Ok people, it’s time to get real here.
This is not going to be Instagram worthy stuff. This is me showing you my real life, and let’s just say it ain’t pretty!
I live with clutter and chaos really. I wish I could be better about it, but I just can’t seem to muster the level of care it takes to live without it. For a long time I let it stress me out a lot, meaning, I felt badly about it. It is a theme of my life to basically feel like there is some certain “way” I could or should be living, and if I could just figure it out, or master it, then all would be well. So I guess in the last few years I have just surrendered to the fact that we are cluttery, I figure it is better to let it be, rather than feel constant anxiety over it. In some ways this has been good, because I do stress about it to a much less degree, I can still know I am a good person even if my dining table constantly has some sort of horizontal spread going on.
That said, I still would like to curtail the chaos to some degree.
In the past few years a minimalist movement has sprung up on social media. I’ve been percolating some of these ideas in my mind for a long time, reading a bit, but mostly watching from the side. Recently I’ve made some small changes that have yielded small, but useful results, but they haven’t been drastic enough that if you came into my house you would think I was working towards some degree of clutter control!
Some areas of inspiration I have been pulling from in no particular order:
The Capsule Wardrobe
There are different ways to do it, but the basic gist is a set number of pieces, only buying high quality, versatile pieces that can be used in multiple ways. I love the concept of this, and I guess I accidentally only wear a few certain pieces in my own wardrobe because I am so picky about fit and comfort, but I have so many items that I never needed and hardly wear, so I need to work on the front end, not buying stuff “just because.” I am a sucker for a bargain. “Oh, this shirt is only $5! What a great deal, I’ll buy 3.” When in reality, I don’t need a single shirt at all, and I probably won’t even wear them enough to make it worth the space taken up in my closet.So far all I have really done is go through my closet and get rid of things that I haven’t worn in a season, or that I just don’t really love. I’m not in full capsule mode, but want to work towards it over time. So my goal in this area is to be more thoughtful in my purchases. Only buy things if I REALLY love them, and not be afraid to spend more on one item that love, instead of 3 items that are so-so. Good places for inspiration are: Un-Fancy.com, Into-mind.com, theblissfulmind.com, and Project333.
Tidy Up = Declutter
The beloved Konmarie Method has swept Pinterest and blogs by storm in the last few years. While I haven’t read the book yet myself I have read enough blog posts about the method that I get the basics and I must say, it is pretty genius. One big principle is, you can’t organize clutter. Oops, I’m in trouble! I fall into the trap that if I had the right storage solutions my house would look better. If won’t, because I still have too much stuff! I love the questions you train yourself to ask:
This obviously isn’t everything about the method, but the “Does it spark joy?” has been really helpful for me as I begin the process of getting rid of stuff. It is also really great to ask yourself when you feel inclined to buy something, if it doesn’t spark joy, don’t buy it! It stopped me from buying multiple items when we were in the USA for our Summer visit.
Some great websites to learn about the KonMari Method:
– Modern Mrs. Darcy. She has a few posts, an initial post, 6-months later, and for kids.
– Pop Sugar. A large-scale top-to-bottom house project in 7 days.
– Make Space. They have a good cheat-sheet.
– Hue 13. Also have a great cheat-sheet, and you can get it emailed to you.
– Marie Konmarie’s website. Apparently she now offers an App. I’m keen to check it out.
Basically I can see the changes, like less clothes in my closet. I have gone through my closet and done a big cull, Konmarie style, and if I haven’t worn it in the last year, out it goes. I have sent clothes on to some teenage friends to share among their friends too, and anything else has gone to a 2nd Hand store. This has been great, but again, hasn’t done anything for the spread on my dining table.
One good thing about an up coming big life event, like a move, is that it gives you a time frame to make things happen in.
We will be moving next year, pretty much 6-months from now. It is my goal to de-clutter my house, top to bottom. I want to move with as little as we “need.” The scale of my pare down actually terrifies me, mostly because I am a slow mover and learner, and because we have SO MUCH STUFF! We have basically been in accumulation mode since Oliver was born, and not knowing when another child would come along we have stored everything. Plus, with a huge shed and double garage, the house we are currently renting has nearly as much storage space as living space. This pretty much means, out of sight, out of mind. We have shoved so much stuff out in the storage spaces, and I’m not taking any of it with me when I move! I know it will take me the whole 6-months to make it happen, well, take that back. I want it to only take 3.5 months because we want to travel the last month before we leave, and I want to be completely done with my massive project in time to enjoy our last bit of Kiwi Summer.
So all that to say, watch this space for a peek into the process. I figure if I put it out there on the internet I will stick to it…..
Actionable items that I have done in the last week:
-posted newborn clothes to TradeMe
-posted Maternity and Nursing clothes to TradeMe
-given away clothes that I know I haven’t worn in the last year
-gone through blankets and bedding that have been in storage since Oliver was a baby and I haven’t used for Mia. Sent them off to the Women’s Refuge
-started working on the garage (ahhhhh, that place is like a Black Hole of stuff, it just gets sucked in and never comes out!). I’m starting to make pile of sell, give away, throw away.
So while these are good steps, they aren’t huge. Meaning, it took me a long time to take the photos of the newborn and maternity clothes, but I only sold a handful of items, in fact, I still have a huge box of clothes sitting on my couch (good one Marney). Mind you, they have all been photographed, organized, and boxed up, so this is progress people!
But! I have to look at the glass half-full, at least I did SOMETHING!
And there is my ultimatum, if the items don’t sell on TradeMe, I give them a spin on our local Neighbourly site. If they don’t sell after that, out they go to the Opp Shop (2nd Hand shop).
Yee ha. Go me.
So what about you? How do you rein in the chaos at your house? Do you have any methods that work for you? Share with me in the comments below.