On almost every minimalist or simplicity blog, including this one, you’ll find all sorts of information on how decluttering relieves stress. What we don’t often tell you and what you’re sure to find out for yourself; the process of decluttering is pretty darn stressful itself!
Over the past few weeks, we’ve been trying to pare down our belongings in preparation for our upcoming move (yes, we’re moving…but shhh, it’s still a secret for now). We came to North Port in a 6′ x 12′ U-Haul and plan to leave in a 5′ x 8′. Of course, over the past three years we’ve accumulated a fair amount of furniture and other things. But even still, when compared to the average American, we have very little in the way of “stuff”. In fact, all of our clothes fit on the same side of our apartment-sized closet – a closet that shares space with a paddleboard, tent, 2 sleeping bags, a vacuum cleaner, a suitcase, all of our linens, and more…with room leftover. Downsizing and packing should be easier this time around, right?? It’s not. It’s not even as exciting this time.
The closet/garage/storage space for everything we own and use:
For a moment I was worried that my lack of enthusiasm for packing might mean that deep down I didn’t want to move. I’ve since reconsidered. I’m super excited to move forward to another adventure in life but decluttering just doesn’t hold the same appeal that it used to. And that’s okay. I realize that my relationship with stuff has changed a lot in the past few years.
When you first discover minimalism, you spend a good bit of time and effort on purging useless items from your closet, your garage, your drawers, and your shelves. It feels great to get rid of things and see empty space in your home. When you’ve cleared the physical clutter, minimalists then move on to the mental and spiritual clutter. We work on better ways to spend our time and give meaning to our lives. In this stage, stuff occupies two categories: essential and non-essential. The non-essential, if you happen to have kept any of it from the first few rounds of decluttering, is now just a nuisance.
Kitchen clutter. Just how many duplicates do we need??
This move will take us to the smallest space we’ve ever occupied so only absolutely essential items get to go. That means I’m up to my neck in nuisances. Deciding what to keep, what to sell, what to give to Goodwill, and what to pass on to a relative is a logistical nightmare when you’re down to the tedium of things like corkscrews, socket wrenches, and boot socks. And selling stuff, that’s even more of a headache. Craigslist buyers either want you to give away the things you have for sale or deliver the things you are giving away for free. It’s a no win.
But as Gloria Gaynor once said, “I will survive”. And at the end of this, the most stressful of all of our purges, I hope to only be left with the things that I use everyday – including one very relaxing lawn chair that I’m going to curl up in to take a very long siesta!