Mindful, creative living.

Sunday, 2 September 2018

Not Quite Minimalist, But Working On It .... De-Cluttering





I have been delving into the world of minimalism. It is a lifestyle I have always been interested in. There are some excellent blogs and books out there on this way of life. I have read many, and found them all extremely thought provoking. The thought of throwing stuff away and making do with only the essentials may not appeal to everyone but, fuelled with curiosity, I decided to have a rummage to see how much stuff I owned and how much I could bear to be without. 




I started in the bedroom, where I emptied my wardrobe of its contents and began to count. In total, I had 26 shirts, 4 winter coats, 3 waterproof coats, 7 jumpers, 3 hoodies, 4 bomber-style jackets, 2 pairs of chinos, 2 pairs of dress trousers, a suit, 3 ties, 2 waistcoats, a denim jacket, 3 pairs of winter boots, 2 pairs of summer shoes, 3 pairs of trainers, a pair of black dress shoes, a pair of brown dress shoes and a pair of sandals.

The chinos I had never worn (I bought them in a sale, an impulse buy. I never wear chinos.), the suit I had worn once or twice to funerals and the like, and the same goes for both pairs of dress shoes. Some of the shirts I had never worn, either. A few even had the price tags still on them. 

Next, I emptied my chest of drawers. Crammed in there, not counting socks and underwear, I had 14 pairs of jeans, 2 fleeces, 34 tee shirts, 5 belts and 12 sweatshirts. I was horrified to see that some of the items in there still had price tags on them, too.

There I stood, the sunlight peaking through the Venetian blinds, up to my knees in a sea of consumerism, a mixture of horror, guilt and disbelief coursing its way through my veins. I had to do something. I made my way downstairs to the kitchen and re-entered the bedroom armed with several large, black plastic bags.

Deciding what to keep and what not to keep was not as difficult as I thought it would be. In one bag, I put everything I would throw out. In another, I put all the items I would donate to charity. In total, I dumped or donated 61 items of clothing, leaving me with 75. (I could have donated or binned more, but I did not see the point. Anything I kept, I am going to wear until it is worn out)  

I immediately felt like a great weight had been lifted off my shoulders. For the next few days, I was floating on air. But there was something nagging at the back of my mind. What else was hidden away in this house that I, or we as a family could do without? I mentioned this to my wife and we made a start in the loft.          

Up there we discovered more clothes, books and general nik-naks than any one household could possibly need. I have a thing about books. I love the feel and smell of books, and of course, I love reading them, but many of these books had been up there for years. Nevertheless, I did have trouble parting with them all and decided to keep two large boxes full of books (I have the feeling, however, that many of these too will soon be leaving our home). The books I did not keep went into boxes and bags for delivery to the charity shop.

Also in the loft were bags of baby clothes and baby toys, and bags of clothes we had kept, ‘just in case.’ Most of the latter we binned, but those that we did not bin were neatly packed for donation. Because of our emotional attachment, we found it difficult to part with all the baby clothes and toys, so we held on to a few for sentimental reasons. Those we did not keep, we packed for donation. Other items binned included pieces of long forgotten flat-pack furniture, broken crockery, and any other stuff we did not want or we felt was unsuitable for charity. There was just too much stuff in the loft to count, but I estimate I kept 400 books and donated roughly the same. 

Both of us were feeling so enthused that we decided to clear out the garden shed as well. Along with all the spiders and cobwebs, we found two rusty bicycles, two tricycles, a couple of decrepit sun- loungers, a dilapidated dolls house and several bags of baby toys. None of these was suitable for donation, so we binned the lot.

Over the next few days, we went through our home unearthing all sorts of stuff, from boxes of worn-out usb cables, to broken or damaged crockery, dvds and, you guessed it, more books. Anything deemed suitable we donated to charity the rest we binned.

The clear out created so much space it is sometimes hard to believe we are living in the same house. It is a relief to be free of so much clutter. There is still a long way to go, but it is a start.

Before the clear out, I never thought of myself as a serious ‘consumer,’ or a hoarder, but de-cluttering has showed me how wrong I was. Many of the items discarded or donated I had completely forgotten about, had been hidden away for so long that getting rid of them was not overly difficult. I did consider all the ‘good money’ I spent acquiring them, and have made a decision to keep a tighter rein on my finances. I will not be buying any more clothing until what I have is completely worn out, better for my pocket and the environment, and I will be writing down every purchase I make. That way I will know how much I am spending. Also, by having less of everything I will know what I have and where it is. That should save a lot of time rummaging through cupboards and drawers, looking for that one thing I never can find.  

I am not quite a minimalist, yet, but I’m working on it. Having less of everything has filled me with such a feeling of freedom, that I sense more stuff will be heading to the charity shop very soon.  


Updates on this topic to follow.

  

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4 comments:

  1. Well done on de-cluttering, something I badly need to do again! Have a great week!

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    1. Hi, Valerie. It felt so good to git rid of so much stuff. I think is is only the beginning.

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  2. Beautiful photo. Decluttering and minimalism is a good thing, sigh.

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    1. Thank you, Christine. I have been thinking about minimalism for a while. Getting rid of stuff opens up all sorts of doors and new ways of doing. I am embracing it full on.

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