31 Days of Learning to Simplify: My Belongings

Welp. I was typing my VERY LAST SENTENCE ON THIS POST when I hit two random keys on my keyboard and the whole thing disappeared. Thirty minutes and tiny tear later (not really but almost)….let’s try this again. While frequently hitting the “save” button this time. 

This is an extension of yesterday’s post on simplifying my wardrobe. I realize “belongings” is a rather broad scope, but honestly my decluttering and simplification method is generally the same whether I’m going through my kitchen or my paperwork. Here’s how I tackle it all, based on my trial and error while working through the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.

1. Realize you have too many belongings. FAR TOO MUCH. You could live with a fraction of the things you currently own. If you have any clutter in your home, you have too much. If you have stacks of stuff in various places, you need a “stuff detox.” And by the way, I come from a long line of “stackers” and it is a really hard habit to break. We stack papers, books, pictures, and boxes right along with all of our good intentions. We plan to go through that pile. We will eventually deal with all of it. Except we don’t. The stack just grows and we move it from point A to point B. It doesn’t take long for us to become so overwhelmed that we just ignore it completely.

If this is you, JUST STOP. Grab a pile. Ask yourself why you are keeping every single piece of it. You’ll be amazed at how much can be dealt with quickly or thrown away altogether. 

2. Only keep that which you love or that which you must. That which you “must” is a short list and involves mostly paperwork, family heirlooms, and the like. 

3. Find a home for everything you decide to keep. If it doesn’t have a home? Yep – it’s gotta go. 

4. BUY LESS. Take on a minimalist mindset. If you already have two colanders in your kitchen, do you really need a third one even though it’s cute and matches your kitchen colors? NO. Put it back on the shelf and walk away. (This is easier after you’ve cleaned out because you are acutely aware of what you already own, and therefore aware of what you do and don’t need.) 

I have a good friend who says she “hates clutter” and I’ve decided that I want to be that type of person. I’ve found that the more I clear out, the less tolerant I become of junk. Less stuff = less clutter = a cleaner, neater home. That’s just how it works. The reward of the work is exponential. 

So, go grab a box or a pile and get going! (Start in your closet if you haven’t already, and read yesterday’s post for some tips.) It’s like a good haircut: you’ll feel instantly lighter and wonder why it took you so long to make the cut. 

31 Days of Learning to Simplify: My Wardrobe

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I am a typical girl. 

….Or at least I used to be.

Until very recently, I would walk into my closet stuffed so full of clothes you couldn’t slip one more hanger in there, and declare I had nothing to wear.

First of all, admitting that makes me disgusted with myself after being in Thailand and seeing people who actually have nothing to wear. Secondly, I started reading the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and I was completely inspired to create a minimalist wardrobe. 

If you haven’t read the book, she basically instructs you to hold each piece of clothing and ask yourself if it sparks joy. It sounds a little wack – I get it. But the incredible thing is that IT WORKS! Really, it does. I threw away old clothes. I donated a trunk full. And I kept only the things I love. If I liked it but it didn’t fit quite right? Gone. If I loved it at one time but it no longer fits my taste? Gone. If it was something I felt obligated to keep only because I paid too much for it or it as a gift? Gone.

Can I just tell you how much freedom this ONE LITTLE THING gave me? Instant reward. Instant relief. Paring down my wardrobe was honestly the catalyst of my simplify journey. 

Now I know better what works for my life, my body type, and my taste. So I’m not quick to pick up that shirt on the clearance rack only because it’s $6. My criteria has changed and my standards have increased. 

I usually* ask myself these 3 things before making a clothing purchase:
1) Do I LOVE it? If it’s only “okay” or I’m only buying it because it’s on sale, there is a good chance I will like it even less once I hang it in my closet. 
2) Does the cost per wear ratio make sense? Shoes, jeans, and outerwear/cardigans get so much use in my closet so I am willing to spend a little more in these areas to get good quality pieces that will stand up to the wear. 
3) Does it fit in a category that I know works well for my body type? I have heard many people discuss the advantages of having a “uniform” that you can always rely on, and now I’m a believer. Not in a structured, boring way, but in an I-know-this-works-for-me way. I really love cardigans, kimonos, and ponchos that can layer and provide some extra angles and depth for my smaller frame. So those are a go-to for me. 

*I say “usually” because of course, there are exceptions. Sometimes I just need a new pair of yoga pants or socks. These don’t require the grilling my other wardrobe items do! 

Giant BONUS to this simplified wardrobe? My morning routine is quicker and less stressful because everything in my closet WORKS. I don’t have to change eight times before I’m happy with the result.

I really believe a wardrobe is the perfect starting space in learning to simplify. Everyone can clean out their closet, and since there are such immediate benefits, I think you’ll find the motivation to start simplifying other areas of your life as well. 

Join me tomorrow as we cover another topic in learning to simplify! And as always, thanks for reading. 

31 Days of Learning to Simplify: But why?

Here we are! My first official Write 31 Days post (because yesterday was just the intro)! 
*picture a firework emoji here. or two or three.* 

This is an experiment in simplifying my entire life – from my home to my heart to my makeup routine. I will cover it all. But why is this important? And why now?

Honestly, I didn’t think it was that significant at first. Earlier this year I just kept getting the same message loud and clear from the Lord: simplify. free your life up. busy is not better. slow down. be minimal. have less. 

Less of what, God? His response: less material items, yes, but also less worry, less commitments, less critical self-talk, less judgement of others, less arguing. 

It has taken me some time, but I am now starting to understand why He has called me to a quieter life. 

When there is less clutter surrounding me, more of God can fill my life. I can fully focus on Him – His ways and His purpose for me. I can see the bigger picture. There are so many changes happening in my life right now and more than anything, I want to recenter and confirm where He wants me to go every step of the way. Too much noise has kept me distracted until now. When you clear out all the junk, you’re left with only the important things, the things you really treasure. 

Now that we’ve covered some of the Why, now we can start the What. Tomorrow we dive in with something easy and superficial – wardrobe! See ya then!