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I've been leaning towards minimalism for awhile now. During my last trimester of pregnancy, I actually stuck to a wardrobe capsule, inspired primarily by the Unfancy blog. For those of you unfamiliar, it involves intentionally limiting the number of clothes you use for a set period of time. By strategically narrowing your options down to something like 27 items (including shoes and purses!), it allows you to fret less over your choices, forces you to be more creative and is especially kind to your wallet. Most importantly though, it allows you to focus on more critical aspects of life. Back during my pregnancy, I tried to take a more simple approach with all things baby related as well, even after the showers. Instead of having a bassinet, bouncer and swing, for example, I found this amazing Graco 2 in 1 Glider Elite Swing (Brompton) which combined all three. I also made sure to return any non-necessities received during showers (sorry!) and hoard the store credit instead...which has been an amazing tactic for those times when I'm in need of more diapers or things I hadn't anticipated needing.
In a world of consumerism, it's all too easy to fall prey to the allure of wanting. I'm certainly not perfect and have definitely decided this is a skill set which needs to be honed and polished. In an attempt to keep my motivation for this lifestyle fresh, I've been receiving essays from The Minimalists website and reading this absolutely life-changing book. I kept seeing the book cover pop up all across the inter-webs and out of curiosity, went ahead and purchased a copy for myself. I'll admit, parts of it are a little different but it really made me think. For instance, why did I bother to register for china when we got married if we're just going to have it sit in boxes all but once or twice a year? So I made a somewhat drastic decision and decided recently that we'd start using our china every day. I love it. It feels fancy and luxurious and fabulous all at the same time. Why not?! So I may chip or break a plate but surely I would have rather actually used this amazing dinnerware than to have it sit gathering dust, right?
And a somewhat amazing thing I picked up on from when we were living in our short-term housing? Picture this: You walk into an apartment but it feels more like a hotel. Lacking is the clutter and knick-knacks. Instead, the living room includes a fully set table. The kitchen is stocked only with the necessities. The bathrooms are sparse but for the fresh white linens. It's serene and calming and I loved it. So much so that I've vowed to keep our dining room table fully set at all times. Another takeaway? It is totally unnecessary to have SIXTEEN sets of silverware, which is what we've had up until now. Sure, we never ran out of spoons but I also dreaded unloading the dishwasher. With less stuff cluttering the kitchen drawers, it makes using cooking utensils a little less aggravating.
And lastly, let's go there. The big one. Clothing. Has anyone else used thredUP? I've always donated my clothing en masse to Goodwill but some of the nicer items I've recently sold to this online consignment shop retailer instead. I've requested not one but THREE clean-out bags (they send them to you free with a pre-paid return shipping label). Anything they don't take, they donate anyway so it's a win win in my book. It's also an awesome place to buy discounted brand name clothing, which is nice since my wallet's a bit slim these days, with me not working and all. Ps. They're offering a $10 shopping credit if you click the link above and check them out. Not too shabby!
All in all, this has come at the perfect time. The wardrobe capsule experiment, the book on tidying, the naturally sparse short-term housing arrangement. All signs were pointing towards it being time for us to clean house. We've been unpacking and re-packing boxes now for over a week straight and are still making our way through the storage units. In addition to our craigslist selling frenzy, we've also got a pretty significant (based on the sheer number of boxes lining our place) yard sale coming up in late April. I've now sent in multiple bags full of clothing to thredUP and am clearing our new place of any and all clutter. It feels so GOOD. We're finding homes for the things we've accumulated but either don't love or haven't used and are watching as our cash flow increases in the process.
Am I a total weirdo for wanting it to feel like we live in a clutter-free, luxurious hotel? Maybe. But if the fresh flowers on my fully set table and a simple wardrobe made up of only items I absolutely love is what makes me happy, well then...sign me up!