Moving has made me realise how far I have to go in minimalism
We moved two weeks ago. It was actually one of the most stress free moves I have had, partly due to the mindfulness practice I have, but also I think because we’ve had such a massive cull of our furniture and belongings in the last year.
However as we moved ourselves, we were left to face the room full of our things that we had to haul onto the van and off again at the other side. It was at this point we became really downhearted. We had been getting rid of stuff for a year, we had congratulated ourselves on the number of boxes, bags and tip runs we had done. Yet we were still faced with piles of things. Both of us just looked at everything and said ‘We’ve got such a long way to go in this minimalism thing’.
Just for clarification I’m not aiming to live with 100 things, and as much as I admire The Minimalists and their approach, an almost bare apartment would never feel homely enough to me, but I don’t want to live in a house piled with clutter we don’t use, and things we keep because we have to. It’s at this point my wife tells me I am a memory hoarder. I have a lot of my late Nan’s things, such as diaries, photos and even pyjamas! There is such a strong connection there, I can’t find the will to part with them. I also have my school reports from Years, 7 8 and 9, and my stage management book from university. These are just wonderful memories, and I appear to be keeping the things to evoke the memories. So I might have to work on some of that, but later…moving house has been a massive change in our lives (for the good) and I am not ready to attempt decluttering of the sentimental stuff, but I will.
Anyway back to this awful realisation that we still have a lot of stuff. My heart sank when I viewed the pile, and just couldn’t quite comprehend what it is that is in all these boxes and bags?
Well we’ve unpacked everything now, which we had done after the first week. So I took a bit of an audit of our things. Although we have tripled our kitchen cupboard space, they are all full. Kitchen stuff is one of the key things we had boxes and boxes of. Partly this is due to my wife, she likes a gadget. If it were up to me there would be no Nespresso, no Ninja Bullet, and no 3-in-1 toastie maker, but as marriage is all about compromise I will let it be. So kitchen stuff is definitely something we need to work on. We did get rid of a box worth of stuff when we were packing, but we do have a lot of cups, utensils, and ‘bits’ that just need to be sorted. So this is on my hit list.
The other problem area is clothes. Although I have definitely rid myself of a huge number of clothes in the last year, I still have a winter wardrobe to find a place for, jumpers, leather trousers which are not anyone’s friend in summer and heavy dresses. I think this is OK, everyone needs to have more layers in winter. But again I have gone from one drawer in our old chest of drawers, to a full chest of drawers in our new house. The top drawer isn’t quite full but everything else is, and the hanging rail we have at the moment as an interim measure is pretty much all my clothes. I looked at some this morning, they’re not in the colour palette I’ve chosen, I don’t particularly like the colours (black and white) but I don’t want to let go of it because I like the style. What? What kind of minimalist am I? A struggling one.
It feels like I have hit a brick wall and need to find a way round it or over it. I need to go back to the drawing board and get inspiration from my favourite minimalists. Joshua Becker has a new book out called The More of Less and I think that could be one purchase that is required. Sometimes I guess as an aspiring minimalist you have to accept there are plateaus you’re going to reach and I think this is one for me. So onwards and upwards and let’s find that bin bag…