On New Year's Eve someone asked me what I had achieved in 2014 and the answer sounded much like 'meh'. I had no obvious sense of vision or achievement and that felt pretty depressing. I must have contemplated this all night because I woke up the next morning with a real sense of clarity about my life. I decided that 2015 was going to be my kick-ass year and, armed with a strange burst of energy, I began de-cluttering our home and my new obsession with minimalism began. (After we ordered takeaway pizza at 11am and watched a film. First rule of minimalism? Prioritise).
We didn't have much money growing up and rooting around in charity shops was the norm (when it was uncool to do so and when secondhand meant just that, not vintage). In my 20s I was a very unhappy person though and I thought the answer was to spend, spend, spend. I was a shopaholic - and I don't mean in the cutesy sense. I racked up thousands on credit cards which became a huge cloud over my head for a long time. My consumer footprint was huge, I probably don't have a single item now that I purchased back then, and it certainly didn't make me happy.
Since then I vowed never to be a sucker to advertising and a false sense of happiness again. My good intentions obviously hadn't done enough though, as I realised quite how much stuff we had accumulated over the years - staring at me, collecting dust or overflowing the cupboards and stressing me out. So I decided that if I wanted to kick the shit out of 2015 then I needed to be organised, determined and focused. What better place to put this new mindset into practice than our home.
The theory of a minimalist home can vary but the essence, as I understand it, is that you only have what you need. You can go to the extreme and have one plate, bowl and cutlery set or you can be a little more lenient but still asking yourself - do I really need this?
My journey began in the bedroom (as some journeys often do). I love reading but never seem to find enough time. My bookshelves are crammed with hundreds of unread books - in the vain attempt of appearing smarter and more dedicated to literature than I actually am.
In fact, I pretty much got rid of everything apart from a few favourites and reference books that I use regularly. I couldn't bring myself to give away the parent books - hopefully staring at them on the front of the shelf everyday will remind me to read them and impart some kind of magical parenting wisdom upon me (you can but hope).
So...now what? The wardrobe of course.
Anyone who knows me really well, will know that I spend most of my time in comfy clothes at home, which resemble a homeless country farmer who's been trapped in a Hoedown Throwdown time warp for the last decade. In the last two years my comfy clothes have increased dramatically while my normal clothes have remained unworn in my cupboard (notice the significant correlation to motherhood).
I couldn't quite bring myself to follow the minimalist 30 piece wardrobe rule but the five hoodies I never wear, jeans which have a saggy bum (from when I tried to squeeze into them too soon after having a baby) and other unused miscellaneous items were gone. In fact, I filled three black bin bags with clothes that didn't fit, hadn't been worn recently or simply didn't make me feel good about myself. I stood proud, in my ripped pyjamas bottoms and crusty stained top, staring at my tidier and more streamlined wardrobe. All I had to now was wear it.
The kitchen received the same cut-throat treatment - board games we never play, the broken coffee machine that I'm never going to get fixed because I don't drink coffee, three percolators for the same reason, an abundance of plates, glasses, bedding and towels that we simply don't need. The miscellaneous basket with 10 keys we have no idea what they unlock, the cupboard crammed with tupperware which don't have lids and are therefore useless- all gone. We've probably given about 20 bags and boxes to charity or ebay so far and we've only done two rooms.
I realise that clearing out a few rooms is only a baby step towards making real changes but it's certainly a step in the right direction. Hopefully it will mean I can start focusing my time on what's really important - my family, my health and my personal goals.
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