There were many things I knew to expect when I shifted toward a more simple life. I anticipated we would have more money in our savings, more time and I was really banking on more sanity. However, there were a few things that I didn’t really see coming. I have to say that some of the unexpected benefits of implementing minimalism are my favorite benefits of all.
I honestly thought I would be doing laundry more often if I got rid of over half of our clothes. It just hasn’t turned out to be the case.
I think the strategy my children used to clean up was simply to throw everything into the dirty laundry basket. Some of their clothing was probably washed more than worn! Now that I think about it, I’m guilty of the same thing. If it was on the floor of the living room or the bathroom I just tossed it in the washing machine.
On top of that, I was washing 7 pairs of pajamas a week…per child. It just seemed easier than trying to manage my children’s pajamas. I was robbing Peter to pay Paul. Come laundry day, (and by that I mean the day that the laundry had piled up ridiculously high and my husband had run out of clean under shirts), I dreaded it. Do not confuse me with one of those women who have specific days they designate to do specific household chores; I’ve tried that. I’m just not that kinda gal. We were folding approximately 21+ sets of PJ’s. Thats up to 42 items to fold just in children’s pajamas!
With less kids clothing to manage it has become easier to keep track of what is clean and what is dirty. Even in my own closet the clothes are no longer falling off of the shelves and mindlessly getting shoved into the dirty laundry pile. When I do laundry now it’s 2 loads, maybe a 3rd if it has been a week. I still hate folding laundry, but it takes half the time now.
This may seem obvious, but I really didn’t see it coming. I didn’t think I would NEED the storage, but removing stuff made room for our stuff. Go figure.
Those kids pajamas that I’m not washing as frequently get put on the coat hooks by the laundry room. We made room for that by cleaning out the closet. Such simple changes reaped huge rewards. The kids are able to put them there in the morning (assuming syrup wasn’t a condiment served at breakfast that day) and go back and get them in the evening for bedtime.
I noticed the biggest change in my kitchen. I now have room for my toaster to go into the cabinet and off of my counter. I no longer have a canister of spatulas and spoons on my counter because they all fit in the DRAWERS!
Know that I do not have a large gourmet kitchen either. My realtor sister (click here for a shameless advertisement from this adoring big sister) agrees that it as a “small to medium” sized kitchen. It’s a simple peninsula kitchen with a handful of upper and lower cabinets. Nothing crazy.
I’ve noticed changes in my living room as well. The games have been moved to that once overflowing closet. I emptied so many bins and baskets that I was able to relocate a really cute one to my now clear living room shelf. It now holds the remotes. The elusive Apple remote has a home. Now if only I can make everyone remember to put it there.
This has been a game changer! I thrive under pressure with a list of things to accomplish. I was a glutton for busyness. I used to joke about how I was a stay at home mom that never stayed at home. Some days it was fun adventures like a day trip to Lake Michigan or a morning at our local zoo. But so many days were lists of things to buy and replace. It would be a quick stop at Lowes to look for a new light, then swing by Home Goods for some more picture frames and a new bathroom rug, a look at new tables at World Market and then stop by Target for some new tank tops and kids clothes (and the inevitable $150 I would proceed to spend on any and everything I fell in love with while appeasing my children with their popcorn).
I have probably cut out about 90% of my errand running. Before making a purchase or adding a task to my day I think it through. I ask myself, “Do I really need to do this? Is this really something we need?” Depending on what it is, I may even wait a few days before getting it to see if we can go with out it all together. When I do have to pick something up I ONLY get the thing I came for. So much of my errand running, purchasing, and replacing has been out of habit.
MORE PERSONAL GROWTH
I really feel like a new person. Maybe it was a midlife crisis that catapulted me into minimalism. Maybe I just had enough. Whatever it was, it showed me that I could change. At 35 I have wildly shifted my thinking and it has resulted in a significant change in my behavior.
Initiating minimalism has been a catalyst to self improvement in other areas of my life. It got me thinking about where else I could grow. I’ve always said, “I’m not a camper.” “I have no musical ability whatsoever.” “I’m really not a reader.” “I’m not so great at cleaning and organizing.”
Proclaiming these things about myself released me from having to try. I just stayed away from the things I thought I couldn’t do. How sad is that? I had unintentionally given myself an excuse to stop growing and learning.
Now, I’m finding more time to read. I’m learning the ukelele alongside my daughter. I’m determined to do some camping…not my former definition of camping (which was to stay in a hotel with low water pressure and inconsistent air conditioned temperatures) but actual camping…in a tent.
Is there something about yourself that you have just accepted? Trust me, if I can become a minimalist, then you can change anything. Whether it’s a new skill you want to learn, a character trait you aren’t pleased with or a new investigation into knowing the God who created you. You don’t have to be defined by something you aren’t proud of and you don’t have to be stuck where you are. Let’s challenge ourselves to grow.
The mind that opens to a new idea never returns to its original size -Albert Einstein