Discovering that I could be classed as a minimalist was somewhat of a surprise as I never made a conscious decision to become minimalist, rather it was something that happened over time. I have never googled a formal definition of minimalism and I’m sure not everyone will agree with what I write, but for me; the way I live has more to do with feelings; my feelings.
I realised this while I was standing in my kitchen earlier on this evening. I remembered years ago, being in my old boss’ house and looking at his new kitchen. It was just uncluttered counter tops. I can remember thinking it was sparse and clinical and now this is what I am looking forward to in my own life in a few weeks time.
My own kitchen at the minute is what I consider crowded. My whole house is crowded and crammed with too much stuff – an ‘extra house’ full of too much stuff to be precise.
Over two years ago, two house loads of stuff, from two reasonable sized houses, moved into this small bungalow that I am currently living in. I relocated to look after a member of my family, which meant that two house loads were crammed into a space meant for one!
We have now bought a new house; a bigger one, and I can almost hear the minimalists amongst you, that may have been reading about tiny homes and downsizing screaming! If you haven’t read about this, there seems to be a trend at the moment on minimalist websites to encourage downsizing, which I do understand, but in my case I am moving to a bigger home, which will still be minimalist.
When I say bigger, it is certainly not a mansion, it is a normal sized house, but bigger than the small bungalow we are all currently living in.
Now that I gave you some background, I want to get back to what I said above, when I said that my journey into minimalism was more a feeling and never a conscious decision.
When I look round my current crowded kitchen I feel unease, not necessarily stress, but unease. It is the same with my bedroom. I work full time online and really need an office, but since moving two years ago there was no space in this bungalow to accommodate an office, so I have my computer in the corner of the bedroom.
Now I am really looking forward to my move, where I will have an office in my house. I want to see clean lines, benches, and very little stuff, as for me, this offers a sense of calm.
As I already mentioned, I never made a conscious decision to become minimalist, but over the past few years I have noticed several things about me as a person, that fit the minimalist camp.
Only the clothes I need
You might have seen another trend on the internet about having a minimalist wardrobe. I never really gave my choice of clothes much thought until someone mentioned clothes shopping to me and I informed them that I have two pair of trousers for casual wear and one pair that is a bit more decent and that I consciously chose to have only what I need.
My initial reason behind this was my move into this small bungalow. There was so little space and getting clothes out of wardrobes, from boxes stored away, was making me stressed, so I decided how much clothes I needed and donated the rest.
Again here, with my choice of clothes, it was not so much a conscious decision, a cerebral thing, but more of a feeling. Too many clothes stuffed away was making me feel uneasy. Storing only what I needed helped me to take away some of the stress.
What I plan for my new bigger home
I have no intention of buying lots more clothes because I shall have more space. I will continue to have only what I need. My reasons for this are
- it reduces decision fatigue in the morning!
- I want to see space in my wardrobe and not lots of clothes crammed tightly together
My bedroom in the small bungalow is far from being a space suitable for sleep. As I told you above, I have my computer in the corner of the room. As we have so little space, I also have boxes on top of the wardrobes and beneath the bed. When I move in January having a bedroom just for sleep (and not work or storage) will allow me to see ’space.’
It will also be easier and quicker to clean. Yes I do my own cleaning!
I am not the type of person who does well with a lot of stimulus. I like neutral colours and clean lines. I just read something the other day about getting rid of things that do not bring you joy, and realised that I had been doing this as well for quite a few years.
I have very few ornaments or the type of things that sit on shelves.
I’ve gone paperless. Again this is very popular on some websites, but I’ve been doing this for years now and in preparation for my move in a few weeks I had another clear out.
All my papers fit into 4 thin, A4 folders,
- Certificates – birth certificates, exams etc, and
And they will all fit neatly into one small drawer. I am delighted with this!
This gradual move to go paperless over the years, again was a feelings based decision for me. I was getting stressed routing through mounds of paper work looking for something and decided to get rid of everything except what I actually needed.
Many papers that I had, did not need to be stored in their original form. Birth certificates, examinations etc, I considered needed to be kept in their original form and most other things I digitalised.
I am a great fan of OneNote 1 and took a photo of all unnecessary papers, so I can still refer to them when I need them and shredded the original paper. Granted, this is a bit time consuming, but for me anyway, well worth it in the end.
Now when I need something I search for it on OneNote, which gives me what I am looking for immediately!
I’ve waffled on a bit, I originally only wanted to tell you about the joys of getting a bit more space, without feeling the need to fill it with clutter, and have ended up telling you about me going paperless!
I had to stop for a minute and think what the point of my ramblings are, and I guess it’s about reducing stress. I personally have found that too much clutter, too many things stored away, and having too much in my eye-line, can overwhelm me a little. It makes me feel something that can add to my stress levels.
Fortunately it is something that I can change, and have changed over the years and will continue to change in January when I move.
The way that I live my life (and I am beginning to accept that it has a label; minimalist) is not just about clearing space and all the popular articles and ‘how to’ guides on minimalism; it is about clearing space in my head, freeing up my time and I hope to write some more on this over the next few weeks.