autumn’s story

recently, autumn shared her story of choosing minimalism through our share your story page. we couldn’t wait to pass it along to you:

I started on this path several years ago after picking up a book by Don Aslett. He was way ahead of this clutter curve and approached it humorously. He would point out things that made you laugh. After devouring his books, I started to look at my own stuff. One of the first things I did was to clean out my linen closet. At that point I had an apartment with one bathroom and had 7 sets of matching shower curtain/towels etc. I had a collection of just about everything. I donated over 2,000 books and so much more.

I have to say I did that all none too soon as within a very short time, I lost both parents. They were depression era children. They lived in different states, but their homes were twin hoard homes. Then I lost my brother who had a home full also. After having to clean these homes, I was so depressed/upset that there was so much! Garages that you couldn’t walk in, even full sheds and attics. Everything had emotion tied to it. My brothers home was the hardest.

I only had a finite amount of time to empty these places due to having to go back to work. So alot went to charity and alot came home with me. My home, by this time, was large with a garage. Yet, I couldn’t even walk into the garage because of their belongings and I had boxes in the living room to the ceiling. It took a couple of YEARS to get it to a manageable state due to things like still having to work full time etc. It also took so long because of the 3 homes piled in with mine. It was also slow due to the sentimental attachment.

I don’t believe I could have gotten through it all if I had not already embraced a drastically simplified lifestyle and purged my own belongings beforehand.

It was a long process to let go. Through it all, I determined to never leave someone with the job of cleaning up my mess.

I have learned that it is an ongoing process, that things will creep back if you do not watch for them. Now I feel better with less. It is funny, if you have a closet stuffed then clean it out, you can feel the difference. Even with the door shut, you can feel empty space, it is a good feeling.

autumn, thank you for sharing this very personal story with us. we hope it will encourage others to embrace minimalism.  

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Joshua Becker

About Joshua Becker

Writer. Inspiring others to live more by owning less.
Bestselling author of Simplify & Clutterfree with Kids.

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  1. Theresa says

    Autumn, thanks for sharing your story. My sympathy on the loss of your loved ones. My husband and I read (and laughed through) Don Aslett’s declutering books years ago. I have re-read them several times, always followed with a period of purging my home. With the loss of family/friends in the last few years, I also have “determined to never leave someone with the job of cleaning up my mess.” Encouraging to know there’s someone else who is like-minded. The feel of empty spaces? It’s awesome!

  2. TM says

    She said==”It is funny, if you have a closet stuffed then clean it out, you can feel the difference. Even with the door shut, you can feel empty space, it is a good feeling.”

    I agree 100%. I even sleep better when my bedroom is uncluttered.

  3. says

    Autumn, I enjoyed reading your story. I, too, have cleaned out people’s homes and vowed I’d not leave that legacy to my children. I read Don Aslett’s books and also Messies Anoymous by Sandra Felton. It was great to read a story about someone who has been in the simple living/minimalism/decluttering mode for the long haul of many years. Thanks! And thanks to becomingminimalist for posting it.

  4. Heather says

    Autumn, first, I am sorry for the loss of your family members. Second, I had the same thing happen. My grandparents house was packed to the tip top eaves and under the foundation…not joking here. Many things were literally rotting in their respective spots and we found NOTHING of value to even donate. 4 huge dumpsters later, it was all gone. It was sad to see all the wasted clothing, food, decore, bath items, rusted tools…that now had no value because they were hoarded and not taken care of or used. Lesson learned. I came home and purged, purged, purged.

    • di says

      So true. You really need to take good care of your things. Otherwise, what use are they to you or someone else. Don’t invest in things if you don’t realistically have time for them.

  5. Karen says

    I live with a hoarder, so I can sympathize with these stories. My housemate is not dirty or disorganized, thank goodness, but she still fills every corner and piles up to the ceiling. The house is stuffed with decades’ worth of sentimental this-and-that. It doesn’t bother her (she says); she loves all her things and works to arrange them artfully. She has the right to choose her own lifestyle, of course, and I’m glad she loves her home.

    The effect on her children is sad, though. Her son doesn’t want to stay in the house because there’s no room to put his bags down. Her daughter dreads having to clean things up when her mom eventually dies or needs nursing home care (which is still years in the future, but it preys on the daughter’s mind now). And I, her friend and housemate, often find the lack of space in the house so oppressive that I escape to my own room and clean it out!

    • di says

      Too bad your example doesn’t rub off on her.

      Hoarders tend to have psychological problems.

      To ignore her children’s needs is selfish and rather despondent.

  6. di says

    I inherited my Aunt’s home. She inherited her parents’ home. Then, I also inherited my Mom’s home.

    Prior to this, I lived with minimal possessions.

    At times, I enjoy looking through everything, but I’ve begun to part with a lot.

    We live in a poor community and it’s time to pass things on. I’ve enjoyed them long enough.

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