Early last year I started to see minimalism blogs with regular frequency and realized this was a movement. People were going to extreme measures, like possessing only fifty items or wearing only six items of clothing, while others were preaching the benefits of simplifying life; less stress, more time for friends and family, less time spent cleaning and organizing...things I wanted.
Some of my favorites and most frequently read are Joshua Becker and Erin Doland. There are a lot of great minimalism bloggers, but I think you have to find people who promote an existence that seems possible for you. For instance, there's no way I could only possess 50 things. I like reading their blogs and do so with admiration and awe, but that is a lifestyle that I could never lead. It's good to know your limits.
After I started getting "real" with my clutter, and shortly after my first wave of minimizing, I read the book "Throw Out Fifty Things" and started my list. One thing that is tough is that a lot of these books are aimed at people who live in homes and with other people. I have lived alone for about seven years and have lived in a 600 square foot apartment for about five of them. Compared to most American's, I do not have a lot of stuff. I have four rooms; kitchen, living room, bedroom, bathroom, and two good sized closets. Even knowing that my possessions are modest in comparison, I sometimes feel a little suffocated by my things. It's so easy for my bedroom to get out of control with stacks of mail, school papers, and clothes. It's tough for me to find a place for all my kitchen supplies in my kitchen, especially since I've been cooking more and have accumulated more kitchen utensils. I used to be a serious beauty product hoarder, so my bathroom shelves are comfortably full with bottles of lotions and potions. I've been really diligent about not buying any new body lotions until I used my supply, and committed to using one perfume EVERY DAY until the bottle was gone. This was fun, as it was very easy to see progress.
I've sort of been slacking on my minimalism efforts so I'm dedicating some time in February to tackling some areas that need attention. I just read this post by Erin and thought it couldn't come at a better time. My parents came to visit a couple weekends ago and brought me a desk I had in my bedroom at home. They recently did some work on their house and were going to get rid of the desk, but I resisted. The desk is not aesthetically unique or elaborate in any way, but it was my grandmother's, and I have a vague memory of staining it when I "inherited" it after her death. It has three good sized drawers that will provide great, hidden space for my office supplies (which some extreme minimalists would argue are clutter, but I would argue are necessary in my life). Not to mention these things are currently in an IKEA crate stacked on another IKEA crate, and I really want to make my apartment less "IKEA" (ie - hodge-podge.)
So, in February, I am committing to organizing my office supplies, papers (SO! MUCH! PAPER!), filing cabinet, magazine collection, and bookshelf. Whew...I'm exhausted/frustrated just thinking about it. Is there anything you have been putting off that you can tackle in February? Commit in the comments and we can cheer each other on!