We we love simple living ( yet aren’t minimalists)

 

We we love simple living but don't consider ourselves minimalists.

Over the past few years, our family has learned first hand how wonderful ( and sometimes challenging) it can be to embrace a slower, simpler lifestyle.

At times, we scaled back out of necessity, and now, we choose to live simply. And yet, we don’t consider ourselves minimalists.

In fact, we enjoy collecting hard-to-find things, such as vintage toys and even TV shows from the 80s that Billy and I both enjoyed when we were kids. And everyone in our house is a gamer!

Nor do we want to have a house that’s got that uber sterile, everything-is-perfect type of vibe.

I prefer a house that looks likes its lived in, and so does Kaya and Billy.

None of us has a capsule wardrobe, nor do we want one. And owning a set amount of possessions is of no interest to us.

Having a slower pace of life and prioritizing time spent with family is what we focus on.

To some, this does make us minimalists. And to others, it doesn’t.

You see, since the minimalist blogger scene has exploded, there have been subtle hints at what it minimalism should look like. While bloggers may say that there is no set of rules for the minimalist-seeker needs to follow, their is a sort of perception about what is and what is not a minimalist home.

Some say it’s owning 100 items. To others, it’s living in a tiny home or RV.

Related post: 3 powerful books on simple living

As I’ve stressed in our blog posts, labels are limiting, and I don’t like using them. If you want to downsize and find happiness in living simply, follow your instincts and do thatIf you want to have only 100 items in your home, you can do that too!

But don’t feel that you have to adopt a certain lifestyle just because your favorite blogger tells you ( directly or indirectly) that it’s the best way to go.

Instead, follow your intuition and your budget. Converse with your family members about what brings them joy, and make a list of the things that your family values above all else. Then, seek to prioritize that list.

Having a slow-home or a simple lifestyle looks different in each household that chooses to embrace that lifestyle, and the same goes for minimalism.

Do/Own What Sparks Joy 

One of the many reasons we love the Konmari method is because Marie Kondo places an emphasis on keeping in our lives that which sparks joy. Not owning a certain number of items or comparing your home to Marie’s. No.

She places an emphasis on keeping the things that bring you joy.

This is SO KEY because Marie is basically saying that we are all unique, and our homes and lives will reflect that!! In Japan-the land of otaku culture- many people collect figurines and other kawaii items. Perhaps those that collect items ( like we do) don’t actually mind having more belongings, nor having a ton of white space in their home.

And what about fellow bibliophiles who feel happy when surrounded by books? Do you need to suddenly rid your house of them because you haven’t gotten around to reading them all, or because your fav minimalist blogger tells you to?

Marie Kondo’s method of owning and keeping only that which sparks joy is a fantastic way of figuring out the route to having a home that sparks joy for you, and can help you kick comparisonitus out the door.

I consider her method a sort of practical minimalism that’s flexible and that varies individual to individual, which is why the Konmari method has been so life-changing for us.

 

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How the Konmari tidying method changed our lives

How the Konmari method of tidying changed out lives

Our family is pretty messy and unorganized. And while we don’t particularly mind this, it can feel pretty embarassing when we have people over to our house. We usually have to explain why our place looks like a tornado went through it. My husband and I work from home and homeschool, so we’ve got loads of books and papers everywhere, plus Kaya’s toys.

But late in 2016, we decided to do the Konmari method of decluttering ( or tidying as she calls it) to get rid of the things we don’t need anymore and that are mentally weighing us down. Things we’ve acquired over the years that we don’t want or need, or that was an impulse-buy.

I’m so happy that my husband was on board to help me do Konmari because I couldn’t go through the boxes of papers and books without him, since many of them were his or needed his seal of approval to discard ( in the case of old paperwork). Because all three of us did Konmari tidying together, it was a real bonding experience, and we all enjoyed it, although some of the phases of discarding were more challenging than others.

If you haven’t heard of Konmari, she is a Japanese organizing coach and expert that has two best-selling books that have revolutionized the field of tidying. Instead of getting rid of things by room, Konmari’s method is to discard by category.  This is where the magic seems to happen, or at least it did for us. And the second revolutionary aspect to Konmari’s method is that you only keep what brings you joy. You don’t hold yourself to someone else’s standard, aka like the whole concept of only owning 100 items.

This is what attracted me to Konmari’s style of discarding because while I do enjoy many aspects of minimalism, I don’t agree with one having to possess a set number of items. Especially families! We have so many random things ( like collectables and video games) that bring us joy, and we have no intention to discard them because someone else things we own ‘too much’.  Plus, we do enjoy shopping small as much as possible, like on Etsy and at thrift stores.

How the Konmari method of tidying helped change my life!

You start by going through all your clothing by bringing EVERY item you own and putting it in one room/pile for you to go through and see what brings you joy ( that you want to keep) and what you want to discard. You then move onto the next category, which I believe is books and do essentially the same thing. You can find out more details about the process by downloading her free app on iTunes or purchasing her books, particularly The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, which goes in detail about the whole process of how to discard.

The way that the Konmari method of tidying and discarding has changed my life is that I feel less mentally weighed down, and feel great about the fact that we’ve gotten rid of unwanted things. This may sound strange, particularly if you have never decluttered before, but in reality, I think the worst effect of having excess items is the mental space those items take up, even if you’re not aware of it. 

We aren’t yet finished with the categories we’ve got to tackle ( as part of the Konmari process) but are already feeling so much more peace of mind, and have more space in our house.

On top of that, doing this whole decluttering process has inspired me to delve deeper into organization, and I’ve begun building a mini library of decluttering  resources to help us get inspiration and tips when we feel inspired to do more.

Related Post: How to have a clutter-free home in 2017

The Challenging Part

One of the many reasons I recommend the Konmari method to basically everyone is not only can it make a huge impact in your life, it’s extremely doable. But that doesn’t mean each phase of discarding is easy!

I found discarding books to be very challenging. Because many of the books we went through were in boxes ( since we’ve moved quite a few times and are in desperate need of shelves), we had to go through our storage area and confront books that I thought I’d like to read, but that I didn’t end up reading or that I lost interest in. Billy had to also go through books from when he was an actor, and this was a challenge as he quit acting when we left the States, partially because there were little acting opportunities where we lived and also because he didn’t have the time. He’s also unsure of if he wants to act here in Chiang Mai, so it meant he had to decide on if he will again pursue his passion as some of the books he owned were quite expensive. He ended up keeping those that he loved and found helpful and got rid of the ones he never got around to.

The paperwork was also challenging to go through and discard. We had bills, receipts, and sooooo much more to wade through. While it was less exhausting then doing Konmari on the books, it still took time and we had to yet again open boxes and go through drawers. But it was well worth it, and we feel so much better not having all of those pointless papers anymore!

Additional Decluttering & Homemaking Resources

I’ve also begun reading ( or listening to the audiobook of rather) How To Manage Your Home by Dana K. White, who has excellent suggestions for creating a doable cleaning schedule. I highly recommend her podcast and book, if you’ve already done Konmari and are looking for additional homemaking tips from a fellow slob. 😉

Have you done the Konmari method of tidying? If so, what benefits have you gained from doing it? Leave a comment below and let us know!

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