Today we’re going to talk family.
To start us off, I thought it would be fitting to introduce you to my own family!
This is my mother. She is hyper-vigilant when it comes to a clean home and goes into cleaning-battle mode when she finds out someone unexpected is coming over in 10 minutes. Because, of course, everyone’s home in America is cleaner than ours. Naturally.
This is my father. He is a sleep-in-a-tent-in-the-dead-of-winter and eat-berries-and-grass-for-every-meal kind of a man. Although likely insane, I will never have to worry about an impending Apocalypse.
This is my sister. We are the same person except that we’re not (anyone with a sister will catch my drift). Many long nights of horror flicks have taught us both that going to the basement is never a good idea, and Father Bob is the only relevant person to call when ghosts are invading your home.
Lastly, we have my brother. Lovingly nick-named “the pack mule”, he and I have shared many long walks and philosophical talks. Although I have respected him in many ways, that does not take away the fact that he once slapped himself until his arm looked sun-burned and told my mother that I hit him. I guess I have had my revenge, however. I once threw a bread stick at his face when we were at an Italian restaurant.
Now that we’ve all been properly introduced, I can tell my story. I was several months into my minimalism journey when I went home for a weekend to see my family. I had a goal in mind before I even stepped into the plane: I was going to purge all of my belongings in my parents’ home. I hated the fact that I had been using my parents’ guest room as my storage facility. What was worse is that all of the items were sentimental in nature. Luckily, I had become quite the master at purging sentimental clutter. My months of decluttering had given me a discerning eye when it came to items I actually loved or needed.
I approached the task with a new zeal and motivation, and proceeded to remove box after box from my pathetic-looking closet. I was surprised to find that most of the items were easy to purge. I had become very adept at making quick decisions. My mother, curious about my strange excitement, came up to my room and plopped onto my bed, declaring she was interested in seeing what I would actually do. At first, I was hesitant. I had heard that it was a bad idea to declutter with parents around. However, I allowed her to stay.
I was making significant progress when my brother and sister entered the room. This was also not surprising. In my house, where two family members gather, the rest gather. It did not take long for my father to wonder about the commotion in my room and decided to join the party. The next hour was filled with reminiscing and even some tears. Then, what I feared most began.
Oh, you’re going to get rid of THAT? Are you sure about that? Shouldn’t you keep that for the future? Maybe your kids will want that someday!
Even my mother, who was always a fan of getting rid of stuff, began to question certain items. For a few minutes, my heart wavered. My fiery zeal had been brought to a low simmer and I began to question myself. Then, I remembered what I had set out to do – and most importantly WHY I set out to do it in the first place. I remembered all of my fellow minimalists who had faced a similar situation as this, and had pressed on. So, I did what felt right in my soul. I took pictures of the items, and let them go.
I was surprised to find that my sister caught onto my minimalist tendencies fairly quickly. She also began to get rid of some things, even though my father told her she should hold onto those things. I think it probably helped her seeing my process. I felt really encouraged.
I truly do feel for those of you who will have to face this same situation. It can be very difficult to ignore family and get rid of things – especially when those items are sentimental. However, you can do it! Remember why you’re doing what you’re doing. This is for you and not for them.
Now, I know this story is personal and not practical per say. Some of you may be like me and asking:
Good for you, Liz. This story is nice and all, but I need concrete, practical advice.
I totally agree with you. Which is why you should check out another one of my posts: 5 Tips to Decluttering with Families. There, I share some helpful tips to decluttering your stuff while at home with family. I also share some photos of some of the items I got rid of. I know it’s hard, but I promise the end result is worth it – and your family will see that too! Ultimately, they should be happy that you are happy.
With that said, I’ll leave you until next time.
Good luck to you, where ever you are on your journey!