Minimalism is a Spectrum (and other things I learned from watching Marie Kondo)

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I’m taking a break from watching Tidying Up with Marie Kondo because looking at this one couple’s clutter is stressing this minimalist out!

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I will say I’m enjoying this show so much. I still stand by what I’ve said in previous blog posts about my reservations with the KonMari Method. As a minimalist I find it a little squishy and in the end people still have way too much stuff. But the people she’s helping aren’t minimalists: they’re pack rats (hoarders?) who need help. At the end of the episode, whether they got rid of everything or just a lot, the couples she’s trying to help seem happier, lighter, and way more peaceful. Marriages get mended and parenting doesn’t seem as daunting. When I started my very first purge, I was still left with a whole lot of stuff. It took make ages to get to where I am now. These people aren’t at the end of their journey; they’re at the beginning.

Also, this show made me realize I’ve been folding clothes wrong my whole life and I now need to refold everything!giphy-1

It also got me thinking that minimalism is a process, and kind of a spectrum. Someone at the beginning of the decluttering process will look a lot different than someone who’s been at it for years and years. It doesn’t make that person’s experience less important. It takes courage to let go of things you’ve held onto that are weighing you down and taking up space. I get messages from people all the time who are excitedly taking a load of stuff to the thrift store or recycling center because they finally took the plunge and rethought their ownership. They’re proud of themselves, as they should be!

I’ve also learned that minimalism can be cyclical. You go through times where you’re on a purge marathon, getting rid of EVERYTHING. Other times you find yourself slipping into old habits, buying things because it feels good and then regretting it (and believe me, if you live in an RV and you buy something you regret that item will have no where to hide until you deal with it!). Even now there are times when I fall prey to the sentimental trap, reluctant to give up certain items (sometimes really stupid items) just because I have a lot of great memories associated with them. But if I give into that, I will quickly get snowed over with possessions and be right back where I started! I just took two small bags of stuff to the thrift store.

Living in an RV has forced me to learn that a tiny amount of possessions in a teeny tiny space can still feel cluttered! If we moved our possessions into a normal sized house, it would seem bare and VERY minimalist. In our RV, it feels like we might have too much! It doesn’t take much to make a mess!

It also got me comparing the KonMari method to other notable minimalists that I follow. Indulge me, if you will, as I humorously rank them in order of intensity and level of ownership.

Level One: Marie Kondo.

Does the possession spark joy? Then by all means keep it, even if you never use it, it doesn’t fit, it has holes in it and you already have five. At the end of the process you’ll have less stuff, but you might still have a lot more than you need, use (or actually want!). Level one focuses mainly on tidying up possessions, but might not focus quite so much on digging deeper emotionally or mentally.

Level Two: Joshua Becker

De-own! And don’t just let go of your possessions, let go of guilt, debt, and unhealthy relationships! Level two is all about enjoying life instead of reorganizing it. Give experiences instead of gifts. Get out of debt. Get rid of the things you don’t use, want, or need (not just the things that don’t spark joy!).

Level Three: The Minimalists

The Zen masters of the Minimalism world. All you need in life is a toothbrush and a black outfit and an openness to let go of your identity and all preconceived ideas about what you’re capable of. Rethink everything, including yourself. Level three is basically minimalist Nirvana, no one ever really gets there.

This is probably an unfair generalization of all three groups. As you might guess, I fall pretty soundly in the Joshua Becker camp. A minimalist home doesn’t have to be a cold, lifeless one. If you want your life to include hospitality, then by all means keep a stack of plates (instead of just two or four).   But minimalism should also be about more than simple ownership. It should be about saying “No” to unhealthy cultural expectations and “Yes!” to margins and meaningful experiences.

Where are you in your journey? Still at the start, covered in clutter? At the beginning, with your joyless items in a bag destined for a thrift store? Or a few years down the road, enjoying the freedom of a capsule wardrobe and working on getting out of debt? I’m four years down the road, still learning and changing things to fit the life I want to have. Where are you?

The Minimalist Mama’s Must-Haves

Full disclosure: There’s more to this than the title let on.

Let’s face it: parenthood is hard.  It’s hard if you’re a stay-at-home mom, and it’s hard (harder?) if you’re a working mom.  It’s hard if you’re a stay-at-home dad. It’s hard if you have one kid, and it’s hard if you have six.  Which is why I was glad I was already a minimalist when I got pregnant with my daughter because I knew that minimalism makes mom life easier.  But even as a self-proclaimed minimalist, knowing what I would need and what I wouldn’t need as a would-be mom felt a little daunting.  I knew I would have this little girl on the road and living tiny, so I needed to keep the baby registry pretty spartan.  And I’m SO glad I did!  I’ve added a few items over the last few months, and I’ve gotten rid of plenty!

I’ve heard it over and over again: minimalism can be a sanity saver when it comes to raising kids.  The less you have to deal with, the more time you have to spend with your kiddos or alone taking a breather for yourself (coffee is best served hot and in silence).

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For this post, I teamed up with a couple of other minimalist mamas who I’ve had the pleasure of knowing since college.  It’s been so cool to watch their journeys on social media since we left school as they became moms and then minimalists!

Janie Baran is the author of the blog Simple Not Plain, a really great resource if you’re just getting started on your minimalist journey and you need a place to start.  Her post on a minimalist capsule wardrobe is what helped me pare down my closet when I first got started and I have found it an extremely helpful guide ever since.  She has four children and they live with she and her husband in Colorado.

Jen Landers runs a really cool business in Columbia, SC called Purposely Simple, helping people go through their house and decluttering one room at a time.  You definitely need to check out her before and after photos!  She is the mama of two boys.

I asked Janie and Jen a little about their minimalist journeys, especially as it regards being a mom.

What are some items you thought you needed when you first became a mom that you ended up getting rid of?

Jen: “Basinet, we used it for a week and realized that we could just be using our pack and play. All the things to get our child to sleep, swaddles and pacifiers…both of our babies were tummy sleepers and never took a pacifier. The first time that we went to register for baby gifts, my husband and I were blown away by the “necessity” of everything and the urgency to buy the best. We had conversations very early on how we would like to go against the grain in the mindset of kids ruling the home.”

Janie: “Lots of baby clothes…many of them were “cute” but not comfortable for the baby either. Obvious one: lots of toys. It seems babies are quite happy and interested in playing with/exploring pretty much any regular household item! We had way more blankets, sheets, and towels than we realistically needed. We had multiple baby carriers. Why? I have no idea. Any of those baby items that the baby only uses for a very short stage like a bumbo, swing, bouncer, walker…those take up SO much floor space and are used so little. We had one child that the swing REALLY helped and we were able to borrow one for a couple months from a friend.”

As for me, we used a swing that was given to us for about four months before our daughter just wasn’t into it anymore and we passed it on to another mom who’s expecting her first baby.  In the end we probably could have done without it, but for a little while it served as a second pair of hands to hold baby so my husband and I could eat dinner!  I have way more swaddles/blankets than we need and people LOVE to give those as gifts!  Our daughter has several blankets that complete strangers MADE for her, so I won’t be donating those to a thrift store any time soon!  We try to keep toys to a minimum (although it seems like an awful lot in an RV!) and friends and family now know to give alternative gifts (like diapers.  As much as I would LOVE to use cloth diapers, it’s not feasible in an RV with no washer/dryer).

What are some items you still ended up keeping or using every day?

Jen: “We are phasing out of the baby phase but we constantly used our pack and play (when we would travel and go to peoples homes), sound machines. One toy that we have had the longest is our wooden train track and books…all the books.”

Janie: “Minimalist wardrobes for our babies/kids. It makes it easier for me and it makes it easier for the older kids who like to dress themselves as well.

ONE comfortable and versatile baby carrier…make sure you find one that can comfortably carry a newborn but also grow with baby into toddlerhood (and still be comfortable),

Our cloth diapers and cloth wet wipes. So many simple to use options out there and saves literally thousands of dollars if you’re having multiple kids.

A favorite blanket, stuffed animal/baby doll, and quality kids books. A baby item I got with my fourth and WISH I had with all of them is a couple large muslin blankets! I found them to be so versatile! I used them to swaddle baby, I used them as a nursing cover, burp cloth, blanket to lay baby on, to put over car seat, etc. That one item would have saved me buying all those other things! Just a general thought: buy anything that can be used for multiple babies (gear, bibs, etc) in gender neutral colors so you don’t have to have two of everything if you have both girls and boys.”

So far I’d say with our daughter we haven’t skimped on books.  I had a really small selection and for my own sanity we got more from my parent’s house from when I was a kid.  I could only handle the same Frog and Toad are Friends stories without losing my marbles!  Getting more meant I don’t have to read the same three books over and over again!  We also skipped all the big, noisy baby gyms, bouncers, etc and just went with the baby play mat from IKEA.  It’s been used so much and made tummy time interesting rather than a horrible chore.  The Pack n Play my brother and sister-in-law gave us has been used SO much!  We got a mini-crib mattress to fit and that makes it a lot more comfortable. My ring sling from Sakura Bloom has been a lifesaver and I use it almost every single day.  Whoever you are who sent me the green one, thank you!

If you’re expecting and you want to stay minimalist, just know you will have so many people tell you that you “have to have” certain items that you may never need.  I had so many people tell me I needed items that ended up getting and never using or my daughter hated.  To this day I’ve never used a breastfeeding pillow because it was completely unnecessary.

How has minimalism helped your life as a mom?

Janie: “Minimalism has helped my life as a mom in more ways than I can count! I was honestly an exhausted mess living in a messy home and stressed out of my mind before I started down the minimalist journey. Minimalism has helped me by getting rid of the things that were taking up my time but that weren’t important so that I have more time to do the things that are (Like spend quality time with my kids!). Also, life with babies/kids is amazing, fun, and beautiful but can also be crazy with the constant noise and activity. Having a decluttered home grounds me in many ways and keeps me sane. I’m able to function better as a mother and as a person without the constant bombardment of clutter to my senses. It also helps me stay on top of things like chores and meals and laundry because everything we do is simple and we do it with less.”

Jen: “This is always my favorite question to answer. Minimalism saved my motherhood. I was stressed out as a stay at home mom with house work, entertaining my child and just life in general and I think that most of it was due to the fact that my home didn’t feel like a place that I could come to and relax. I was always doing dishes, doing laundry, cleaning up clutter. When we found out that we were pregnant with our second baby I knew that something had to change. I started by getting rid of our TV and then toys and then cleaned out my kitchen so I would have less mess in daily life. With less to do inside we found ourselves out side more and exploring more and spending time creating play. Minimalism is a part of our life not because we don’t want possessions but because we want space in our home conversation and laughter to echo through the halls.”

As for me, I’m still in the thick of it!  But I’d say having a calm space is definitely reflected in my personal well-being.  If my space is cluttered and cramped, I feel so much more stressed out (one reason I’m looking forward to our RV renovation being finished!).  If my space feels simple and clean, I feel like I can tackle my day with my baby (even if I barely slept the night before!).  Also, even with having a baby I still only do laundry once a week!

A huge thanks to Janie and Jen for contributing to today’s post!  If you live in Columbia, SC be sure to check out Purposely Simple if you need a boost in getting your space simplified!

Moms (or stay at home dads – this counts for you, too!): what is one way in which having less might make your lives easier?  Let me know in the comments!

At Last: An Update on Tiny Living

Have you ever had that sinking feeling when you know someone is about to say, “I told you so?”  You kind of squint and wait for the comment to hit you in the face like a pie.

Well, after this update I’ll be doing a bit of squinting.

If you’ve been following our journey, you know that it has been our dearest wish to build our very own tiny house to take with us on the road as we travel nurse.  We’ve been pursuing that goal for the last year or so.  We found a builder we absolutely loved and together we created a floor plan and design for our would-be home.  We even put down the money to buy the actual physical trailer on which said tiny home would be built.  Then the time came to find a loan to pay for the build.

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But time after time the answer from bank after bank was “No, we don’t do tiny homes,” like Andie McDowell slapping Bill Murray in the face over and over again in Groundhog Day.  It was an exhausting and discouraging process, to say the least.

Throughout the process of tiny home planning and dreaming, we have had lots of people say, “Why don’t you just buy an RV?” to which we usually sigh and explain that while technically a tiny house IS an RV, they are also nothing like RVs.  Tiny homes are extremely well built, far less flimsy than most RVs.  And you get a lot more square footage.  And they’re meant to be lived in, not camped in.  You get the idea.  Also, most motor coach style RVs cost three times more than our house.  So the RV idea was always a giant, “NO!”  Plus I hate how they look on the inside.

But then one day I picked my husband up from a shift at the hospital in Florida and he mentioned one of his coworkers, a fellow travel nurse, lived in a rather nice travel trailer that she and her husband live in that only cost a fraction of our tiny house budget.  I immediately started in on why travel trailers aren’t a good idea: they’re flimsy, there’s no space for the baby, and they look like they were designed by a baby boomer convention (baby boomers – no offense – tend to LOVE dark woods, fluffy leather furniture, and ornate window coverings.  All fine if you live in a 19th Century English manor home, terrible if you live in an RV.  It makes the whole thing look like a cramped, dated cave.  Millennials like myself like our spaces sparse, open, and light — mostly because we’ve been broke since ’08 and we have no wealth to flaunt).

But as the dream of our home-on-the-road started to look tinier and tinier, the idea of a travel trailer seemed like a necessary evil.  My heart sank at the idea of living in some ugly trailer instead of our lovely tiny house.

Enter Instagram.

I follow #tinyhouse and #tinyhomes and a number of other tiny related hashtags on Instagram, if for no other reason than as a means of keeping the flame of hope alive.  A few months ago I stumbled on a photo of a lovely fireplace scene in what looked like a tiny house, only to look closer and see that it was the inside of an RV travel trailer.  My interest was piqued and I instantly began following this woman’s Instagram account.  Then I found more and more people who had purchased an RV and completely renovated it to look like a tiny house.  Do yourself a favor and do a Google image search of “RV renovation before and after” to see what I mean.  I was so excited.

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My husband and I called our builder to ask if he would be willing to do the renovation for us after selling our trailer (we have neither the time nor ability for a massive DIY like this).  He loved the idea.  Since he already knows exactly what we want, getting something fixed up would be no problem.  Within a short time, our trailer sold!

After weeks of trying to search for just the right travel trailer, we found a nearly brand new one really close by and at a really decent price with a bunkhouse, so the baby has her own space as she grows.  We are hoping to sign the papers tomorrow on the loan and by next week this trailer is ours!

We are not sure of the renovation timeline, but for now we are excited that our “home-on-the-road” is going to become a reality!  Photos will be shared in earnest once we move in!

Now to wait for the “I told you so” comments!

 

People Who Live By Excuses Die By Them: A Word for New Years Resolutions

Ah, the last week of the year. The week where people are ready to shake off the previous year and say “hello” to the new one, even though deep down inside they know it will only be more of the same (or in the case of 2017, even worse). Christmas is over and the glimmer of hope that New Year’s provides sparkles like champagne bubbles. People start saving workout plans and healthy recipes on Pinterest. Photos on Instagram of colorful acai smoothie bowls and living rooms that look like a minimalist IKEA catalogue get liked more than ever, in hopes that any of it will translate into real life.

This is when people swear that they will lose ten pounds, they will be nicer to their kids, they really will clean out and organize the garage, and – by golly – that gym membership they’ve been paying for years will not go to waste. Then by March, they have resorted back to all the same habits and absolutely nothing has changed. July rolls around, and the garage remains frozen in time. By September, those 10 unwanted pounds have turned into 15.

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Why does this keep happening to people? Because they live by excuses.

Let’s come up with some examples of the excuses I’m talking about:

“I’m too tired to work out.”

“Eating healthy means eating salads, and I don’t like salad.”

“But ice cream is sooooo good….”

“I can’t get rid of X item in my garage, I might need it someday.”

“Kale is nasty.”

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Sound familiar?

The truth is, people rarely count the cost of living the way they want to. This requires facing some personal demons and it requires actually getting off your bum. The change people hope for at the beginning of the year is far scarier than they realize. The moment they think, “I have to change in order to make this happen,” they back off. The creativity required to learn what you need to make the necessary changes work takes too much energy.

By the time they are facing the twilight of their lives, they are popping pills they can’t pronounce for diseases they don’t know how they got and getting surgeries they can’t really afford. Their houses are full of junk their children will have to sort through if they don’t.

Ever since I was I kid, I wanted to live with the end of my life in mind. What kind of an old lady do I want to be? Broken, weak, fearful, and afraid of change? Or vibrant, healthy, wise, and content? Definitely the latter. What is it going to take for me now as a thirty-something to be a healthy, vibrant, happy eighty-something? It’s going to require intentionality on my part. It’s going to require letting go of excuses.

Excuses when it comes to eating right:

“I don’t know how to cook a meal that doesn’t require processed foods.”

This is a big deal for a lot of people, and frankly nothing to sneeze at. This, I admit, is a scary one to tackle for most moms. What if their husband hates it? What if their kids hate it? The key for this one is starting slow. You don’t have to turn into Julia Child overnight. Cooking healthy meals requires little culinary expertise; you just need some hints and shortcuts. Slowly introduce new foods onto the family plate that don’t come out of a package or can: steamed broccoli, summer squash, sweet potatoes, etc. You can up your game to swiss chard once everyone is feeling more on board. Also, slowly start removing processed foods from the plate. Eat out less. Stay committed to the process (no pun intended).

“But healthy food tastes bad.”

This is an assumption that people make who have never had healthy food. They are afraid to try something new and assume that it must taste awful. It’s also important to note that people who are accustomed to lots of unhealthy, processed, fatty, sugary foods have completely wired their brains and their taste buds to crave those foods. They are literally addicted to them. If this is you, consider that there may not be anything wrong with the healthy food, there may be something wrong with your brain.  Detox, water, and staying focused are key to getting rid of these addictions.

“Healthy food is too expensive.”

False.* You do not have to shop at Whole Foods to eat whole foods. It is actually cheaper to cook simple meals made from whole, fresh foods from scratch than it is to be constantly buying processed foods. Meal for meal, pound for pound, healthy is cheaper. Your grocery bill really eases up when you stop buying soda and ice cream. Also, you will pay for your health at some point. You can pay what might feel like more now and stay healthy, or pay a whole lot more later when you get diabetes and heart disease. Your choice.

*There are plenty of ways to spend a lot of money on health foods. Plenty. But it is absolutely possible to save money on your grocery bill by sticking to the real stuff.

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Excuses when it comes to exercise:

“I’m too tired to work out.”

My husband and I were just talking about this one the other night. Exercise gives you energy. I don’t know how many times I’ve walked into the gym feeling exhausted and wondering why I was there, and then left the gym feeling amazing. Also, people have this idea that working out must mean doing 45 minutes of plyometrics. What a horrible idea. No. Combine simple cardio and weight training instead. It doesn’t require running around like a chicken with your head cut off or dancing to the beat of some skinny DVD instructor when you have no coordination.

“I don’t have time to work out.”

Do you have time to watch Game of Thrones? Do you have time to play Candy Crush Saga? Do you have time to spend for ages on Facebook or Instagram? Guess what. You have time to work out.

“I have kids and I can’t get to the gym.”

The more legitimate excuse for not exercising in my book, but still not good enough. (“Wait until she has her kid…” I hear you whispering maniacally.) There are a lot of great avenues for working out at home that include your kids in really cute and fun ways, and it doesn’t always require a terrifying video of Jillian Michaels screaming at you from your TV. Who wants to be yelled at by a stranger in your own home? Ew. The truth is, a lot of the workouts I do at the gym I could easily do at home. Grab your kid(s), your yoga mat, and a kettle bell and have fun (don’t hit your kid with the kettle bell). My sister and I worked out with my mom to her amazingly 80’s Stormie Omartian workout video when I was little and we had so much fun. Got healthy and made some awesome memories.

“My (body part of your choosing) hurts too much.”

This one is for real, and I get it. I lived with chronic knee pain for over a year between my injury and my surgery and a good bit after that. You’re scared you’re going to hurt yourself or to make whatever it is worse. Totally get it. This is where I would say to go online and look up safe exercises to do for that painful body part and some that don’t involve it at all. Like I said, working out doesn’t have look like running a marathon or dancing to Zumba. Getting your body moving can be more gentle than you think. But not exercising at all is worse for your body (even the parts that hurt all the time) than babying it.

Excuses for getting rid of all the stuff you hold onto:

“I don’t know where to start.”

I do. Your clothes. Always start with clothes. It’s the easiest place to start. “Do I wear this or not?” and “Does this fit or not?” or “Has this been in style in the last 15 years?” are good questions to ask yourself as you proceed. Move on from there.

“But I was hoping to use/read/fix that someday.”

I have bad news. That day is absolutely never coming. You aren’t going to read that book ever. That weird piece of whatever you were hoping to use for a craft someday. Yep. Not happening. Swallow the pill of reality, and get rid of it.

“But that item is sentimental and makes me think of memory/deceased relative.”

My mom will be the first person to tell you that there are plenty of sentimental items I will hold onto with a firm death grip. Again, I get it. But let me ask you: is the item in question an actual time machine? No. Can it raise the dead? Nope. Will your memory be erased forever the moment you part with it? I hope the human mind doesn’t work like that (thankfully it doesn’t). If a sentimental item is also useful (hello, grandma’s super cute clutch purse from the ‘40s!) then by all means keep it. But if it seems like you’re drowning in a sea of sentimentality, it’s time to let go of the past and say hello to the present.

Real change, the change you want at the beginning of the year, is scary. It requires a lot of effort and a lot of transformation within yourself. It’s not really something you can resolve to do at the beginning of the year without really putting in the commitment to do it.

But I promise you that if you do, you will never be the same person, you will never want to go back and you will never regret it.

What are the excuses you live by? What would your life be like if you let those excuses go?

Minimalism: Why Sparking Joy Doesn’t Really Work

Let me preface this by saying I’ve never read Marie Kondo’s book, Spark Joy.  I have, however, been to a minimalist seminar that was based on her concept of decluttering.  And I saw that one episode of Gilmore Girls where Mrs. Gilmore removes all of her furniture after reading Kondo’s book because none it sparked any joy.  Some of the ideas were useful. The basic premise, I have to say, is not.

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Here’s the basic premise: As you seek to declutter your belongings, look at every item you possess.  If it doesn’t “spark joy”, get rid of it.  If it does, keep and organize it.  Obviously, she unpacks that in her book.  However, as I’ve gone through my personal items over the last two years (yes, it’s taken over two years) I will tell you there were PLENTY of items that “sparked joy” that I needed to get rid of anyway.

The concept of an item “sparking joy” is pretty squishy to me.  What might have sparked joy yesterday might not today, but that doesn’t negate the usefulness of an item.  There are also plenty of items in my possession that absolutely DO NOT spark any ounce of joy in me, but have I kept them?  YES: because I need them and they are useful (Marie Kondo might advocate that because I need them that is a form of sparking joy, but it sure doesn’t feel like it.  Hence why sparking joy feels way too hard to pin down, especially for someone starting out their decluttering journey).

My husband and I are staying with my parents before we move to Florida.  Like many Millennials, I have been using my old closet in my parent’s house as a hiding place for old sentimental items that I haven’t been able to face getting rid of: until today.  There is a chest that has been in my possession since early childhood that has been filled with nik naks that at some point in my life I decided to keep because they sparked joy.  At some point in my life these were sentimental items I couldn’t bear to part with (I was a very sentimental child with severe hoarding tendencies).

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We often keep sentimental items because we fear parting with the person or memory associated with them.  As if we are being disloyal to them by parting with the item or we are being disrespectful or ungrateful.  Today, as I sat crouched down picking through things, I wondered “WHY in the world did I keep ANY of this?!”  At some point in my past, these items sparked joy.  Today they were a burden.  At some point these items reminded me of a memory of a time in my life when I was little and happy.  Today, I had no idea where these items even came from or what memory they were supposed to remind me of.  They, through of fog of time, had lost meaning.  They, as all things will eventually, had become junk.

On the flip side to this, I have kept several things in my life that in no way spark joy.  My important paper file folder does not spark joy, but if I decide that these joyless things were worthless because they are joyless then my husband and I will find ourselves in a world of hurt come tax time. I once heard a blogger say her breast pump in no way sparks joy in her, but she keeps it to help her feed her infant.

If you are embarking on the path of minimalism, you have to be willing to embrace a certain level of utilitarianism.

This might sound dreary to some of you.  But it will keep you from getting rid of things you actually need, and will keep you from holding onto things that are dragging you down.

The following concept, if we are going with short ditties to guide how we declutter, is one I find to be far more useful.

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“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” — William Morris

The reason I like this so much more than simply “does it spark joy?” is that it leaves room for the acceptance of the ordinary and mundane to be just that: ordinary and mundane.  There are things in my life that become utterly ridiculous if I try to add emotional tinsel to them, but there are also things in my life that are simply beautiful, and I own them because they are such.  They DO spark joy.

Either way, whether you keep an item because it “sparks joy” or because you “know it to be useful or believe it to be beautiful”, minimalism forces you to be intentional about what you own and why you own it.  Take the haphazard out of life, and replace chaos with calm!