As we proceed with decluttering and downsizing, I’m reflecting on a few ideas from other blogs.
The benefits of having a little bit extra is one idea discussed here. Some minimalists would have you eliminate all the fluff: one towel per person, one pair of sheets per bed, only the smallest of wardrobes, and throw out all the extra storage containers.
In fact, I have been finding that extra stuff often fills a useful purpose. Paring down to the bare minimum comes with a cost, just as having too much does. The trick is finding the balance.
I insist on at least 2 sets of sheets per bed. Two sets gives time to wash and dry one set, yet the bed can be ready for use right away. With a napping baby, this is very important! Extra towels, up to a point, are super useful when I’m washing sweaters and other delicates, to lay things out to dry. An extra pair of gloves and a hat would have been great to have around during a recent cold snap when a friend dropped by without. And I continually cycle through the assorted small purse-like bags I keep for the different small items I carry around. Similarly, a stockpile of envelopes and stamps saves time and money; a few extra bottles allows us to not wash them on late nights; and an extra few sets of pajama bottoms lets me get through a week where I may be soaked during bathtime and then peed on later in the night.
For me, there still can be too much. We never ever use up even half of our bath towels – I think we can safely turf a few. And when I finally really saw that I had an extra couple inches of old, used file folders, I knew it was time to get rid of them (as I have a couple inches of NEW ones waiting in the filing cabinet for all my filing needs). Finding the right balance is something for each person/family to determine.
Which brings me to another interesting post, about decluttering gone mad and its potential anti-feminist implications. This article made a lot of sense to me for a couple of reasons. First, I like beautiful things, I love nesting, and I want a home filled with beautiful things, though not too many of them. I can definitely see how the strict rules of decluttering, and the spartan discipline they inspire, could strip away items that are personally meaningful, leaving a home that is free of objects but also free of myself.
As well, I still feel like the caretaker of the people and the life lived inside my home. That stuff helps me care for people. Extra blankets for guests, spare soaps similarly, clothing duplicates for people who drop by, books to entertain, surplus tupperware to send away food. The stuff lets me care for people, and having enough of it spares me constant shopping and running out, an anti-woman result of decluttering.
I do love, love, love sorting through excess stuff and culling what isn’t needed. If I could do it as a job, I would. At the same time, I hope to bring a more compassionate tone to the process than I might have to date. Loving things … I know it might sound wrong, but I’m okay with it. Hanging on to objects that help you create a home … important. Cushioning your future by hanging on to more than the bare minimum: logical, useful, and completely acceptable.