Sam, Austin and I are moving and once again we are downsizing. This will be the 3rd place Sam and I have owned together and each time the places have been smaller and smaller. I realise this is not the norm. Most people sell to upsize, make more room for their growing family and accumulated things, however this is never been our journey. I have always craved having less stuff, I find I become very overwhelmed in mess/clutter but also I find it wasteful to have cupboards of belongings I’m not using when someone else could be in need of that very item!
So over the years of going from a 4 bedroom home, to a 3 bedroom home, then renting in a 2 bedroom apartment and now having just purchased a 1 bedroom apartment we have have a lot of experience in sorting items and realising what we really NEED and what we can truly live without.
This didn’t have a name for me back in 2014 when we started downsizing, I just knew I wasn’t one to hold onto things, however I did have a lot of clothes, shoes and sentimental items (from university, travel, highschool). And then I watched Minimalism a documentary on Netflix and a switch just flicked, it was as Oprah would call it a “lightbulb moment”. I didn’t need these “just in case” items – because 99% of the time that situation you have in your mind of when you’ll use that thing NEVER COMES. Here we were with a garage full of storage and for what? I had a cupboard full of clothes and suitcases full to the brim of clothes just in case they fit me again…..why? So I got started and went through each and every room. And I will be writing another blog post on what we are keeping to head to our very small and considered apartment next month but for now I wanted share some areas that I found were the easiest to minimise in the hope that it will help others know where to start. Whether you’re a minimalist or not, these are 5 things you can get rid of right now to start to create space in your life, your mind, you home and start ridding yourself of the mental clutter that comes with these items.
- DVD’s & CDs
Back in the 90’s we all had a huge wall of DVD’s and CD’s and we would carry them around to our friends homes to watch and listen to. I mean do you remember those huge black cases that you’d need to pack your CD’s into and leave in the car. You needed to decide what music mood you’d be so that you didn’t forget to include that one CD you would inevitably want. Well in 2018 things are very different, your music is in the palm of your hand and almost every movie you could ever want can be downloaded for $3 or watched on Netflix. These items may have sentimental value but they take up much too much room for the amount we actually use them. These were the first to go in our first home and to be honest we haven’t missed them AT ALL.
2. Double Ups
This mainly refers to the kitchen, if you went to your kitchen draws now I’m sure you would find multiples of most things, and really most of them are completely unnecessary. 4 spatulas? 5 wooden spoons? 20 plates? Do you ever have 20 people over to eat? The kitchen was a place I went through with a fine tooth comb and thought about realistically. Of course we don’t only want 3 plates, but under 10 plates would be just fine for us given the size of our apartment we know we wont be having more than 4 people over at a time – so why have more items packed in our cupboards.
3. Pens/Paper and Stationery
We all know that these items sneak into our homes without us even knowing it! You get a free notepad with a purchase, a complimentary pen. Instead of just buying one pen, you buy a whole packet and they sit scattered around the house not being used. I also remember we had a whole drawer of pens, paper and stationary and to be honest I didn’t even know if half the pens worked! Go through that drawer, test the pens and be realist about the notepads you really need – recycle the rest 🙂
4. Beauty products and make up
If you’re anything like me your bathroom cupboard is packed full of old beauty products and make up you are never going to use. I had a whole container of eye shadows and I can count on one hand the amount of times I’ve worn eye shadow. Beauty products are something we can easily use once and decide we don’t like the feel of or they make our skin break out and instead of getting rid of them we put them in a cupboard and let them collect dust until their expiry date comes up. So try going through your make up purse and throwing out that lipstick you’ve had for 3 years. I use about 5 make up products and everything else I didn’t really need and I wasn’t using – so out it went.
Let’s be honest you have a cupboard full of clothes but honestly how many items do you actually wear? 10% maybe 20%? I know that I had a cupboard full, drawers full and suitcases put away FULL of clothes and all because I may need them “one day”. Well guess what, that one day never came, I bought new clothes and didn’t want to wear my old things and so they sat there. I decided to go through and ask myself “do I NEED this?” “have I worn this in the last year?” and then donated accordingly. Why should clothes sit in my closet when they could be used by others in need?
I like using the last year as the cut off because some clothes are seasonal so are only worn in Winter or Summer and you don’t want to be throwing out your one Winter coat because you haven’t worn it in the past 6 months! Be realistic, and set aside time so you can try things on and really sort through.
Let your friends know you are clearing some clothes and if they are in need of anything to come by and choose what they would like – make a day out of it!
And what you’ll be left with is a capsule wardrobe with items you truly love wearing, that are comfortable and make you feel good. I am definitely happier with my smaller wardrobe now than I was 2 years ago with my cupboard that was full to the brim.
But after all this it doesn’t mean you need to go out and throw out everything you own, it is definitely a process and it’s up to the individual to decide what is important to you. If you are obsessed with music and you love your record collection, that’s not the place to downsize – it’s about getting rid of the things that don’t serve us and are taking up space (psychically and mentally).
Start where you feel comfortable. Would love to hear where you are starting to minimise first and your feelings on living a more minimal lifestyle. I can’t wait to share more of our minimalism journey with you all soon.