The KonMari method and minimalism are all the rage (is that still a saying?) ever since the Netflix show debuted. I read the book about 6 months ago, and loved it. I listened to it on audiobook while joyfully filling bag after bag to donate or send to the dump.
But more recently, seeing and hearing all about this new Netflix show had me thinking back on those last 6 months. I’ve been able to stay true to my value of minimalism, whereas in the past I had wavered and struggled.
Clutter has always drove me nuts, and I actually enjoy deep cleaning and organizing. I love being able to find what I need quickly and knowing where everything is.
My problem is maintaining my motivation. Typically in the spring and summer I will purge and enjoy the white bright white empty space, while in the fall and winter I tend to nest and hibernate. I spend too many hours indoors thinking about things we “could really use” to make our home cozier. Candles, sheepskin throw pillows, and chunky knit blankets. I felt like we needed them. I’d spend hours upon hours shopping, only to realize a few months later how unnecessary it all was.
When I quit my job to stay home with my daughter, this was all even more challenging. I was spending even more time inside the house. I was constantly considering what else I could purchase that would get us one step closer to that Pinterest-perfect home.
Speaking of Pinterest, I was checking the app way too often, and paying far too much attention to all those “Must Have Toy List,” “Shop the Room,” and “Capsule Wardrobe” pins. Instagram wasn’t any better.
But over the last 6 months, something was different. I made it through a fall and winter season without buying anything unnecessary. No clothes, no home decor, no indoor toys.
The only things I purchased were a few items of winter clothing we needed and some outdoor toys- a sled and toddler skis. They “spark joy” and we use them daily.
It didn’t take too much time to figure out how I’ve been able to stay minimalist for this long. We simply get outside more.
There are so many reasons for getting outside, but basically- the more we get out, the happier we are. We now spend 3 to 4 hours a day outside (in the winter) and likely will spend more once it warms up a bit.
Saving money and staying true to minimalism have been a happy side effect. When I’m outside, I’m not looking at my phone. I’m forced to experience real life and play with my daughter. To listen to the birds and breathe the fresh air and live life in the moment. The last thing on my mind is the throw pillow that would look nice on the sofa.
I haven’t cleaned up toys in weeks and I haven’t bought new toys in months. I’ve actually given away or sold even more of them. With less time indoors, the toys we do have stay interesting. And fewer toys means it is easy for even the 2 year olds to clean up on their own.
I’m no longer wracking my brain for ideas for keeping my toddler busy. I don’t have to make all sorts of sensory trays, or create obstacle courses, or buy all the problem solving and gross motor toys. Because (as a certified early childhood educator) I’m confident my daughter gets near everything she needs, developmentally, in nature.
I think also, being outdoors makes me feel centered and content. Which keeps me from feeling like I need to try and buy happiness.
There are so. many. reasons. to get outside more. Staring at my house less and staring at my phone less are just two of them. Being in nature, daily, has effected my life in so many profound ways. <3
In what unexpected ways has being outside more changed your life for the better?