I think the word “laundry” is enough to make most moms cringe! Just the process of gathering, sorting, washing, drying, sorting it again, folding, and then taking it all to its respected homes is exhausting. How on earth are you supposed to get anything else done around the house?
Up until two days ago, I was even living without a dishwasher for a month as we waited for Best Buy to send us a third one in hopes that maybe this time, it would work without flooding (I’ll write about this experience when I talk about renovations later this year)! So, every morning, I would make Marina her breakfast, stick her in her highchair, and put away plus hand wash more dishes for about half hour while she had something to entertain her. But what if I told you that I only spend about 20-30 minutes a day tidying my entire home now? This sounds like bliss, doesn’t it? You can accomplish this while your little one sleeps and even have time to drink a warm coffee while you write a blog post 😉 !
Being the mom of a toddler is exhausting! And even more exhausting is running around all day picking up things that don’t belong where someone has left them (ahem, husbands, are you listening?). But what if you had less stuff? It might sound crazy, but hear me out! Less stuff to pickup, less stuff to organize, less stuff to put in storage! I bet off the top of your head, you can name a few things you have and are still holding onto after years of moving them around. Don’t you hate shoving all of the clothing in your closet to one side as you try and jam the items you actually wear all the time in? Maybe adopting a more minimalist lifestyle is for you!
I started reading, “The Joy of Less, A Minimalist Living Guide: How to Declutter, Organize, and Simplify Your Life” by Francine Jay back in July and have made it a routine to finish a chapter a night on my Kindle as I unwind in bed. However, while I absolutely love what the author suggests for the most part, some ideas, like how her and her husband don’t have a bed frame and sleep on a futon are a bit extreme for me! Just like everything else, and as Jay herself acknowledges, there are different levels of minimalist living. But I can tell you from experience, that learning to adopt a more minimal way of being has changed my life!
What really got me going on my path to minimalism were two of the mental exercises Jay described at the start of the book. Let’s do the first one here. Are you ready? I want you to list every single item that you own! No, I’m not talking groups of pens, pairs of socks, or bobby pins, I’m telling you to list every single item. Crazy, huh? I wouldn’t even know where to begin! Do I really need 60+ bobby pins? Yikes!
Have you settled down from exercise one yet? Take a minute if that gave you as much stress as it gave me when I thought about it! Phew! Ok, now let’s do mental exercise number two. Ready? Imagine your home has caught fire. An absolutely horrible tragedy, but what do you take with you? Be honest, you have only moments to get you and your family out safely. When I thought about this, I actually didn’t think of any material things at all! My first thought was, Marina, and my second was Juraj! That’s it! My phone is always on my nightstand though, so this would come with us as well.
What were your thoughts? Is there a family photo album you cherish? Is it too difficult to get to right now because its buried under a ton of stuff? Luckily for my generation, most of our photos are now digital and on some sort of cloud device, so I, like Francine Jay, would also highly recommend digitizing as much of your paperwork as possible. Whether it be for keepsake or just to help you declutter your home!
These two exercises were powerful enough to really get me thinking about the state of my home (which we’re still in the process of moving into!) as well as my priorities. What did you think?
As a child of an immigrant family that fled Yugoslavia during the communist years, I know what its like to be surrounded by people who hold onto things. I remember going to my grandparents basement and there being hundreds of canned items, bottles of Coca Cola, and other items they seemed to collect. The downstairs guest room closets, entryway, and hallway closets were also stuffed with clothing! And while there is nothing wrong with buying in bulk when something you love is on sale, nor is there anything wrong with holding onto a few pieces of clothing you find beautiful or that elicit special memories, hanging onto every item because “I want to lose weight” or “I paid good money for that” are not the right reasons to keep something.
Take it from somebody who’s moved six times in eight years (from renting to buying, selling to living in my parents home, buying again, and doing it all over), believe me when I tell you that moving boxes of clothes you haven’t worn in 10 years is such a burden. Even more annoying than that is moving old electronics and finding cords that you have no idea what to do with! But are you ready for the most annoying? Moving textbooks! Oh dear! They are so heavy and such a pain to move from one location to the next. And as much money as you probably paid for them, will you ever really open up that book on Cellular Biology again? Science is always changing and as minimal as the updates to the new version might be, trust me, when your kid gets to college, they won’t be citing information from your 2012 textbook in 2035!
And so, I started selling on the Facebook Marketplace, Bidding Wars groups, and even put the odd item on Craigslist! I’ve made over $3,000 since May! Yes, we used to be addicted to shopping and yes, we held onto A LOT over the past few years! Between my husband bringing his old junk (also a child of a family that fled communism :P) and me bringing my old junk into our marriage, we had a lot accumulated stuff!
By adopting the Swedish principle of Lagom, which means “just the right amount”, you can save yourself time, effort, and money! Does your little one really need 10 sippy cups? Probably not! Are there a few she prefers? Absolutely! At one point, Marina had 12 (not all my doing, gifted too, haha!) but realistically, she never took to the Boon or Plastic Spout Avent ones, so I no longer feel guilty about selling or donating them to another family in need. How much is your patience and time really worth? More than $6? I would say so! Instead of frustratingly opening drawers with lids, straws, and bottles popping out, I now feel at ease when I open one drawer where all six cups and their attachments live. No more worrying about plastic valves having fallen behind the drawer or misplacing bits and pieces. But this is my version of Lagom: two for the fridge, two in the wash, and two available for use. What’s yours?
Are you interested in or do you already adhere to a minimalist lifestyle? Have you heard of the principle of Lagom before? Thanks so much for reading and good luck on your journey to maintaining a showroom home!