Minimalism

One thing I find that gives me encouragement and inspiration to live a simple life is reading how others have achieved the goal of downsizing their lives.

Whilst searching for this information on the Internet I have come across quite a few blogs and websites about minimalism. I’d never really considered applying a minimalistic approach to my life, but after reading more and more about it it’s an approach to life that really appeals to me.

Whilst I don’t ever think I could truly be classed as a minimalist (living with only 100 things, what with my family? You have to be joking! ) much of what I’ve read coincides with the steps we have taken to simplify our lives.

Minimalism and simple living are closely related as both advocate the reduction of the unnecessary in order to concentrate on what matters most. I see simple living as the charming country cousin to the slick pared back minimalism.

For those of you interested in finding out more about minimalism then these websites have a wealth of information.

www.theminimalists.com

www.becomingminimalist.com

www.mnmlist.com

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One Man’s Junk……

I think that I may have mentioned before that Mr S is a hoarder. We often come to blows over things that magically appear in our house that other people see no good reason to keep. Like some people rescue injured animals he rescues unwanted junk.

The reason he does this is that to him it’s not junk, one day it will come in handy. For what god only knows but there it sits in the house until I can’t take it anymore and I blow a fuse (for which I’m sure he has a replacement stashed away).

This “treasure” then disappears never to be seen again into the garage or the shed – out of sight out of mind for both of us.

There is a fatal flaw in all of this though – our garage is not a tardis.

It has become apparent that something has to be done. While we were planning the vegetable garden we decided we needed not one but two more sheds! One for potting plants, the other for storage.

The potting shed is needed, at the moment potting up is done outside if fine but more often than not in the house which is not ideal. The other reason is because all of the garden tools are scattered over half an acre of garden because we have no storage space for them, and guess why we have no storage space for the things that we need to store? Because our shed and garage are full of useless junk!

Actually I am being a little unfair here. A lot of what is hidden away are remnants from the past, extra materials from our house renovation, materials from when Mr S worked for himself but the point is still the same – it is not needed and taking up valuable space and it is valuable because we were considering the purchase of more storage space.

It’s amazing what the thought of spending money on something we already have but is under utilised can do – this week Mr S began a clear out in earnest.

One full sack followed another into the trailer and then off it went to the waste tip. The best thing about this (beside actually being able to walk into the garage) – after only one day of clearing he had cashed in enough scrap metal and spare cable to pay for the new potting shed!

The One Thing a Day Challenge – 30 Days On…..

Well here we are at day 30 of the One Thing a Day Challenge and what an interesting journey it has been so far.

It has been reletatively easy for me to find one thing a day to get rid off despite my home being reasonably clutter free already. Just before starting this I had a major clearout and so I look at the One Thing a Day Challenge as a way of fine tuning my possessions.

So what happened to all of the stuff that I got rid of over the last 30 days?

Well most of it went to a local charity shop, some was sold on Ebay (making me a profit of £104.08 ) and only two things were actually thrown away – the leaky water bottle which was unfortunately not recyclable and the sewing machine which went to the local tip as not safe to pass on as the peddle was held together with tape!

Any lessons learnt?

It’s been an interesting excersise so far. Even though our house is fairly clutter free it has been easy to find one thing a day and I would urge anyone wanting to live with less to try it. One thing doesn’t seem much at all but it adds up and it’s quick and easy to do too – I left a box by the back door and put each item that was destined to be donated in it as I found it, once the box was full off it went to the local charity shop.

The other thing is that I don’t actually miss any of the items that have gone. Many of them had escaped decluttering sessions over the years, take my old sewing machine for example. This was the only item that I actually struggled to get rid of as it held quite alot of sentimental value. It was an 18th birthday gift given to me by my Grandparents – my Grandad died the day before that birthday so this was his last gift to me. However it didn’t work, was taking up room, was very dusty and had been replaced by a new one. Now that it has gone I don’t miss it one bit and my memories of my Grandad still remain.

The main thing for me though is that by spending the time getting rid of something each day it has actually made me think about what I bring back into the house.

Firstly it has made me think about if I really need something when faced with buying it. Lets face it if you’re going to the trouble of getting rid of stuff you hardly want to fill your house back up again, so by doing this task it has made me consider carefully what I am buying.

The knock on effect of this is that by carefully considering each purchase and I’m now taking greater attention to what I’m actually buying. Buying less stuff means that I can spend a little more on quality, chemical free products that will last – whether that’s food, clothing or household products.

This for me is the important part. By learning to live with less my hopes are that as a family we will be consuming less. Last night we sat down to discuss this and watched the fantastically thought provoking video “The Story Of Stuff”. If you haven’t already seen this I would recommend that you do, the link to it is here http://www.storyofstuff.org/movies-all/story-of-stuff/

So will I be continuing the one thing a day challenge?

Of course! It’s said that it takes just 21 days to form a habit – I reckon that I’m just about there.

If you have been doing the One Thing A Day Challenge I’d love to hear how you’re finding it, why not post a comment below!

The One Thing A Day Challenge Update

Going, going……gone

Wow, it’s already day 15 of the one thing a day challenge! For those of you who are wondering what on earth the “One Thing A Day Challenge” is you can read about it in the original post here.

I’ve had some great feedback about the challenge over on facebook where I have been posting a photo of each item that is being “disposed” of that day – I’d love to hear if anyone else is trying this challenge and I shall be giving you a full update on day 30!

One Thing A Day

Buoyed on from my wardrobe declutter and whilst I’m on a roll I have decided as part of my simplifying plan I will get rid of one thing a day. I first read about doing this a while ago on the Unclutterer blog and thought it was a great idea and now is the time to put it into action!

Now one thing a day isn’t much is it? However when you look at it over a week, a month or even a year it adds up to quite alot.

Each day I shall be posting on my Facebook page the item that I have got rid of that day. So if anyone else wants to join me in this challenge I’d love to hear from you.

The rules are simple – Whether you give away, trash or donate the object is immaterial, but it must be gone from your life and space. Putting it into storage doesn’t count; though you are allowed to collect the things in a box to donate them at the end of the month.

Oh, and you’re also allowed to cheat and fill your quota ahead of time, like throwing out 7 things on Monday, making that a week’s worth of items.

So today is day one and if you decide to join me then good luck!

Decluttering Your Wardrobe

A rainy afternoon this weekend gave me the chance to have a clear out of my wardrobe. I tend to do this twice a year when the seasons change from Autumn/Winter to Spring/Summer as this is the time that I bring out my seasonal clothes.

My reason for doing this is that it does make my life easier if I simplify my wardrobe. If I can see all my clothes hanging there I find it easier to pick out an outfit in the morning. When you have what you actually need and love, going through your wardrobe is much easier. You can see what you have readily, and can be confident that what you have suits your lifestyle, personality, and body shape. No more trawling through the ok stuff to get to the stuff you actually love and use. Simplifying, decluttering and living with less in your wardrobe isn’t about being plain or boring. It’s about enjoying what you have by weeding out those things you don’t care for. All they do is dilute happiness, clutter homes and complicate our lives.

This weekend I managed to clear out a full bin bag of clothing which will be going to our local charity shop and a few choice pieces that have been photographed ready to be listed on Ebay.

Here are my tips on how to declutter your wardrobe…..

  • Chose a time when you won’t be rushed. Give yourselves plenty of time as you don’t want to be rushed into making any hasty decisions.
  • Empty your wardrobe onto your bed. That’s big pile isn’t it?
  • Now pick up each piece one by one and ask the following questions:
  • Does it fit? Not, does it fit if I lose a few pounds, but does it fit right now?

  • Do I love it? Do I feel good when I wear it.

  • Is it in good condition?

  • Does it fit in with my lifestyle?

If the item receives a yes to each of these four questions, keep it and hang it back in your wardrobe. With the remaining clothing make two piles, one for donations to a charity shop the other for Ebay.

If you end up with a pile of  “not sures” at the end of the process be as realistic as possible with yourself. How can you work these items into your wardrobe? Do they work with the other pieces you have? Are they in good condition? Do they flatter you or fit in with your personal style? Or are you better off without them? Once you’ve thought carefully about each item in this pile, place them in the appropriate place either back in your wardrobe or in the donation bag/Ebay pile.

Repeat this process with any drawers or storage chests you may have and you’ll soon have one wonderfully organised wardrobe!