I think a part of me has always been intrigued by the idea of living with less. Of not believing the message that we must have more and bigger. Five years ago I read Sarah Susanka's Not So Big House series and loved the idea of building a house that was just the right size for the life you lived.
But getting married and having kids and struggling financially made it easy to fall into the trap of wanting more. If I only had 'this' I would be so much happier. As a couple we moved just about every year and always did a decluttering as we packed to move. Until we moved into our current residence. A 3 bedroom bungalow (rented) with a usable, but not finished basement. With one daughter it was comfortable even with all the toys she accumulated. The second bedroom was a toy room!
We began to buy the things needed to maintain a house and yard. Lawnmower, shovel, BBQ (not really needed but...). No biggie, put them in the basement in the offseason. Ditto for the dozen outdoor toys Ella accumulated. While we're at it, let's set up a home gym. Treadmill, weight bench, free weights.
Then we decided to have another child. The toy room needed to become a nursery. More large toys went to the basement. The art table moved to the dining room. Ella's room was reconfigured to fit a shelf for all of her smaller toys. Then the baby things began to arrive. We've been in the house for 3 years and 3 months. Although we've done the occasional culling and flea marketing to move things out there has been significantly more moving things in.
Being home on maternity leave for the past 9 months has been sobering. It's been impossible to stay on top of the clutter and mess. I find myself getting short with Ella and too often saying "Not now, Mommy has to (insert housekeeping chore)". On top of that I'm supposed to be using this time to start laying the foundation of my business. Instead I would look around, feel smothered and instead spend every spare moment fixated on the computer. I can't begin to count the number of times I looked around and wished I could toss everything out and only bring back the things we absolutely loved and needed. The thought of having to move was terrifying. Thankfully we love our home but the realization that we would stay here even if we were miserable was a shock. Our "stuff" was truly holding us prisoner!
Then one day between Christmas and New Year's of this year I stumbled on a link to Be More With Less and Becoming Minimalist. It was like a light bulb went off. I started digging around, reading archives, jumping from blog to blog in the minimalist community. It just seemed to fit with what I always felt but didn't know how to get to.
My word for 2011 is Simplify. While I'm starting with the "stuff" I want it to become about the life I live and the priorities I set. And while I've started several blogs in the past, this is the first one I didn't have to force myself to write. I'm looking forward to sharing my journey with you.