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In Pursuit of Minimalism

…or some form of it that suits us.

I love clean, white spaces. My husband and I are both drawn to Scandinavian design and the Japanese way of life, both for their simplicity and minimalism. We go to Japan sometimes for work, and being able to live that way for a week or two is always refreshing. We’ve always put more value into experiences rather than things, but it’s surprising how much junk one accumulates over the years.

Early mornings. Quiet time. #travelersnotebook #travelersfactory #penaddict

A post shared by Lisa Llarena (@lisallarena) on

There have been considerable attempts as early as my college years when I took to uniform dressing. I’m almost always in black, blue, or grey, and I love how this simplifies my life. It saves me so much time and gets me out the door in 5-10 minutes if I have to. I figure since I’m high-maintenance in other ways, this evens it out. Lol.

Last February, I went ahead and went nuclear mode on clearing things out. Well, as much as I could get with our work schedule then and a move, which means it has been ongoing for the last 5 months. But to be fair, with Jeff’s help, I’ve been able to get rid of a third of our belongings since starting all this. We sold a few things, and donated or threw out the rest. I think I’m finally getting somewhere on the home front.

It wasn’t sudden, but it has been a significant change. It’s nowhere near as extreme as Marie Kondo or The Minimalists, which we feel are both too much for us, but what we’ve done so far has been wildly cathartic. It feels lighter somehow. There’s more space to breathe, more space for light to fill.

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We’ve kept most some of our books and most of our Lego because we bond over them as a family. I think decluttering shouldn’t feel like penance or righting a wrong, just as having “stuff” isn’t a bad thing. I like stuff — paper, in particular. It’s just a decision to simplify one’s way of life by only keeping your essentials, whatever they may be. It’s admitting that the things you stored in boxes two years ago will never be unearthed again, and that those Kinfolk magazines on your bookshelf will never be read again, and letting them all go.

It’s a work in progress, but we’re getting to the sweet spot that works for us. I’m messy by default, and some days, I do enjoy a little clutter. Some days, my mind is messy enough for the whole house. Thankfully, the boys bring the chill.

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