I found myself deep in a YouTube rabbit hole recently. The kind where you’re watching a video and see something interesting pop up in the side bar… so you click it, and then click another link, and another, until you’re binge watching videos on a topic that didn’t exist in your world until three hours earlier.

Maybe I’ve been living under a rock, but I didn’t realise the extent to which minimalism has grown over the past few years. I had a very unsuccessful attempt at a capsule wardrobe a short time ago and I did a big cull when we moved to Melbourne last year, but outside of that I’ve been happily accumulating ‘stuff’ without realising that a lot of people are doing the exact opposite.

I started watching a YouTube channel called muchelleb (make sure you check it out), which really embodies the minimalist lifestyle and helped me understand the concept. I love the way that Michelle takes you through every aspect of your life and gives handy advice on how to declutter your space, your wardrobe, your linen closet and just about everything else. After watching some of her videos, I looked around at my messy room and unsorted washing and desperately wanted to go on a cleaning, sorting, decluttering frenzy… but it wasn’t exactly that easy.

All in all, I think the idea behind minimalism is great. Biblically, we’re told not to store up earthly treasures, but to lay up for ourselves treasures in heaven (Matthew 6:19-21). Things are just things. My biggest obstacle to minimalism is not so much my love of things as it is my insane level of sentimentality, and I’m guessing I’m not the only one who falls into this category. I have a box full of every diary I ever wrote as a kid. I’ve kept birthday cards from special birthdays, every letter Peter has ever written me, books that I loved when I was growing up, the dresses from my year 10 and 12 formals… and you don’t even want to see the boxes of stuff I left at my parents’ place when I moved out (sorry Mum and Dad).

It’s not easy throwing things away, and truth be told, I’m not going to throw away the things that mean a lot to me. That being said, I’ve thought of a few ways that I can declutter and get organised, and I thought I’d share them here for sentimental hoarders like me.

1. My wardrobe. I did recently do a big clean out (I’m talking two giant garbage bags), but I know there are still things in my wardrobe that I don’t wear and won’t wear again. There are other things that I’m pretty sure I won’t wear, but seem to hang onto year after year. I’m going to do two things… a) get rid of the ‘know I won’t wear’ items, and b) put the ‘may not wear’ items in a bag in the top of my wardrobe. At the start of July I’ll open the bag and get rid of it if there’s nothing I’ve missed.

2. Storage spaces. We have a lot more storage in our Melbourne apartment than we did before we moved. These spaces are great, but they’re also where things tend to get shoved. I know there’s a bunch of stuff in them that we don’t need, so I’m going to a) go through them and get rid of stuff, and b) reorganise them in a way that doesn’t promote needless shoving of rubbish! To take this a bit further, I’m going to go through desk, TV unit, coffee table and kitchen drawers to get rid of any junk that shouldn’t be there.

3. Kitchen. My kitchen doesn’t have a lot of really unnecessary bits and pieces, so I won’t be getting rid of anything there – but my pantry’s a whole different story. Do you ever stock up on things when they’re cheap and then forget you bought them? I’m going to do a stocktake of my pantry and fridge and get creative about what I cook next week. Using stuff up is the best way to declutter (and save cash).

It’s just a start, but every little bit makes a difference. I might never be a minimalist, but I can definitely minimise my clutter while keeping hold of more sentimental items. Let me know what you think about minimalism and how you’ve been able to declutter! I’d love some extra tips and ideas.


6 Comments Add yours

  1. Sarah says:

    I can totally relate to scrolling through YouTube videos! I’ve been on this path of decluttering and intentionally simplifying as well for the last couple of months. The hardest part has been finding that balance of keeping things I love and that spark joy and keeping just what I need, and knowing why you’re keeping or getting rid of something. I haven’t read Marie Kondo’s “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up”, but one of the biggest tips I’ve heard from there is to organize and declutter by category instead of location (i.e. all your clothes, then books, then papers, then miscellaneous, then mementos). I’ve found that to be really helpful instead of tidying up one area at a time, because things in my bedroom float from there to my work area and never get organized. 🙂 Have fun on your decluttering journey!

    1. Lauren says:

      You’re right, it’s such a hard balance! I keep hearing about Marie Kondo’s book. I haven’t read it either, but I think I should – that sounds like great advice! I’m definitely guilty of shifting mess to another space to create the illusion that I’ve tidied up! Hope your decluttering goes well too 🙂

  2. Lauren says:

    I just started learning about minimalism last year and while I don’t know if I’ll ever live a truly minimalist lifestyle, the idea of cutting back on clutter so that I have more time to focus on things that are really important is very appealing to me, especially since life is so hectic and “busy” as it is. When I moved almost all of my things into my soon-to-be husband’s home last May, I boxed up everything I had without taking time to sort and de-clutter because I was on a time crunch (packing, planning a wedding, graduating from school, etc.). As I’ve been unpacking, however, I’ve been taking the time to sort things out for trash and thrift store. I still have a lot of “stuff,” and yet much of it (books, clothes, craft supplies) are things I use or will use in the future. Or they’re just sentimental, like you said. 🙂
    Ideally, I hope to keep de-stuffing and de-cluttering each year as I recognize items I’m not using. (I need to reorganize some of my storage spaces, too, especially my giant bathroom closet.) Additionally, for me, I think it’s important for me to shop with intention, especially when I go into thrift stores. More often than not, if I go into a thrift store just to browse, I’m likely to come back out with something I might not really need. And it’s much more difficult to de-stuff my home if I keep bringing more stuff into it!
    It’s so nice to read your blogs again! I’m glad you’re posting again!
    Another Lauren (from Wyoming 🙂 )

  3. I love this a lot.

  4. Fiona says:

    The most helpful thing for me has been “FlyLady” – you can find it on google. She really understands people like me who procrastinate, who get paralysed by perfectionism, and who need small steps to follow rather than huge projects. Her philosophies become part of life, such as “housework done incorrectly still blesses your family” or “you are never behind, just jump in and start from now”. No guilt, just moving slowly towards improvement.

    1. Lauren says:

      Thanks for telling me about this! I love that idea, I’m going to google her now! I definitely fall into the trap of getting paralysed by perfection and getting nothing done, so that sounds like it would be helpful 🙂

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