You may remember my recap of the lessons I learned from Brooklyn a few weeks ago. Out of all the life changes our weekend in the city inspired, one seemed to stand out above the rest.
It was high time to clean out my closet.
I’ve since reduced my wardrobe by half, taking items I no longer need to a local consignment shop and thrift store that helps support battered women. While I feared splicing my clothing collection in half might spawn a deep sense of regret in the weeks to come, it’s so far proved to be one of the best decisions I’ve made in a long time. Surprisingly, having fewer choices peeking out at me from behind my closet doors makes it so much easier to get dressed in the morning. Truth be told, I actually feel like I have more options than I did before. And I don’t even miss my neon, tie-dyed yoga hoodie or ridiculously impulsive cat t-shirt! (At least not yet, that is.)
In the weeks ahead, I’m hoping to cut my anthology of clothing in half once more. And for each new item I bring into my wardrobe, I’ll be donating two old items. It is my hope that this less is more approach to style will actually produce a simple, functional wardrobe, that is even more fashion-forward than my current day-to-day attire.
Because de-cluttering my closet was so refreshing, I realized I didn’t want to simply stop there. After lots of research on Amazon, I decided The Joy of Less, A Minimalist Living Guide would be the perfect companion for a total overhaul of my entire apartment.
People of the internet, this book has pretty much changed my life. (Not to mention my entire outlook on bobby pins.)
Francine’s book starts with changing your mindset about ‘stuff’ in general. She then breaks down her S.T.R.E.A.M.L.I.N.E. approach (you know I love me a good acronym) on how to de-clutter your home and your life. Finally, she does a step-by-step breakdown of how to give each and every space in your home a minimalist makeover. It’s an extremely quick read, and is filled with tons of points that are so strangely obvious, you’ll kick yourself in the shins a couple of times for not realizing them on your own. I’ve been so excited about the things I’ve learned from Francine’s book, I may have accidentally tried to convert everyone I know to a life of minimalism. I’m pretty sure my family thinks I’ve joined some sort of ‘abandon all your worldly possessions’ cult. Rest assured Mom and Dad…I still have my Tupperware bin full of false eyelashes, so it’s not that serious yet.
Still, I really am trying to turn over a new leaf, and embrace a life of…well…less. The two ideas (out of many) that have really stuck with me are as follows:
1. Stop trying to recreate outside experiences in your space
Sure, I might enjoy a relaxing day at the naked spa, but does that mean my own personal bathroom has to resemble one? I don’t need dozens of lotions, piles of scented candles and enough bath towels to sandbag the banks of the Mississippi stockpiled in my en suite. My bathroom should be simple, functional, and only contain necessities I use on a daily basis. On the days when I really need that spa-like experience, I can go to the actual spa…what a concept!
The same goes for my ice cream maker, which is currently inhabiting a ridiculous amount of space in my kitchen pantry. Why on earth do I need a ten pound ice cream maker? On those nights when I simply can’t kick my craving for some sugary, frozen dairy, why not simply go our for ice cream? It’s not as if I’m living in a place that’s lacking dairy, or something! Going out for a frozen treat will taste better than the poor-man’s ice cream I would attempt to recreate anyway, plus I won’t have a large kitchen accessory collecting dust and taking up valuable real-estate in my cabinet.
2. You don’t have to own something to enjoy it
Does one truly need an in-home treadmill, elliptical and full set of weights if they live in close proximity to an affordable gym? Does the fact that I hit the slopes every two years justify storing a large pair of skis, not to mention all of the accessories that come along with them, in my already cramped garage? Sometimes, renting simply makes more sense.
Scott and I have been trying to find the perfect home for ages. Yet we live in Minnesota — the land of 3,000 square foot houses with six bedrooms and a three-car garage. Would a mammoth house actually work for the two of us? Our current 1,200 square foot apartment is the perfect size. With two bedrooms and two bathrooms, we have plenty of room to live comfortably and even accommodate guests. In this scenario, could renting actually make us more content than owning?
This rule also applies to my…er…problem with sequined cocktail wear. During a shopping trip, I’m naturally drawn to fun, sparkly, completely impractical items. It is for this reason that the spacious closet in our spare bedroom has been taken over by my ridiculously large collection of maxi dresses, cocktail sheaths, and even a couple of evening gowns. The problem occurs when I wear my favorite new dress to an event. Photos will be taken, and shared via every social media outlet, not to mention this blog. The next time I have an event to attend, I don’t want to repeat my outfit, as I’ve already been photographed in it. Yes, I realize I just had an uber-shallow Kim Kardashian moment…but this is the way I truly feel. (And I know some of you out there share the same predicament…I’ve had conversations with you about it!)
In regards to special occasion dresses, wouldn’t it make more sense to use a service like Rent the Runway? I could still wear a fabulous new frock to all of my events, yet the cost would be half of what I’ve spent on purchasing sed dresses. Plus, I’d be keeping my guest room closet empty so that it might actually be used by…wait for it…guests! See? You can still enjoy the finer things in life without actually having to own them. Embracing minimalism doesn’t mean sacrificing fabulousness.
With my trusty book in hand, I convinced Scott this weekend would be well spent tackling a few of the smaller spaces in our home. Namely, our two bathrooms and the hallway linen closet. Scott, a minimalist since I’ve known him, nearly did a backflip at such a suggestion. “Finally!” he exclaimed, “I’ve been telling you we’ve needed to do this for years.”
With my tail between my legs, I admitted Scott was right. After approximately fifteen minutes of gloating, he finally started to help me empty out every single nook and cranny in our master bathroom. The result?
You’ll just have to wait until tomorrow to see!
(In an attempt to keep my blog minimal, I’m cutting myself off at 1,200 words.)
(Fine. My fingers are actually tired of typing, and I can’t find the energy to edit the photo evidence.)
(But let’s just pretend it’s me being minimal. Cool?)
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