I think that minimalism is a really lovely ideal – there has been much love for the Minimalist documentary lately and I appreciate that it gets people to think about the quality and quantity of goods they keep in their lives and how those goods bring them joy. It seems like a great way to live if that is the way you like.
Husband and I seem to have aimed for a different ideal; our house is certainly not free of clutter and we have some low-quality items around us at times. Our first goal was to not buy things just to fill spaces; our furniture was beat-up and old and donated from friends and family and it works just great. We don’t replace it until it loses functionality (the one totally ripped up couch got put on the replacement list when we could hardly stand up from it any more), or until we have something wonderful to take its place. A good example would be the bookshelves that Husband loves to make, or the great deal we got on a beautiful wooden hutch at the Habitat ReStore.
Once the big 100-year-old house we bought stopped feeling so empty, we started trying to make some things go out every time something new came in – this is hard to do, but like this Saturday, we just committed to organizing and filing a bunch of papers in our spare room and ended up throwing away or donating 5 grocery bags of things. We itemize all our donated items just in case because it really only takes 10 minutes and if we make it above the standard deduction, it’s basically free money back to us on our taxes. It also gives me a little positive jolt, getting things we don’t use out of the house and back into a world where someone else might want them.
Lastly, we don’t mind keeping things that don’t go bad on the off chance that they will help someone. I know that the spare room would be less messy if I got rid of some craft supplies and saved trash items (like cardboard paper towel tubes) that I still hope to use for a project someday. I don’t mind having these things as long as I corral them in bins or tote boxes, and as long as I reevaluate occasionally – am I ever going to make something with this? It’s a good compromise for us.
What do you do to keep the clutter down in your home, and what things do you not mind being non-minimalist about?