I am in the process of decluttering and minimizing my life. In a completely random act, I signed up for a 12 week online course in January which takes you through a step by step guide to reducing the clutter in your life and encourages you to scale back on all that you own. There are a couple of things here.
Firstly this is my first time to sign up to any online course ever and now I think I’m hooked. Its like an online evening course for people who don’t have time and for the curious minded it is the perfect conduit to learn something new while on the go. There are interesting aspects to it. The online community chitter chatter that under pins it can be both fascinating and also a little noisy. My facebook feed has never been so filled with enthusiastic students who comment, post photos and seek advise 24 x 7 from around the globe. Thinking I had to be the only Irish person signed up to the course, I was amazed to make contact with an old friend who I studied Politics with at university, which I thought was ironic and maybe a sign from the universe the learning is for life!
So why declutter? There are obviously lots of practical reasons for decluttering such as space creation, saving money, charitable donations and down sizing ahead of a move. My initial reasoning was that I was blocked. For ages, I had wanted to create a space for yoga in the house and yet try as I might, I couldn’t seem to find a calm corner spacious enough for a my mat & some incense sticks. I felt my need was quite niche and unlike many of the other participants who were doing epic decluttering projects, I thought I would pick up a few tips and be done with it. Now however I find myself on Sunday mornings studying my latest assignment. Each week focuses on a separate room or space like for example your car, the living room, the bed room and then starts to work up to the bigger stuff like the garage, the attic or my nemesis the closet! Its now two weeks since I cleaned out my walk in wardrobe and asides from it taking me 7 hours to complete, it was quite an emotional event. The guidelines were strict with segregated bundles making it more difficult to linger over things and at regular intervals making mandatory trips down to the car to remove items before I changed your mind. Finally finished I drove to the charity shop with a full carload like a quivering wreck with only fifteen minutes to spare ahead of their closing time and I spent a fitful night wondering what had I done and if I had lost the plot. But since that eventful day, I can now see my remaining clothes more clearly and have started to wear much loved things that had long been forgotten. After initially feeling violated, I now feel a strange feeling of calm. Which leads me to the other benefits I have discovered..
Decluttering gives you back time. If your black dress collection has gone from 20 pieces to 3, you save an extraordinary amount of time deciding what to wear. Time to get dressed a little slower, have a long bath, file your nails maybe. There is also a feeling of having shed layers of your life, a strange lightness which brings a new purpose to move forward. Decluttering also apparently reduces stress, it is said to actually release chemicals in the brain, which makes you more serene and happier. The key though, is not to run out and buy more stuff to fill the gaps… this is the challenge! Or if you do, use a ‘one in-one out’ technique. And finally the last benefit I would say is that its opened my eyes, normally being such a maximalist about art, living, textures and life, I now found myself drawn to minimalism and have even created a new Pinterest board to reflect this!
Today, I will get busy on this weeks assignment – ‘The Kitchen’ and focus on decluttering my vast collection of cookery books which will hopefully not take me 7 hours to complete!! but I am strangely excited about it, perhaps the true meaning of Let Go to unwind…