I am always after things I can do to help our family live simply, which is why I took part in the 30-day minimalism game. After writing about my idea of minimal living at the beginning of March, throughout the month I sorted, and let go of well over 400 hundred items. A good car boot-load went to a charity shop, some things were sold, or passed on to friends, and there was a heap of paper work that was recycled. Just over a week ago the challenge finally came to a close and I have been reflecting on what difference it has made.
In fact, since the challenge stopped, I have continued to sort and get rid of things. I finally tackled our work room, ready for the plasterer to plaster the magnetic wall. Of all the rooms in the house, this was the worst, and was fit to burst with stuff. In the last week alone I should think I have cleared another few hundred things – mostly fabric, and bank statements and bills dating back well over 10 years. That much paperwork takes up a lot of space, which we have now reclaimed – who new shredding could be so much fun (?).
I definitely feel lighter for it, and we are on the right track to simplifying our home, although I think as a household we still have a way to go in clearing and decluttering. The challenge was a great way to get started, as it meant I just had to pick an area and get on with it. We all have those draws or cupboards (like Monica from friends) that we never quiet get round to clearing.
Offering moral support throughout the challenge were Jeska, Heather, Katy and Hannah. I was lucky to be doing it alongside such a lovely group of friends, which helped to keep me focused, and meant I made it all the way to the end of the month.
As well as the obvious (of there being less stuff in our house), I have noticed that it has already impacted how I shop. The fact that we got rid of so much in a relatively short space of time really helps demonstrate how much we live with that we don’t actually need. Once I could see the sheer quantity of things piling up, it was like a switch was flipped in my head. I thought I was already pretty mindful about what we consume, (a lot of the stuff I have been clearing are things from my twenties, and early thirties), however I have realised there is definitely room for improvement. On the few shopping excursions that I have been on in the last month whilst doing the challenge, I have definitely noticed a distinct difference in my thought process when it comes to buying something. How much waste will this create? What’s the packaging like? Do we really need this item etc?
When I think about how much we consume in the Western world it makes me feel a little sick. All the things we believe we need in order to be happy and complete – and of course, rarely do they bring us the contentment we seek. If we could all try to be more mindful about simple shopping choices, and take some responsibility for the waste we create and what we do with it, those little changes would add up to make a big difference. I keep thinking of that great quote by Mahatma Gandhi “be the change that you wish to see in the world”.
So that is what I am doing… starting with our family, we are doing our best to make sure that we live with less. By living simply, we can make sure our choices have minimum impact on the earth, leaving our planet thriving for generations to come.