Should Empty Nesters be trying to declutter so can they become a minimalist and simplify their lives?
I can’t speak for all of you, but I kind of like the idea of being a minimalist.
The term “minimalist” seems to be popping up everywhere and I wanted to find out if Empty Nesters should be considering this idea.
The other big popular topic right now seems to be “declutter”. That term also is coming up everywhere and often in connection to “minimalist.” Interesting.
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Why Should You Consider Simplifying Your Life?
Would you like more:
- Time, time, time
I thought so.
Let’s quickly mention the Minimalist purists. Sorry, but they are out of my league. Living out of a backpack and traveling the country isn’t for everyone, but good for them if that is what works for them and it makes them happy.
However, I discovered an approach to minimalism that really “rang my bell”.
A minimalist can also mean “deciding what is important in your life and recognizing happiness.” -That’s for me.
The main goal is to:
- have less
- spend less
- commit time to focus on the things you love.
Let’s Get Started
Keep in mind this is about simplifying your life and focusing on what is important to you! There isn’t just one definition of simplifying your life. You can make this your own journey.
Decluttering seems to be included as the place to start for anyone wanting to minimize.
To a someone with a house jammed full of stuff, setting a few goals toward minimizing seemed like a good idea. I fear most empty nesters are overwhelmed with too much stuff!
The rumor is that decluttering results in fewer things to clean up and less “projects”, like cleaning the garage or hall closet to complete. This will leave you more time to personally decide how you want to spend it.
Everyone seems to agree to declutter needs to come first. Don’t let decluttering cause stress! For a detailed plan read, Make a Stress Free Plan to Declutter.
Minimalism also includes young adults like our children who just don’t want all the things we accumulated over the years with plans to pass them on to the next generation.
Making your kids take your stuff is NOT decluttering.
When you stop to think about it, that was not a smart idea in the first place. Unless you were all antique collectors you didn’t want your mother’s things, you wanted your own things.
What made us think that all of the things we “collected” would be valuable to our children?
Actually, many of the things we have are important to our children as memories, but not something they can store in their homes.
I understand that now and don’t want the kids to feel guilty for not taking our treasures.
That still leaves the problem of getting rid of some pretty nice stuff. If you can’t part with them yet, store them in good containers.
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“My favorite things in life don’t cost any money. It’s really clear that the most precious resource we all have is time.” ~ Steve Jobs
We also know that “if you don’t plan your time, someone else will!” At my age, I can tell you that is all true!
Time is so important. We take it for granted, we all want more, but we all just get 24 hours each day.
I love being with family & friends, but I also value time alone and have become very protective of that time.
What commitments do you have that you do not want to spend your time on? This includes committees, clubs, parent organizations, etc.
Focus on who & what is most important to you. Schedule those things instead.
Even though some people are persistent & don’t easily take no for an answer, make planning your own time a priority.
I find it easier to say no to the people who try to make me feel guilty for not saying yes. They eventually stop.
Be aware that taking your time also comes in the form of email! Turn off notifications for messages and especially social media updates. I find notifications disrupting and difficult to ignore. Set time aside for when you choose to read and answer emails.
Clean out your inbox and only keep the messages you want. Unsubscribe. Unsubscribe.
You know you can put your devices on Do Not Disturb and your chosen favorites can still get through in case of an emergency. Try cutting out the news on TV for a week and see what you think. – That is freedom!
Spending & Shopping
Still, spend, but spend wisely.
We all spend money on things we really don’t use or need. That is why when you open a kitchen drawer you see 12 spatulas and 5 sets of oven mitts.
Minimalizing to me does NOT mean I am going to stop shopping online! It means I am going to try to only buy what I really must have, need, or give as a gift.
Ask, Do I LOVE IT? Does my family member love it and need it?
I may buy it, but not without asking myself if this is something I really want to spend my money on. I have also come to the conclusion that we need to stop cluttering our children’s homes with “stuff”.
Remember, it isn’t going to do any good to start donating your belongings and then turn around and buy the things you just gave away!
Yikes. Here is an interesting category.
Buying groceries could be included in the money category, but I totally think this is an important “simplifying” topic on its own.
I already shop with a list – no surprise.
We still throw away too much produce and things we let become outdated in the cupboards, but the biggest area for me to face is LEFTOVERS!
I like to cook and have lots of great recipes. Mentally, I know I am not cooking for a crowd all the time. I should make less. I have this mindset that I can freeze the leftovers and save a night of cooking.
When we do have guests or a crowd, I stress about the horror of possibly running out of something!
Make a menu list for the week, then make your grocery list. Only buy the ingredients on your list and start using re-useable bags.
Never ever start throwing food into your cart because it’s on sale, especially meat and produce. Your bill will quickly double or triple and now you have food without a plan. I have experienced this so many times. Just saying.