2017 came in for us as a bit of a whirlwind. Our house flooded in the August 2016 flood in Baton Rouge and we lost basically everything. We saved a few clothing items, my kitchen table and some shoes for our family and that was it. Suddenly, we were moving into our finished house with a lot less than we started with. I immediately started processing what I need to replace – beds, dressers, couches, etc.
We live in a relatively small house (under 1500 square feet) and have learned that I function best when I have open space. I am working on a life where I appreciate what I have and am not striving for the “next best thing” or worse than that trying to “Keep up with the Jones” (whoever they are). With all of this began my journey to minimalism. I found a few Facebook groups about intentional living, read a few books (Jen Hatmaker’s 7 is my current read) and started on this journey.
For me, living a minimalist life is not about limiting my family to the bare necessities. Minimalism for me is about loving the space I am in and the things that I own, being intentional about purchases and taking care of the items I own. Society tells us that the best next thing is out there and we NEED it, when in reality, what we have will work.
Simplifying my life in 2017 was done gradually, and I certainly did not just wake up in January and everything useless was out of my life. It started with a group of friends and I doing a 30 day challenge where on the first day we got rid of one thing, the second two things, and so on until on the last day, we purged 30 things! There were a lot of parts of my house where I didn’t realize how much stuff I kept that I never used. Think about it – kitchen cabinets, bathroom cabinets, and that dreaded hall closet! My favorite part of this journey was thinking about WHO would end up with these items. This designer suit that I donated because I will never wear again – I hope will go to a woman interviewing for her dream job! The things that we are not using anymore can really be a blessing to others.
After the challenge was complete, I found myself paying more attention to the things that I bring into the house. As I am walking the aisles of Target for girlfriend therapy, I chose wisely what I am purchasing. Also, I added bags to my kids’ closets so now, as they put something on that is too small (or too short in our case), it goes in the bag! Then when the bag is full, we donate it.
These are just a few tiny steps I took in 2017 to begin my minimalist journey. For 2018, I plan on continuing to be intentional with my time, resources and love. Walking into my house and having open, empty space keeps my anxiety at bay and allows me to be the best mom and wife that I can be.