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I've been putting a lot of thought into a minimalist lifestyle lately. For me, living a minimalist life would mean being less of a consumer (which we all know I'm against on principle, simply because consuming on a finite planet cannot lead to happy things - for more on that, visit The Story of Stuff). It would also mean streamlining our busy, cluttered, sometimes too-much-to-handle life.
While a lot of families may not follow the traditional woman-actually-runs-the-household set-up, we in the Beastly household certainly do. I keep track of my appointments, the Husbeast's appointments, the Baby Beast's appointments... and do nearly all the laundry (occasionally, the Husbeast helps fold and hang clothes) and definitely make nearly all the meals (unless my sister-outlaw decides to share one of her truly gourmet creations).
So, there is a lot of pressure on me to keep things moving smoothly forward, and there are days when I spend most of my day tripping over the piles of things that seem to inevitably gather in the perimeters of the rooms (and, occasionally, in the walkways).
The first step for me on moving toward a more minimalistic existence was to clear out our over-burdened closet.
I won't bore you with the details, except to say that I had letters from ex-boyfriends I hadn't spoken to in ten years buried in there. Those, along with shoes I fit into pre-pregnancy, made up the bulk of the closet clutter. Clearing all that out (recycling the letters and donating the donatable shoes to Goodwill) opened up a lot of space in the closet floor and shelves.
Today, I went through and cleared out my clothes. Here's the realistic thing about clothes: you honestly don't need more pairs of socks, underwear, pants, whatever than you will conceivably wear before wash day. If you do laundry once a week, you would need eight pairs of socks, maximum. I generally wash clothes twice a week (because the laundry of two adults and one very messy toddler tends to pile up quickly), so I have pared my underthings down to groups of six, just in case I go a few days over.
I also got rid of most of the clothes I haven't worn in the last few months. This meant clearing out around ten shirts and six pairs of pants. The room on my half of the closet is amazing - I can actually move clothes again! The hangers go more than a 1/4 inch!
All the clothes were donated to Goodwill, and I'm truly hoping that someone out there will have a use for the perfectly useable pants and shirts that I frankly was not using.
Now, I have to convince the Husbeast that he doesn't truly need twelve logo T-shirts...
For more on minimalist lifestyles, check out Rowdy Kittens or The Simple Rabbit Society. If you don't feel you have the time to really read about minimalist living, then try the fast track and read through the eHow of How to Begin Living a Minimalist Lifestyle.
Next on my list is decluttering the back bedroom. Considering it has been a catch-all for junk for the last two years, it may take some doing...