– Note –
I am two weeks into my project to simplify my life, embrace living with less and to minimise clutter and stress. It has been challenging, but I feel as though I’ve started making some headway, and so feel ready to share my journey so far. Therefore, posts will be written two weeks retrospectively.
Week One in my project to simplify was my first week of action. I’d spent many weeks previously thinking, debating and planning how I was going to go about this challenge, but not yet taken any steps to make it a reality. Working out where to start seemed a challenge in itself, when you have a seemingly never-ending task ahead of you, picking a starter point felt practically impossible. Weirdly, I chose my underwear drawer, and weirder still, it seemed to work, but more on that later in the week.
If we start with stuff, and the decluttering aspect of my journey towards minimalism and simplifying, this was actually a very successful week. Starting small somehow snowballed, once I’d got the hang on working out what I did and didn’t want to keep, I felt as though I was on a roll. I’m going to write more about this process and the questions I asked myself to determine what was worth keeping later on, but in summary:
This week, I removed 23 bags of stuff from my house. A few were recyclables, old magazines etc, a few were rubbish that went to the tip, but the vast majority were to donate to someone else. My mother very kindly helped with this task; she visited for a weekend and left with a car packed full of items to go to someone who would appreciate them more. Most went to charity shops, but a few were passed onto others, my favourite of which was an old fleecy blanket which was claimed by the dogs.
As well decluttering and getting rid of things, I also repaired a cardigan that’s been sitting in my wardrobe for 6 months, unworn and unloved due to a tear along the seams. 10 minutes of stitching meant that I have what feels like a brand new item, that I have since been wearing most days.
Now ‘stuff’ obviously isn’t the only thing I’m trying to simplify. In a bid to reduce stress and worry, I’m hoping to live more simple, calmer days, and so thought I’d share a few ways in which that has worked for me so far:
* Close the laptop lid. Generally I would leave my laptop open on a table, and would forever find myself drawn to it and back into a repetitive cycle of scrolling through social media. In closing it, and placing it out of site, I’m less likely to use it, and spend more time in the real world.
* Go outside and breathe. I’ve added some potted plants to my patio, and spending a few minutes each morning outside to water them has set up my days with a calmer start. Also, when I sit down for a cup of tea, I’ve been making a conscious effort to take that outside. You’d be amazed by how much serenity the simple change of being outdoors can bring to your day.
* Count bees! A strange one maybe, but my Mum and I took some time to take part in the Friends of the Earth Great British Bee Count. It involves standing amongst some plant life and counting and recording the bees you see. It proved to be a lovely exercise in that it made us focus on the natural world around us, which is a great thing to do, even for a few minutes.
I felt as though my first week was a good start. It was hard work, and I’m not expecting to be able to clear car loads of stuff from my life every week, but it was a good first push. If you’re also in the pursuit of a simpler existence, I’d love to hear what’s been working for you!