As you may know i’ve been having a huge clear out. I want to become a minimalist!
Minimalism, for me, used to conjure up monochrome images of slinky French women drinking wine upon an Italian sofa in a very sparse apartment. No? Just me?
Well the point i’m trying to make is that the idea of minimalism did not seem achievable to me, the mere mortal. I did not know any minimalists nor were my friends parents minimalists. Sure some friends had more clutter than others but none were what you may define as minimalist.
In fact still today I do not have any friends that are minimalists. Always losing keys and never having anything to wear are regular occurrences in my friends’ lives…. and mine too. The only people experimenting with minimalism I have ever seen have been on the internet. I am trying to remember the first time I ever heard the word minimalist or knew what it was and i’m trying even harder to think why this concept had never yet appealed to me.
I grew up in a cluttered house with borderline hoarder parents, one would think i’d have an interest in minimalism, or at least a desire to de-clutter. I didn’t. In fact I had no desire to ever de-clutter until I moved house for the nth time. Actually I think it was the fourth time. I think what you grow up with, no matter how obscure, will always seem normal. Clutter was normal for me. “Tron, you have too much stuff.”
“No!” I would retort, “my home has personality”.
Well you see, that is the thing about personality, when there is SO much of it, it becomes blurred. It is hard to see what your style is when there are so many styles competing in one space.
Anyway, the turning point for me was when I moved for the 4th time into a studio flat and I had to take all my clutter with me, again. It gets very tiresome having to move so much stuff, buying millions of boxes and packing them all, taping them all, stacking them all, making sure not to over-fill them because then the delivery guys can’t carry them out. You know, it’s hard work before you’ve even moved IN. I decided I needed to get rid of some stuff, despite living comfortably in a studio I knew I would be moving soon and I wasn’t looking forward to taking all my rubbish.
Well that was roughly two years ago. I have vastly reduced the amount of “stuff” I own however I have gone from borderline hoarder to clutter-bug to average amount of clutter. I’ve had enough of the stuff now and I really want to minimise my belongings and get down to the essentials so that I can live a more fulfilling life. I really believe that having less clutter in my home will make me feel more emotionally balanced. It will also free up much time that would have otherwise been spent hunting for keys or locating clean socks.
So on my quest to become a minimalist….
I have learnt many things and one tip i’d love to share with you is the home inventory method. I am only a third of the way through my home inventory but I can already see the benefits. If you read my previous post you will know I was a bit stuck, this is really helping push me through the plateau.
The idea of a home inventory list is so that in the event of disaster your insurance company can replace all your stuff, however it works for us trying to minimise because we can clearly see, written right in front of us, every single item we own. Does it sound daunting? It is. It takes time. But it is worth it and trust me it will make a difference. I honestly did not think I would get much out of the exercise but I can honestly say after writing ‘mascara’ for the 4th time I realised maybe I could do with getting rid of some mascara and that is not the only thing, I realised I have: 4 eyeliners, 5 book marks and 6 plant pots. No-body needs 6 plant pots in ONE room. And 5 bookmarks, really? I literally only read one book at a time, maybe there’s another one in a large volume, but 5? FIVE? It’s just crazy.
I thought I had looked over everything. I have looked over everything. But seeing it in front of you can be a different experience than when it is written in numbers. 5 book marks take up a remarkably small amount of space however 5 is much too big of a number for something as silly as book marks. Sure you could say “the space it would save isn’t worth it” but then where does that thinking end up? We have to be vigilant. Even though I have been over and over each of my belongings, trying new methods can help us to see our clutter in different perspectives.
For instance before I began this journey I don’t think i’d ever gotten rid of a single sentimental item, I was still busy getting rid of junk after all, but then after a time I was running out of things to discard, yet I still had a lot of clutter. Eventually I read about other minimalists experiences and they inspired me with ways to discard sentimental items with no value. I have thrown out many sentimental items and the ones I can’t bear to let go of, I photograph. By not giving up, and by staying motivated I was able to overcome these hurdles.
I am also highly motivated by seeing beautiful images/ videos of other minimalist homes, I have spoken before about personal interior style but just seeing other storage/ display ideas and actually seeing how some people open cupboards and they’re empty! :O That is minimal… and so inspiring!
It is important to have a source of inspiration. For me it is following other minimalists and listening to their stories and their ideas. Make sure you find yours.