Around 4 or 5 weeks ago I ran into this blog mnmlist and discovered something amazing - I needed less stuff. And so began the process of removing things from my life - both physical objects and tasks that I thought I needed to do but really don't.
If you were to explore our house now some of the changes might seems strange but others you wouldn't notice at all. We no longer have a bed frame, that seems big, but it makes so much sense for us. We aren't old, so we don't need the bed to be higher up. We don't have a mice or bug infested house, so we don't need any space between the ground and us. And on the up side, I don't have to clean all that dust that ended up under the bed and was so hard to reach with the vacuum anymore! Our bedroom feels so much bigger now, because the frame isn't taking up all that space.
I've also gone through a ton of my clothes, and I no longer have a dresser. Everything I own is either hanging up or stashed in 3 bins (socks, underwear, other non hanging etc). So far this has been fantastic. The closet is much more open, I wear every single one of my clothes constantly, and it's made line drying and veganism a lot easier (but I'll save that for another post).
Other stuff is less noticeable. I got rid of the mac mini which was hooked up to the tv, making it harder - on purpose - for me to watch hulu. Bookshelves, rugs, pillows, extra extra blankets, unused kitchen gadgets, unused old hobby materials, and knickknacks have all gone. In general, I no longer lose anything in the house. There just isn't anywhere for it to go. The closets are fairly empty and everything has a place (everything had a place before too I suppose, but now it has a place with lots of space around it!) I've gotten rid of so many useless items, clutter that just builds up over time until you don't even remember why you have it.
I've also given away almost all of my books. It isn't very likely that I'm going to re-read them, and it's better for someone else to enjoy them than it is for me to hold onto them. I think that is in general my new philosophy. I wasn't using my sewing machine, and in fact, I'm probably never going to use it. By giving it away to someone who will use it, it's possible for there to be one less sewing machine in the world. And if I ever really need a sewing machine (and can't use a tailor or sew it by hand for whatever reason) then it would be better for me to try and borrow one - or even watch craigslist or freecycle for a machine and then donate it back to the free pool when I'm done.
We've been doing this with moving boxes for years - buy them for $50 off craigslist, sell them for $50 when you are done. Why can't we do it with more things? You wouldn't hold onto those moving boxes the whole time you weren't using them, so why would you hold onto that sewing machine. "Just in case" isn't a good enough reason for me anymore. I'm trying to only keep that which I use regularly. And through this process I've come to just need less. The desire for things simply fades away. What you have right now is good enough.
It isn't just the house that minimalizes though, it's things on your todo list as well. I've allowed myself to cross off items that don't really need to get done and were just causing me stress. By getting rid of so much stuff the house is also much easier to clean, and I already mentioned that I don't lose anything anymore. (In fact, I have a text document which lists every single thing we own and what room it's in - yeah, I'm a little ocd... but that isn't necessary for minimalism to work!) I also don't have a smart phone anymore. I don't check my email constantly, I don't feel a need to read the news all the time, and I don't miss it one bit. It's nice to be detached. To sit and do nothing. Especially with the dog, she's great at keeping me company.
I'm by no means done. Every week I seem to find more things that I don't need or something I no longer need to do. Or sometimes I find another way to do things which allows me to get rid of something else. This has freed up a lot of time for me to do better things - like starting a new blog, helping a friend with a website, and just kicking it.
Overall, life just seems easier, calmer, better.