Plateaus are difficult to handle no matter what you are trying to do… train for a race, lose weight, or eliminate clutter.
It USED to feel good to toss a certain number of items per day or to clean a given area and organize it, but now that you have seen some progress … and have managed to pat yourself on the back a few times too many for getting started… you are no longer satisfied with minimal progress toward minimization.
Now, you feel like “arriving” at your minimalist goal is going to take the rest of your life. And, in all seriousness, it will — but only because it’s a constant part of your life now. Once you embrace a minimalist philosophy, you will look for new and different ways to apply it to every area of your life — for the rest of your life.
Living a minimal life is like living a healthy life… it’s not something you do once and then you are finished. It’s not a crash diet or a weekend purge. It’s a choice. It’s a process. It’s a lifestyle and it’s continual.
When you aren’t seeing the rate of progress you seek, you can kick start your progress by trying to clear your next area (or revisit an old area that you now want to trim down even more) with the though that you want to eliminate rather than merely relocate. Be harsh with yourself. Cut deep into that clutter!
The joy in living small is getting to the point that you don’t spend all your time moving your “stuff” from this location to another one or constantly evaluating the same things over and over. Most people spend a lot of time relocating and re-evaluating before they get sick of that process and start tossing and cutting deeply into their possessions with elimination in mind.
When you face a plateau in an area, it’s normal to get a little discouraged. Just don’t give up. Remember, as long as you have piles of things slumping in corners, boxes of stuff stored, and inefficient storage spaces, you have work to do.
Eventually you won’t have to constantly evaluate and you don’t have to feel that you are spending your life moving things around. Why? Because only the essential things are left and essentials always have a place to be. They have a home. A place in your life and in your personal space where they live. A place you know they will be whenever you need them, because it’s the place you return them to every time you finish using them.
This makes things simple. It improves your quality of life and makes the effort required to achieve this simplicity worthwhile. So when you hit that plateau, just keep plugging. Make progress in some area — any area — and eventually you will get past the plateau and continue shedding pounds — pounds of unnecessary clutter and complication from your life.
Great post and I completely agree with you. I tend to get sooo frustrated because my head is full of great ideas, but my pocketbook can only do a little bit at a time. I do keep trying to remind myself to be patient, I know it’ll happen soon enough.