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Minimalism and creating a peaceful space

Clues_Of_Blue
Community Member

My parents are both hopeless hoarders. When I first moved out of Mum's house many moons ago, I marvelled at how much space I had in my tiny little unit. It was a new experience and I loved it. Even so, with me not being inclined to take up the torch of the hoarder, I managed to accumulate a lot. Sentimental bits from my younger days, gifts, free stuff I thought I was just too poor to say no to - could need it later, and not be able to afford it, right? There were also bills and sensitive documents I just didn't know what to do with, and boy do they pile up over the years! And worst of all, relationships - when you live with someone, they bring in their own lifetime of clutter, oftentimes leaving a whole bunch of it behind when they leave. And again related to being poor, if any money came my way I wanted to treat myself. A book, or an article of clothing was often the go to. Guess who had a bunch of books she never read and clothes that didn't get worn.

When I parted ways with my most recent ex, he left an extraordinary tonne of junk behind. I made it my mission to get rid of it, and along with it anything of my own I didn't want any more. I had gifts I neither used or particularly liked, boxes of books I bought with the thought I should get them while I had money to read when I didn't (they moved - along with the sensitive documents - from house to house in boxes that never got opened), even clothes from when I was a teenager (those suckers never gonna fit again, and they sure aren't in style any more). In the course of trying to find more and better ways to pare down all this stuff sucking the life out of me, I discovered there were a whole heap of other people who thought like me and wanted what I wanted. Minimalists. There are articles and blogs and tonnes of inspiration out there, and they helped me immensely.

I've been on the journey for a bit over four years, and it took most of that time to get my home how I want it. But now I can easily find things I want to use and don't have to clean, organise or maintain half as much stuff. I don't feel compelled to buy things on a whim or to feel good, because I just don't need them - I'm actually repelled by the idea of having more objects around me. I now have much more time and space and peace. I thought that worth sharing. What a fantastic tool it's been for looking after my mental health!

106 Replies 106

Jojo100
Community Member

Hi Blue’s Clues’s

What a great post and something I needed to read as I am keen to declutter my own home. However, I constantly procrastinate and never quite get there. I would love to have much less ‘stuff’ that I don’t need, but am quite sentimental about silly things. You have inspired me and I will try to make the effort as I know it can only help my mental health too.

Jojo

Hi Jojo,

Really glad you got some inspiration from my new thread. I've learned a whole bunch of tricks along the way to keep me on track, and I'm more than happy to share. To begin with the whole thing was overwhelming for me because of the sheer amount of stuff there was, so procrastination did take root with me too, periodically.

The thing that helped me get going was to start with rubbish. Actual rubbish or things that have filled up spaces and don't really have any value - junk mail, packaging you might have kept in case you wanted to return something, receipts, "free" stuff that comes with magazines or your shop at the supermarket, that sort of stuff. You can clear a pretty big volume with a minimum of emotional disturbance and seeing the space open up motivates you to more action. At least, it did for me. Alternatively, if that seems too broad a category, go with starting small. Pick a shelf or a drawer, or some other little space in your home like a desk and just do that to start with. Every unnecessary item you remove (for instance duplicates - who needs three staplers?) definitely lifts a weight from your mind.

I follow a blog too, called Becoming Minimalist. I've had a bunch of useful, practical ideas from there, and a lot of the articles also highlight the hidden benefits of getting rid of clutter that you can expect to start seeing as your journey progresses. I highly recommend it.

Good luck with getting started. 🙂

Blue.

Hi Blue

Thank you for the information. I will look up the articles and YouTubes about minimalism.

I am going to start decluttering today! I will start as you suggested with papers, junk mail, old bills etc. I think I need to start small otherwise it feels too overwhelming.

I would be grateful for any more advice you have.

Jojo

Airies
Community Member

Hi folks,

decluttered out of necessity after downsizing to our new abode. books, DVDs, you name it it went. Our clock fell off the wall. It broke, we replaced it to only have it fall again. We don't need a clock. It's nice, even empowering to have the bare minimum . It's looks so clean and ncluttered. We had 30 plus years of stuff. Ruthless in getting rid of it and it's nice to have a clean slate. Extends to low maintenance garden, the caboodle,

cheers

Hi Jojo,

No worries, happy to help. Hope you get as much out of them as I have.

There is no better day to start than today. 🙂 How did you go with getting started? Hopefully a positive experience.

I have tonnes of advice, but I'll try not to bombard you with information overload. Perhaps while you're still working on the rubbish (let me know when you're done with that, it can take time), the best advice I can give you isn't about things to remove but how to slow down the flow of things coming into your home. I'll throw out some ideas in dot points, to keep it simple:

*If you don't have one, try a "no junk mail" sign on your letter box.

*If you're getting bills in the letterbox now, look into getting them sent by e-mail instead (most companies have a "paperless" option for billing). I have a folding organiser for the few bills that are still paper, and the envelopes go straight into the recycling the minute I open them.

*If you get magazines or newspapers, pop them straight in the recycling when you're done reading (file any issues or articles you want to keep).

*Say no to free stuff you don't want/need!

*Tell your family and friends you want less stuff, have an open dialogue about how to handle gift giving. For instance, I've told my lot I would rather an experience (like going out for a meal with them, or a movie or a show) or something practical (help with a bill, a gift card for groceries, a bottle of wine or something they cooked themselves) instead of non-consumable objects that will just end up collecting dust. It gives them freedom to surprise me, and it means I don't have to worry about getting rid of unwanted gifts.

I'll leave it at that for now, hope you can make some use of those suggestions.

Blue.

Hey Aires,

Moving is the best motivator for decluttering. Every time I have moved house I have got rid of tonnes of stuff. This time, I'm on top of not letting it pile up again. Empowering is definitely a great word for how it feels to not be owned by your stuff, especially given how much our society works at us from every angle to convince us to consume. We can choose something better, and our homes are easier to clean and maintain, and don't take up so much of our time. I found when things were cluttered I could look in any direction at home and just see a to-do list of cleaning/organising/maintaining - just looking at it was exhausting and stressful. I don't miss it!

Glad you stopped in. 🙂

Blue.

Hi Blue

Well I made a start today and am feeling quite pleased with myself! I have torn up old bills, newsletters junk mail, etc and have a bag full. I had been piling papers up on my kitchen table as I had no designated place for them. I now have a folder for necessary paper work that I need to keep.

I just need to keep going now slowly but surely. I can see this is a long term project, but I know it will be so worth it.

I like your idea regarding gifts where your relatives treat you to a movie, a meal or a show rather than buy you something you may not need, want or have room for.

Thanks for all the tips and encouragement. I have procrastinated for way too long already and just needed a welcome nudge to get me moving.

Thanks again for your welcome post

Jojo

Morning Jojo,

Sounds like you're off to a great start. Go, you! A big principle of minimalism is finding places for things, to keep them off benches and tables and generally cluttering up the place. I think we all have that little spot where mail piles up and other items start to collect around it. My rule of thumb is, if it doesn't have a home, find it one - or if it isn't worth finding a home for, get rid of it.

It can definitely be a slow process, but like all big changes in life, doing it in a consistent, sustainable way is best. You don't want to burn yourself out and wind up throwing in the towel, as you've set yourself a worthy goal that will absolutely be worth the effort.

Thanks. I'm really glad I set that rule. It can result in some quality one-on-one time with family members and friends, which is more valuable by far than getting knick-knacks.

No problem, that little nudge is always useful. We can nudge ourselves, too. One trick I have is that I've got a whiteboard up in my office, upon which I write my goals and, most importantly, keep track of my progress. You could do the same with a diary, notebook or the low budget version of a whiteboard - paper stuck with Blu-tac on your wall (because this isn't about spending money or acquiring new things). Everyone gets so focused on their to-do list, and all they see is what's ahead, they tend to forget how much they've already done, and get disheartened. Having a clearly visible record of what you've done so far is a great motivator that reminds you that you're already doing it.

You're welcome, Jojo. 🙂

Blue.

Hiya Blue

I didn’t sleep very well last night as I was thinking about all the areas I can declutter. Will have to be careful not to jump from one thing to another without finishing what I started. I sometimes do this when I’m hypomanic. Managed to slow myself down and tackled a few areas so am feeling quite pleased with myself. I will definitely be dropping off lots of boxes to the op shop which is great. It’s amazing the things you find in your wardrobe that haven’t been worn in years!

I am very happy I have started this long term project and feel a weight is beginning to lift off my shoulders. Upwards and onwards.

Cheers Jojo