Friday, 10 July 2015

living an uncluttered life

#midlifeblog cresting the hill

I've read so many posts lately on the amazing discovery of de-cluttering houses and lives. There is the best selling book by Marie Kondo called "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing" that has taken the world by storm. You only have to do a search on "declutter" on Pinterest to find a million and one pins to do with getting rid of accumulated "stuff", purging and organizing what's left.

I am always somewhat mildly bewildered by the the fact that this is such a big discovery. I am a huge advocate of keeping clutter to a minimum. I don't understand the need to fill every available space with "stuff". I don't understand adding more "stuff" to the "stuff" you already have. I don't understand having so much "stuff" that you don't know where to start when it comes to getting rid of some of it. I don't define myself by how much "stuff" I own or take pride in how much "stuff" I've gotten rid of.

Maybe it comes from never having a lot of spare money to spend on things that weren't necessities. Maybe it comes from selling off the old "stuff" before buying new "stuff". Maybe it comes from not liking a lot of clutter clogging up my headspace and house space. Maybe it comes from my aversion to trash and treasure sales because I always see someone else's trash as being trash rather than treasure, and if they don't want it, I probably don't either.

My family are heavily addicted to collecting things. My mother collects fine china and hats and jewelry, my father collected militaria, my brothers collect cars and are avid ebay watchers. All I see is mountains of "stuff" that they don't need and are just spending money on because enough is never really enough. There is always one more ring, one more medal, one more car picture to buy and add to the ever growing pile of "stuff". How many hats can my mother wear? Well when you belong to four different chapters of the Red Hat Society, you can wear a different one every week and you can always find a new one to add to the collection! Enough never seems to be enough when it comes to hats.

Being an uncluttered person means that I always have a tidy house. I always know where to find what I'm looking for and I don't have anywhere near as many things to dust each week. It means that I never feel embarrassed if unexpected guests turn up because the dining room table isn't covered in a pile of newspapers or junk mail, the kitchen bench isn't lost under a mountain of paraphernalia and I know where the biscuits are in the pantry. The trouble is that I feel like I have to apologize for being tidy, friends thought I was running around putting stuff out of sight before they came over and would ask where all my mess was hiding. Heaven help me if I was to return the favour by passing comment on their mess and compilations of clutter!

"Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful." - William Morris

It's funny that people mocked me for being tidy for all these years and now it's become the new craze. Everyone is tossing out their excess and paring down their belongings. Everyone seems to be agonizing over what to keep and what to donate to a worthy cause. I'm just cruising along in my minimalism and being a little relieved that there won't be much to put name tags on when it comes time to divvy up the family heirlooms for the children! I'm kind of relieved that minimalism is the new extravagance.

35 comments:

  1. It's almost freeing to get rid of unnecessary things!!! I never thought I was a clutter bug until we had our house staged for selling!!

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    1. Hi Jodie - you're right - we tend to accumulate stuff and it is really good for us to let some of it go occasionally (even if it takes selling our house to motivate us!)

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  2. Your lifestyle makes perfect sense to me! I decided a few years back to live a 'Bigger Smaller Life', and since then my focus has been on experiences not possessions. I don't think I could ever go back to the 'have more stuff' mindset.
    Kimberly
    http://FiftyJewels.com

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    1. Exactly Kimberley - stuff swallows up too much of our lives if we let it! I love your idea of focusing on experiences instead :)

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  3. I would like to think I could have done this if we hadn't moved a bunch the past few years – – but I'm not sure :-) it's so easy to put off lessening the clutter when there's no deadline looming. I am never going back to my old ways…

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    1. Moving house is the best way to de-clutter because you are forced to. I think we should all have to move every so often - just to get rid of all those coffee cups that build up!

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  4. So is it a bad thing that I'm reading this instead of decluttering, which is on my agenda for the next 3 days and will take most of them to get accomplished? ;- 0
    Carol
    http://carolcassara.com/how-to-die/

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    1. No Carol - this is your motivational "rah rah" - me cheering you on to inspire you :) Go girl!!

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  5. Clutter is my downfall! I really try to purge necessary items as much as possible. I feel great when I take bags of items to the donation bin! Still a long way to go. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Hi Allison - thanks for visiting - and just think how much you are helping all those other people each time you donate :)

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  6. I don't want to live a cluttered life. I don't understand where all our stuff comes from. Four years ago my house burned down and I lost EVERYTHING, yet somehow clutter returned to our lives.

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    1. Wow Leslie I can't imagine losing everything like that - even without clutter there are still so many keepsakes that would be devastating to lose - maybe you need a little clutter to make you feel like you have a home again. x

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  7. Interesting article. Enjoyed reading it.

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  8. I fully agree! I am the "tosser" as I like to say, and my husband is the keeper. Drives me nuts! Between his stuff and the kids, I can't wait for them to get a little older to get rid of the "stuff"!

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    1. It's nice when the kids move out - then you can tell them to take all their stuff with them, because what's left behind will be tossed. I'm not into having a 'shrine' to my children where all their junk gets held onto in case they need it. Yes, I'm a tough mother :)

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  9. I am so good at purging but my family does not share my obsession so it is going to be very interesting when it comes time for what I am referring to as "The Great Purge" when we downsize...hopefully in the next year. I'm ready, my husband not so much!

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    1. I love the idea of the "great purge" and I'm sure you'll love it when it's gone but it is stressful for those that like to hang onto things in case they need them one day. I think you chuck it and if you need it in years to come then go and get another one!

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  10. I agree with you. I know that my life and household runs much better when everything is clean and in it's place. My mom always kept the house tidy when I was growing up, and it made a positive difference in how my siblings and I behaved and valued things.

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    1. I love having a clean house and both my adult children are good at having their houses look tidy too (except for the bedroom floor at my daughter's - she never moved on from the 'clothes on the floor' teenage stage *sigh*)

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  11. For me, being clutter free is rebellion, as everyone in my family has some sort of collection. It makes me nervous to be in a house full of knick-knacks, all gathering dust and taking up space. Less is more!

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    1. My family are the same - I just don't get the need to surround yourself with piles of stuff and I get a little claustrophobic if I'm around their knick-knacks for too long - glad I'm not alone :)

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  12. I'm one of those people that can't think or sleep in a space that's cluttered. Having a clean space just makes me feel put together and in control. For me less is definitely more!!

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    1. I so agree - I am a bit of a control freak and a tidy space equals a tidy mind and a tidy life to me. I'm all for less is more!

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  13. I used to be obsessed with stuff. I now think I was using stuff to fill the holes in my life. When we downsized to a house that was less than half the size I hd to get rid of a lot of stuff. At first it was difficult, but then it got easier and easier. I don't miss anything I got rid of. I am now trying to be very careful with what I bring into my space.

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    1. I think it's so true about it filling a hole in life - we need to find other things to complete us rather than just buying more and more stuff :)

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  14. I have a friend who is also tidy like you, but she has heaps of stuff. She actually manages to organize ALL OF IT, to the detail. It´s quite impressive actually. I also believe in having less things I try to not get cluttered and am always getting rid of things. Maybe now that the declutter rage is on, your friends wont misunderstand you anymore. ;)

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    1. That's what I'm hoping too Orana - and I share being impressed by your friend who manages to be so organized with so much stuff - it is a special gift!

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  15. I loved it when we downsized and the unnecessary things went, sort of liberating. On the other hand I am not the perfect housekeeper. We are all different, for me if my house was perfect, that is all I would do. I have lots of interests and they sometimes take priority over tidy. The bottom line is what state are you happy in. I can't stand general clutter but if someone wants to collect a specific thing, let them enjoy that. There probably needs to be understanding both ways.
    Kathleen
    Fridays Blog Booster Party

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    1. I totally agree Kathleen - craft lovers always have lots of stuff and so do collectors - I can understand that but I'd probably still have it organized because I hate sifting through stuff looking for what I want.

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  16. I don't like a space that has so much stuff it feels smaller and messier than it actually is, but I do like enough personal touches to make it homey. My grandmother had a sign in her kitchen that said, "My house is clean enough to be healthy and dirty enough to be happy" -- I still live by that. Sometimes, I have to remind myself (and especially members of my family!), however, that too much stuff is just Too Much Stuff!! :)

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    1. Hi Wendy - it is definitely about balance - you have to have personal touches and special things, that's not clutter. Clutter to me is when you keep stuff because you can't be bothered throwing it out or donating it and it just gets shoved in a corner and accumulates :)

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  17. I am all for as few items as possible. I like the fact that I have empty cabinets in my house.

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    1. I do love an empty cabinet Niki - it means you've got space to put something beautiful or meaningful if you come across it :)

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  18. Hi Leanne. I so-o-o agree that have a simplified tidy house is the way to go. I love your statement... "I'm kind of relieved that minimalism is the new extravagance." ~Kathy

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  19. I've always lived that kind of lifestyle too Leaane. I would go crazy in a cluttered home. That's my hardest thing as mom's caregiver. Having Alzheimer's and being from the depression era (1930's) she can't stand the ides of throwing anything away. She tries to hoard, but I try to keep control of it.

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