Minimalism, anxiety, and toddlers.

Ok. So, as some of you may know, I have this problem thing where i learn something new, get CRAZY obsessed with it for awhile, and then eventually it will fizzle out to just a small hobby.

For example, last spring I learned how to make and can jams and jellies. I got super ridiculously obsessed. I made jams out of any produce that was on sale throughout the whole summer(strawberry jalapeno jam, anyone? how about tomato basil jelly?) but when fall hit and produce prices started rising, I quit cold turkey. Then spring came, and I made enough jam and jelly to last us for us for several months when berries were on sale.

So what is my new obsession? MINIMALISM. Although I hope this one sticks because so far, it’s been AMAZING.

I actually found minimalism by accident. I didn’t even know it was a thing. But I was googling about how to deal with my anxiety, and minimalism kept popping up! There are many different forms of it, but what i’ve narrowed it down to is this:

Minimalism is purposefully living with less. 

For some people, that means living with 100 items or less! Which i admire, but that’s not for me.

This is what minimalism looks like for my household:

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So what does getting rid of stuff have to do with anxiety?

Well, a lot actually.

Your brain is amazing. When you scan a room, you pick up on certain things. Certain items stick out to you. but your subconscious picks up EVERY DETAIL. It’s just not easily accessible. Can you name every DVD you own? Probably not. But somewhere in your brain, the information is there.Taking up brain power and focus.

The average american spends 8 hours a week dealing with their stuff (cleaning and organizing) and will spend 153 days of their lives looking for misplaced items! If organizing your stuff worked, wouldn’t we be done already?

I don’t know about you, but that all sounds anxiety inducing to me….

You know what else causes a lot of anxiety for me? My toddler getting into all this CRAP. I yell at him at least 300 times a day to get out of… well… everything. But since i’ve been decluttering, I notice myself yelling less. Why? Because there is less for him to get into. And if it was so easy for me to give these items away, why was i yelling at him in the first place? oh, parenthood…..

So as Americans, how much stuff do we really have? Here are some great stats i grabbed from becoming minimalist:

  • There are 300,000 items in the average American home
  • 1 out of every 10 Americans rent offsite storage—the fastest growing segment of the commercial real estate industry over the past four decades.
  • 25% of people with two-car garages don’t have room to park cars inside them and 32% only have room for one vehicle.
  • The United States has upward of 50,000 storage facilities, more than five times the number of Starbucks. Currently, there is 7.3 square feet of self storage space for every man, woman and child in the nation. Thus, it is physically possible that every American could stand—all at the same time—under the total canopy of self storage roofing.
  • 3.1% of the world’s children live in America, but they own 40% of the toys consumed globally
  • Our homes have more television sets than people. And those television sets are turned on for more than a third of the day—eight hours, 14 minutes
  • Americans spend more on shoes, jewelry, and watches ($100 billion) than on higher education
  • Americans spend $1.2 trillion annually on nonessential goods—in other words, items they do not need
  •  The $8 billion home organization industry has more than doubled in size since the early 2000’s—growing at a staggering rate of 10% each year.

These numbers make me cringe! I don’t want to be a part of this! Plus, how often do we use all this stuff anyways? I don’t know about you, but i have this pile of junk that I keep saying I’ll get to, but it really just ends up migrating from room to room…..

Although, I’ve realized I’ve been heading towards minimalism for awhile now, without even realizing it. I don’t buy the boys clothes, and I don’t keep many of old sizes for hand me downs. I don’t use baby gear (mostly) because I don’t really think it is neccesary. I gave up my traditional pots and pan set because I rarely used it, and replaced them with 4 individual pans that are perfectly suited to what we need. I have also been working on simplifying my own closet. We gave up our microwave a year ago and I don’t even miss it…

So I wanted to share this experience. As I go through all of our crap, I’m realizing we can do without a lot of it. I’m going about this decluttering process with a simple 15 – 30 minute project a day (because looking at all i have to do to minimize is anxiety inducing. seriously!) So as I knock out these projects, I’ll post about them, and hopefully encourage some of you to reconsider all the junk you are holding onto as well.

Full list of projects here.

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