Minimalism and Me
My husband and I have 3 children and up until about a year ago we were living in a very small house. It had some good cupboard space for me to hide my stuff in but no matter what I did I couldn't get on top of the chaos. There was stuff everywhere. I felt like I was constantly on a quest for the storage solution to end all storage solutions. My problems would disappear with the right piece of Swedish flatpack. But all this got me was slightly more organised chaos.
I then started hearing this word “Minimalism” being used by some Mother’s I had connected with through Instagram. The photos they shared of their home life left me wondering whether they were just really good with photoshop or if their homes really were that tidy. Open spaces, clear surfaces, all dreams I’d long since abandoned in our small house with 3 children and a Musician Husband. There were toys and instruments everywhere. Whilst I watched on in disbelief they continued to claim it was all down to Minimalism.
My gut reaction to the word was a definite no. That’s not for me. I envisioned white walls, rooms with only one piece of furniture, people sat on the floor. It was empty, cold and definitely not for me.
But their images told a different story. There was nothing cold about it. My interest was piqued. I headed to google to try and find out more. I read blogs, books, and Pinned endless decluttering checklists on Pinterst, and I devoured inspirational quotes on a daily basis. I felt initially that I still couldn’t be a Minimalist but I wanted to be one and I wanted to try.
I had de-cluttered before, but it had never been more than a temporary fix. This time it needed to be different. What could probably be described as extreme de-cluttering at first soon led to us getting rid of half our stuff, and in the last 3 years of this journey to minimalism we’ve probably got rid of half again. Our house now has clear and tidy surfaces, open spaces, gone is the wall to wall furniture and as for those storage solutions; I found the perfect one; less stuff.
Minimalism isn't about no stuff for the sake of it, or for appearances, it will look different for everyone. It’s about clearing out the excess, letting go of the things you don’t actually need and only keeping what adds value. But more importantly it’s about consuming less too. No amount of decluttering or flatpack furniture will ever solve the problem if you keep bringing more stuff in.
Consuming less has probably been the hardest part of this journey for me. You don’t realise until you start to question each purchase just how easily you were buying more. Now I rarely even go to the shops because there aren't many purchases that can pass the test of “Do I really need this? Can I afford this? Will this add value? And where is this going to live in my house?” We prioritise experiences over things now, and our money is spent on doing things as a family, and I believe our lives are all the richer for it. I don’t worry about money in the same way I once did, I’m no longer waiting for a day when we earn more of it, as we no longer have a never ending list of stuff we want to buy with it. We’re enjoying what we do have, which we have found to be more than enough. I’m no longer having a never ending battle with my home to get it tidy and organised, everything has a purpose and everything has it’s place, everything adds value. The time that was once spent chasing my tail trying to clean house is mine again to enjoy life and to actually enjoy my home.
It’s a process and there’s no quick fix. Its been nearly 3 years for me but I now feel I can say that I am a minimalist and it has changed my life.
Don't start with the big stuff or the hard stuff, but do start. Part with the easy stuff first, and question why you are holding on to the hard stuff. You’ll find getting rid of the excess becomes addictive and it gets easier with every shelf, cupboard and room. Keep coming back to it, and ask yourself a few questions; does it add value to my life? Do I need it? Do I love it? Would I buy this today? Why can’t I let this go?
Once you start asking yourself that last question the real power our stuff has over us becomes scarily clear. Society doesn't want you to be a minimalist, society doesn't want you to realise you don’t actually need any of the things it is selling you on a daily basis. It is the counter cultural move, it will get you funny looks and rolled eyes and there will be people who fight back against you on it and try to change you. But the freedom you experience when you choose to live a life with less will enrich your life in ways stuff never has and never will.
Remember; “Wanting less is a far better blessing than having more.” - Mary Ellen Edmunds
If you have enjoyed this post, please feel free to share it, and to Pin the images if they will help you on your journey. I would love to hear your stories too, please do leave a comment below. I am planning on writing a bit more about Minimalism in the future, including how we've tackled the sentimental and how we have approached Minimalism with 3 children. So do subscribe below if you want to receive future posts direct to your inbox.