It has been almost two years since I started my decluttering journey and aspired to live a simpler life with less stuff.
Ironically, I’ve probably thought more about my belongings in the past two years than I ever had before—once you become aware of the clutter, it’s impossible to ignore. But the way I was thinking about my stuff had shifted; instead of wanting more, I was taking a hard look at whether the things I owned were helping me lead the life I wanted to live.
When I really rolled up my sleeves and got serious about tossing my stuff, I read a lot of minimalism blogs and watched closet clean-out videos on YouTube to keep me motivated—seeing the progress others had made on their minimalism journeys inspired me to continue my own.
So for those of you who are curious, here are some side-by-side comparisons of my bedroom before I had decluttered vs. how it looks today:
The difference between these two pictures blows my mind. And the difference, honestly, is the hundreds of items that I’ve boxed up and shipped out of my life.
Aside from being able to see the floor (which is a miracle in itself), my favorite parts of today’s room are the tidier bookshelf and the removal of the ugly green ottoman. Score.
I wanted to give you guys an accurate representation of what my room looks like now, which is why that pile of junk is sitting on the black trunk at the foot of my bed and not stuffed in a closet where I can pretend it doesn’t exist. That spot is never clean—it’s always piled with stuff I need to organize or articles I want to read.
Still, it’s a significant improvement over the unfettered chaos of the old room.
That picture on the left…oh man. There were a couple of nights early on I actually slept in my bed with all that stuff there, because I was afraid the spiders would crawl all over it if I put it on the ground. I kind of shoved it all to one side and tried to pretend like it wasn’t there when I turned off the light. It did not make for a very pleasant sleeping experience.
Since this picture was taken in 2015, I’ve ditched almost everything on the bed and kept only a few pairs of shoes on the shoe rack. Being able to breathe and relax in my own space has been great. I would recommend it to anyone who currently experiences a nervous breakdown any time they enter their room. Your stuff is not worth your sanity. Seriously.
One of the beautiful things about minimalism is that it looks a little different to everyone. As you can probably tell from the photos above, the monochromatic, bare-bones depiction of minimalism you see on Pinterest and slapped on the cover of furniture catalogues is not my brand of minimalism. I still own numerous books and decorations. I love notebooks and own about a katrillion of them. It looks like Pocahontas painted my wardrobe with all the colors of the wind.
Point is, you can still express yourself, even when you live with less. (Although I think it’s worth reiterating that our identities don’t live within our possessions.)
One of the coolest (and sometimes most frustrating) things I’ve discovered about decluttering is that it never truly ends.
Even after having purged so much, I still get rid of a couple items a week. And as you can see, my space is far from plain and bare. Now more than ever, it’s a true reflection of the type of life I want to lead: a simple one.
“You have to hold on every day. You hold on with your attention, time, space and emotion. You only have to let go once.” — Courtney Carver, Be More With Less