Articles (Blog)

Decluttering Changed My Life ~ Will It Change Yours?

This is a Chicken & The Egg story. As with most things in life, it’s not 100% clear cut.

If you’re feeling a little bit overwhelmed by your home you’ll get it – Clutter bothers me. Too much Stuff laying around in my line of vision gets on my nerves. Too much stuff packed into a cupboard really ruffles my feathers!

It’s not just that it’s hard to find things, it’s the TIME involved in looking for things, managing things, fiddling with things, moving them from one place to another… I’m just too busy to give up my precious time to THINGS!

So I avoid it. Clutter. I have automatic clutter-busting habits that are just part of my everyday life. After 51 years they’ve become a part of who I am. But I’ve also learnt that perfection is not realistic. It’s exhausting (unless you can hire people to maintain your life and home for you.)

A clients curious chicken in my car!

I’ve always been a very organised person. It helped keep my stress levels low. But most of my life I’ve been a collector of things. Books, clothes, shells, feathers… Until I HAD to declutter when I moved from my old house to my tiny apartment.

I’m a strong believer in going for maximum peacefulness and minimum stress, especially at home. So did organising and managing all my stuff become a habit because I collected so much stuff, or was it just my nature, so I collected more? Or both?

The organising habits I’d developed to reduce my irritation with mess and clutter were one thing. Actually owning less was another thing entirely.

It was life changing.

I only had minimal storage in my tiny apartment…
Pack it full or keep it simple?

Have you ever been camping?

Aside from bugs, rain, heat and other irritations, do you remember being relaxed? Happy?

Even if you’ve lived out of a luxury camper van, it’s different from home isn’t it? It’s a simple life in the simplest home we can carry in our car, on our back or in that camper van.

Yes our responsibilities and the hassles of everyday life are less, but there’s also less to do. Less tidying, less housework, less organising and re-organising things.

Now I’m NOT saying that all you need in your home is one plastic plate and spoon for every person. I’m just reminding you of the freedom and peace that comes with having to deal with less stuff.

There’s a middle ground. Where you can still have cool stuff and things that are beautiful.

Photographer Jill Wellington

What is Minimal-ish?

When I moved into my apartment I had just the basics. Things I loved, used and needed (and actually wore). I knew exactly how much storage I had (hardly any!) and I planned for it. I even ended up with extra space. I went minimal-ish by necessity. I wanted my move to be super easy and I did NOT want to stress about where to put stuff.

~ This article is a bit more about my move into my small apartment:

How I Failed At The Konmari Method & Learnt To Relax. ~ The Tidy Lady

I could always buy things I needed later (that was four years ago and I’ve added a few things since then.) But I still kept the things that I loved. It was an opportunity to start fresh but also still have a few things around me that made me happy.

It was my personal version of minimalism, more like practical simplicity than minimal. That’s why I pop an -ish at the end.

Definitely minimal, beautiful and tranquil, but hard to maintain.
Photographer Sarah Dorweiler

When I finished unpacking, assembled the cupboards I needed and tweaked things a bit I was done. I started living my life.

And I didn’t know what to do with myself!

Yes, it only took ten minutes to vacuum the place, but I didn’t have to DO anything. Everything was so easy. No fussing, fiddling, organising or sorting. I wasn’t used to that.

I was used to having everything in it’s place, super tidy, but there was always so MUCH. I was used to spending time managing things. Then all of a sudden I wasn’t. The combination of being organised and having much less was completely freeing.

Instead of dreading the work needed to tidy at the end of the day, it was already pretty much done. Even if I was in a rush, it was easy to put things away quickly. Having less improved my mood, gave me time to do other things and gave me the energy to other things.

And thank goodness! Because The Tidy Lady was getting busier and busier!

What would YOU do if you had more time?

Now imagine yourself, managing your home. A home with a LOT less in it. You still have your most loved things, and needful things, but so much less.

It’s easier to vacuum.

There’s less laundry to fold.

Filling and emptying the dishwasher is super fast.

Everything has a place because there’s just so much ROOM!

You can do yoga on the floor without moving anything.

Every single drawer and cupboard closes properly.

You can find everything in moments.

There’s space around things.

There’s space around you.

You can breathe.

It might just change your life.


The Tidy Lady

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