Please read PART 1 of this two part series right HERE.
Previously we covered clearing out the cyber clutter – including Facebook, Instagram, your email account, and more. Hopefully your online presence feels a little more… spacious. Perhaps you realigned yourself with some new bloggers or books (check out the suggestions I made in Part 1)?
Now, it’s time to dive into your world at home. Your abode. Your sanctuary (which may not always feel like it). Here we go!
CLEARING OUT THE CLOSET
Are you holding onto pieces of clothing that are still in really good condition, that you don’t wear? You know, those pieces of clothing that when holding them you say to yourself:
“One day I’ll definitely give this away, but right now I can envision wearing it potentially with …….. and …….., so I might hold onto it just for now”.
When we moved into our current home, I had a massive clear out (so I thought) and brought only the essential stuff over to our new abode. So I know for a fact that each time I clean out our closet I can distinctly say whether (or not) I have worn something since we moved. During my last clear out I finally cranked the culling levels up. I made a Yes, No, and a Maybe pile, and now this time I actually took my entire Maybe pile to the charity bin. And, I did it FAST, so there was no time to look through and have second thoughts. It was really liberating – at the time it was the best thing ever. I felt so… light.
Shortly afterwards I realised why I was holding onto that stuff for so (so) long. I justified holding on tight because I spent my money on it. During a purge, I’d often think “I spent good money on this, so I don’t want to throw it out. Maybe I should sell it at the markets/eBay/Etsy”. Sound familiar? And let me tell you, I’ve done a ton of those flee markets, and they’re a huge effort. Not only for me, but also for my husband and the family members I drag along to help. I often think that the for the money I make I might as well be working – doing what I love and making money – rather than just trying to make a ‘buck’ on my old clothes.
I’m over it. It’s too much hassle.
Time is money. And time is precious.
A simpler way to make a return, if you want it, is to take some simple photos of what you’re parting with. Put the photos up on Facebook (one good use of the site!). Give your friends and family a chance to see what you’ve got, set a price, and they’ll sell whilst you’re off doing other things – like working or playing! And whatever doesn’t move goes into a charity bin. No second thoughts.
QUALITY vs QUANTITY
These days I’m all about high quality over quantity. I’m willing to spend more money on a piece of clothing than have many pieces of clothing. My mindset is if I’m going to buy something I want to know about the quality of it – where it was made, what it’s made from, etc.
You need to know this: Behind the doors of the back room at every retail outlet is someone unpacking clothing continuously for an entire day. In most cases, every single individual item of clothing comes wrapped in plastic (maybe with a sheet of paper in-between the garment). Then often a bunch of those individually wrapped-in-plastic items are all inside a large plastic bag. All of these are put together in a cardboard box, which often has some thick plastic ties around it, to hold the box together if it starts to degrade. Don’t forget all the little plastic swing tags punched through a garment to hang the label.
So. Much. Waste.
It broke my heart seeing how much waste was produced from one new item of clothing. Seeing trolleys of plastic being taking to the bins every single day was a big wake up call years ago.
Every item of clothing has a huge environmental footprint. Another reason to reduce and reuse. To simplify.
In truth, I’m still holding on to some clothes (at my parent’s house) that I wore years ago when life involved short, cute little dresses and sparkly stilettos. But now, I live a totally different life!
Do you have a small (or large) collection of stuff at a family member’s house, or somewhere else in storage, and you know you just need to go and get rid of it? Let me guess – you don’t even recall what’s there and if someone just threw it out you wouldn’t be worried because in reality you don’t even remember?
Have you thought that less clothing means less laundry? That might not sound logical because having less clothes means you’ll need to wear them more frequently, and therefore wash them more, right?
We really don’t need to wash our clothes as much as we think we do. Most items you can wear a couple of times (unless you’re sweating hard in it) before washing. I like to hang stuff and air it out. In doing so I get to save water and help save our precious environment. Also, owning less clothing means you get the long term perks of wearing your clothes more regularly – they don’t get moldy and musty sitting inside your wardrobe or chest of drawers. Plus, more wardrobe space – bonus!
I get my kicks out of clearing out my handbag and purse that I carry around everyday.
Goodbye random tissues, highlighters, pens, old lip balms, business cards, tampons, and all that kind of clutter that ‘miraculously’ accumulates. Once cleared out it weighs a lot less (and my shoulder is grateful!).
By the way, it’s good Feng Shui to clear out your purse – to make space for more money. Just sayin’.
Denise Duffield Thomas, a money mindset coach, was the catalyst for this passion. A few years ago I read something she wrote saying that when you clean out your purse it’s a sign to the universe that you want to welcome more money into your life. If it’s full with junk, you can’t fit any more money in it. I like that mentality! Clearing out my purse feels like streamlining:
…I’m cleaning it up because I’m worthy of more abundance in my life.
I don’t need the burden of carrying junk (receipts, membership cards, plastic, and all this stuff I never use). Do you?
In honesty, I still have several pairs of shoes (after giving many away), and it’s crazy because I’m such a Havaianas girl, a barefoot girl. I’ve got shoes that I bought when working in retail solely because of the temptation of amazing discounts. Just like clothing, if not worn regularly shoes will get damp, moldy, and musty. So they’re better on the feet of people who need them.
As a real Aussie girl at heart, I get through winter mostly barefoot as much as I can. I love feeling my feet on the earth. I’m getting rid of all the heels I used to wear (the few I have left), and I’ve recently lay-by’d a pair that are neutral, that go with everything I have, because I know that I wouldn’t ever wear my old ones anyway. This is the one area I’m allowing myself to upgrade (whilst simplifying).
I think it’s important to mention at this point that minimalism is actually not at all about throwing things away or getting rid of a lot of stuff. It is about wearing and using what you already have. So I don’t want to give that impression. I’m by no means throwing things away to go out and replace them. I’m getting rid of the things that I don’t use, that are taking up space (and better in someone else’s life being utilised).
There are a couple of things that I would like to go out and buy (replace) – it feels like resetting, starting afresh. So for me, that’s a pair of shoes.
OL’ MOTHER’S (KITCHEN) CUPBOARD
When was the last time you pulled everything out of your kitchen cupboard, pantry, and refrigerator? This is what came up for me when I did:
- Way too many plastic bags. I bundled them together in one large bag, and they’re right in my line of sight everything I open the cupboard, and I’m slowly but surely getting through using them (wisely).
- I now buy biodegradable garbage bags for the bin
- I had way too many tea pots, cups, saucers, and the like. I kept my most favourite, and gave the rest away to charity. Crockery really clutters!
- I tided together all saved gift bags, gift wrap, etc. Now, they’re all sorted, and are also in my line of sight. And we’re slowly getting through them too – it’s committed re-gifting of gifting packaging!
- I realised all the food items I haven’t used for a long time. This inspired some cooking ideas!
Waste not, want not.
When you pull everything out, you’ll notice a lot of things are out of date. You’ll also find things you used to eat all the time. If it doesn’t leave you inspired to cook up a storm, pass the items on to others (if they’re not out of date of course). Think about wastage. See if there’s a way that you can at least use up stuff that hasn’t gone off.
When I did our clean out, I did not really have anything much to throw or give away because I keep our fridge and cupboard pretty fresh and buy new ingredients quite frequently (we’re big at-home eaters). Yet still pulling everything out, and slowly adding back in, gives you a good indication as to what you actually need in your pantry to know you’ll eat healthy.
Maybe you finally need to go buy glass jars to store and sort everything so that you will use what you have – and use it more efficiently. You’ll feel way more organised, calm, and grounded when preparing food. This is an important philosophy of Ayurveda too!
BITS ‘n BOBS
I mentioned in Part 1 the epic book – The Life Changing Magic Of Tidying Up. Have you read it yet? It ties in strongly with this focus.
We all seem to have clutter around the house.
Can you give everything you own a specific place? Can you get rid of the things that are just dust collectors?
Year back, I used to get so wrapped up in collecting magnets, key rings, and post cards when travelling. I’ve always had so much incense and many candles (which I do love, love, love). But now I more consciously try to light those candles or incense everyday – to really enjoy them, but not replace them. I’m happy to have one candle, one packet of incense. It is enough. Consider that you really do have to work harder to clean your own house when you’ve got dust collectors.
Just like when you go on your Facebook feed and you feel like the news feed is cluttered or you feel like the online world is cluttered with advertising and marketing, you don’t want your house to feel that way either.
Got a lot of ‘stuff’? See if any family members or friends want something. If you’ve got paintings, pictures or the like, can you give them away, sell them online, or give them to charity?
Have a look around the house. Do you really need 20 candles? Do you really need the things that you shove away in the cabinet or drawers? Do you really need to store your good bone china? If so, is it because you think “what if I break it?” This is crazy!
We have beautiful things, but we don’t allow ourselves to actually enjoy them!
Got a box of printed photos, school yearbooks, or cards? Pick your favourites and condense them down to one book or one box. Scanning things is a really good idea. But a time consuming one. So it’s your call.
Photo albums won’t really exist very soon, which is sad because there’s something really special about sitting with others and flipping through a photo album. But, consider this – what if you had a fire in your house and it was all gone? Life would go on. You would be devastated, but what would be more important than those photo albums and things would be rebuilding your life in the present moment. Finding what you need now to support yourself. The things that are relative to you in the present moment would be most important.
Photographs would be quite devastating to lose. It is worth scanning your favourites. But you just have to prioritise. It’s good to look at the pictures and reflect back on the past joys, but we don’t need all the pictures.
By the way – do you need every photo that’s sitting on your IPhone right now? Do you really look at them?
It’s the same with photo albums. Pick your favourites and get rid of the rest.
Reflect upon this with every single thing you consider getting rid of:
If this was burned in the fire or my house was broken into and I no longer had this anymore, how would I feel about it?
FOOD, GLORIOUS FOOD
A worthy consideration is food packaging. There was a huge campaign recently on the internet towards the big two supermarket chains about all their organic food. People were saying that they want to buy organic, but everything is packed in Styrofoam with plastic packaging! (Which I do totally understand from the view of the supermarkets, because they’re separating the organic food from the non-organic – sadly due to the risk of it being mixed up. But, there’s got to be another way.)
I’ve been shopping a ton at my local organic grocers, which I adore, as I cannot get to the famers market often these days. We do mostly organic food because I find it’s actually really well priced. There’s a couple of foods that I don’t buy organic all the time because they’ve got thick skin (bananas and avocados), but there’s certainly non-negotiables, certain things that I will not buy unless it’s organic – and if I can’t get organic I won’t buy it.
Food waste and food packaging is a big big one. If we eat a plant based diet we can buy our fresh food, fruits, vegetables, greens, grains like rice and nuts and seeds in bulk. I’m a huge fan of Source Bulk Foods (Sydney based) and also Santos Organics (Byron Bay). They do orders online and deliver. Buy in bulk and everything comes in paper bags so there’s no plastic waste. It’s most often cheaper than buying non-organic in the supermarket. Happy days!
What’s the point in recycling if people don’t buy recycled products?
Bang on the head. Seriously, what are you recycling for?
You put your things in the recycling, and then what do you buy that’s been recycled?
We buy recycled toilet paper and recycled paper towel. We also buy recycled paper to print on. I love finding recycled wood and plastic creations, like pens! There are eco brands out there now leading the way in producing recycled and sustainable materials – my hair brush is bamboo and my toothbrush is bamboo. My husband loves hemp and bamboo clothing.
You Are What You Eat
How can we bring the practices of minimalism into our diet?
I love food. Perhaps I’m food obsessed. Familiar? When I travel, I travel for food. I prefer going to eat an amazing meal, rather than going to see a touristic site.
But, food satisfaction is often a mental thing and I think that it’s really helpful to streamline what we eat. Many minimalists eat the same thing for breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day. There are more and more leaders out there in the minimalist community that do this (goodbye decision fatigue!). Streamlining what you eat is really, really useful. Pick your favorite foods. A rainbow of them. Fill your kitchen with the staples, find your go-to recipes, plan, and keep everything simple.
The body, and particularly the digestive system, loves simplicity too!
You made it. I truly hope this has inspired you. I hope it’s been useful.
Bookmark this page (and Part 1) for easy future reference! If you have any insights, or ‘aha’ moments, please feel free to share in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you if you have any of your own tips you’d love to offer.
If you know someone who might benefit from this information, please share it with them.
Wishing you a simple and joyful day!