I definitely would not have parted with in the past. Ivan has been talking about being way more minimal for a long time but I always saw minimalism as something that was going to force me to say goodbye to things I really liked just so our house would feel a little less cluttered.

As I mentioned already, the documentary spoke to me in just the right way to make me realize that this could be the change I've been looking for. I realized that I have been spending a lot of time just thinking about all of the stuff we have to get rid of. Our basement full of physical possessions is taking up so much space in my mind. I've also realized that I feel the best when we have just cleaned and there isn't excess clutter around. I've started imagining our piano with nothing on it (something Ivan's been talking about forever) and feeling really relaxed.

I guess it's confusing for me because I like to look at pictures of other people's homes that are full of knick knacks and things they love and display. I think collections are awesome and I love cute little figures of characters I like. I am realizing though that just because I like to look at pictures of those things and visit houses that are like that doesn't mean that's what I want my house to look like. I am starting to realize that to feel truly happy, I need to look around a room and not be distracted by things on every surface. I think so anyways. We'll see.

Ivan and I totally have a ton of minimalist tendencies already. I didn't realize that's what they were until I started reading more about minimalism. I feel like we are basically minimalists who just happen to have a ton of stuff in our house. We don't have many desires to have the latest, greatest, newest things. We have become generally good about making purchases mindfully. We live very much within our means and prioritize saving. Blah, blah, blah. All of this is just to say that I feel like we have been moving in this direction for quite some time now and aggressively clearing out our stuff is the next step. Like I said, I'm really exicted and can't wait to see what else this leads to.


Saturday, December 24, 2016

I have no idea if I plan to start blogging again, but suddenly I have the urge to share some of my life. So...I'll just throw this out there.

I feel like I am at a bit of a turning point in my life. Lately, especially since having Olive back in May, I've been feeling very unsettled. I can't explain it very well. Everytime I try to talk about it I know that I'm not really saying the right things so that it makes sense to other people. I've defintely been dealing with some postpartum depression and/or anxiety as well as just feeling very overwhelmed by life. The everyday things I do, the fact that I have almost nothing to wear because nothing fits, managing two kids as well as all of the stuff taking up too much space in our house, and a whole bunch of other things have been rattling around in my head and making me feel grumpy and edgy and like I'm not enjoying life the way I would like to be. Basically I've just been feeling like a mess and itching for a major change. I just didn't know where to all.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not miserable everyday or anything like that. I know how lucky I am and I see how fantastic my life is. I hate that I feel like I need to put that disclaimer but it's the internet so I'm not sure what tone you're using when you read this in your head...or out judgement.

The reason I feel like I want to share all of this is because I think I have found something that is going to be the big change I need and I am interested to see how it plays out.  It is going to be an interesting process and I would really like to document it for myself. In the past, blogging has been the only way I've been able to stick to any sort of journal so we'll see if I'm into it again.

I think that I will eventually want to talk about why I stopped blogging and my thoughts on the internet in general but for now I am just excited to start my new journey.  Now that I've made this all sound very dramatic I guess I should just share what I've been thinking about nonstop for the last few days. Minimalism.


PS. Man, I'm sitting here having a terribly hard time hitting publish. I haven't even looked to make sure my blog is set up properly so it probably looks totally wonky. Whatever, here we go!