Minimalism in Real Life
Overstuffed bookshelves, full toy boxes, packed closets, and no room to move around is what normal life looks like with five people living in a 1,400 square-foot-house, right? Yes. But does it have to? No.
Enter minimalism. The get rid of everything in the house that isn’t absolutely necessary kind of minimalism. It’s a job that sounds overwhelming, but it’s doable, our family can attest to it.
So how did it all start? It started with me, the mom, getting in the mindset that more stuff meant more stress and mess, and an embarrassing and exhausting way to live. I wanted our home to feel open, or at least be able to walk around without hitting anything. Which meant it was time for a basement full of donate boxes.
I became ruthless with everything we owned, if we didn’t use it in our day-to-day life it went into the donate box. It was incredible how quickly those boxes filled up in that first purge. And once I saw the space that we made, I was hooked and needed to get rid of more. I went room by room, and went through every shelf, box and storage container, boxing up at least 80 percent of what was in them, because it was stuff we didn’t use.
That didn’t mean no one could use our stuff though, it all just needed to be out of my house, to any place that would take it. I wasn’t concerned with who got the stuff, I just wanted it gone. I did learn that it was best to call the site before taking our donations in and verifying that they were accepting what I was donating. The process was easy though, especially with these local spots:
Goodwill at Jordan Creek
An easy drop-off; you pull up under the awning, put your stuff in a cart, and drive away. And while they were closed for a time with Covid-19, they are now accepting all donations.
D.A.V Thrift Store
Located in Des Moines was also a quick stop, we pulled up, dropped boxes off and were on our way. D.A.V. also offers a pick-up service, I just wasn’t patient enough to wait for it.
The Not New Shop
This was the only spot we could find during the Covid-19 shut down that was still able to take donations. They were also great to work with, and even helped take our donations in.
Many Hands Thrift Market
Many Hands Thrift Market offers a couple of locations in the Des Moines area. They accept a ton of various items including clothing, shoes, toys, home decor, and more.
At this point in our minimalism journey, we aren’t done with donation centers, and I don’t see that ending anytime soon because the stuff just finds its way in, right? We are at a point though that the five crammed bookcases in our small home got cut down to one, the clothes we have fit well and are worn, and the toys in the bin can be picked up quickly (and if they can’t, they know something’s gotta go!)
If you want to join me on the minimalism journey here are a few pros’ podcasts I listened to along the way:
About the Author
Deciding what you want to be when you grow up is a tough question, just ask Stephanie Lovelace, because she still hasn’t decided. First, she got a degree in journalism and was a newspaper reporter and public relations specialist, then went to college again and became an elementary teacher, now she stays home, homeschools three kids, and is a freelance writer. What’s stayed steady: her supportive husband, love of pets (current counts at three dogs and four cats), and being an Iowa girl.
Follow along with her current gig, on Instagram at @stephs_at_home.