Own less, Live more

Photo by Andre vanRooyen

Photo by Andre vanRooyen

This is my motto for 2014. AT the beginning or 2012 I wrote how my word for the year was to be more Organised. Well I have been failing for 2 years. The clutter grew and so did my anxiety and my inability to cope. The visual clutter and stuff was making me feel overwhelmed. I felt like all I was doing all day was trying to contain the stuff and stop it taking over. It was like sea of belonging that I managed to clear away and organise – low tide, and then high tide would come and the stuff would all be everywhere again. I got boxes, drawers and container, I tried to label and sort everything to make it look more organised, but it never lasted. I felt like a complete failure. I would get mad with the kids and shout when stuff got mess and I was visually assaulted with all these things around me. I would feel my head swimming and my blood pressure rising.

I started to clear out again at the end of the year, and then I read a book on decluttering and simple living that changed my life. Simple Living – 30 days to less stuff and more living The light bulb moment for me was a line at the end of the chapter, the bonus section. Amazing how the small sentence which was just a tip, almost an after thought was the things that finally made me get it.

She was talking about finding inspiration and using Pinterest ” Pinterest is good for this, but be leery of the pictures of lots of neatly organized stuff. It is a look that probably lasted only until the picture was taken.”

Bingo, here I had been trying to organise the stuff all along when the problem was not the organisation it was the STUFF. And realising that that I was aiming for was probably not working for others either. I started in the kitchen with cleaning off all the counter tops and making visually open spaces.

I went from this

to this

We did not stop at the kitchen, the whole house has been done. We have thrown away, donated and recycled so much stuff and are working on more. I think we have 50% less stuff and are trying to reduce more. We used the questions “do you love it” and ” do you use it” to help decide what to keep and what to get rid of. The maybe I will use this one day is all gone. The off chance I need something is not a good enough reason to have it clutter up my space and my mind.

From The Miniamalist.com the elevator pitch as to what a minimalist lifestyle is all about: “Minimalism is a lifestyle that helps people question what things add value to their lives. By clearing the clutter from life’s path, we can all make room for the most important aspects of life: health, relationships, passion, growth, and contribution.”

Joshua Becker of becomingaminimalist.com says “There is more joy to be found in owning less than can ever be found in organizing more.” He has written a book on Clutter Free with Kids which I would like to read next. Here is a video below from him and his journey into minimalism.

Of course all this ties in well with planning a move. When I have moved before i have always taken all my belongings with me, this time I will take very very little. Rent a small house and try to accumulate memories and not stuff.

P.S On that note, The Geek did not get the job in Sweden he was being interviewed for, they liked him very much but there was as internal candidate and of course that is easier for them. So we keep looking.

5 thoughts on “Own less, Live more

  1. Awwww…..soooooo sorry about Yme. He WILL get something, it’s only a matter of time.
    Loved this post. Have been trying to do the same for some time. I realised over the last few months that I REALLY hate excess. It just drains me to look at it. Seriously. Why do I have 25 bags when in reality I only need about 7 at most. Why have 2 wine racks when realistically, only 1 is used. In my life it’s a work in progress and one MUST watch it because it’s so easy for stuff to find their way into the house! My next project is to get rid of ALL the toys. Child1 doesn’t play with them. Child2 has maybe 5 things that he loves and those 5 things are constantly rotated. I essentially have toys for OTHER peoples kids because it’s them that play with the stuff when they come around.
    So true what you say about the fact that memories need to be accumulated and NOT stuff!

  2. There’s a saying on flylady.com (a site a flirted with a few years ago, but didn’t quite work for me…) – “You can’t organise clutter”.
    That really resonated with me, but it’s an ongoing mission. Especially paper clutter!

    • I also tried her stuff but all the cleaning was just not quite what I was looking for. But it is true, you just have to have less stuff. The one challenge was having 1 pen. If you only have 1 you look after it, if you have 20 you can never find them. Try keeping papers from piling up is a constant mission, they just seem to flow in.

  3. I love this. We recently moved from a granny flat to a small three bedroom with a garage. We are slowly, finally able to use things that have been in boxes for over three years! Also, we are now going to start getting rid of things. We have so many books that are never going to be used (not with the internet…) and just need to read or give away. Thanks for inspiring me!

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