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What a Clogged Sink Taught Me About Minimalism

Last summer we had our downstairs bathroom redone, which was wonderful, except for the fact that it meant everyone had to use the upstairs bathroom for a time.

The upstairs bathroom is my space. It is tiny, built into the eaves of the house, right off our master bedroom. The shower is so small that my husband refuses to use it and jokes that the easiest way to get clean in there is to attach scrub brushes to the wall and turn in a circle.

I’ve never minded the smallness of this bathroom, especially because it means that I get to have it all to myself.

Until last summer, that is.

Once all five of us were forced into the bathroom, I noticed things I hadn’t before, like the sink.

“What’s wrong with this sink?” Josh asked. “It takes forever to drain.”

“Yeah, it’s kinda slow,” I admitted.

I’d always known the sink was slow, but I hadn’t realized how bad it had become until I shared this space with my family. Literally, you could not run the water for more than two seconds without it backing up. Since I’d gotten so used to this, I’d learned to wash my hands and brush my teeth with microscopic amounts of water. While this was certainly good for the environment and our water bill, it proved very frustrating to the rest of my family.

By Day 3 of the Upstairs Bathroom Project, Josh had had enough.

“That’s it, I’m getting the pipe snake!” he declared.

Now, my husband does not use tools very often. And by “not very often” I mean if I came home to find him holding a hammer, I’d suspect a terrorist was hiding somewhere in our house and had told Josh he’d blow the place unless Josh got to fixin’.

The pipe snake declaration was serious.

I’ll spare you the sordid details, but what Josh pulled from that drain resembled the decayed remains of an extended family of dark-haired rats. We both gagged in equal parts disgust and awe as he pulled clump after hairy clump from the pipes.

I was proud of my husband that day–not just for his burgeoning handyman skills–but for his ability to recognize a problem and take the proper steps–no matter how annoying–to resolve it.

Over the next few days I brushed my teeth and watched awestruck as my spittle swirled swiftly down the drain. I washed my hands without creating soap scum build up. I even rinsed out sponges! The glory!

Because here’s the thing…

I had gotten so used to my ineffective system that I no longer noticed it.

It wasn’t until the problem was fixed that I realized how inconvenient it had been.

I think this relates to clutter.

My clients often say some version of, “I feel so much better!” after our sessions. I think this is because we are often unaware of how burdensome our clutter is while we are living in it. Strange as it sounds, it’s easy to get used to pawing through a basket of old receipts and mateless mittens to find your keys or cell phone. It can become normal to move old newspapers and half-completed craft projects from the table in order to eat dinner. We can get very acclimated to stepping over piles of shoes and toys to hang up coats.

But it’s never actually easy. And it absorbs our time, energy, and creativity to live this way.

When I started minimizing the clutter in my home, the immediate benefit was not way my home looked, but the way I felt in my home. I could breathe. I could think. I could sit down on my couch and relax.

I had forgotten about this until I found myself staring in wonder at water draining miraculously down my bathroom sink. When Josh helped me eliminate the clutter–every hairy, soapy, gooey clump of it—from our sink, my life got easier. My mornings functioned better. I was able to get ready easier. Cleaning the sink was less of a chore. It was a simple fix, but made a big difference to the quality of my days.

Eliminating our clutter can have the same effect.

Imagine how your life would feel if you could open a closet and see only the clothes you love to wear. Consider how much easier it would be to clean your house if you didn’t spend hours putting everything away first. Visualize cooking in a kitchen where you have just what you need, exactly within your reach.

This is how it is to live a simple, decluttered life.

If you’re interested in learning more about minimalism and how it could positively impact your life, I invite you to join my FREE Intro to Minimalism Webinar. You can find more info here.

Because no matter whether you’re dealing with a slow sink or a stuffed closet, eliminating the excess is the easiest way to start living an easier, less stressful life.

Rose Lounsbury is a minimalism coach, speaker, and author of the Amazon bestseller “Less: Minimalism for Real.After blogging about her own journey toward a minimalist lifestyle, Rose was inspired to start Less, a minimalism coaching company. Rose spends her days writing, helping clients clear their clutter, and soaking up the moments with her husband and their wild triplets. Rose is a regular guest on Fox News Good Day Columbus and has also been featured on WDTN Living Dayton. She calls lovely Dayton, Ohio home. If you’d like to contact Rose for a speaking engagement or help with a minimizing project, you can email her at [email protected] or visit her online at RoseLounsbury.com.

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