What the flying fox is in that box?
It’s something that I’ve been pondering as I looked around the house this week. We’ve had some wonderful sunshine here in the UK and come the weekend it’s hard to resist the draw of the back garden after a week at work. I’m fortunate enough to have a work from home job so I’m only a few steps away from relaxation on a work day, too, if I can manage an early finish.
The added bonus, of course, is all this vitamin D is great for our bodies, helping to build healthy bones and playing a part in regulating the immune system, not to mention the mood boosting effect it has.
However, when the good weather stops, that’s when you realise that there are tasks being left by the wayside in favour of spending time soaking up the rays with the husband (and also with a good spf of course).
Which is why I ask, what the flying fox is in that box?
Minimalism: it conjures up images of bare rooms and uncomfortable furniture but that’s just a style of home decor. In reality, it’s so much more but many people embrace it by starting with something that most people can get on board with – decluttering.
That’s how it started for me. As I was browsing through the free Kindle books on Amazon (yeah, okay I’m a cheap skate!), I saw the ebook “Miss Minimalist“, by Francine Jay, a collection of articles she had written on her discovery of minimalism and how she applies it. She’s a bit crazy – she was looking to own only 100 items. It drew me to her other book “The Joy of Less” (I paid for this one) and I was hooked – now I knew what was causing the niggle I had been ignoring. I needed to get rid of the stuff in my house that was not only cluttering my home but also my head and leaving me with a sense of unrest.
Time to Declutter
That was way back in 2013, and whilst we’ve made great strides in our decluttering efforts there are still some areas that need work.
So I want to make some more in-roads into paring back the stuff that we don’t need and find out what is in that box.
Where to Start?
The experts agree that you should start with the easy stuff and leave gifts, heirlooms and sentimental items to last. They also agree that you need to touch every single thing in your home and make a decision as to whether it stays or goes.
Of course, you may have heard of the Marie Kondo method of making that decision on whether it Sparks Joy or not. She voices this idea in her book “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up“, however, not everyone can look at a stack of bin bags or hand towels and think of the joy they bring. She’s another crazy lady, it has to be said.
On a personal level, I found both Jay and Kondo gave me lots to think about and devise my own way of going about it.
When I first started decluttering, I started with easy stuff. Things like old newspapers and bills, junk mail that was still hanging around, household items that were very definitely broke. That kind of thing. It gets you into a purge mindset: it’s easy to make a decision about as there aren’t any feelings attached to them.
Then I moved on to the boxes under the bed. You know the ones – you haven’t a clue what’s in them but you just can’t pick them up and throw them without taking a look first.
Out went high school work, college work, and text books. Next it was other books, video cassettes, and audio cassettes.
Through all this, I only focused on ‘my’ things. If there was some sort of joint ownership then it was left alone. I could throw away as many beauty products as I liked but kitchen utensils were a joint decision.
Then it was time to start on the rest of the house…
Progress to Date
So far, every room in the house has had a clear out but it’s an ongoing process. You find that when you do the first go around, there are some things you can’t or won’t let go of and that’s okay. In time, you realise that the value you put on things changes either through circumstance or mindset.
We also moved house during the process and whilst at first I wanted to declutter whilst packing I quickly realised that was too much pressure so instead I only unpacked at the other end the things I wanted to use. As a result, there are a couple of boxes that still haven’t been touched two years later, but a third box happened to be quite useful during lockdown.
Here’s where this can often be a barrier to decluttering – what if I need it one day? All I can say is you have to use your judgement of yourself on this. Be honest about whether you will use that Hula hoop again, or finish reading that book, or ever get round to making that patchwork quilt from all those clothes you kept hold of. There have only been a couple of instances where we have regretted getting rid of something, and that has only been this year.
If there is one key piece of advice I could give I would say that if the clutter is getting too much for you then don’t put off making a start however small it might be. Don’t wait for that perfect moment. Clear your kitchen counter or coffee table or sort through that stack of magazines.
Once you get started it will be hard to stop – it’s so liberating!
Do you have too much clutter or have you already started your minimalist journey? Share in the comments below.
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Until next time, remember, if the excess baggage is weighing you down, you can always leave it in lost luggage.
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