Living in a small space has advantages and disadvantages. One advantage is that there simply isn’t room to store needless things that we don’t constantly use. One disadvantage is that if we aren’t vigilant, clutter will quickly infiltrate our entire home. There’s no spare bedroom or basement to let all the clutter live; it lives right here with us. We’re constantly trying to find the balance between creating more nooks, crannies and cubbies to hide away all of our useful things and simply taking unnecessary things out of the home. Sometimes I dream of living in a big loft and having nothing in it but space.
We didn’t exactly choose to live in a small space, although we had already been researching tiny houses, and we did want to downsize. We had already decided to purge unnecessary things from our lives, but we weren’t necessarily interested in living in a one bedroom apartment. It just turns out that the best option for both being close to family and reducing our spending was this place. We weren’t looking for small, but we weren’t afraid of it either, so we jumped into the challenge and it’s been largely successful.
Now here we are, a year later. We’ve done a lot of work to the place to make it suitable for a family of four, and we’re not quite done yet. I have at least ten different projects in various stages of completion, and, unfortunately, that means there’s clutter sitting around from those different projects, as well as clutter from clothes the kids have outgrown or haven’t grown into yet, and just random things that we don’t want to spend time with because we just want to finish these projects or take a break from it to ride our bikes. In other words, our small space is full of clutter.
So we’ve resolved to declutter once again. Tools and materials for unfinished projects that won’t be completed any time soon will be put into the shed. The shed’s a mess, but one step at a time folks. Clothes that don’t currently fit the kids will be put into the shed or given away. Sunny and I will sort through our clothes and pare down the wardrobe. She’s figuring out a capsule wardrobe; I’m going to take on the challenge of Project 333. And I’ve decided that Thursday afternoons will be decluttering time, even though, in a way, that feels like a failure.
Every minimalist that I’ve read or listened to talks about how owning fewer things means spending less time taking care of those things. I’d like to believe that we’ve minimized enough that we don’t have to spend time organizing and decluttering. But I know, we still have two kids. And while we do have to work at it, I have to remember that there are parents out there that have entire rooms just for toys. It was just over a year ago that we had a constantly cluttered kitchen, a garbage filled garage, and a basement bursting with belongings. I know we’ve made progress. And needing to tidy up once a week isn’t bad.
Of course the best approach to decluttering is constant vigilance, and we do that too. But during my work week, I’m away from home over fifty hours, and Sunny is at home with two kids and working on her master’s degree. Throw in the sleep deprivation and the fact that our budget doesn’t allow us to pick up a pizza to avoid dirtying the dishes and the kitchen, and you’ve got yourself a cluttered house. So after work on Thursday, which is my Friday, we’ll declutter the house, so we can have a clutter-free weekend and start the week with a blank slate.
Where do I get the motivation for this? I’ve been listening to The Minimalists Podcast, I just finished reading Clutterfree with Kids, by Joshua Becker, and I’ve felt the effects of a clutterfree environment. It’s worth the work.