I'm finding that the less time I have to blog, the more inspired I am - there are so many things I want to talk about and that are on my mind, as well as a backlog of "documenting" blog posts of travel and food, and I hope to get them all written up and posted before they are ridiculously past their sell by date! But for today, I've chosen one of those topics I want to write about - a self-imposed, mini-minimalist makeover.
I mentioned in my "a year of mindful living" post that I had some related goals in mind, but I wanted to go a little deeper into that whole side of things.
Minimalism is a trend right now, and even as I watch myself hopping right on board like a good little sheep, I do believe that there is something to this. In our current world of information overload, of gadgets galore and anything you could possibly want to buy just a mouse click away, I empathise completely with this sense of urgent need to declutter your life in each and every corner. As a natural hoarder who cannot bear to throw a birthday card away from 7 years ago from a mere acquaintance, and as someone who likes to keep things (whether they be clothing, apps on my phone, a lone earring separated from its twin) "just in case", this always seemed completely out of reach for me. It's just not really who I am, I would tell myself. I'm going to be surrounded by stuff all my life, and as long as there's space for it, that's ok.
The fact is, it absolutely is ok. This coveted "minimalist lifestyle" can and should look different, depending on who is living it. And I've simply decided that I'm going to discover what it looks like to me, and how it fits in with my own life.
I want to make this a casual thing - no set aims, no deadlines. Instead of listing the things I'm going to do, I'm just going to jot down the steps I've already taken. I think that this way, it will allow my progress to push itself forward and inspire me to keep going (and I'm not going to lie, it's fun to write down things you've ticked off, as a nice pat on the back to self).
✓ Donate almost all our DVDs to charity.
E is completely on board with my plans to minimise the junk (material and otherwise) in my life, and was more than happy for me to sweep up most of his DVDs along with mine (we didn't have a huge collection to begin with, but still took up a large shelf in our bookcase). We think that as we pretty much always watch movies through Netflix or downloads, we really had no need for these. We kept a few box sets (The LOTR, an Audrey Hepburn collection I was given from my sister, The West Wing...I think that's about it?).
✓ Clear out my bedside table drawers.
I'm not even going to go into how much stuff was crammed into these two small drawers by my bed. Stuffed full of "essentials" that I was convinced I couldn't throw away, that were forcing me to place my actual essentials (nighttime skincare, jewellery, books, etc.) on top of the table, that inevitably piled up and made for a very messy bedside companion. I can't even tell you how good it feels to go to sleep, knowing how clean and clear these drawers are.
✓ Clear out and sort out the "mystery" drawers in the corner of the living room that we just threw things into with no rhyme or reason.
One of those areas of the flat where things could often be found that you'd suddenly need (like an empty envelope, a hole punch, or a pouch of loose photographs from high school) - we all have them, don't we? At least, I always have. I organised all the documents, photos and other bits that I wanted/needed to keep, and threw about 80% of the contents of these 6 drawers away.
✓ Declutter make up and other beauty items.
Being a product junkie and hoarder means that having a stash of 5 hair sprays that are very nearly empty is completely normal. But no more. I've thrown away everything that is likely to be past its prime, whittled down my make up box to about half (or less) of its original contents, and threw away most of those little sample sized products that I'll never use.
✓ Declutter my wardrobe - almost.
Bear with me. I'm getting there. Many an ex-"just in case it fits one day/just in case I have that ball I suddenly have to go to/just in case I'll ever know how to style this" item have been packed away and given to charity, and much loved and worn gems that have seen better days have been let go. I still want to downsize my wardrobe by about 30% still, so this is work in progress.
✓ Unsubscribe from every single shop and website email newsletter.
I know that Gmail has a filter, yada yada yada, but that wasn't good enough for me. I wanted all of these things to completely disappear from my inbox, filtered or otherwise. As they came in, I unsubscribed from every single one (the only ones I've kept are from galleries and theatres, and Timeout London events and offers) and I did a little mental fist pump each time. Who needs to do a juice detox when an inbox detox feels this good?
Needless to say, this is only the beginning, but the lack of pressure that I'm putting on myself (to get it done all at once, to live in a completely bare flat, to give up things I truly love) has made is surprisingly easy so far. I hope I won't need to be held accountable, but if I stay silent about this little makeover for a few months and things start looking suspicious, feel free to prod me (gently).
And I would be so happy to hear your thoughts if you're trying to do something similar, or have any words of wisdom to share!