After a brief, but lovely, conversation with a commenter on my last post I have decided to share the first steps in my process of ridding myself from unwanted/unused things.
Step One: Reality/Timing/Forgiveness
Part A: Coming to terms with reality.
Quite often whenever I read about minimalism it’s like people just had a break through. That “A-Ha!” moment and all of their problems were solved. For me, that wasn’t the case. It was a steady progress of learning about my belongings, different approaches to organization, and a deep assessment of my values.
I’m not saying that it’s going to be easy. Trust me — I know that this is difficult. Nobody said that it would be easy. Facing yourself and your choices can truly be eye opening, but at the same time it can take a toll on your emotions. I can’t count the number of times that I’ve had panic attacks sitting in a pile of stuff that I thought I needed.
Take as much time as you want. This leads me to my next point.
Part B: Timing is everything and nothing.
I think that this process might be the most difficult one on this list.
Think about how many years you’ve had your stuff . Think about the time you’ve spent collecting, organizing, washing, cleaning, sorting, etc. all of that stuff. Now think about how much time it will take to inspect those items, clean them, sort them into piles, and rid yourself of your possessions. I crafted a plan. I constantly reminded myself to set aside time to go through things.
Part C: Be kind to yourself.
I know this may seem silly, but I struggle with this daily. Sometimes I beat myself up over the amounts of wasted money, time, effort, space, peace of mind, etc., but I have to remind myself of the fact that I’m not perfect and I must forgive myself and treat myself with kindness. I think that half the battle is accepting yourself completely.
Step Two: Logistics & Strategies
Part A: Plan, Plan, Plan!
I’m blessed to work and be trained in logistics and organizational theories, but I doubt that the majority of people have my mastery. Which means that you’re going to have to have a plan. Don’t worry, it’s not as hard as it seems! You need a starting point, goals, deadlines, and long-term finished product results.
Whether you start in the kitchen, with clothing or shoes, bathroom items, or by sorting linens, it’ll be a starting point! Getting started might be a bit difficult, but once you begin to wade through the chaos it will begin to make sense in your mind and become easier to part with items you never expected to be able to part with. I know it sounds absolutely insane, but I promise it works!
I used to be the kind of person that held on to everything. Whenever my mother passed away I kept all of her shoes and clothes. I thought they could still be used, and while they were great quality and well taken care of, I found myself staring at them with sadness and pain. They were a constant reminder of not having her. What I really wanted was to her in the beautiful dress or brush against the floor in those classic boots.
She was elegant and graceful, but I was more of a bumbling hoarder. I had to start there.
Part B: DO IT
GET OFF OF YOUR BUTT AND DO IT. Don’t procrastinate. Life is short, we only get one chance. Live your life on purpose. Do the things that you promised yourself you would do, whether it’s sorting cans to donate, reupholstering that chair, or admitting that you’ll never fit into those “skinny jeans”. Just because you have those jeans doesn’t mean you’re that person. You are who you are, embrace the situation and charge onward to your well thought out living situation.
Step Three: Congratulations
This is an endless cycle, a lifestyle choice. If you’re serious about it then you’ll commit to it! If you’ve committed, CONGRATULATIONS!
What worked for me was discussing it. Tell people about your progress and discussing future goals. At one point, people kept coming up to me asking what was different. Well, I was. I was a better version of myself because I no longer felt like I was drowning. I felt like I was floating.
One more thought, don’t buy bins, file folders, cubbies, separators, containers, or anything else until you have assessed the belongings you are keeping and know that you’ll need those things. Storage containers are usually never the problem, you are. So look the mirror, look at yourself, and ask if this person looking back at you is the person you want to be.
As always, what brings you The Blys?