About 5 years ago I discovered minimalism and it really did change my life. I finally had the permission I needed to let things go. I sent car load after car load to be donated. I felt really good. My long ignored items were going to find new homes with people who would use them and love them. In the past 5 years I have not missed one item I gave away nor have I needed to replace anything.
When Ian and I moved to a small apartment in the city two years ago, I culled my stuff again. We needed to fit a two story house (with full basement and 2-car garage) into 6 rooms with no storage or garage.
I gave away at least three mini-van's worth of stuff. And we made, like, $60 selling our books at Half-Priced Books...so you know that was A LOT of books.
After we moved in, it took us about 6 months to find homes for everything. I gave away more stuff. Finally, everything had a home and we were happy.
And then, we weren't. Slowly, things got cluttered. I tried rearranging closets, cupboards, my studio. And that would help for a bit. But then the clutter would come back. And Ian and I would start to feel annoyed.
Ian tries to write and feels blocked. I try to sew and feel frustrated. We have no room, and yet there is nothing left to get rid of.
And so, feeling desperate and trapped, I culled my fabric stash. I took out every piece that wasn't "me" anymore. And it felt good.
A day or two later, I saw this book recommended on a few blogs: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo.
I'm about 1/3 of the way through and I'm surprised to find that my desperate fabric stash decluttering is exactly what a lot of people do when they're frustrated with their lives. But once the crisis has passed, they stop. I stopped. I felt better and that was that.
Only, that feeling doesn't last forever. I will feel it again, I didn't actually solve anything. I didn't fix my clutter problem.
I love this book more than any minimalist blog or book I've read. Why? Because this book teaches you to declutter forever...in one pass. Not a little every day, not "put it in a box and if you haven't opened it in a year, give it away". Just this: "Keep only those things that speak to your heart. Then take the plunge and discard all the rest. By doing this, you can reset your life and embark on a new lifestyle."
Reset my life? You have no idea how freeing that is, especially for someone who has so many different hobbies. I am free to be the person I am now, to keep only the things I love and use now. Like the fabric I liked but didn't love. I never thought to get rid of it because who gives away fabric? It's useful, it's pretty much my life. But at the end of the day, it's just fabric. I can get rid of it if it doesn't bring me joy. That is the whole point of quilting, isn't it? To bring me happiness?
And what about my beading supplies and sewing patterns and thread and yarn...it never occurred to me to go through those boxes. Because, honestly, my life now (and the life I've been leading for quite some time) does not really involve making or wearing jewelry or sewing from patterns. So, why do I have all the stuff?
Why do I have so many dresses if I never wear dresses? Why do I have a million embroidery hoops if I don't like to embroider? I know it's because I LIKE dresses and I LIKE embroidery...but that's a totally different thing, isn't it?
Why have I never thought of this before?
And so, before I start (continue?) to ramble, I will just say this: if you are frustrated in your own home/studio and you have cluttered surfaces or closets that are packed full and you want to do something about it, really DO something...read this book. I'm so inspired and can't wait to wake up early tomorrow and get to work. Poor Ian...he's going to be so scared!