I started a decluttering journey a few years ago. I wanted to make some money and I realised that I had been holding on to a lot of baggage through my student years. Since I went on to buy the flat I lived in as a student, I never needed to sort my possessions for moving. I kept hold of everything. Always having been a thrifty person, this included a lot of stuff. Items I kept ‘just in case’ they might come in handy. Items other people were jettisoning which I thought were OK (and at least free!). And then adding to this, all the new items I bought to deck out my home in a more grown up fashion. Candles. Frames. You know what I mean.
Even a couple of years ago it got to the point that my colleagues would laugh, disbelieving, when I brought in yet another bag of ‘goodies’ for the charity shop. Now that I actually consider myself a minimalist, it continues. Somehow my partner and I still manage to have shabby clothes, excess cooking utensils and jewellery that has gone unworn for years. Our 2 bed apartment really must have once belonged to Dr Who. See the cover picture for the latest haul!
Now there are a few things on my mind.
1) Is it necessary to get rid of items that I have space for?
2) Am I OK with the ingenious storage solutions I created upon purchasing my flat (floating shelves above doors = ace) being empty?
3) Is getting rid of excess items (I still have at least 7 cooking spoons/serving devices) that are still in good condition wasteful/naïve?
4) Will my flat be ugly if it’s empty?
Minimalism has become a bit of an itch that I always want to scratch. Even now, when pausing to think of my next sentence, something will catch my eye and I’ll wonder if it’s in the best place, or if it’s actually necessary to hold on to it at all. A salve for this behaviour is Marie Kondo’s ‘The Life Changing Magic of Tidying”. Different to the minimalist credo of less is best, Kondo encourages us to keep only items that bring us joy. Have a collection of china ducks? Love it to pieces? Great! Gaze upon it to your heart’s content! Ugly t-shirt that makes you feel like a sack of potatoes, yet you keep just for slobbing around house? Bin! I bet there is a beautiful shirt in your wardrobe that you inadvertently keep for good occasions yet hardly wear. Get it on! Using Kondo’s technique, you start to inhabit an environment that brings joy at every turn.
For me, this world of joyous items is still a world of less. Being able to access all of my possessions without first having to move something out of the way is priceless. So my home has become a jigsaw. I am convinced there are extra pieces mixed in with those necessary to make the perfect picture, and I continue to reposition and remove on my journey to its completion.
Perhaps I’m neurotic. Perhaps I have too much time on my hands. Perhaps I should become a professional organiser! Whichever is the case, I do love my home. I’m very grateful to have these walls, and these (diminishing) possessions around me. Although it is a struggle to retrain my monkey consumer brain, the minimalist lifestyle is definitely the one for me. More money, less clutter to clean around, more clarity.
What do you think about minimalism? Have you read Marie Kondo? Listened to The Minimalists podcast? I’d love to hear your thoughts.