Living in an apartment certainly has it’s ups and downs. I love living in a smaller space. There is less to clean, less space to store unwanted items and it is the perfect size for our family of 2 people and 3 cats. I love it, it’s a cozy little home and the apartment location itself has a lot to offer. However, it also has a lot of negatives attached to it. The dryer likes to shed out clothes, the washer recently started stopping mid cycle and refuses to open back up. Due to a small place, cat hair is an accessory we have reluctantly come to accept. And then there is the joy of having less space (something that I love having) and way to many items.
I write this after I spent a good portion of my day clawing my way though our walk in closest. Yes, clawing. Struggling, and sweating profusely. I had decided that if we could downsize our clothing items to just the bare minimal of what we need and use on a weekly basis I could use the smaller side for both me and my husbands clothing and use the larger side to house our laundry sorter. Neat, tidy, organized and minimal. These were the words I had in my head as I decided this was to be my next project.
However, after looking at exactly what was in the closest, I became frustrated and annoyed. I was throwing box after box of junk out that we hadn’t even looked at since we moved in. That was almost 2 years ago. Cat hair collected in embarrassingly large clumps, which was my clue to just how often these things were even glanced at. The cats had claimed the boxes for their own, realizing that their owners were never to return to them. These are the things that my husband had contributed to the closet. Leather polish, containers, car stuff that I have no clue what is used for. String, pouches, gloves, plastic, shirts and about a bajillion other small things that just seem to pile up in houses. I tossed it all out of the closest and promptly sent him a text, saying this was ridiculous we have never even touched this stuff after dropping in its spot when we moved in.
And that is what our apartment is. Junk, upon junk upon junk. At least I was telling myself it was all junk. My view of minimalism meant that everything needed to go. We have probably gotten rid of 50% of our stuff. Mostly my stuff because try as I might I seem to be the only one bothered by the amount of worthless items we seem to have. I poke, I prod, I plead. But most of the junk never seems to make it out of the house. Clutter is everywhere, Knick knacks and piles of things we don’t use. Stuff to donate that we never found boxes for. Kitchen items we NEVER use and have no need for. Just stuff, everywhere. Stuff from people, from my years of forever getting little figurines because people realized I like turtles so that was the go to thing. Boxes from things we bought that we “need” to keep because even though I returned the phone when my lease was up we might need that box someday. Magazine. Junk mail. Stuffed animals, blankets, trinkets, pens, lotions, tape, cords upon cords upon cords. The list is endless.
I look around and feel hopeless sometimes. I have weeded out 90% of the things that I own with no end in sight to when I will have a totally minimal shelf top. I just have to take a moment and breathe, and remind myself that the goal of having a minimal lifestyle is not to end up with nothing but to end up with only the things that I need or care about. Minimalism means something different to everyone, and to me it means I need to get rid of things with no purpose or need in my life. Cleaning up is a task certainly, but it shouldn’t be difficult. I find that when I stop focusing on how much I need to do, and how much stuff still needs sorted through, I am able to buckle down and get the job down quickly and efficiently. I have to remind myself that my goal is to get to a place where everything in my home has purpose and brings me joy, not to just make my apartment empty.
I started small, the smallest I possibly could. My bathroom. I went through and made piles. Things I absolutely need. Things I like and still use daily. Things I haven’t touched in years, but could donate. And things I don’t need, can’t use and can’t donate. I grazed through my items until I had the bare minimal of the items I need. I cleared off 2 extremely full shelves into two small slide out trays. My routine went from every face product ever to just what I needed. I have one face wash and one mask both from lush. I have my deodorant, all natural also thanks to lush. A hairbrush, hair ties and headbands- which is a must have for my yoga lifestyle. I have one eyeshadow palette, one mascara and one eyeliner which is all I need makeup wise. The only thing I didn’t throw out was my collection of Bath and Body Works lotion, because I use lotion daily and didn’t want to toss those items if I was going to be using them. Besides some nail clippers and tweezers, a face razor and maybe a hand mirror those are the extent of the items that I have in my bathroom. Suddenly I could breathe.
Slowly I have been going through each room, applying the same process I had in the bathroom. Now that I have a system, this downsizing isn’t so bad. It can be a struggle for sure, and I can come off as a little crazy, especially to my husband. But I am getting there. It won’t be overnight, but I can work towards a minimal lifestyle everyday. Eventually I will get to where I need to be.