Ooh I am SO inspired! This week I watched the Minimalism doco on Netflix (twice: watched it once then convinced Husband to watch it too) and it has motivated me to really get into Minimalism. We don’t buy much ‘stuff’ to begin with, but that’s not to say we don’t buy any. After all, two of us live in a four bedroom home, which means we have filled every room up with things. I’ve realised I’m guilty of keeping stuff ‘just in case’ too. Just in case of what, I don’t know. (This reminds me of my dad who had a really beautiful set of cutlery he called “The Queen’s Cutlery” for when the Queen visited which obviously would be never so it was rarely used). So this week, I focused on clearing out all of this stuff, and all of these things, and gosh it felt good!
What minimalism is about, really, is valuing the materialness of material possessions (so we choose quality over quantity) and seeking happiness in places where we’ll actually find it (like relationships) rather than in possessions that lose their spark very quickly. I really love this idea, and whilst I like to think I don’t consciously have attachment to possessions, this exercise helped me realise that subconsciously I really do.
Anyway, I watched an episode of Tidying up with Marie Kondo to get into the swing of things. I started on my clothes, as per the konmari method, and am pleased to say I’m keeping less than I threw out – as Marie says if it doesn’t “spark joy” it’s got to go! I also got rid of ALOT of shoes – I have a Morton’s neuroma which is a thickening of the nerve sheath in my foot which means I can’t wear narrow shoes or heels – and actually this has been a blessing because I’m alot more comfortable now that I focus on comfort not height (self-confessed former heel addict over here). All I’ve held onto are shoes I wear all the time that don’t hurt my feet (6 pairs of shoes overall – and all have a different purpose). I didn’t realise how many uncomfortable shoes I was holding onto including heels that I just don’t wear because the pain is excrutiating. I also realised I only need 1 bikini (despite what Instagram influencers will have you believe with their 10 bikini hauls!) I was still holding onto bikinis that fit me when I was in a very restrictive eating stage of my life and much smaller than I ever will be again but kept because they were all almost new, even though I had no intention of ever getting to that side again. Let me say, my local Vinnies is getting alot of stuff!
I’ve since been through the laundry and got rid of towels and sheets that were never used but kept (again) ‘just in case’ so my laundry cupboard just looks incredible now. Do i need 6 different sheet sets for my bed? No.
I then went through the hallway cupboard too which was the place we used to just throw things that had no place. The door didn’t close properly, and each little shelf was so full of stuff you had to quickly shove it in and close the door (as much as it would) so that everything didn’t fall out. I found pet medicines that had been expired for 3 years that I’ve never used but again, kept “just in case”. Why on earth do I keep so much stuff? I had so much clutter I never knew what I had anyway (like the 3 packets of dog flea tablets that I already had but didn’t realise before buying my last stash *cue eye roll*).
Now, the hard part was sentimental things. Two areas I really struggled with were some of my dad’s shirts and hats, and my darling Chihuahua Lulu’s winter coats. Dad died in 2010 and Lulu died in May of this year, and none of my other dogs are her size. Sentimental stuff is hard to get rid of because it feels like I’m saying I don’t care about them if I throw it away. But even now I can hear my dad telling me to just get rid of it all, and I know the best parts of him are in my memory anyway – plus his hats have been sitting under the Pile of Clothes That Need To Be Fixed for about 2 years so what am I keeping them for anyway? I decided to get rid of dad’s shirts and all of Lulu’s sweaters except the one she was wearing when we picked her up from the rescue foster home 7 years ago. I kept it because it does bring me joy – because she brought me so much joy – and when I touch it and smell it I think of her and her googly eyes and hilarious expression. But I might keep it somewhere where I will actually see it rather than buried at the back of a cupboard.
Next was The Kitchen Drawer which has been looming over my head since I started this process. It is the top drawer that just gets full of the most random stuff: rubber bands, more rubber bands, old batteries, new batteries, broken pens, blue tak, the manual for the vacuum.. you know exactly what drawer I’m talking about – we all have them (…right?)! This drawer also didnt close properly. Thank goodness James was helping me with this one because he is cut throat and just threw so much of it straight in the bin (there was so much mess in that drawer I actually had no idea what was there and only opened it to put rubber bands in from the vegetables).
Feeling inspired we moved onto the bathroom. For someone who rarely wears makeup, moisturisers her legs once a month and uses tea tree oil neat for deoderant I sure did have alot of products! Look at these before and afters – I’m blown away.
I now wish I’d taken before photos of all the other areas of my house because I am so motivated by the difference I see in these drawers. I feel so cleansed, like I’ve detoxed my whole body. Which isn’t surprising- a while ago at a day retreat I attended a psychologist presented a workshop on de-cluttering our physical space for the benefit of our mental space. She spoke about how a clean environment helps us to think more clearly and reduces our stress levels (so this might be why I always felt the need to clean up before writing an essay – or it could have been old-fashioned procrastination!). It’s really not something you understand the feeling of, though, until it’s done.
What I found interesting about the experience was how much resistance I had to throwing things out that couldn’t go to a second-hand shop – like half used body products or old toiletries and perfume, or my pyjamas that have a great big hole between the legs. I have a whole pile of clothes, actually, that need mending and half I will keep and get mended (I swear!) but the other half are going in the bin because they don’t bring me joy and second hand shops don’t want mended clothes! But I really found these were the things that were hardest for me to get rid of because I felt so guilty for adding to landfill. There’s literally no point in them sitting in my house, not being used, but it still felt uncomfortable putting them in the bin. While I can’t do much about that now, it has definitely cemented in my mind how much consideration I will make to things before purchasing them – if clothing is cheap fabric or cheaply made it’s simply not worth it – because it breaks too quickly. And I certainly dont need any body products or makeup, ever again.
The final part of my life I’ve been minimalising is my inbox. Anyone else sign up to every “10% off if you give us your email” pop-up you get when online shopping? Most of the time I “cart shop” (like window shopping but I fill up my cart, then just close the page without purchasing – anyone else?) but I still feel the need to get the discount “just in case” (Oh dear, I’m noticing a trend). So every day now I go to my inbox, and any emails I don’t read I unsubscribe from. Just like my drawers and cupboards in reality, clearing out the inbox feels so good and I don’t have so many unread emails that really will never be read!
It leads me to wonder about minimalising the rest of life too – how many activities or events do I sign up for, clutter my calendar with and rush around to that don’t bring me joy? And are there people in my life that perhaps I could, erm, minimalise my contact with? I mean really, if they’re not bringing me joy why have them around? That sounds harsh, and really I am mostly surrounded by amazing people who I love, but it’s food for thought isn’t it? And really, as I get carried away with this process (as I tend to do) perhaps I’m ready to re-evaluate my whole life in terms of what brings me joy. I realise I can’t be totally self-indulgent and there are things I need to do that aren’t going to be amazing, but I will certainly be more conscious of how I spend my time and whether I’m really maximising my life in the best way.
Yes, I’m 37 weeks pregnant and nesting. But this project has been so rewarding for me – and I really feel so good about having things in order and focusing on experiences and relationships rather than possessions as I enter this next phase of my life. I’m making a promise to myself to be really conscious about future purchases and what I’m bringing into our home too – this is our safe and most emotionally valuable space after all – so why fill it with junk that I don’t need? I am completely done with “stuff” and I’m done with “just in case” and I’m happy to move onto the next chapter of our life with a new and fresh attitude to possessions.
Have you Marie Kondo’d your space? I’d love to hear about it or if this blog inspires you to do the same, please let me know!