I have been reading Joshua Becker’s book, Clutterfree with Kids, on and off for the last few months. Becker is an advocate for people finding their own “style” of minimalism unique to their own circumstances. He defines “minimalism” simply as “a lifestyle where people intentionally seek to live with only the things they really need” but acknowledges that the concept of minimalism runs far deeper than merely living with fewer possessions.
Below is an extract from the book that really speaks to me and inspires me to move towards my own style of minimalism:
“Minimalism is about intentionality. It is marked by clarity, purpose, and thoughtfulness. At its core, minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of everything that distracts us from it. It is a life that forces intentionality upon us. And as a result, it forces improvements in almost all aspects of our lives.
Minimalism is the freedom from the passion to possess…[i]t steps off the treadmill of consumerism and dares to seek happiness elsewhere. It values relationships, experiences, and soul-care. And in doing so, it finds life.
Minimalism is freedom from the modern rush…[it] slows down life and frees us from this modern hysteria to live faster. It finds freedom to disengage. It seeks to remove the frivolous and keep the significant. And in doing so, it values the intentional endeavours to add value to life.”
About a year ago, I started a project I called “Moving Towards Minimalism”. I really wanted to get our home to a state where everything had its place (i.e. no clutter). I whittled down my wardrobe to only the things I loved, I sorted the kids’ clothes and toys and donated/gave away a whole lot of stuff and threw out useless/old/ugly items around the house. Having read Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying, I subconsciously wanted to keep only the things that “sparked joy”. I took a break over the festive season and started again at the beginning of the year, only to lose momentum and stop after January. I got stuck because every time I thought about the big decluttering jobs around the house (for example, two huge built in bookshelves in our bedroom filled with books, and lever-arch files full of past years’ documents requiring shredding), I would put it off, making the excuse in my head that it was going to be impossible to do the big jobs with the kids around. In reality, on the days that both girls were at school, I could have asked my parents to look after Gabriel for the day while I tackled these jobs.
Meanwhile, stuff was accumulating in the playroom/study (literally piling up on the study desk) and Eugene’s growing Lego collection was invading our already limited space (unopened boxes in our bedroom around our beautiful decorative fireplace and opened boxes piling up on our laundry bench). I honestly felt like we needed more space; it felt like we were bursting at the seams – we had renovated with a view to being a family of four rather than five. I contemplated having an attic put in but, in giving it some more thought, this would not be helpful in the process of decluttering.
Eugene and I had a chat about our housing needs recently and agreed we would need to invest in more storage for the house, especially if the Lego collection was going to grow! There is a HEAP of wall space in the laundry so the plan is to have shelves built in to be used as a second pantry and Lego storage. Similarly, the playroom/study has a little nook perfect for an inbuilt desk and shelves. Hello creativity/craft corner!
I’m really excited to “spruce” up the house a bit. At the beginning of this month, I started my “Moving Towards Minimalism” project again. I started a list of all the little areas that needed tending to and each day tackled one of them. I am constantly adding to the list so there is no end in sight at this stage! I am also starting to visualise the house as I want it (in my DREAM HOME folder), dreaming about each room in the house and writing out the wishlists to make it happen.