As we approach the end of the year, I’ve been thinking about changes I want to make before the start of the new year. One of the things I want in 2019 is to really embrace minimalism and simple living. To help me start the new year feeling fresh, calmer and lighter I’ve been doing a fair amount of decluttering over the last couple of weeks. I thought I’d share some the things I’ve let go of and why. Sometimes hearing someone else has removed certain items from their life can help if you are unsure whether or not to let go. I know for a couple of things on this list I needed to reach out and ask if others had decluttered them too.
The fourth bedroom
We are incredibly fortunate to live in a large home where space isn’t an issue. However, having the extra space can create problems of its own. The fourth bedroom of our house is one of those problems. It’s never really had a purpose. I remember when we moved in speaking about turning it into a walk-in wardrobe/dressing room. But shortly after I discovered capsule wardrobes and my current minimalist wardrobe doesn’t even fill the wardrobe in our bedroom let alone need a room of its own. We rarely have guests staying so a second guest room isn’t required and I’m happy with the smaller room being my office. Because the room doesn’t have a purpose it became too easy to chuck stuff in there and close the door.
It has become a bit of a dumping ground. I decided I’d had enough and roped my husband in to clear the room out completely. The furniture is currently for sale and the fitted wardrobe has been emptied. I can’t tell you just how freeing it feels to have finally tackled this space. It still doesn’t have a purpose but I’m hoping that by leaving it empty we will be able to figure out a use for it.
My old laptop, my husband’s old camera, that pile of random cables – all gone. We sat down together and wiped everything that needed to be wiped and sent it off to be recycled. That’s another task off the list and another drawer cleared out.
Bits and bobs from my past career
Before I went into further education I used to work as an outdoor play development officer. Throughout this career, I had amassed a collection of books, leaflets, policy documents and other ‘useful’ information on outdoor play. Because I lived and breathed outdoor play for years I know most of this information anyway. All of which was taking up valuable space in my home. I don’t plan on returning to the sector anytime soon, and if I did I’d be able to access everything again. I wasn’t referring to it, in fact, even when I was working in the sector I don’t think I referred to this. So I decided it was time to let it go. It felt good like letting go of my past self so I can focus on who I am now.
My uni notes and books
This was a tough one. I didn’t realise how attached I was to this stuff. Despite the fact that it had all sat untouched in a box since I graduated getting rid of it was a tough decision. But the thing is I work in the field I studied and haven’t once referred to my notes or books. In fact, I currently teach the subject and never feel the urge to check my uni stuff. I’m far more likely to search for information online if I need to check something. Like the bits and bobs from my past career all, it was doing was taking up space in my home. My husband even felt inspired to get rid of his uni stuff. So that’s 4 large boxes of books and old notes removed from the house.
Wrapping paper and gift bags
I’m one of those people that keep any gift bag they receive just in case. But the thing is I’ve ended up with a whole drawer of gif bags which never seem to get used. Using the 20:20 guideline (which suggests that if you could replace in under 20 minutes for less than £20 then you don’t need to keep it just in case) I decided these gift bags are just wasting space. I do need one because I’m buying someone a gift I can just pick one up when shopping for the gift. Which I prefer to keeping a pile in my house just in case. I donated a pile of these so hopefully others will be using them for their Christmas gifts.
Way before I created my first capsule wardrobe I brought several boxes of hangers. I think it was a bulk buy deal and because I shopped a lot back then it seemed like a good idea. I’ve had about 5 boxes sitting in the wardrobe for years none of which have been opened. It was clearly time to get rid of them. I shared them on my local community Facebook group and within a couple of hours my neighbours had been round and collected them. Turns out people really appreciate new hangers. It was lovely to be able to offer them to someone close by and not to mention getting rid of them in an afternoon without leaving the house.
It has felt so good letting go of everything listed. I feel calmer and lighter already. Nothing on the list was adding value to my life yet some of the things were hard to let go off. It’s amazing just how much emotion is tied up in our belongings. I plan to continue my declutter and hopefully go into 2019 with a calmer and simpler home. Next on the list is my box of old photos which could be another hard one.
Have decluttered anything recently or are you planning one before the new year?