We all get that minimal means less, but is it that simple when it comes to minimal living? I like things. I like finding bits & pieces at antique markets. I like to have items in our home that are purely decorative. You wouldn’t think that these three things go hand-in-hand with minimalism, but why not? Is there room for both?
I have been slowly sorting and clearing stuff out over the last year (since the move), but operation ‘clear-out’ has just entered a whole new league. Throughout the month of March I am taking part in the ’30-day Minimalism Game’ as created by The Minimalists.
The idea is that on day one, you throw away one item, day two, two items, day three, three items, and so on.
Currently, we’re just over a week in, and so far, so good. Things will of course get much harder towards the end of the month when I will be letting go of 23, 24, 25 things consecutively.
Perhaps I am being encouraged by the fact that Spring is here, which traditionally means time for a good old sort out, and some much needed Spring cleaning. Or maybe I am just fed up with the house feeling unorganised. Either way taking part in this challenge seemed like a good way to find some motivation.
Anything that doesn’t get used is going. Gone are the days of holding on to things just in case they may be useful five years down the line. When we moved in, things were quickly unpacked, books were taken out of boxes and plonked somewhere, and 18 months later, lots of things are still to find their true home. I am really hoping that by the end of this exercise we will at least have some semblance of order.
Don’t worry… I will be recycling, and trying to find new homes for as much of it as possible, and of course a fair share will be going to charity shops. I will do everything I can to avoid any of it being wasted and going to land-fill.
In total, for the month of March, this household will have sorted through and let go of well over 400 things!
I am aware that I might not make it to the end, but to me that’s not really the point. If taking part merely makes me think about how much we consume and what items are really necessary in our lives, then that’s got to be a positive thing.
To some, the key of minimal living seems to be about intention, and living only with the things that you ‘need’. I find that concept a tricky one, as I think what we ‘need’ is a bit subjective. We all ‘need’ food and water, but most of the other items in our home you could argue we could live without, but by owning them, life is more comfortable.
My last three unnecessary purchases were a little plant, a second hand vase, and a foot stool. Sure, the foot stool will help weary feet feel rested, but the other two items don’t have a function, apart from the fact that they bring me joy. I would suggest we all ‘need’ a bit of that in our lives too. As long as we have a healthy awareness of what we are buying, and are not shopping to fill an empty void, I don’t see any harm in owning a few things that light that spark within.
By focusing on the aspects of minimalism that work for us, we can create a home, and also a lifestyle which supports our families needs. Here is what my idea of minimal living is…
1. Simplifying, and getting rid of some of our belongings, so life can feel lighter and more easy to manage
2. Being conscious about the footprint we leave on Earth and not consuming more than we need
3. Clearing the clutter, and making day-to-day life easier because everything is organised and has its place
4. This will in turn allow us to focus on special things that we love, as opposed to lots of stuff that we feel ‘meh’ (actual word) about
5. It will help us to be present and live in the moment, free from distractions, and any associated stress, guilt over the piles of ‘stuff’
What’s paramount to me though is that all of these steps will allow us to live a more wholehearted life, and tune into the important stuff. After all, creating those wholehearted moments, and memories that will stay with us for a lifetime is what really matters.
N.B. Here is a little minimalist tip for you… All minimalists love a cupboard – fact! I’m mostly joking about this one, apart from having good cupboards and storage, really helps to organise the belongings and toys that you can’t bear to part with. You can tidy all sorts of stuff away in a cupboard, and no-one would ever know it was there.
What do you think about the whole minimalist thing… fan or not? Have you ever taken part in such a hardcore clear out? I would love to know.