Thursday, June 30, 2011

20-Minute Challenge Recap


I can hardly believe that today is the last day of the month.  On top of that this is the last day of my 20-Minute Challenge.  Boy howdy has it been an interesting month!  Anyone who devotes a specified amount of time to changing an area of their life is in for a surprise along the way.  I think what struck me the most this time is how my feelings about stuff my spending changed and my creativity exploded!

So I thought today I might tell you a little more about how I now feel and what has really changed and my plans for the future.

When I first challenged myself last August to get rid of things and de-clutter my home it was out of necessity.  Thaddeus had just entered our home and the struggles of having 5 kids and the accumulation of things was putting a damper on what we could actually do.  We could have moved to a bigger house with more space for our stuff but we couldn't afford to move so we had to get rid of things.  This was a great first step on my path to simplify my life by less things however, it didn't change me as much as this month did.

Part of why I changed so much has to do with the time spent feeling frustrated that my big give last August didn't change the clutter like I hoped it would.  So I think this year the change is greater because I was more intentional, I was more thought out and I had a better plan.  So as I started going through things I saw them differently...I asked myself not "Do I want to keep this?" but "Will keeping this keep me from doing what I want to do?"  That perspective change is enormous.  Really linking my accumulations to my goals and dreams and seeing them for what they are...helps or hinderances helped tremendously.

I think the one thing that surprised me the most is that I realized (not for the first time) how much my husband truly loves me.  All these years I have come home from a shopping trip and often he would become frustrated because 'we didn't need that stuff.'  I would always have a ready reason excuse for why we did need it...and by bedtime Husband had cooled off and was loving and affectionate towards me.

Yet as I started going through boxes of stuff that I had bought because we 'needed' it only to find it unused I became entirely disgusted with myself.  If it weren't for the fact that I am me and I can't escape me I wouldn't have talked to me for a month!  That first week I had to really work through why I buy what I buy and realized I just don't think enough before purchasing.

Finally, I forgave myself for my unwise stewardship and began looking again at my mental list of things I've always thought we 'needed' and then I did something I've never done before...I looked at what I had and tried to envision using what I already have for something I need.  This is where the creativity comes in.  I have a lot of organizing left to do but right now I'm funneling my needs through what I have on hand to make it work!  This is entirely gratifying, to know that you can make what you need without it makes Husband really happy.

Also I've found that it is more than ok to let go of clothes once the kids out grow them...God will provide more when the younger kids get there.  For me this is easy, for Husband this is a faith issue and he has been working on trusting God to provide the needs of our family...and I'm trusting God to provide the needs and wants too ;)

As for the future I know that I want to strive for the minimalist life.  Having less doesn't make you want more...having less means you enjoy what you have more.  Really I don't miss the things I just gave away and I really don't miss having to clean it all either (side note my cleaning time is down now too...amazing  the less you have the less time it takes to clean it all).  I'm pretty sure that I'll keep spending 20 minutes going through things 3 or 4 days a week and making regular trips to Goodwill (I'm on a first name basis with Carlos...he's the guy who unloads my Suburban when I go donate).  However, if one week goes by and I don't get to de-cluttering I won't lose sleep.

I hope you all had a great month...if you've participated even in some small way I'd love to hear what you've learned this month.


Here is a link to a blog post I just read that really conveys how I feel about minimalistic fact if you're interested in learning more his blog is great too!

So tell me how is your life different today than last month?  What is something you thought you couldn't live without but since getting rid of it has freed you enormously?  Let's share from what we've learned!

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