My Simplicity Story
For a couple of years now I have really enjoyed the process of decluttering. To consider myself a “minimalist” is a bit of an exaggeration, but there’s something really refreshing about making some extra room in your wardrobe.
Maybe it’s just me; believe it or not I’ve never been one to have a “clothes chair” and I don’t leave unwashed clothes on the floor either. So, in some respects I’ve always been fairly tidy. But one thing that I always struggle with is decluttering, as I’m really quite the hoarder and I can see value in so many broken things. Therefore, I have been working really hard to try and conquer this recently. I’ve been focusing on decluttering my wardrobe, selling things on Depop (shameless plug here, if theres’ anything you’d like to buy, drop me a message!). So far, I’m a desk lamp, a couple of items of clothing and an old textbook lighter. It’s such a fantastic feeling!
Some of my older readers may be aware of this already, but I was actually involved in a house fire at my home around three years ago. I’d rather not go into too much detail, but I learnt so much about my shopping habits because of it. My whole house, including my bedroom had significant smoke damage. Therefore, we had to throw out everything apart from sentimental items, which were restored as best as possible. I was forced to start a fresh. I realised then that actually, I don’t miss any of my old belongings at all. Okay, Okay. There is one furry jumper that I bought from NEXT, and I miss it dearly, but trying to get smoke damage out of faux fur is near impossible and definitely wouldn’t have been good for my health.
At the start of my new journey, I loved not having many belongings. I had what I needed, and I just went out and bought what I needed there and then. Because my bedroom was clear and simple, it was easy to live. Easy to declutter. I knew where everything was at the drop of a hat.
But three years later, its’ another story. Once again, I have items that I am struggling to get rid of due to my hoarding habits and I see myself buying things that I don’t need because ‘They’re cute‘ and ‘I want to treat myself‘.
Why You Should Simplify
Genuinely, I think that we’d all be a little surprised at how many unloved possessions we have sitting around our house. If you’ve not used that old laptop for over six months, then its’ unlikely that you ever will. So, save its’ contents onto an external hard drive, restore it to factory settings and sell it on! The harsh truth (for me, at least) is that if my current laptop were to break, I’d buy a new one. I wouldn’t go back to my old one, so I’ve tried to stop telling myself that I may use it one day. I’d rather have £50 sitting in the bank, wouldn’t you?
“Happiness resides not in possessions, and not in gold, happiness dwells in the soul.“
A further reason for simplifying is that someone else may really enjoy your ‘clutter’. As they say, one mans’ junk is another mans’ treasure! As I’ve just mentioned, I sold a desk lamp recently that I’ve had sitting in my wardrobe for over a year now. It sold within an hour of me listing it, and for £4 I was able to sell it to a lovely lady who was moving out and looking for furniture. I’m so happy that she will be able to get some use from it now, as it was unlikely that I would have!
This final point is a little more open to debate, but I find decluttering really soothing and it helps to cleanse my mind. I know that when I’m stressed, I tend to get really overwhelmed looking at all of the clutter around me. Simplicity is key for me, so looking at different colours and textures everywhere can be quite nauseating. Whether you’re going through a stressful time or not, make sure to find some time to declutter and simplify, and I’m sure you’ll start feeling more tranquil once you sit down and start admiring your work!
How to Simplify in Three Easy Steps
Now, are you finally ready to take the plunge and tackle that wardrobe? It’s time to be frivolous, and start simplifying! I find that once I start decluttering, I can’t stop and I love the process of sorting things into bags, and listing on eBay or taking them to a charity shop.
Decide What You Want to Get Rid Of
The first thing that you need to do when having a declutter is to decide where to tackle first and what your criteria is. As I live with my family, I only really declutter my bedroom, but if you have your own place you may wish to do one room at a time, for example, for a little more focus. You also need to decide on your threshold for getting rid of things – my usual process is to get rid of items that I haven’t worn or used in six months. If I don’t love it, I won’t keep it!
Though, of course it is a little more complex than that – some seasonal items you may not wear for 6 months because the weather isn’t quite right. Don’t throw out your favourite winter gloves, just because it’s been too warm for them! Use your judgement and try to be harsh but reasonable. I’m never one to purchase new clothing at each season, and so I’ll always make sure to reuse my scarf, gloves and hat etc. If you have a few, you may want to look at condensing them!
2. Decide How to Get Rid of It
The next step in the process is to decide how you’d like to get rid of things. My options when I declutter are usually: Sell, Charity Shop, Bin.
Items that I’d like to earn an income from, I will usually try and sell on depop. I’d love to be at the stage in my life where I can afford to send everything to the charity shop, but at the moment I really do appreciate the extra income from online selling. Even if its’ just a small amount! Gradually, when things don’t sell I’ll send them over to a charity shop and hopefully give them a better home there instead.
Did you know that you could give rags to a charity shop, and they can sell them on in bags for the weight? Yep! So, even if you have some items in a really poor condition then its’ still worth donating them. I have one rule, and thats’ to never throw clothes in the bin, no matter their condition! The bin is limited to things like excess cardboard (which can be recycled) and old water bottles, and so on.
3. Change Your Shopping Habits
Ultimately, to really, truly simplify, it is vital to change your shopping habits. I’ve really been focusing on this one recently as I love browsing the shops when I’m early to work, but all it really does is mean that I own things that I don’t need! Instead, I’ve started taking a walk to the park or spending time sat down writing a blog post on my phone. Not shopping has actually boosted my productivity so much! Also, I think it’s really important to focus on buying better quality items rather than simply buying as many different pieces as possible. Better quality items are likely to look far more expensive on, will resell more easily when you get bored, and will last you for a lot longer if you don’t get bored!
My latter point here is more of a personal decision and isn’t so much related to simplicity, but its’ a great idea to start shopping second-hand if you can. It really reduces the fast-fashion cycle and its’ usually less expensive than going to a high street store. I love having the extra pennies in my pocket!
I would love to hear your decluttering tips and tricks in the comments! If you are struggling for inspiration, one of my old ‘Organizing your Workspace‘ posts may be useful. Please don’t laugh at the pictures, it’s a very old post! 😉