In the spirit of my word of the year, simplify, this post lays out what I am doing regarding minimalism in 2017. As I’ve previously covered, my desire to move towards a minimalist life is driven by a few desires, one of these is using less time to clean, organise and generally think about my house, plus to cut down on the stress associated with it.
My scenario a few months ago, I was tired, swimming uphill, my house was always messy, not the end of the world messy, but messy enough for me to look about daily and inwardly say “Why is it like this? How do I spend so long tidying and it never gets any better?” The door would knock, my heart would pound, I have fairly bad anxiety attached to the house and other people, and the door knocking would send me into an inward frenzy. Don’t get me wrong, it was never awful, but the untidiness added to my anxiety meant it was bad enough for me to know I had to do something about it. I had implemented many cleaning routine, a timer, flylady, the app unfuck your habitat, breaking every task into a time limit and doing one hour a day, every day, massive weekend cleans, roping in the kids, I had tried pretty much everything, nothing worked. My house was still messy.
Why did nothing work? Because even with my good intentions, I had too much stuff. It is impossible to keep your house tidy and clean with too much stuff (unless you are willing to spend many hours doing this, which I wasn’t, and even then I think it’s impossible really). I would spend all my time moving things back to their “place” and when I got there the place was usually full, so the offending item would pile on top of other offending items. Cleaning? The surface cleaning happened with regularity, but when you have so much stuff, deep cleaning is once in a blue moon.
Having toyed with minimalism previously, and having got rid of a lot of stuff before I still hadn’t made much headway, it always seemed to creep back in somehow.
So last year I took part in the minsgame, I got rid of over 1500 items. To the normal house this may leave you in an oasis of calm and emptiness. Not to my house! It’s still full, granted a lot less full than it was previously. I actually managed to get through Christmas and New Year without household chaos, and keep the place reasonably clean and tidy. We also bought the kids a lot less this year, my son an xbox and daughter a starter laptop, but not loads of small, space consuming presents. My husband, not full on board, said on Christmas Eve, there is no big things, we should have got big things. He felt uncomfortable with the amount there was there, I felt joy. Glad I had made it to Christmas without caving. The kids were over the moon with what they got. Everything has been used, nothing discarded in the living room.
So overall it was a good Christmas season, I am evaluating every single object that comes into our house, and I’m back on the getting rid train.
For 2017 I have joined a facebook group of lovely supportive people called 2017 in 2017. The aim, as the name suggests is to get rid of 2017 items in 2017. I’m pretty sure I can manage considering I got rid of 1500 in November 2016, however this 2017 is going to be considerably harder! I have tied it into a new round of the minsgame for January, giving me a fairly slow start. Some people in the group have already got rid of hundreds of things, myself I have got rid of 10 (1 + 2 + 3 + 4). I will keep going though with my quest to minimalism. It’s worth it. My cleaning time is already far lower than it was and I’ve implemented a new cleaning routine I’ve now followed for a month, and my house (and head) is thanking me for it. We even had a friend over the other day and all it took was a 15 minute going over.
That’s minimalism in 2017 for me, a simple goal, rid myself of 2017 items. Continue to clean my house. Be happy and spend more time on the important stuff. If you think you’d like to join in, please join the facebook group and use the hashtag #2017in2017out on social media.