Hi beautiful friends. Welcome to The Minimalist Project. Our hope and prayer for those of you that land here is that you are drawn to a life of less stuff and more love. Less clutter and more connection. Learning to be present in our lives without numbing out by constantly consuming. If that sounds wonderful to you, welcome, you are in the right place. Letting go of over consumption is not easy but it is worth it and the freedom that comes from that is priceless.
Baton Rouge has had a rough few months. So much loss. So much hurt. I have spoken with numerous people that did not experience flooding but feel an urge to minimize, letting go of all the clutter we fill our lives with. Kate Maurer and I decided to launch The Minimalist Project to hopefully help those of you wanting to minimize AND those that flooded. The following are some videos to encourage and inspire you to get this done.
The final step to this project is that we invite you to bring your furniture, appliances, decorations, and nice toys to The Vineyard Church, 16761 Tiger Bend Road, on Friday, November 4th. We will be receiving donations from 12:00-7:00 and will disperse them in a free garage sale for flood victims only on Saturday, November 5th. Our heart is for our community to grow in love for each other and to discover more peace and freedom in our homes. We would LOVE for you to get involved! Feel free to email me for more info.
WEEK 1: Saying yes!
The first step for change is simply saying YES. This project is no different. Many of you have already decided that. This week the plan is to really let that YES sink in. Allow it to be planted deeply so it will grow into something truly beautiful. Don't be scared. This is not about perfection. This is about incremental change that will look different for every single person. For some of you it will be dramatic transformation, for others it will be a first step towards a long journey, then others it will be a continuation of something already begun.
As you contemplate your YES begin to dream, imagine, and visualize your space as it will eventually be. Don't let it overwhelm you. Ask God to help you let go when you need to let go. Spend time reading, listening to podcasts, getting on Pinterest, printing out quotes. Maybe decide to make this project your priority for a few weeks. Knowing that it won't have to stay a priority. You will find a new, simple, clear rhythm to life once you have less stuff to worry with.
This will be a hard, fun, exciting, scary, amazing, and so many other emotions for each of us. Let's let all the feelings come up. If you, like me, have accumulated as a way to avoid some emotion this may be the first time you have looked some of those things like fear, boredom, shame, jealousy, etc and said "so what?". We don't have to run from those feelings, we GET to feel them so we can grow.
WE CAN DO THIS!
The best part of this whole thing is that our progress of letting go is going to help someone else replace things at a tough time. Super exciting stuff!!!!
Come on friends. Now is your chance. ARE YOU IN?
Week 2: Clothes
We started with clothes because most of us tend to hoard in this area. Even if we are pretty organized we still hold on to clothes for too long and often for the wrong reasons. I have kept things for "one day when......" or "remember when.....". I kept a hideous denim dress bought on my honeymoon until last year. I've been married 22 years. My wedding dress is a whole other story, Jessica McClintock, who the heck even was I???
I can't tell you what will work for you in the clothes area. You will find that. It is so personality related and I have heard so many different success stories. For me, Marie Kondo's method works well. Trying on or holding the piece of clothing up close seeing how I truly feel. If you didn't know I was a weirdo by now, there you go. She uses the question "does it spark joy?". I did not do that when I first started cleaning out. I have given away bags of clothes that I could quickly pull because I hadn't worn it in a year.
At this point in the process for me I have defined my personal style. I have intentionally considered what I want my clothes to represent. Who am I? Do my clothing choices represent that? I know that may seem ridiculous to some but it has helped me simplify and make sure that only things that do so get to take up space in my closet. Before you deem me a spoiled snob let me clarify, I wear mostly yoga pants, jeans, and t-shirts. I'm not fancy, nor are the majority of my clothes.
Kate's plan is to gravitate towards a capsule wardrobe.
I have a MUCH easier task than Kate. She has 5 kiddos at home. I only have one 13 year old still home. Easy peasy for me. Hallelujah! If you have a house full of kids and reading this makes you tired and you have no desire to tackle this at this stage in your life, we love you. Stop reading and go relax. It will be here when you are ready. Hopefully we will have learned lots more to help you even better at that time.
If you have said yes and really want to do this thing but clothes are overwhelming you, take a breath. Just do a preliminary clean out. Simply remove the things you haven't worn in a year. Put them in a bag and bring them to a charity.
I encourage you to move slowly through this process. When I first started this I determined it would be my spiritual discipline for a while. I used it as a time to listen to music(linked that to my favorite Spotify playlist) or podcasts (I can give you a lists of amazing ones if you want, just ask). I asked God to help me let go of emotional junk as I let go of physical excess. It helped me so much. We moved for the 11th time in 21 years a few months after I did this, it was by far the easiest move I have ever made.
I hope if you have been on the fence about doing this with us you will decide to join in. No one is expecting huge change. Just think of making a ONE DEGREE change. If you do a year from now your home, mind, heart will be so much cleaner, clearer, and more free.
I really loved this Ted Talk by The Minimalists. They are also releasing a documentary September 30th that I can hardly wait for.
Kate will be weighing in on this conversation a little later as she is in the process now. Let's all be in prayer for her! haha. The thought of minimalizing with 5 kids and a husband that keeps the amount of books you saw in the video times a hundred is a little overwhelming. She's got this, I've got this, YOU'VE GOT THIS!!!
We would LOVE to hear from you during the process. Please comment and let us know what you have done, are doing, or plan to do and how it is going.
Just a quick post with links to Kate and my Pinterest boards on the subject of minimalism. We will continue to add. If you peruse our pin boards you will see that you Pinterest can be as full as you like. So funny that sometimes just pinning something I like is enough. I don't have to own it to get joy from it. Who knew?
WEEK 3: Bathrooms
How are things going friends? I hope you have made a dent in the clothes that you don't truly love. I think I have gone through my clothes 10 times and find something that I am ready to let go of every single time. I've said before that I love clothes and that remains true. I love the idea of wearing a uniform like Steve Jobs, jeans and black shirt, but that isn't realistic. I express myself through my clothes, ridiculous as that may be. If I am removing things on a regular basis, donating the things I remove, I feel a little less guilty about the new things that are finding a new home in my closet.
This week we are moving our efforts to the bathroom. Some of these things may be in your bedroom or even another area of the house but I keep mine in the bathroom so here we go....
~Towels. Give away the ones that are tattered and yucky. You can cut them up for cleaning rags but don't keep them all, you don't clean that much!
~Medicines. Look through them and throw away things that are expired.
~Cosmetics. Figure out what you actually use and give away the rest. Save unopened items for our free garage sale.
~Perfume. This is an area I have always struggled. I remember at one time having 12 different kinds. That IS ridiculous. I have two now. One for when I need light and fresh, one for romantic nights out. No, I don't have enough romantic nights out to justify a whole bottle of perfume but I use it for anytime I am dressing up for an evening. I think a perfume should reflect the mood and style of the wearer. That's just me though. Give away the bottles that have some left. Bring the ones that are over half full to the garage sale:).
~Hair products. You know what you like. Why are you keeping all the rest? Bring unopened....
~Body products. Refer to above question. Bring unopened....
This list could continue but you get where we are going. Get rid of the excess in the bathroom. I believe bathing is a beautiful wonderful ritual that can be the perfect beginning or end to a day. If your space is cluttered it isn't so beautiful. Simplify your bathroom space and I guarantee that you will enjoy your time there more.
Keep us posted on your progress. We truly want to hear about it. COMMENT away.
Week 4: Kitchens
Hi friends! If you are still following this project you are a rock star. Not much to say about this one if you watch the video. The biggest thing is that you take inventory of the kitchen and pass along the things you don't use, have duplicates of, or don't love.
If you listened to the end of the video you heard my spiel about attachments. This is a VERY real and present struggle for me. I'm sure I'll be blogging about it soon. Stay tuned. Let go of the stuff so you can let go of the stuff.
WEEK 5: Decor
Not much to add to this weeks video. Just keep moving guys. We should be getting to the home stretch. Imagine cool weather, candles that smell like fall, drinking your favorite pumpkin flavored drink in your favorite chair, all with a clean and organized home. YES!!!
WEEK 6: Wrapping up
This is our last video to try to help you minimize. The inspiration behind this project was the flood. Watching friends and family struggle with losing so much was a catalyst for change in all of our lives. I have talked to numerous people that didn't flood and are feel such a desire to simplify and let go of things. Now is a great time to do that.
So, wherever you are in this journey give yourself a pat on the back for showing up. Keep up the good work. We will be back in touch in a couple of weeks as we prepare for the free garage sale for flood victims. Mark your calendars for November 5th. We will start taking things November 4th. See you soon.