It's crazy to look back on how I went from a passive consumer to somewhat of a minimalist. It's not that the light went on immediately -- more like a constant, slow turn of the dimmer switch up, lighting more and more layers of my world and showing me just how much is "out there" and how connected it all is.
Flashback to January 2015. A Barnes & Noble marketing email popped up in my inbox featuring the latest inventory. (This was way before decluttering my inbox, of course.) As I had no books in mind to buy, I was about to hit 'delete' when my eye caught one particular title: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo. Hmm. That's a big claim, I thought. And I'm kind of a skeptic. So, of course I clicked through and hit "BUY," unconscious consumer that I was. Nicely done, B&N.
Within a few weeks of finishing the book, I had touched nearly every item in my house and determined whether it sparked joy. (If you're raising an eyebrow right now, it might be because you haven't tried it.) At the time I was a bit embarrassed by the trash bags full of stuff I decided to part with, since I'd always considered myself fairly constrained when it came to making purchases. I proceeded to have my then-five-year-old daughter go through the same process: first her clothes, then her toys, then her books, then her stuffed animals. She was surprisingly willing to part with quite a few items.
The biggest takeaway at the time was that once your house is filled with only items that bring you joy (or that make your life easier), you'll always have a 'tidy' (read: clutter-free) home. I have to admit, the book title was no exaggeration. It was pure life-changing magic that set me on the path to simplicity, without me even knowing it.
From there, I bounced around to several minimalist blogs and sites, doing a few more rounds of decluttering -- each inevitably more ruthless than the last. Then, I started thinking about how hectic life felt each day raising two young children, which led me to explore simplicity parenting. Next, I examined the technology our family used, how we spent our money and time, what kind of food we ate, and how we were impacting the environment with our consumer choices. It's all intertwined. And the further I tumble down this rabbit hole, the more I see not only the personal benefits of simplicity, but the dire need for it in many aspects of society as a whole.
Well, I can't possibly end this post with such doom and gloom. Instead, I'll end with a challenge: locate your nearest reputable donation center that accepts clothing, toys, and household items. If you take any of this or future simplicity talk to heart, you'll soon be making many trips there.