If you walked into my house, you would be like “LOL, this girl is NOT a minimalist, she’s a hoarder”. Well not that extreme, but it’s true I have a lot of stuff. Even though I read books, listen to podcasts, follow blogs and watch YouTube videos on minimalism, I’m not a minimalist, but one day I will be! One day, ‘tidying’ will be sweeping the floor, wiping the bench and maybe a little dusting (well that’s the goal anyway). The reality, however, is I still have a long way to go. It’s a long process so I thought I’d share my biggest struggles because maybe one person in the same situation won’t be so harsh on themselves!
So why minimalism? I started doing epic ‘spring cleans’ in high school. All resulting in bags and bags full of stuff I didn’t need or want. Afterwards, my bedroom was still messy with an overflowing wardrobe, things on the floor and zero organisation.
After living out of a suitcase while travelling on and off over five years, I got a taste of how good a simple, quality and reliable wardrobe felt. With my limited wardrobe of favourites, I saved time, money and stress about ‘what to wear’. Upon returning home, I researched a little further into minimalism and actual methods of decluttering. Watching The Minimalists documentary on Netflix and reading Marie Kondo’s ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Decluttering’, helped me turn the corner and realise, yes I was purging but needed to be more mindful at the time of purchase and I needed to pay more attention to organising.
It has now been over a year that I have been trying to make my home of a tranquil and minimal space. We are so far off but here is what has been a challenge and struggle so far.
It takes a lot of time
I really admire those that organise their house in a weekend or with the help of a professional organiser because I am still working through my ‘things’ even after a year of working on it. Sometimes, I look at the house and feel like I’ve gotten nowhere. I live in large house and stuff has accumulated over time, after moving houses, moving in with my partner and now, welcoming a newborn into our family. Embarrassingly, there are still rooms full of things that need sorting, group and purge. I have realised how long it can actually take to sort and purge!
- Surrendering to the process (and understand that it will take time)
- Grouping items together as I use them
- Do a little every day
- Grab a big box and fill it with random things then sort it when I’m in front of the TV.
It takes a lot of energy: Effective de-cluttering in never ending
I have noticed that de-cluttering happens in layers. You can group and sort items and come up with boxes of things to donate, dispose of or sell and then when you revisit the same area at a later time, you find even MORE items you don’t need.
It also takes time to find what adds to your life. It takes a little everyday mindfulness to make note of what you need and how often you use items.
- Have a box at all times where I can put things that I need to donate. Once it’s full, I donate and start again with an empty box
- Have a box where I put items I’m not sure about. Things like clothes, decorations and seasonal pieces that I’m don’t know if I should keep or get rid of. Once this is full, I’ll go through the box and make some final decisions. Usually, I forget what’s in the box and donate it all.
Gifts are so precious. It’s really meaningful when someone takes the time to show their love or appreciation in the form of something physical. However, sometimes, these things don’t exactly fit. It could be clothes, home decorations, books, trinkets or even furniture. I find donating gifts quite hard because I don’t want to seem ungrateful. I do understand that if I want to have a clutter-free home full of things that ‘give me joy’ then I do need to be honest with myself and see if someone else can benefit from these gifts.
- Appreciate the gift, send my thanks to the person and show my gratitude and then find a new home (usually by donating or seeing if a friend would like it).
- My family are pretty used to me dropping pretty clear hints when it comes to birthdays and Christmas. Usually I filter through my Mum or put together a wishlist. This ensures that if they do want to treat me, I get something I love, cherish and will add value to my life.
When the person you live with has lots of stuff
When I moved to Canada, I helped my housemate move in. We had an open, light-filled, ground floor ‘condo (apartment) but by the time we had finished unpacking his things, it was PACKED. Like I could hardly see bare wall. In this case, I had no choice but to be minimalist because there simply was no room for more stuff. Now I live with my finance, we have been whittling down possessions for the past two and a half years. I have had to quote Marie Kondo to him on many occasions but I think he’s definitely feeling the weights being lifted as we have less stuff.
- Keep educating and reflecting on how good it feels to have a functional home with lots of space
- Trial different techniques to decipher what is crucial and what is not
- And maybe keep quoting Marie Kondo and asking “does this bring you joy?”
So while I still wade through the stuff towards my minimalist destination, I’ll keep blogging about the process and any useful tips I find. Lately, I’ve been watching SugarMamma.Tv’s minimalist YouTube videos for inspiration. Definitely check her out!
If you have any other bloggers, YouTubers, books or podcasts you’d recommend, please do let me know!