FROM MESSY TO MINIMALIST
I had every intention of arrogantly writing a big intelligent blog post about minimalism and how I’m now proudly and staunchly a minimalist but then I sat down at my desk, looked at my surroundings and tallied upwards of 30 items on my desk, including, ahem, the doorbell for my house (I need to replace the battery ok?). Look, in defence of the mess on my desk, I did just complete a rather challenging, pull-out-your-hair-while-sobbing uni assignment this week, that I would like to say turned me into someone incapable of picking up after themselves, but really, the truth of it is, I'm just your run of the mill everyday hot mess. Anyway, enough about my slovenly ways!
So this wannabe minimalist has spent the last week or so reading up on minimalism (also referred to as voluntary simplicity or simple living but I think minimalism sounds a bit more hip and modern). Not a lot of minimising has occurred (I will get to that!) but I have learnt stuff about stuff and how it can stuff up your life. I’m really on-board with the whole concept and believe it may be a holistic solution, not only a personal wellbeing level, but also a global environmental level. Well, for western society at least, because lets be honest, it’s the west that has the insatiable lust and the means to consume and collect superfluous objects.
Some may think of minimalism as purely reducing the objects we possess but it’s as much about the psychological as it is about the physical. The guys from The Minimalist put it like this:
“Minimalists don’t focus on having less, less, less; rather, we focus on making room for more: more time, more passion, more experiences, more growth, more contribution, more contentment. More freedom. Clearing the clutter from life’s path helps us make that room.”
How good does that sound, eh? Sign me up!
So seeing as I'm at the very beginning of my journey towards becoming a proud and staunch minimalist I thought I'd start at the beginning. Or more precisely, where the f*ck should I start?!
So of course I goog’d ‘How to become a minimalist’. These are my options:
Marie Kondo, an organising consultant specialising in the ‘Japanese art of de-cluttering’, has a bit of a cult following after creating the KonMari Method and has been featured on all the big US blogs and news outlets (Goop!, Martha Stuart, The New York Times etc). I’ve seen the phrase ‘does it spark joy’ being thrown around but haven't really read much further. So it seems I would have to buy her book ‘The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up’ to unlock the secrets, which is kind of counter intuitive to the whole getting rid of things exercise. I might shelve this method for now, so to speak.
This is the fast track to becoming a minimalist and the method that Ryan from The Minimalists used to become a minimalist. It’s quite drastic - step 3 is a 'packing party' where you pack up your WHOLE house (!!) and work out what you really need as you go and only unpack those items, the rest has to go. Kudos to Ryan for pulling it off and I think it's a great way to work out what you really need in your life but it’s far too ambitious and overwhelming for me.
Much like the 21 day challenge, Tiny House's guide advises to pack everything up but to leave out the essentials to get you through 7 days. Then after 7 days you will have a clear idea of what you really need. Again, I think this is unrealistic for me. It would take me at least a week to pack my house up, and I don't have a dedicated room to put those items in. I am actually minimalist in the type of house we live in, it's small and we use every room (no formal dining or sitting rooms that collect dust in our house) we said goodbye to the dreaded junk room in our last move.
So where does this leave me? To make my own how to be a minimalist rules, of course. I'm combining a few different methods and challenges to create my own minimalist how to guide. And because I'm busy and lazy (know your weaknesses I say) I'm going to tackle this challenge slowly.
This is the bit I'm feeling the most overwhelmed with, mostly because I don't know where to start! So I've decided to break it down into small chunks in two main areas:
- Visible clutter: areas/shelves/bookcases/surfaces that are cluttered or messy (no shortage of those!)
- Hidden clutter: you know the third kitchen draw down, back of the cupboard, bottom of the handbag areas.
I will myself ask the following questions of each item: is it a duplicate, have I used it in the last 6-12 months, does it spark joy (thanks Marie Kondo) or does it have sentimental value? If not, goodbye! I'll aim to do three areas per week (an area can be as small as one draw).
Starting from March, I'm going to complete the Project 333 challenge created by Courtney from Be More with Less. You may have heard of this one before, it started back in 2010 and has a large following. The gist of it is wearing only 33 pieces from your wardrobe for three months, then you can rotate to other items as you get to know what you like to wear and when the seasons change. What you gain out of it is simplicity and knowing what you really need. I've already reduced my wardrobe quite a bit but there is that last little bit that I'm struggling to part with and I think this will help give me some clarity.
For now, this is what I will start with but it may change as I go along.
Ok, so I’m not all talk and no action, I’m going to get y’all to hold me accountable. I’ll document my progress over on our Instagram. I’m already following along with Eco Warrior Princesses #LifeOverStuff challenge, so I know Jen will be making sure I stick to my minimalist guns. But I don’t want it to just be about me – I want to hear from you.
What are your thoughts on becoming minimalist? Have you done it with success? Has anyone done the KonMari method (I want to know what all the fuss is about)? Tell me, tell me!