Welcome back to another episode in The Self Series. This month I moved house, finding myself reminded of how much stuff I actually own. My old bedroom had a lot of nooks and crannies, and whilst emptying those out I discovered an utmost desire to de-clutter and rid my belongings of everything unnecessary. Today’s blog is going to be all about doing exactly that, and is bought to you by a quote of Eleanor Brownn:
“Clutter is not just physical stuff. It’s old ideas, toxic relationships and bad habits. Clutter is anything that does not support your better self.”
No. 1 | Items we have, but don’t need
We all have things we don’t need; crap we’ve bought, gimmicks we’ve fallen for, or simply outgrown items. I am not here to tell you what you don’t need, because this varies person to person.
Here are a few areas I’ve been able to revamp and tidy:
- My desk storage and surrounding areas were infested with old university text books, papers, payslips and bills. I recycled everything I hadn’t looked at in a few months, and to prevent the pile up from happening again – switched over to paperless, meaning I now get majority of important documents via email. AND now I have an amazingly clear work space.
- The top of my wardrobe had the biggest collection of old birthday cards and old concert tickets. I think I’m like most people when I say I find it hard to throw these types of things away – but do not fear! I have a tip for you…
- Take photos of them and/or scan them into your computer. They’re only gonna get bent and fade over time, so keep them in tip-top form in a computer folder.
- I also found a lot of trinkets, unused frames, and travel bags amongst other unused home goods. Things like this – which someone else could use – I donated to local charity shops.
No. 2 | Double is trouble
Humans, majority of us are overly materialistic. I remember that back in high school, I became quite obsessed with make-up and so began the notorious – more than one drawer fill – make-up hoard of 2012. Considering one can only wear so much at any time, it’s easy to say I had too much make-up. Fast forward to August 2017 and my make-up collection consists of 10 items: 1 foundation, 1 eyebrow kit, 1 eyeliner, 1 primer, 1 mascara, 1 eyeshadow palette, 1 powder, and 3 lipsticks. It has taken 5 years, but I perfected the Paige make-up necessities. I have no double-ups, and I only buy items that work for my skin tone and that I genuinely will make use of.
This minimal approach to my beauty routine continues with my moisturiser and shower items. I encourage you to find one of every required item; e.g. find a moisturiser which you and your skin loves, and stick to only owning one type and then replace when empty. It will keep your space tidy and, especially when it comes to your skin, the less products the better.
No. 3 | The concept of a minimal wardrobe
The dreaded closet clear out. We amp ourselves up for it but when it comes around to the big event, we find it more difficult to discard those items of clothes than originally thought. So I’m not going to tell you to go to your closet and pick only 10 things to keep, I’m going to ask you one question.
Do you think that having more choice leads to less stress and/or promotes happiness?
Think about it for a minute.
Now imagine having 10 of your favourite items of clothing; 10 items spaciously hanging before you. All 10 items you love equally, and fit you perfectly. Knowing that no matter what you pick, you’re gonna feel comfortable. Now imagine having a closet stuffed with clothes; your wardrobe doors don’t shut, the shelving stuffed with sweaters and shirts you can’t manage to fold because no matter how much you try, there’s just no space. Trying to find an outfit within that? Ugh, no, thank you very much.
We should love what we wear. Not only is owning an excessive amount of clothes an unnecessary waste of space and money, it’s cluttering for our brains. So try and limit your belongings, keep pieces you love, and wear them as much as possible. Mix and match, and you’ll soon realise what a select wardrobe with staple items can do for you. Washing machines exist for a reason, and if you’re worried that someone is going to judge you for wearing the same item of clothing in one week? Well, who really cares?
No. 4 | Relationship cleanse
Detoxifying your life doesn’t just refer to things you can hold, de-cluttering our minds also plays a huge part in feeling calmingly free. Relationships which aren’t based on complete honesty can be soul-defying. This might sound dramatic, but sometimes we don’t even realise that a relationship is bad for our overall happiness; we can get so caught up in wanting to be accepted by a peer that it becomes normal to be someone we’re not. If a relationship you have, romantically or friendly, takes energy away from you, take a minute to seriously analyse what you’re gaining from it. And question whether it is worth wasting energy on.
I went through this process quite young. I rid my life of bullies labeled as friends, and my accepting of “loving” insults. I found myself feeling more self-empowered when I began filtering those I accepted into my life. Since doing this, I have found friends who genuinely know everything there is to know. To think that some people have ‘friends’ or even families who don’t know their deepest worries does sadden me. You’re missing out on so much when you don’t share.
No. 5 | The exceptions
I would be a hypocrite and a liar if I said you will never be happy without minimalism. I for one find great happiness and relaxation out of books. And lots of them.
“Simply put, I love books, physical books. I own so many – many of which I have not read (yet). I just need to have them. On shelves. In piles. In random conference tote bags. Paper magazines and newspapers too. Some call it clutter. I call it cozy.” ― Donna Talarico
Thank you Donna for not making me feel like a crazy book hoarder. I needn’t say much more on this topic, except don’t get rid of things which comfort you just for the idea of de-cluttering. De-clutter in areas of your life which only bring stress. As a rule of thumb, if you’re avoiding an area of your life/house, it probably requires some work. Don’t be afraid to dedicate a room in your house to your books, a wall for a floor-to-ceiling art display.
I hope you can all take something away from this blog. I am going to continue organising, minimising and de-cluttering my life. A clean space really does help with a clean mind. Refine your life, think more clearly and support your better self.
Aid your aspirations.