My Not-So-Minimalist Life: A Spring Cleaner’s Guide to Tidying Up

My Not-So-Minimalist Life: A Spring Cleaner’s Guide to Tidying Up

Quick – go to your bedroom closet and tell me: organized or chaos? Or is it organized chaos?

You may be a neat organizer freak, but even the best organizers sometimes fill their space with too much crap.

Inspired by my amazing friend and wonder of the world, Scott Fifer (it’s true. He knows all. We call him the Oracle. He’s even programmed that way in my phone, so that makes it even truer and more official), my husband and I have gone on a major purging rampage.

Scott posted a photo of a pile of clothes he was giving away after being inspired by a documentary called Minimalism. We watched it, and didn’t get even ten minutes into it before we were inspired to start making space in our closets, garage, and other nooks and crannies that seem to be housing things we haven’t seen since we moved in (dust bunnies, paper clips, push pins, clothes circa 1995…you know, the usual).

It’s nothing revolutionary. Minimalism, that is. But for some reason, Ted and I are in a place where we heard the war cry loud and clear. We’ve drawn the paint below our eyes, we’ve taken our defensive positions, and we’re moving in.

(I’m not trying to be dramatic. This is honestly how we feel about our new project. We don’t get out much…!).

I’ve always been of the opinion that in order to call abundance into our lives, we have to first make space for it. The universe can’t give you more if you haven’t proven that there is space for you to appropriately receive more.

Armed with this seemingly airy-fairy thought, I go on about my busy life and – after throwing away one thing (yay, Lauren! Look at you! You’re such a champ!) – I forget about the whole creating-space-for-abundance thing.

But this time, it’s different (no, really). I don’t know why. Maybe it’s the fact that I have a thirteen month old who came along with a ridiculous amount of new equipment, toys, clothes, towels and random accessories, all of which I had to make room for in an already too packed house.

Or maybe it was just time.

(or maybe I let one too many curse words spew out of my mouth when the baking sheets in the overfilled pantry attacked me for the fifth time that day)

I removed all of the contents of my closet and put them on the bed. I had over a dozen lululemon hoodies I don’t remember the last time I wore. I had at least thirty pairs of workout pants, some of which I remarked, “There you are! I’ve been looking for you everywhere!”

I got rid of half my closet. Seriously. Half. Ten bags filled with clothing, shoes, purses. Things I haven’t worn in years, but also, things I have worn but really don’t get any joy out of anymore. I had so much stuff that I couldn’t see all the things I had. I found a bunch of things I haven’t worn because I literally didn’t know they were there – they were hidden under a jumble of clothes that didn’t inspire me. So when I opened said drawer and saw said clothes, I closed it up quickly without ever knowing the gems that were there underneath it all.

This purging has not only helped to create space in my home and my mind, but it has also had the effect of making me question everything that comes into my home. Free gift bag at an event? Not so fast, gift bag! I see your water bottle, and I don’t need you. I see your brochures and coupons for places I’ve never been and have no intention of going. Thanks, but no thanks. You know what? Unless you’ve got a pair of diamond earrings in there, you can just go ahead and keep your swag bag, thank you very much.

My new quest to minimize my life has caused me to be much more careful about my purchases too. Because sure, things look shiny, sparkly and new when we buy them for an ungodly amount of money, but whether we got a shirt at Target for $5 or a shirt at Vince for $100, they both end up in the same bag of stuff to give away when we’re done with them. Their value becomes equal. And they both look just as sad in those bags. Wah-Wah.

Not only that, but to see all the stuff I’m giving away shows me how wasteful I have been. Did I really need twelve lululemon scuba hoodies (yes. Twelve.)? Did I really need thirty pairs of lululemon pants?

(To be fair, I worked for them for four years, and we were required to wear their clothes. It’s not a good enough reason to have held onto everything for so long. It just explains why I’ve discriminated against other workout apparel in favor of lululemon. Now you know. Aren’t you glad?)

I even went through some bags I’m giving away and found some headphones I silently blamed Ted for stealing (sorry, dude), along with some old kleenex, about $3 in coins, paper clips (how do those things end up in the most random places?), bandaids (so many band aids), bobby pins (oh my gosh, sooooo many of those too), and business cards from people I can’t even remember meeting (though I’m sure they were very nice).

No place was left untouched in this purge. Reusable bags in the kitchen pantry were cut down by seventy five percent. Doubles of kitchen utensils I forgot I had were given away. Luxury electronics like my espresso machine (which I only ever used for the milk frother because I don’t drink coffee), a brand new hand immersion blender (I have two), and a risotto machine I only ever used once were/are being sold.

Now that the bags of forgotten things have made their way to Goodwill for some other person to find joy in, I’m left with all the things that give me joy, and a heck of a lot more space. We still have a ways to go, but I’ve caught the space-bug and I’m not itching to fill my fancy new space with anything else just yet. And when I am, you can bet that I’m going to think long and hard about what I want to purchase, no matter the price tag. Because it doesn’t matter how much it sells for. What matters is its value to me. What matters is that it makes a case for its presence among my newly spacious home.

If you haven’t seen the movie yet (or the floor of your closet, for that matter), I urge you to see it. Create the space in your life to clear your mind, and make room for all that abundance that wants to make its way to you.

It’s time.

Your crazy friend,