sheila’s story

here at becoming minimalist, we love sharing the stories of regular people choosing to live a minimalist life. today, we’re posting sheila’s story who shared it with us through our share your story page.

Like many others, I have always admired minimalist spaces but saw minimalism as something that only a few select individuals could do – something that was not practical for the majority of people. I knew no minimalists personally, so I had not ever seen such a space in person and had no one to ask for practical advice or help.

For years, I have been reading decluttering books, including Clear your Clutter with Feng Shui to better understand why I keep things and learn how to let go. But I had not been able to make much headway until very recently.

I saw a review of a new book (Throw Away 50 Things) where the author suggested the best place to start is by throwing out or giving away fifty things and writing each one down on a list as you go. I tried it and made it to fifty items! It was as if I had reached a tipping point of some sort, and suddenly letting go of things became so much easier.

My husband and I are now preparing for a move, and it’s amazing how many things have moved with me several times in the past but have never been used. This time, it’s different. I have donated so many things, and after I’ve dropped them at the charity shop, I don’t miss any of the items.

I am hoping that my example will encourage my husband to shed much of his stuff, too. But I will be very understanding if he cannot do this to the extent that I have, because I know how many years it took me to get to this point.

I smile when I think of our eventual cross-continent move, which will cost so much less since we will have fewer possessions.

sheila went on to say, “I hope it will inspire others to try, even if they are like I was: wanting to get rid of clutter but having no idea where to start.”

we hope it encourages them too, sheila. thank you for sharing your story. and good luck on your upcoming move.

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. says

    Great story Sheila!

    There’s something interesting about clutter. The idea reminds me very much of social creatures in that, where there’s some clutter there’s more clutter to follow. Where there’s not clutter, chances are there’s not any clutter to be seen in the near vicinity.

    The idea of having thrown 50 things away is very commendable to me because you are taking charge over the clutter in your life.

    Great post and thanks for sharing!

  2. sheila says

    Thank you for the encouragement, Jarrod!

    I think you’ve hit on something about clutter. I have noticed a “law of attraction” with litter, too. If I keep the neighborhood picked up, then there isn’t any new litter for a long time. But once a few pieces of litter appear, then more seems to gather quickly. I know for a fact that fast food bags and soda bottles don’t breed like rabbits when we’re not looking, but it sure seems that way sometimes.

    More good news: In the few days prior to this story posting, my husband noticed what I was doing and sorted some things of his own. We took a hatch full of donations to the charity shop. And, wow, did that feel good!

  3. says

    One of the authors that I’ve read that inspired me to de-clutter & then towards a minimalistic path is Brooks Palmer. He states that clutter attracts (or in your words breeds) clutter. A piece of paper left on a desk becomes a stack, then 2, etc. He (which spurred my path) asks, “Do you need this? Or can we toss it?” Sometimes people just need the okay from someone (even a professional) to get rid of whatever.

      • Samantha says

        I do di :-) like books that I love, kitchen utensils are a non-negotiable to me (so long as they’re used!) as cooking & baking is one of my passions in life that sometimes requires specialty items. Useless kitchen appliances are another matter however- I only use & need a small magic bullet style processor, a toaster, a basic kettle, & a jaffle maker. For the rest, I can use simple multi-purpose kitchen equipment like pots & pans.

  4. di says

    Start with a list of what you do want. Then, discard the remainder. It’s easier than fussing over every individual item.

    It would be even easier if you gave the list to someone else and let them discard the remainder.

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