I have had a really strong desire of late to create a slow and simple home. It’s something that I have gradually been working towards since we bought our house, but recently the craving has been much stronger.
I want to be able to look around our family home, and feel calm. I also want to take pleasure, and notice the lovely things we own. Where as in reality, after much sorting, I am still distracted by the clutter and mess.
Back in March I completed the ‘30 day minimalism game‘, and wrote about ‘My Idea of Minimal Living’. Seven months later, and over 600 items lighter, things are better, but we have still not managed to completely ‘slow our home.’
I have been reflecting on why this is? What have we learnt so far on our simple living journey? What has worked, and what hasn’t? Finally, what do we need to do in order to reach that dream of having a slow and simple home.
It feels like there are two massive tasks that I am constantly swimming through. The first is sorting and organising. The second is the mammoth task of decorating our Victorian house, which hasn’t been properly decorated for decades! When I look at all the things that need doing it’s not surprising that I have felt a little lost, and sometimes feel like I am not getting much done.
Instead of beating myself up about it (which I have been known do to) I am going to try and give myself a break and share some things that might help you if you are on a similar path to create a slow and simple home.
3 things I have learnt…
- Pick one area to focus on – Don’t feel you have to tackle the whole house at once. Chances are you will feel overwhelmed, (and we all know what a paralysing feeling that can be), and you’ll never actually begin.
- Organise your belongings – As soon as you have cleared the clutter, organise your things. As I have learnt from Marie Kondo, in order to have a tidy home, every item needs a place to be tidied away in to. I am just properly getting round to this now, and doing this sooner would have made things much easier.
- Don’t waste time moving things around your home – This is definitely something I have found myself doing. By moving things from one room to another, it can make you feel like you are tidying, and whilst it might bring you a moment of satisfaction that you are a bit more organised, really you are just moving the mess around.
3 things that work…
- Sort by category, not by room – By doing this you should bypass falling down the trap of wasting time by moving things around.
- Permanent charity shop bag – Now that we have cleared the worst of our clutter, I have a bag on the back of one of our doors, that is a ‘charity shop bag’, and when I come across something that we don’t use / need, or I don’t like it goes in the bag. When the bag is full it gets donated to our local charity shop.
- Memory box – I started a memory box for Bailey, which I store under our spare bed. There are certain special things I want to keep – like, her tiny wrist band from when she was born and her fist pair of knitted booties, or something she has made for me. These all go in this box.
My achilleas heel is Bailey’s art work. We have so much of it! The pile grows as quickly as she does, and my sentimental side means I find it difficult to throw away.
When I feel like I have lost my way, I come back to the main thing that is motivating me – to get rid of needless things. Time feels more and more precious the older I get, and I don’t want to waste a minute of it. By simplifying our home and our belongings there is more space and time for the important things.
What I have come to realise is, that in order to have a slow and simple home we have to look beyond the things we own (and the decor), and also focus on our habits and routines. Of course our daily rhythms are effected by our living space, and vice versa, but by solely focusing on our environment we are only doing half the work.
To make long lasting deep changes we must look below the surface, and approach the task wholeheartedly. Only then will we really be able to experience a slow and simple home.
What are your thoughts on how you simplify your home and family routines? Would love to hear your experience, and any tips you have.
P.S. If you are interested in our DIY pursuits I share more over on Instagram stories.