Sunday, December 15, 2013

Simplify #3: The Internal Struggle

In 2013, I decided I wanted to simplify. Like any good blogger, the first thing I did was start reading minimalist blogs. Then, I took action in the form of a major declutter. I have cleaned closets, sold and donated clothes, and I even spent basically a whole month not buying anything. I researched my baby registry extensively with the glimmer of hope that I would have what I need for the baby, and a few conveniences, but not a house full of things I don't use. I cleaned more closets. I tried to say no more often. 

The idea of simplifying appeals to me for many reasons. The first is, I don't really like cleaning. My mom says that no one does, but I maintain I like cleaning less than the average person. But I do like things being clean around me, and so I am left with the idea that by having less stuff, perhaps I will have to clean less? The second reason I would like to simplify is that my life is about to change a lot. I will soon have sleepless nights and diaper changes and a tiny little boy who depends on me for everything. I will have to get rid of some things- things I worry about, things I do- to make room for Max. Like all new moms, I hope to not lose what is important to me in this journey and I think the only way there is any hope for that, is if I get rid of what does not matter. The excess. 

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But guess what? Ironically, simplifying is not simple. It's actually hard. Not matter how much I have decluttered, I still spend a lot of time cleaning up what I still have left. Sometimes I just want a new outfit… or three. Sometimes I go to a cute local store and I want something, maybe a shiny notebook, or a new bag. I don't need either. I'm still not great at putting everything in it's place, even if it has a place. I vow that having the guest bed downstairs won't mean that I'll pile things on it and well… there is some stuff on it. I still pack my weekends with things, some of which I probably should have said no to. I have gotten a lot better, but I still probably do more at work than I need to. 

I don't have any grand illusions that this will get easier. I know babies don't NEED a lot of stuff, but I'll be honest if it takes 16 different swings, jumpers, vibrating chairs etc to quiet my screaming little boy… I'll buy them all. I'd like to say that after a bad day (and I anticipate a few ahead) I'm not going to go online and buy myself a new shirt (when I fit into them again) but I don't know. I hope that having a baby will help me say no to things in my personal life and at work, but really I have just no idea what to expect on this little adventure, how it will change me and how I'll stay exactly the same. 

But I'm not going to give up on simplicity. I think that every bag of clothes I donate, every time I say no, every time I don't buy something matters. In 2014 maybe I'll do better and maybe I won't. But I'll keep trying. Even if it just means one less thing I have to pick up off the ground. 

Do you strive to simply? Does it come easy to you? 


  1. I strive to simplify, and I am moderately success at times. I got rid of a lot of stuff before my move to Charlotte since I was downsizing, but I could downsize further. I have all these bookshelves of books, but i rarely re-read books so these days I try not to buy more books because I just can't keep accumulating them when I am in such small spaces. I also have tried to pare down my clothing collection which I am doing ok with. I probably sort of over-planned my fall with all the trips but they kept me sane. The first 3 months of 2014 are wide open, though, so I am going to have to work hard to find things to say yes to...

  2. I go in spurts. I have done really well on the outward things but umm I may have a few drawers and closets that received things that I just couldn't decide on when the outward stuff got purged ha. I also have a book problem that probably won't get better because of used books. I collect them like crazy. But when I can fill a bag for 6.00 and then turn around and sell them at a garage sale for a quarter when I'm done I really can't say no. I have problems. I also have clothes storage issues at the moment. I need to get rid of some more of mine. I have a bag I'm trying to sell and I shoul djust donate them but I like money. I try to get rid of clothes the kid outgrows that I didn't love by selling them and I really need a new tote to store others that she outgrew cuz her closet is a hot mess. It would be easier if I knew I would have another kid/girl. I just rambled.

  3. I have to say, you have inspired me to have a few no spend months next year. Spending as much as we did this year totally stresses me out and I am dying to shift the focus on our savings accounts this year so we can start traveling and maybe start talking family.

  4. Yes but I'm not very successful. We just have SO MUCH STUFF!! I have gotten a lot better about not buying stuff I don't need, but that is only because I'm really focused on saving money for Ireland right now. Guaranteed if I didn't have the possibility of a trip on the horizon I would continue buying tons of useless stuff.

    However I think this whole simplifying thing doesn't necessarily have an end goal and as long as you continue to strive for simpler you'll one day get there, but it's one of those things where it's the journey that really counts!

  5. I strive to simplify, but it definitely doesn't come naturally. It comes naturally to want things simple, if that makes any sense! I think the hardest part for me is letting go of things that were once important to me. Photos, mementos, gifts, anything with sentimental value basically. It took me until like last spring to throw out one of my favorite t-shirts from middle school.. like.. reallly, Caroline?

    I like the idea thought of really thinking about what matters (and what doesn't) in order to make room for something new.

  6. I spent a good chunk of the weekend picking up stuff/things that were lying around the house. random pieces of paper, finding things to donate, etc. I can't stand having too much (or too little to be honest). I am like Goldilocks; trying to find the amount of "stuff" that is just right. This is true for me from everything to my fridge to my closet to the amount of towels we keep in our closet. (We have too many towels for just 2 people but when we had 8 + people in our last summer? They were all used. So I keep them since I know they get used at least twice a year.) I like the idea of living simply and I do the best I can but it's a process, that's for sure =)

  7. I dislike cleaning more than the average person too. I am okay about picking up and tidying but not really actually CLEANING. We also go through our stuff often and try to donate/get rid of things. Especially in the clothing dept since we just have such an inflow of stuff due to John's job. We give away BAGS full often and still have too much. At least we finally have a walk in closet that accommodates most of it. I think having a simplistic mindset when starting parenthood is a good thing. Babies don't NEED all that stuff that seems fun. We still don't have a ton of toys for Grace and it's fine. I feel like kids appreciate stuff more if they aren't swimming in more things than they can ever even play with. I just went through her toys and put some stuff away for the new baby to make room for her Christmas toys. We didn't really get her a lot of new toys because she gets stuff from family members so we kept it light. I think after this baby is born and I lose the baby weight I am going to be brutal and go through my clothes and get rid of a TON!

  8. I definitely struggle with simplifying. I think we are both a lot alike in that before baby, our lives were full with friends and family and travel and outings and whatnot. I will say that having a baby / young child will definitely change your perspective on just how much you can accomplish in any one day. Not even taking into consideration a child's need for naps, it will just take you longer (sometimes infinitely longer) to do just about everything. So, in some ways, the baby will simplify your life, because you just will not conceivably be able to fit in as much as before (and at the same time, will make things more complicated because there will be that many more steps to take before ever getting out the front door, ha!).