It’s great to look back and see what I have achieved. After coming across Slow Your Home blog, I was inspired by the philosophy of minimalism. I had never considered it as I thought minimalism was all about owning very little, stark white walls and basically doing without. I have since seen that minimalism is what you make of it, living a simple life that suits your family.
I could have never imagined sitting in a lecture room full of people from different walks of life listening to two young American men of similar age to me talking about how they were living the American Dream and were drowning in stuff, debt and unhappiness. I went along to The Minimalists Everything That Remains Tour 2014 at the University of Sydney on 10th November where Ryan and Joshua chatted (not lectured) on how they wanted happiness and found through poignant life events that made them question everything led them to discover minimalism. They chatted with the ideas of holding a packing party, that you don’t need to hold onto things ‘just in case’, and it is ok to let go of stuff, it’s ok to change. The room was filled with a energy of change, of everyday people looking for ways to declutter and live a simple life.
I got a few ahas from the night especially the ‘just in case‘ concept, and I was ok not having to buy a memento to signify the event I had just been to (resisted the urge to buy the book!). I also go to meet Brooke from Slow your Home!
This spurred me on to focus on decluttering more than what I had been prior. I was motivated by the simplicity and the memory of being surround by stuff, piles and clutter whilst being a home with our new baby in 2012. I had gradually gone through the paper and slowly gotten rid of a few things here and there over the past months but now I felt almost compelled to declutter. I wrote this post in Facebook group I am part of:
“15 November 2014
Hi all, I have recently joined the group and was wanting to share my happy dance with you. I have been slowly simplifying the past 18 months, clearing clutter, unused items and reducing the dreaded piles especially paper. I have been motivated the past month by doing Alexx Stuart’s low tox living ecourse and seeing The Minimalists in Sydney. In the past week I have achieved
1) tidy toddlers bedroom put toys away, reorganised bookcase to accommodate toys and cleared out his baby items into storage. Donated a garbage bag of stuffed toys.
2) moved a small book case out of toddlers room into hallway to create more space in his room as it used to be our spare room. Decluttered the baskets and put all paraffin candles in one place so they are used up to make way for low tox beeswax candles.
3) decluttered office desk drawers and put all like items together. I have life time supply of pens and postage stamps. Bundled up excess pens and sent them to husbands work (Cafe)
4) decluttered dining table storage drawers (we have the Ikea flip out table and it is a clutter magnet), found more pens.
5) tossed excess foam pillows, bought new organic tetra tea tree pillows for family
6) decluttered kitchen cupboard, donated excess cookware, plastic electric kettle and Teflon pans to make room for my new cast iron cookware.
7) decluttered pantry including swapping plastic containers over to glass jars. Will gradually phase out plastic containers from freezer to pyrex glass containers.
8) cleared top of fridge, putting everything back in its home or creating new homes or toss. This clutter has been bugging me for so long.
9) sorted toddlers hand me downs that were given to us in sizes he doesn’t fit into yet, created a Evernote note for each size with photos so I know what he has and so I don’t buy double ups/excess. Packed into storage for later.
10) created digital photo books of toddler and had them printed as keepsakes. Created 2 smash journals of my mementos and important photos from past 5 years. Still working on backlog of scrap booking projects.
Plan to replace our old large lounge for 2 simple armchairs, declutter a book case and donate it, and rearrange the living room to create more space. Plan to fix toddlers wardrobe, add shelving and sort through unused items. Then to tackle the garage (again).
Feels good to write it down and see what I have achieved!”
I look back now and the lounge went not long after this post in November as did the bookcase, the living room was rearranged and wardrobe was fixed all whilst I was away at Awaken the Change Within Retreat (thank you husband!). We had been wanting to do this since 2012 but I couldn’t get my head around it. I couldn’t let go of the lounge even though I really wanted the Ikea arm chairs. I didn’t know how to start and how to tackle clutter before I found the philosophy of minimalism.
We have our lovely antique lounge that now fits perfectly in our lounge room rather than squashed in the dining area. The bookcase from our son’s room works beautifully in the dining area and has a place to store my papers out of sight rather than piling up on a bench, table or bookshelf. Our unit now seems a lot larger and lighter with less furniture and less clutter. I am more content being at home and have stopped searching through real estate looking for the perfect house with more space and storage, realising the beauty and value with what we already have, that our unit is perfect for our family. Yet to work on the garage!
What is one thing that you can do to simplify your life? Can you declutter one drawer? Or rearrange the furniture? Or donate a couple of unused items? It doesn’t have to be big, just simple.