Where do I Begin? 

 

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One of the most asked questions I receive is, “Where do I begin?”, “I want to declutter, but I’m not sure how to start.”  Want to know a secret? It’s not hard, you probably already have a good idea of what you use on a daily or weekly basis, so just start somewhere. Anywhere!

I chose to start in the kitchen. I knew it would be easy because there would be nothing sentimental to deal with, and I could recognize what items were used regularly vs. what was simply cluttering our cabinet space.

I knew the cabinets were full, but I really had no idea how MUCH had accumulated in a short span of time (four years). I donated or sold over 600 kitchen items, keeping only what we used on a regular basis. No “what if I need this…”, or “I spent x amount on this, I can’t get rid of it.”. In the process of cleaning out our unused or unwanted items, I realized I could release the guilt I had over certain things. That I didn’t have to keep something because I spent a lot on it or because it was a gift. If it didn’t get used, it wasn’t serving its purpose anyway. In donating/selling those items, they were given the opportunity to bring joy to others!

Now that the kitchen has been fully decluttered, it is so much easier to keep clean and tidy. I love spending time in there preparing meals or enjoying a cup (or three) of coffee! The picture below was actually taken about 10 minutes after a breakfast play date with three other moms and their toddlers. See? The amazing benefits of minimizing and decluttering!

Whether a counter top, junk basket, or catch all drawer, where are you going to begin?

-Heather

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This is what the kitchen looked like when we moved in. Dark, dated cabinets and yellow walls.

Building Momentum

blog7buildingmomentumPurposefully minimal was born from a simple conversation with a group of friends. I see these women and their sweet babies at least once a week, sometimes twice. We talk about anything and everything, so when the topic of clutter came up, I was all over it! I suggested we do a challenge during the month of April and post pictures of purged items to keep each other accountable. The guidelines of our challenge were as follows:

  • We sell, trash, or donate one item the first day, two items the second day, three items the third day, and so on.
  • Each day we post pictures and/or descriptions of the items that were decluttered.
  • We encourage and support one another throughout the process.

That’s all. Friends decluttering with friends in a safe, positive environment. Once a Facebook group was created, I opened the challenge up to a wider group of family, friends, and acquaintances and the response was overwhelming! I quickly realized that people have a desire to reclaim their homes and rid themselves of clutter. They only need a small push in order to get started.

April 1, 2016 marked the first day of the challenge, and momentum has only increased from there! In just under a month, Purposefully Minimal has grown from a simple group text with six friends, to an active Facebook page, Instagram account, and this blog! I find so much joy in encouraging others, and truly love using writing as my creative outlet.

So, if you are feeling overwhelmed by the amount of “stuff” in your home, but don’t know where to begin, try this challenge! Remember, everyone has to start somewhere. With hard work and persistence, you will eventually have the clutter-free home of your dreams!

-Heather

10 Reasons to Declutter and Simplify

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This time of year the term “spring cleaning” gets tossed around quite a bit. If people actually decluttered their spaces, instead of just organizing them, it wouldn’t be this yearly ritual we’re accustomed to doing. In light of the spring season, I’ve listed my top 10 reasons to declutter – for good!

1. On the Hunt: According to Newsweek, the average American spends around 55 minutes a day (12 days a year) looking for things they own, but can’t find. What a waste! That is time that should be spent doing something more worthwhile.

2. One Man’s Trash: Sell or donate items that are in good shape, but you no longer use or want. Someone else may need them,  making it a win-win. You are reducing clutter all while allowing that item to bring joy to someone else (and maybe even make a little cash).

3. Overstuffed: Your home should be a living space, not a storage space. If every item in your house doesn’t have its own “home”, then you have too much. Clean rooms will still look messy and cluttered if shelves are bulging, tabletops aren’t visible, and closets are stuffed. Organized clutter is still clutter.

4: Less Housework: Piggybacking on #3, if every item doesn’t have a “home” or specific place to go when you’ve finished using it, it will feel as if you’re constantly cleaning. According to NAPO, getting rid of clutter will reduce housework by 40%! There will always be the tasks of sweeping, dusting, scrubbing, etc…, but moving items from one  cluttered space to another will no longer be on the “to do” list.

5. You aren’t using it anyway: If you haven’t used an item in six months or more, you most likely never will. Why hang on to it? If there is no sentimental reason for it to stay, or you don’t love or use it, get rid of it!

6. Clear Your Mind: Clear, uncluttered spaces release anxiety, helping to relax and sharpen your mind . According to research, there is a link to high cortisol levels in relation to cluttered living spaces. You may even sleep better as a result of decluttering.

7. Ready for Visitors: Long gone are the days of being embarrassed when unexpected visitors stop by. A decluttered home is much easier to maintain, making cleaning faster and easier. Implementing a few simple daily habits will keep your home in a constant state of tidiness.

8. Freedom: When your home is decluttered, you have the freedom to focus on what matters. Spend your time at home doing what you you enjoy.

9. Gratitude: The less you have, the more appreciation you exhibit toward the items you have deemed important enough to keep. When decluttering, decide what to keep instead of trying to figure out what you can get rid of. When the process is finished, you will only love and appreciate what remains.

10. Debt Free: It’s no surprise that if you’re being intentional with what is allowed in your home, you will be making smarter and less frequent purchases. This will, in turn, allow you to save money that can be used to pay off debts. In the words of Dave Ramsey, “Live like no one else, so you can live like no one else”.  What greater freedom is there than to not be a slave to lenders?

So… What are you waiting for? Make the decision to declutter and minimize today, so you can begin experiencing the benefits of these 10 reasons (and so much more)!
-Heather

Leaving a Legacy

blog5leavingalegacyEverywhere you look there are companies vying for your hard earned dollars. We are being bombarded with advertisements on the daily, enticing consumers to buy whatever the shiny, new, “product of the week” is. Every pitch is the same: this item will bring you happiness, popularity, or an easier life. Let me tell you a secret, those are all lies. More stuff does not equal happiness. Success is not measured by what you own, it is measured by what you do.

That being said, it is terrifying to raise a child in a world that relentlessly panders to consumerism. I pray regularly that through our actions, Penelope will learn to love and follow Jesus. That she realizes that her worth doesn’t come in the form of owning the “right” things, but what’s in her heart. I don’t want her to have more than us, I want her to be more than we are.

There are a few simple changes that we’ve made in our daily habits that I feel have the potential to impact Penelope in a positive way; leaving a lasting impression. Even at 16 months, she has already picked up on our routines and will even initiate some of them. Our days are spent doing what matters most. Learning through experiences and exploration, while spending quality time together. Knowing that relationships with others will always be the most important “thing” you can have.

Far too many people in the world derive their worth from what they desire to own. No one ever changes the world by being like it, so I have vowed to take a stand against mindless consumerism. I choose to be content with owning less and being more. Do you? What type of legacy will you leave?

-Heather

Seeking Joy

blog4seekingjoyTim and I have almost finished the decluttering overhaul of our home, but during the process, there were times that I felt completely overwhelmed. In the early stages of decluttering, I would often wonder where to even begin. We had so much stuff. Slowly, I began chipping away at my things and got rid of a few items here and there. After a month or so of this, I realized my efforts hadn’t really amounted to any noticeable difference in our home. Feeling slightly defeated, I took a short break from purging.

Here’s something you should know about me, when I decide to do something, I always follow through wholeheartedly. In this case, I was determined to minimize my possessions. During this purging hiatus, I read articles and books on minimalism, the most profound being Marie Kondo’s “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up”. I’ll just say, it’s a New York Times bestseller for a reason. I will admit, that it is very new age-y, but there are some great decluttering tips!  My urge to declutter was now back, and in full force! I ruthlessly sold, donated, and trashed thousands of items that I no longer wanted or needed, or that I was hanging on to “just in case…”. Then it happened; clear and clutter free areas emerged. My anxiety was replaced with Joy, and I was able to finally relax and breathe in the open spaces of my home.

Remember that if you are feeling burnt-out or overwhelmed in your personal decluttering journey, it’s ok! Take it one drawer, shelf, or room at a time. Create a plan and tackle it. Visualize your end goal and do whatever it takes to make it happen. Whether it is slow, or all in one go, remember that progress is progress, and with dedication, you will reach your goals. I sincerely hope that this blog serves as one of many inspirations to help you find joy in minimizing.

-Heather

Jesus and Minimalism

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Recently, in my quiet time I came across a passage. I had read it many times before, but this time was different. The words washed over me as if I were really reading them for the first time. That’s the great thing about the Bible. It is truly the living word of God, always providing applicable truth.

Matthew 6:19-21 says: “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth or rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there you heart will be also. (ESV)

As a citizen of one of the wealthiest countries in the world, this passage really convicts me. Christians should take note that while owning things is not inherently bad, creating idols or allowing them to consume your life is. What if instead of filling our homes with things we don’t need, we used our time, money, resources, and gifts to make a difference in other people’s lives? How much more would we be able to influence the world for Jesus if we lived a life of purpose, a life set apart?

There are numerous examples throughout the new testament of Jesus encouraging christian minimalism. Matthew 19:16-30 speaks of a young rich man asking Jesus how to gain eternal life. Jesus responds by telling the man that he must sell all of his possessions and give to the poor. the young man goes away sorrowful, because he had great wealth. Let me be clear. This passage is not so much about the amount of things the rich man owned, but it is about him loving his possessions so much that he rejects Jesus.

Salvation is only possible by the abounding grace of Jesus. If owning more, coveting other people’s things, or discontentment are stumbling blocks, isn’t it only appropriate to rid them from your life in order to better serve Jesus? He made the ultimate sacrifice by taking on the world’s sins so that we can be saved through grace. I intend to honor that (and Him) by following the Bible in all aspects of my life.

In my personal decluttering journey, I have noticed that the more items I get rid of, the more freedom I have to spend time and energy where it will have the most impact. For me, owning less has allowed more time to do what really matters. I am able to cultivate relationships with family and friends, spend meaningful time with my daughter and husband, and most importantly, to live the life that Jesus has called me to live. A simplified life that is less focused on me and more focused on Him.

 

-Heather