I would love to be a minimalist but...
Whenever I flip though interior magazines and I see the gorgeous homes with hardly anything in it I always get a bit jealous. I think I would love to live in a minimalist house. Then I look up and see a room that is full of stuff, everything is neatly packed away but still its full of stuff.
I live in a very average sized house, not too big and not too small but it does lack storage. We don’t have a basement nor an attic so all our possessions are on show or stashed away in the few cupboards I build. My partner doesn’t own much besides a stash of T-shirts he never wears and a huge collection of cd’s we never listen to, It’s more me that has all the things.
It doesn’t help that I upcycle for a living, everything might come in handy one day, so it gets stashed away waiting for its makeover. Same with photo props, I shoot my books mainly in my own house, so I always need rugs, stools, chairs, bowls etc to make the picture just right. Resulting in lots of little bits that hardly get used.
I have another problem, I love all my things! I seem to put a lot of attachment to an item ‘oh I can’t get rid of this cause so and so bought me this’ ‘this is so nice to keep as a memory for later’ ‘I wore this when we went to that special occasion’ The list goes on and on.
Then why do you want to get rid of things you might ask?
Well, I’m always busy. Busy doing things, busy in my head, never ending to do lists, so I think a very organised house will help me relax more. So to recap I would love a stylish emptier house, I feel like I have too much stuff and I’m attached to everything. Oh and I have a toddler (and all her toys) in my house too!
Decluttering has been a hot topic, more recently with Marie Kondo and her ‘only keep what sparks joy’ fame but also from the 60’s when the capsule wardrobe became a trend.
By the way that’s another thing I would LOVE a capsule wardrobe, only a few amazing items so you always know what to wear but once again I have too many things and I’m attached to them all!
See the vicious circle?
To break my habit and to finally have a try at a more minimalistic lifestyle I came up with an idea. How about instead of diving in the deep end and getting rid of lots of belongings but maybe regretting the choices I made, I declutter but have an escape route. Instead of the usual, keep, donate and throw piles I have a keep, STORE, donate and throw pile. Storing away everything I’m not sure about if it’s a keep or donate. You might call this chickening out, I call it inventive :-)
I will go through my belongings, picking my absolute favourites to keep. Everything I definitely don’t want goes to a new home but the whole big grey area in between goes in a box. If I miss it in the next few weeks, it can come out of its box and back into my home again but If I don’t think about it in the next few months it is being donated.
There is only one thing, like I said before I don’t have much storage space. And unless I want to live in an epic cardboard box castle for the next few months, the Joey and Chandler one from Friends springs to mind :-) I need to find somewhere for the boxes to go. Big Yellow Self Storage to the rescue! My very own attic that is not in my house but I can visit as often as I like. A storage space to take my boxes and a place to come to whenever I’m missing one of my decluttered pieces or to bring more items to. And the best bit is, it’s totally secure, more secure then if it is in my home.
Big Yellow Self Storage has 100 stores over the UK so there’s always one close by. I don’t need a lot of space as I’m just going to store cardboard boxes and maybe a chair or two so I think I’ll be fine with 25 square feet which according to the Big Yellow website is a standard garden shed. I love that on their website instead of guessing how much 50 square feet is (I haven't got a clue about inches and feet, I do meters!) it tells you it equals a Transit van or the belongings of a one bed flat. The smallest space you can go for is 9 sq ft, or 10 small boxes. The biggest in my local depot is 1250 sq ft for huge business items (that’s the size of six whopping double garages!)
So, I have my boxes and packing materials ready, lets declutter!
I will be asking myself the following questions while going through my items. Have I used it in the last month? Do I love it? Will I be using it in the next few months? Is it a mega emotional attachment item?
Unwanted clothes can go straight into boxes, well that is if it’s freshly laundered that is. Never stash away items that have been worn and not washed! The more delicate items will be wrapped in tissue paper.
Kitchen items like plates and cups, but also trinkets will be wrapped in bubble wrap, you don’t want to break anything that goes in to storage. I also love using sheet of brown paper to keep my goods safe.
I’m going to take a leave out of my dad book and log everything that goes into boxes to make finding a specific item back a lot easier. My dad has a folder listing everything that is packed away in numbered boxes in his attic.
For example box 1 has
4 blue and white plates
big water jug
blue metal bowl
spare curtains ,white linen
Say I really want those plates back I only have to look at my computer file and see it is in box 1 (don’t forget to write that number on the box! )
I think I’m going to give myself 3 months. If I haven’t missed the items stored away they can be donated. You can give yourself more or less time if you wish as the Big Yellow Self Storage leases are flexible.
Now how often do you think I will go back to retrieve something? :-D
I will let you know how my decluttering journey will go and keep you updated with my aim for owning less things. I will also bring you interviews with experts in the tidying field. I’m excited! How about you?