Minimalism is a cool trend. I truly believe that minimalist living is something that Boomer women, especially, should look into. After years of home making, traveling, careers, and maybe children and grandchildren, chances are we’ve accumulated a lot of things.

Are You Ready to Embrace a Minimalist Lifestyle?

Many of us at this point are feeling more than a little overwhelmed by the large-to-huge collection of objects in our lives ranging from kitchenware to clothing to mementos that have no earthly value but that we cannot part with.

Minimalism is embraced as much by the young, as evidenced by this entire website, TheMinimalists.com, dedicated to minimalism, authored by Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus.

 
 

My Effort to Rid My House of “Stuff”

I myself am making a long-term effort to inch my way toward some version of minimalism – at least to clear out a significant portion of the belongings in my life that are multiples of each other, or that I just don’t need. And it’s not always easy, for emotional reasons as well as the simple fact that it can be daunting.

And it’s not fun to sort through what may feel like an endless supply of things.

Taking First Steps

I’ve written before about how difficult it can be to sort through the things your son has left behind after going off to college. And even though my son finished high school a number of years ago, I’m still not ready to start throwing away objects that were a part of his life when he was younger.

So, right now I’m tackling less memory-laden belongings; books, paperwork, my own clothes, gifts from so long ago that I can’t even remember who gave them to me. Even then it’s slow, but I don’t feel like I’ve been through the wringer when I finish an hour or two of the work, and I can face doing more. That’s a start.

Minimalism from a Woman’s Perspective

Perhaps a less snazzy looking site than Joshua and Ryan’s, but very useful and full of encouraging words, is another website, FlyLady.net, run by a woman, and someone closer to our age. It looks like a great source of ideas and inspiration on paring down, streamlining, and minimalizing all the “stuff” we have.

Some of her tips and discussions revolve around life as a mother whose children are still in the house, but let’s face it – a lot of us do still have children in the house, even if they’re young adults well past the teen years. The site is filled with ideas, suggestions, planning tools, and, best of all, encouragement and inspiration that apply to everyone, regardless of family situation.

The FlyLady LaunchPad and Getting Started

One of the sections I especially like – useful for the overwhelmed who just don’t know where to start, is called “Launch Pad.” There FlyLady gives you a choice of areas to choose from: detail cleaning, flight plan, zones, daily focus, and a habit of the month, among others. You can simply pick one, follow the do-able list of actions she suggests you take, and know that you’re doing something good for your home and your sense of well-being.

The Get Started series of blog posts and videos is useful to “get your mind right,” too, though it does deal with regular cleaning tips as much as it does with de-cluttering. If that’s not your thing, you might want to concentrate only on her clutter-clearing advice.

The 15 Minute Rule

Best quote of the site: “FlyLady’s principle is that anyone can do anything for 15 minutes. Just set a timer and declutter something for 15 minutes every day.” Seems simple. It is. And if you do the math – 15 minutes x 6 days/week (everyone needs a day off, right?) x 52 weeks = 78 hours of clearing clutter out of your home over the course of a year. That’s a lot of progress right there.

If you give her ideas a try, I’d love to hear what’s worked best for you.

Are you struggling with getting rid of objects you’ve accumulated over your life? Do you worry about whether you’ll be able to clear your clutter and pack up your belongings in order to move, if you decide to live elsewhere? Are you ready to embrace a minimalist lifestyle? What changes have you made? Please contribute your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.

Karen VenableKaren Venable is founder of Roommates4Boomers, a service for women over 50 that matches roommates using an algorithm similar to what dating sites use. Several years ago when Karen was going through a divorce, she realized how helpful it would be if there were a service that matched compatible over-50 women, so she launched Roommates4Boomers.

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