A few months ago we started our minimalism journey as a family. The first phase consisted of the following:
Step 1: Goal Agreement
My husband and I talked about the importance and interest in doing this together and ensured that we were BOTH on the same page about achieving a simpler lifestyle. At the beginning we did not want to become minimalists per se but at least move to a home with less clutter. We then explained it to the kids, with a lukewarm response.
Step 2: Initial De-cluttering
This part was relatively easy. We gave ourselves two months to get rid of obvious clutter, and decided that over 500 items would be a huge win. To our surprise, we were able to destash about 800 – 1k items! We recycled and threw away some things, donated the rest to different local organizations. Some of these initial things included:
- Torn clothes
- Socks without pairs
- Clothes and shoes that no longer fit
- Jewelry that had not been used in years
- Broken and outgrown toys
- Paired down winter shawls and scarfs
- Old towels and bedroom sheets
- Extra kitchen items that we don’t use
- Magazines or damaged books
- Expired food
- Old medicines, cosmetics and other personal products
- Old tooth, hair and makeup brushes
- Art that we had in storage and clearly no intention of using
- Electronics we no longer use or had multiple
- Years of papers stored in the attic no longer needed
- Sewing fabric that would not be used
- A third old car
Step 3: Assessing Results
We found this process calming and frankly addictive. Even our kids started to bring us stuff they wanted to donate, but to a limited extent. This is when we decided that we could do better and reduce further.
Not only did we feel more in control and calmer but it felt good knowing that other people would be using the stuff we had in our house ‘just in case’. It also felt good to start putting into practice a more congruent approach to what we preach – a meaningful simple life that would focus on our top life priorities.
And so we decided to move this process forward and begin Phase II.