I've been serious about this minimalism and decluttering adventure. I took it on primarily as an answer to compulsive shopping and poor housekeeping - these were both habits that I didn't want to carry into adulthood. But I've stuck with it because it gave me so much more - it taught me to challenge consumer culture, it taught me peace of mind, it taught me to value quality over price, it even introduced me to the ideas of environmentally conscious consumption.
I enjoy the new scraps of space that have cropped up as we remove furniture and boxes. It's like our living areas can breathe. I know almost every item we own, and I know where they live. I can tidy all four rooms in fifteen minutes, clean in thirty, and sanitize in an hour.
Similar to how eating better means you spend more time thinking about food, I spend more time thinking about my possessions - that comes from being mindful of your materialism. I'm conscious of the weight of every item I own - the mental weight of something being "yours" that you want to protect, the physical space that it takes up, the financial weight of originally acquiring it, the weight of the image it projects to the world.
The last two are the hardest to overcome.
Walking into our apartment, I don't think you would notice how much time and effort I have devoted to shedding possessions. To start, we own quite a few pets - and cages, tanks, toys, food. The pets, and their quality of life, is a compromise I will not make.
Secondly, well - we live here! This is where we eat, entertain, play games, do hobbies, and is where we spend most of our time. Those things make messes! And while it's very quick to clean up, something is always happening to make a new mess. Such is life!
The last part is the hardest, though - I still own things I no longer use, but cannot let go.
Scrapbooking supplies: If I keep them, I probably will use them - very truthfully. But I haven't touched scrapbooking in over a year, and seeing those supplies taking up so much room gives me lots of guilt. Most of my stash was given to me as gifts (this will become a running theme), and I don't want to downsize because of that.
Warhammer: it seemed like a fun hobby, and I believe it would be, but it's also a time consuming one. We got most of our gear as presents, so slap on another layer of guilt over not using them yet!
Nail polish: when I was in high school, my nails were my identity. I always had long, strong, natural nails and every week I painted them differently - nail art was my thing. I tried to keep up with it in university, but eventually I just stopped. Though I continued to receive really lovely nail polishes as gifts, I haven't painted my nails in almost a year. I want to use my polish, and I don't want to admit to myself or others that my nail art days are done... So, for now, it stays.
Slow cooker and bread machine: both large appliances, both gifts, both make promises of delicious, easy food - both sit unused, and yet survive every clutter purge.
Books: ah! The bane of the declutterer! Somehow books give most people such a hard time. Maybe it's because just a handful of books looks lonely, or because finding a particular book again may be impossible (true for textbooks), but I still balk at trimming down the book collection any further. All those books I have yet to read, all those textbooks from university. They aren't treasures, but somehow they always survive! They remind me of who I once was - a student always hungry for knowledge.