Saturday, April 8, 2017

Minimalism and the Military Spouse: How I Decluttered Over 1000 Things

   When I first moved in with my husband I wanted to decorate the whole apartment! I would go to hobby lobby or shop online and buy stuff just to put in the rooms. My first job was right next a huge shopping center and I would buy something from their at least once a week.

   I soon began to notice clutter add up. I tried to put it in boxes, shut the doors so I wouldn't see it, etc. I had a moment of clarity when I saw a post online about minimalism

  The one given in military life is that you will move around....a lot. You will also be bringing all of your stuff with you. Packing up all of your stuff is a pain in the butt. I have begun to embrace minimalism not only as a means of making moves easier, but it has also given me a more peace.

  The road to minimalism for a military spouse can be made easier with these tips!

1. Starting is the hardest part
    I began the process in January and it was painful. I did not think I would be able to even get rid of 50 things let alone 1000. I don't think it was motivation as much as I became disciplined in the practice of decluttering. Once you start, it is all downhill from there.

2. Find a support group
     I found my support through the Facebook group "Nourishing Minimalism Yearly Decluttering Challenge." This group became the tipping point that started my journey toward minimalism. The group is an offshoot of the blog "Nourishing Minimalism." The goal is to declutter 2017 items in 2017. It was fantastic to reach out to others in the process and get support when needed!

     What I also loved about this group is the print out of exactly 2017 squares. Whenever you donated, sold, or threw something away you simply colored a square. It was a great way to keep track of how much you have gotten rid of.

My print out for the 2017 challenge.

3. Tackle one room/drawer/closet at a time
    I saved my closet for last since it looked like a bomb had gone off in it. I started with old magazines, paperwork, and old makeup/toiletries. I then moved on to the kitchen, the living room, my husband's office, our bedroom, etc. If you can focus on one thing at a time it helps the process move more quickly and efficiently.

4. There is no right way to become a minimalist
    Some people like to follow rules like the KonMari Method which has been made popular by the book "The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up" by Marie Kondo. Others follow the duo known as "The Minimalists," and others just decide to get rid of 50% of what they own. 
    Becoming a minimalist is a journey and you choose the path. The point of minimalism is not to get rid of things just for the sake of having less. It is about having what you need and loving what you have. 

5. Minimalism is not just about your stuff
    I did not understand this idea at first. Minimalism is known for the declutter of your things but it is also meant to simplify your life. It is also about self care, not overwhelming your life and not always being busy. Not being overwhelmed was something that was harder for me especially since we are in the process of PCSing. I have literally had to force myself to sit, even if it is for only 15 minutes.

6. Military spouses can face certain challenges with minimalism
    Certain aspects of minimalism simply cannot work for everyone and military spouses are no exception. Capsule Wardrobes is the idea of have just the bare minimum of clothes in order to make it less stressful to dress and also encourage spending money on things other than clothing. 

   This idea can be difficult for military spouses for multiple reasons. The main reason being that we all move a lot and to different climates. It makes sense to declutter the clothing you don't wear, doesn't fit, and you don't want but hold off on getting rid of clothes just because they don't fit your climate. 

     I am bringing my big winter jacket to our new post in southern Arizona since we could end up at Alaska next for all I know! 

    A great way to combat this issue is to have seasonal capsule wardrobes instead of just one wardrobe. I'm TRYING to work toward a minimalist wardrobe....but it has been a process.
Photo Credit: Modern French Blog
7. PCSing is a great time to start the decluttering and minimalism process
    There is no wrong time to start your journey, however this PCS has been made much easier by already getting rid of so many items. Since I chose to pack my own clothes, I was able to look at each piece individually. We took anything that was still usable to the thrift shop on post. 

8. Know that you are doing something great for yourself and your family
   I have felt lighter and less burdened by the things that surround me. Life is already challenging enough, your home and your mind should be able to not feel constantly smothered by things and thoughts. I realized that I did not find joy in shoes, hobby lobby decor or anything like that. I've been able to look deeper into my real loves of life like my husband, photography, fitness, etc. 

  You never realize how your stuff, your thoughts and your busy schedule burden you until you start to let them go.

Photo Credit: Pretty Providence


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