Friday, 9 August 2013

'Minimalism' - An obsession

I can't quite remember how it came about.  Searching around the web I came across some very inspirational blogs dedicated to the idea of minimalism and simple living.  When I read this stuff it just made so much sense to me.  "Of course I would love minimalism!"  I said to myself.  "It's just so me!"  Decluttering and simplifying my life? Yes please!  Reducing the physical and mental excess so I can focus on what I truly value in life?  I'm sold.

I have now made at least 10 trips to the local charity shops, have sold items on Ebay, and am wondering what else can go?  I have really tried to be quite ruthless with myself, here's what I've let go of so far;
- lots and lots of books that I have been carrying around with me for years and I'm still working on it
- clothes that I don't really like and don't fit me very well, it is so liberating to have a minimalist wardrobe.  I am definitely a person who benefits from having fewer options to choose from.
- don't tell the kids but I've removed many of their toys, some for good and some I've just hidden away to see if they notice they're missing, they haven't so far.
- kitchen utensils that rarely get used - I'm tired of rifling through a drawer to find the vegetable peeler, which I use every day, because it is surrounded by items I rarely use.
- a vase, framed pictures, candle holders, various trinkets that I don't really like and just sit there gathering dust.

As promised by many of the blogs I've been reading, decluttering and simplifying one's physical surroundings is about so much more than just stuff.  As I get rid of this stuff I don't really need the obvious question arises, what do I need?  What do I want in  my life? This is what I've learned;

- more time to spend just hanging out with my girls, now that I've decluttered so much there's also more space to hang out and play, what a gift.
- whittling down my book collection has reacquainted me with some books I really love and I've let go of the books that weren't that important to me - I never will be a very good dressmaker or baker, those books have gone.
- when you get rid of physical clutter it is like a reflection of what is going on in your mind.  In a clearer, less cluttered space, my mind feels clearer and less cluttered.
- Now I know all the things I don't want in my life and how I don't want to spend my time I am clearer about what I do want, I want to write.

I am in danger of preaching this message to everyone I come across, my husband is quite tired of hearing about it I'm sure.  I can't help it, minimalism for me is such a profound and spiritual concept, I just want to spread the word.

One last thing to share.  With less things to think about, to clean, maintain, repair, organise, I found myself lying on the grass in the garden with my youngest daughter one sunny afternoon this week.  Dinner was prepared (and it hadn't taken me long now that I've removed so much stuff from the kitchen), the house was relatively tidy and as a result of this I felt relaxed.  I lay there with my daughter crawling around, exploring the garden, and acknowledged to myself how relaxed and 'in the moment' I felt.  I can tell you this was a direct result of my project to minimalise our possessions and simplify our life.  My mind wasn't caught up thinking about all the stuff I had to organise, I felt liberated.  I could be there with my daughter, enjoying such a beautiful afternoon with her, encouraging her to take her first steps, giving her my presence.  This minimalism stuff is a powerful thing.

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