Clean freak

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The first secret to living minimally sans "stuff" is to purge your spaces.  That's right- every stubborn nook, corner, closet, gap behind your sofa, space underneath the bed and that persistent junk drawer in the kitchen.  Start with the smallest room (in my case, the bathroom) and tackle all the storage/hoarding spots.  Give each room at least a day to complete.  

Bathroom day for me involved organizing the medicine cabinet, throwing away all the ugly packaged product and replacing it with vintage glass aromatherapy jars and clear bottles from ikea.  If it didn't fit in the cabinet, or was something I wouldn't want guests to see (because we all are guilty of peeking), I organized and stored the products in vintage locker baskets in my linen closet.  

Most of what I was holding onto I didn't use or was well past it's expiration date.  This caused me to create a list of the products I actually use on the regular and devote myself to sticking to those products only.  No curious testing of something I saw in a commercial or found on sale on an aisle end cap.  Sticking with classics is key to living clean and minimal.  Plus it makes shopping so much faster and painless.  

Steps:

1) purge

2) replace or toss

3) make product list

4) add something pretty- like a vintage bottle holding plant life, or a yummy smelling candle (label removed)

5) photograph your new space to remind yourself how good it feels to let go

stuff + things

I’ve always loved collecting. Growing up my family frequented rummage sales weekly, hit up pawn shops and flea markets on the regular, and sifted for treasures in other people’s curbed trash when that special time of year came around. My dad is the most frugal person I have ever met but also has more stuff than anyone I have ever met. Our home was constant chaos- full of children, animals, love, and stuff. Stuff can be fun, it’s extremely therapeutic to hunt for what’s missing in our lives then take it home with us after finding it, but for this very reason can be detrimental. When what we think we are missing in our lives is something we can hold in our hands we can just as easily lose it. Stuff can consume us and quickly become a disease. It became this for my dad and it became this for me.

 

Without going into too much detail of my life I began the addiction of obsessive cleaning and my dad began the addiction of obsessive hoarding. Both are methods of control and both can swallow and steal large amounts of our time here on earth. After moving out of my parent’s house at 18 I had the ability to reclaim and control my space but struggled to find the balance between too much or too little. I knew what too much felt like, it made me anxious and panicky, but I also didn't want a sterile, cold home because that didn't feel good either. I've always had the deepest respect for minimalists but found the lifestyle unrealistic because I simply love things. And here is where I discovered the defining difference that took me years to understand- there is stuff and there are things. Stuff holds you hostage, keeps you at it's mercy, but at the end of the day is completely replaceable, inessential and disposable. It’s a bad boyfriend. Things, on the other hand, are momentous and nostalgic. They tug at our heartstrings and make us feel good to be around them. We miss them when they are gone but are grateful for the time we had them. They are photo-worthy. 

 

This blog will explore the difference between stuff and things and how to live a simple, balanced lifestyle enjoying the objects you love around you without becoming consumed by them (and how to make your space look really freaking beautiful in the process).