I don’t have much to report for the Christmas break, except that my house now has a lot less clutter. Of course, I did the normal Christmas stuff too – visiting family and such – but the highlight of my holiday break was sorting out my Tupperware cupboard. I may need a hobby.
I have a theory that making space in our homes by getting rid of the things we don’t need, gives us more spaciousness in our everyday lives. That said, my style of minimalism is “cautious” at best. Perhaps I should say I make a minimalist attempt at minimalism – the benefits are there but there’s no point throwing things away willy-nilly.
Before my huge “summer clean” I did my research by reading a stack of articles on the benefits of minimalist living, only because I couldn’t really see there were many – apart from my theory about “spaciousness”. I wanted to hear some other thoughts, but everything I read seemed to be clutching at straws.
“More opportunity to pursue what’s important”. Meh. “More focus on contribution”. Double meh.
Some articles pointed out a few meaningful reasons for becoming a minimalist, such as not wasting money by not purchasing things you don’t need and caring for the environment. All that “stuff” we buy utilises energy to be made and transported, resulting in increased carbon emissions. And of course, on a round planet you can’t really throw anything “away”.
Where is away?
Fully equipped with my hippy woo-woo concepts about making space for the good stuff in life, combined with being reminded of the obvious financial and environmental benefits, I set to work. Well, in the most minimalist-minimalist kinda way.
I started with my wardrobe, giving Vinnies all the pants from the 90s which no longer suit me (or fit). This led me to discovering over a dozen black t-shirts hiding in various places – since they weren’t all on the same shelf I was previously unaware of my excessive black t-shirt collection. I didn’t throw any of them away, but at least now I know not to buy another black t-shirt for many moons.
Perhaps energised by the glorious pile of neatly organised black-shirts, I was then inspired to move on to the storage spaces. Old university text books and scribbles of “art” from my son at preschool age hit the recycling bin. I kept any toddler art which resembled an object or a person, but a single scribble in the corner of an otherwise blank piece of paper is just far too Yoko Ono for me.
Once again, there was another amazing find: I seem to have discovered enough stationery to start my own small business. Rather than throw it away I now have a huge stationery tub stash I will return to for any pens, paper and bulldog clips needs for decades to come.
Follow me to the kitchen, where my plastic container collection (not technically Tupperware – who can afford that stuff?) is now reduced to 50% its previous size. I spent half a day sorting which plastic items had lids and which didn’t, leading to a kitchen cupboard glowing with awesomosity. I can see exactly what I have and actually use all of it, since every piece has its own lid. Lovely!
I can’t say I’m a true minimalist – I’m not sitting in an empty room with nothing but a swede arm chair and a single piece of abstract art. As a side note, conjuring that image has now led me to thinking my son’s childhood scribbles may be worth a fortune.
Is less really best? Well, to a point. I have no plans to throw out perfectly good things just to follow a trend. But just with a little less, I can breathe a little easier knowing exactly where everything is, and I have a greater appreciation for what I’ve already got. If I go shopping I’ll save a bucketload since Tupperware, black t-shirts and bulldog clips are now a no-go zone.
Maybe the “Christmas chuck out” will become a new tradition?