I have always loved organization. On summer breaks while in school, I would get my mom involved in some project around the house. Cleaning the basement, redecorating the family room, reorganizing my bedroom (and of course repainting it). But my problem is that while I can find a place for my belongings, I have too many things. After putting on weight after getting married (let’s just say I thought my husband and I should do everything together to include eating the same amount of food!!), I ventured done my life-changing experience of getting healthy.
My Health Food Journey
My sister-in-law pointed me in the direction of cutting out sugar and processed foods, and getting back to eating real whole foods. I joined a local CSA (community supported agriculture), started buying grass fed beef and shopping at the local health food store for organic ingredients. I went paleo, cut out carbs, joined the gym, started exercising and easily lost the weight I had gained.
Since then, I have not been that lucky in the weight department, but that’s another story and just wanting to keep in real- it didn’t necessarily end with happily ever after, though battling weight and body issues is not surprising since I am female!! But the one thing I didn’t jump on the bandwagon was organization. I never really followed blogs about how to organize and why we can’t seem to part with stuff. I felt like I had it under control. The areas in life where we feel we have it all together, are probably the areas we need to re-examine!
My Downsizing Experience
It’s easy for me to find inspiration to organize. Though organization comes naturally to me, I still had a lot to learn. Life has a funny way of teaching us things. I lived in a three bedroom home with a three car garage and basement in the Midwest. My husband and I had visited Hawaii years ago, and we decided to relocate to the Aloha State. We moved to a three bedroom condo with no garage or basement, and put our stuff in storage “back home” until we could move it to our new location or sell it. About a year later, we went home for a visit and needed to visit our storage unit. We noticed that a few items had mold on them and knew it wasn’t going to be long until all of our stuff would end up ruined.
So, in a day and a half, we sorted and parted with ¾ of our belongings. We had dear friends and family members who took most of our stuff, so at least I felt ok knowing that it would end up in good hands (and they could secretly get rid of all of it without me knowing ;-)). So, after some tears and difficult decisions, we put a dozen or so boxes of some personal belongings that we couldn’t part of our parents’ basements. It was such a great learning experience and a freeing experience. Though there are times when I wonder where this or that item is and wish I still had it, these moments are few and far between, and more often, I don’t miss most of the items we used to own! I know that this won’t be most peoples’ experience, but the process of getting rid of stuff that can become burdensome is a freeing experience!!
A House Needs to Feel Like a Home
We did not buy a ton of stuff for our 3-bedroom condo because we wanted to keep it simple, but I struggled feeling like the condo was my home. After a few years, we downsized to a two-bedroom condo half the size of our last place, but we painted the walls and did some remodeling. I bought curtains to hang and some cute pieces of furniture to make our new place feel more homey. And slowly the stuff started to creep back in. The inspiration to organize became very powerful because I wanted to live minimally and stay organized. Now, I could always find a place for everything, though getting to it was always a little challenging. Pull out this bin first, or move this container aside to get to what you needed.
Then, we had the opportunity arise and moved into a lovely cottage on a beautiful piece of property with a gorgeous view and a pool. And who really wants to hear their upstairs neighbor get up and get ready for work at 4:30 a.m. anyways!?! So, we moved again. This time, into a one-bedroom, partially furnished cottage that was about the size of our last condo, with less storage space, but felt way more spacious. The benefit of living in a smaller place is that each decoration or kitchen gadget that I own specifically has a place and a purpose. I have limited the amount of stuff that I buy and only add things that bring joy and have space. (For the most part).
My Story of Discontentment And The Inspiration To Organize
This more intentional way of living started because of a consistent feeling of discontentment that was creeping in. It was due to my stuff not feeling as organized and having to squeeze more things into less space. Things looked cluttered and were difficult to get to which also increased the inspiration to organize. I was skeptical of the Minimalism movement, but started to research organization tactics and how to live a simpler life. There are definitely aspects of minimalism that rub me the wrong way, and I don’t like jumping on the bandwagon of new trends. But after further consideration and some soul searching, the heart of the issue of only holding onto to the things that matter, really hit home and made me reconsider the items I owned.
I would say the biggest impact of being intentional was on my wardrobe. This was the one area I always hated dealing with because:
- how costly clothes can be
- dealing with clothes that don’t fit anymore, or
- clothes that are out of style.
But the biggest change I made was getting rid of clothes that I didn’t feel comfortable in or feel like I looked good in. Shirts that weren’t quite my style. Pants that didn’t fit properly. I want to feel good in the clothes that I own. I might have a smaller wardrobe for a while, but I will slowly add in pieces that give me confidence, allowing me to be myself in the styles that I love. Another benefit was that I sold some items and then added a few new pieces to my wardrobe. Check out Poshmark if you have some items that are still in great condition and make a few bucks!
Benefits of Minimalism
So, there was a lot of things about minimalism the resonated with me. Here are a few:
- Peace of Mind. I started to gain confidence and enjoy my living space. I felt like I had accomplished something.
- Freedom from the past. I was hanging onto things because I felt guilty because I bought things that I didn’t need
- Kept items because of sentimental attachment that weren’t useful anymore
- Held onto gifts that I thought I needed to keep.
- Simplicity and time saved. I could find things quicker and keep things cleaner, helping me save time and mental energy.
I hope my organizational story provides you with the inspiration to organize and to consider the things you are holding onto. Do they bring you happiness? Do you need to go through your things, get rid of some stuff, and find a bit of freedom? If so, start now!
Hi, I’m Shara
I have a passion for organizing. This stems from being naturally drawn to simplicity and structure in my home. Combined with my desire to help women achieve their goals, Simply Renewed Living was born.