I have been thinking a lot about minimalism this weekend as I’ve been moving things around in order to clear out our two other bedrooms in preparation for potentially opening our home to foster children. We’re still in the beginning stages of the process and there are plenty of things that could go wrong, but clearing out those bedrooms will not have been a waste of time no matter what ends up happening.
Now there was not much in either of those rooms in the first place. One previously functioned as an office (that I almost never used because I prefer to work at the kitchen table) and one as a guest room. The guest room has come in handy a few times as we’ve had family visit from out of town on more than one occasion. Still, there were a small number of things in each room that didn’t necessarily need to be in those rooms and could easily be moved elsewhere, and some things that really needed to be gotten rid of. I don’t let a lot of things pile up that need to be cleared out, but a box of sentimental items plus a small pileup of paperwork that I’m not sure is important to keep is still clutter that I need to deal with. This leads me to think about the time I spend maintaining my minimalist lifestyle.
As I spent about two hours taking photos of some of the sentimental stuff (schoolwork from my childhood) and then recycling it, I realized that that was the first time in a very long time that I’ve had to organize and sort anything. A few others examples came to mind, like the time a few weeks ago I straightened my collection of glass jars (that I use for bulk grocery shopping and food storage), but I mostly just…don’t. I don’t have to organize, and sort, and clear clutter every weekend. I don’t have to spend more than five minutes picking up the house on the weekend before being able to vacuum.
And that to me is the great benefit of minimalism–the sheer enormous amount of time I have at my disposal because of what I don’t have to do. And the most wonderful thing to me about getting those rooms cleared out (except for a few toys, since those will be for the children that may one day live here) is that no other part of the house feels cluttered. I made better use of the shelving in the laundry room, the miscellaneous drawer in the kitchen, the dining room closet, and the linen closet, and there is still enough space in each to keep them from feeling cluttered. I love space, especially in closets and on shelves. Because isn’t that what minimalism ultimately is–a celebration of space and time?