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.