What we’ve not been doing…
…is buying stuff. Reducing what we buy. Of course the odd thing has slipped through the net and as Christmas approaches this has increased. But we no longer by what we don’t need, what we won’t use, what we won’t love.
What we have been doing is clearing out, de-cluttering, moving things on. Creating space we desperately need and no longer willing to give it up to items that just clog up our time and home.
I started to feel saturated with stuff a couple of years ago when, in anticipation of our third baby’s imminent arrival, I wondered where I would cradle our new daughter. I was overwhelmed by the piles of miscellaneous objects that covered almost every surface and filled every single space. I was always tidying and never feeling the place was tidy.
We’d moved as a family with a toddler and baby from a 3-bedroom house to a 2-bedroom cottage, added another child into the mix and collected (see ‘hoarded’) a whole load of stuff along the way. We were at bursting point.
Enter KonMarie. Or Marie Kondo. Or rather her book, The The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up (you may have heard of it). Suddenly, there was my answer and I felt rather foolish for not having seen it before. Instead of trying to build an extension we couldn’t afford, we just needed to get rid of all our stuff. Instead of insisting our old, beautiful furniture wasn’t suitable storage for 21st C life I could fit everything we need in and just get rid of the rest. it was so simple. I felt elated when I announced this epiphany to my husband who was, understandably, less enthusiastic. But buoyed along by this new sense of freedom I began to slowly remove much of my unwanted belongings. Only mine. I didn’t do it strictly as Marie Kondo recommends, spare time is brief with 3 kids. But gradually….
Then finally, out of sheer frustration at not being able to find yet another important thing, my husband gave in. He took the kids away to his parents for a week and for that whole week I removed as much unwanted, unused, unloved stuff out of the cottage as I could find. Six car loads. CAR loads. Not the boot or a couple of boxes on the back seat. This was a seven-seater with the back seats folded down. Full. Five went to charity shops, one went to the recycling centre. I felt ashamed that there had been a car load of broken, un-usable junk in the house.
I declared myself a minimalist. A label I would have once laughed at, thinking the art of minimalism was cold, stark, bare and not for me.
But minimalism looks differently for everyone. There are those who aspire to live with barely any possessions, those who own a magic number of items, those who desire to live without. For me, it is less about living without and more about discovering what I need, what we need, to live. Each persons list will look differently.
Imagine, realising that my minimalism is all the rage. That I can buy as many books as I want about it (I limited myself to two), that dressing my minimalism with wool blankets, sheepskins, replacing plastic kitchen utensils with wood, replacing mass-produced crockery with handmade. Turning out the lights in favour of candlelight (the children love eating by candlelight at our new dining table, built by my husband). Favouring reading books over watching TV. I am Hygge minimalist. I am in danger of becoming a cliché.
But removing the things we don’t, need, use, love and giving space to things we do need, use and love makes our home what it is. The same with time. Removing the unnecessary journeys (buying less stuff means fewer trips to the shops needed), moving appointments, saying no means we can say yes. Yes to coffee with friends, yes to a yoga class, yes to a walk with the children as the promise of WInter kisses their cheeks to a blush red.
Yes to living.
I’m not going to tell you how you should be living, that you should be a minimalist, that eliminating and reducing will give you more.
But I will tell you how we do it, what it looks like and what we achieve. We still have a long way to go. Step by step as we finish the cottage room by room. For now,while we still live in a renovation chaos slowly being tamed, our Hygge, our cottage this Winter looks like this……
…pull up a chair, read our story, join us if you wish.