Sunday, January 03, 2016

Simplifying, Minimising, Decluttering, Organising

Six months ago, I made a start on something that was long overdue: evicting a whole lot of junk and clutter from my house, my mind, my schedule and my digital spaces. 

I've always known that being organised and in a tidy environment helps me feel calm, focused and get stuff done, but over the last few years things really got out of hand. I seemingly had no time for anything, and when I did have time,  I felt immobilised. I'd aimlessly surf Facebook, feeling terrible about it, but feeling unable to tackle anything I was 'supposed' to be doing. 

My brain was always spinning but going nowhere. In the evenings I felt like I didn't deserve to relax and the days seemed overwhelming and exhausting. I was always losing things, forgetting things and feeling frustrated and resentful. It wasn't fun.

So I did some research on the science and art of getting one's shit together. Based on what I learned, I've slowly put some systems in place which address these areas of previous chaos:

- Time management and scheduling
- Documents (the paper war)
- Physical environment

It's the last one (environment) that I'm going to write about today. I need a neat, calming space in which to live and work.

I am heartily sick of this sort of thing. The office corner 'pile of crap'.

I'm currently still in phase one of recklessly throwing things out, which is one of those good-for-me things that I hate doing. I have to do it small bursts while singing the 'Frozen' song. 

We (my partner in crime is necessarily on board with this) are also putting in storage systems and just being less slob-like: 'don't put it down, put it away'. It's an ongoing process and I'm tackling one manageable area at a time, so look out for updates if this interests you.

So far, the major area of improvement is the kitchen, helped along by the drama of a full renovation. Obviously most people won't literally ditch everything and the kitchen sink, but in our case, it's been on the 'to do' for years. We just finally made it happen.

Old kitchen:

New kitchen (lights going in when this pic was taken)

You can't tell from the picture but the 'kitchen' part is about a metre longer, far more floor-area, storage and the lower bench gives it a feeling of space.

Within this new area is a tidy spot where I can relax and be musical. That corner needs a plant, don't you think?

A few months into my mission, I went YouTubing for 'minimalism' videos and found Aussie YouTuber Rachel Aust, who also has some impressively fad-free exercise and food videos. Of course, this being YouTube, I naturally encountered several minimalism videos that gave me pause. Ultimately, I'd probably prefer not to own three things and live in a van.

Apparently, it's not really, truly minimising (reducing your possessions to the bare necessities) that I'm doing, but reducing, simplifying and organising. 

Encouraged by Ms Aust's enthusiasm for quality over quantity, I've decided that the next daunting task is to audit my clothes.

I have clothes from sizes 4 to 14, and have a hoarding issue. I have two barrels like this, two rubbish bags and three boxes full of clothes. 

And, I can't close any of my drawers. It's a situation. I've decided to keep only what I currently fit and actually feel good in. 

I'm also randomly making a dent in the junk that has accumulated in our garage-slash-home gym. Never stash boxes in your garage 'until recycling day'. Four years later, your bin is still full every week, and so is the garage.

Ok, that's it from me! I hope you have a lovely week, and I'll have another post up next weekend.
Any other budding simplify-ists out there? Do you have any hot tips for me? Is clutter an issue in your life too?


Marie Kendo The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up - Talks at Google


  1. Minimalism is the way to go! Next tackle your social calendar and commitments. I found getting rid of everything on the weekends to just be was amazing. I don't feel obliged to just say yes to everything.
    I found it took me 2 years to sort through the entire house. But it feels good now to have clear spaces and room to put things. Defiantly the way to go! :)

    1. Yes, I 100% agree. I have, in the past, tended to take on a lot of volunteer activities (moderating FB groups, doing the newsletter for my book club, being the 'go-to' person for airport pick ups, cooking a family dinner every Friday night..). As I am self-employed and set my own schedule, some people have interpreted this as 'available'. I've had to reduce those things to a point where I don't feel taken advantage of and stressed. I think a lot of it was my dysfunctional need to be liked. Surprisingly, I've still got friends, even though I say 'no' 1000 times more often than I used to. x

  2. Honora9:48 pm

    Sara, what a great post. You describe things so lucidly..."My brain was always spinning but going nowhere. In the evenings I felt like I didn't deserve to relax and the days seemed overwhelming and exhausting. I was always losing things, forgetting things and feeling frustrated and resentful. It wasn't fun." This is me and I thought it was just 'getting old'. I'm working on it and will be checking out Ms Aust's videos pronto.

    My sister motivates herself by putting away 50 items. Some of them are very small items BTW. I told her I need to get rid of 50 items each session, not put them away. I'm wondering if I could have a policy of if something comes into the house, something else has to go.

    1. I have found that getting rid of things, rather than just moving them around is crucial. I've got a bit of a system for handling things I'm REALLY not sure about letting go of yet. I'll blog about that later (it's basically, store it neatly for a set period of time, then make a decision about whether to use it or lose it).

  3. Love these sorts of posts. Something I am trying to do as well. Keep up the great work xx


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