It’s not about scarcity, it’s all about abundance
‘Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.’
If it’s not useful to you, and it’s not beautiful, what have you got it for?
That’s the question.
The problem is I’m torn. I love the reassuring heavy simplicity of brutalist architecture and very minimal surroundings. But…
I also like the bee-friendly chaos of an English cottage garden, heritage patchworks and ‘busyness’ so I sort of veer between the two. I get cluttered, then rebel and get rid of it all.
Don’t worry I’m not going to be all Marie Kondo and tell you to get rid of your books because that to me is sacrilege.
The whole point of decluttering is to make space for the things that you love
Referring back to that William Morris quote, it’s making space for the things that are useful and/or beautiful.
Have you ever watched those TV shows where they clear out hoarder’s houses? They have beautiful things hidden beneath the clutter, in drawers, put away in cupboards.
The whole point of decluttering, not just physically but mentally, is to get the things that matter out in the open. Every day you can nourish yourself by seeing beautiful things.
Years ago, I made a promise to myself that I wouldn’t put things away to keep for best
Were you brought up in an era where grandparents had a dining room they rarely went in, except on Sundays? Mine never got the best crockery out, apart from on Christmas Day. It was such a waste.
I’d been gifted some beautiful expensive crystal glasses and they were in a cupboard, all the time. I used cheap glasses to drink from, it was ridiculous.
I decided that if one of my glasses got broken, then it got broken. Surprise, I dropped one and it smashed. I was upset for about five minutes and then I was fine. I’d had enjoyment from that item. I’d used it.
There is nothing better than drinking out of lovely crystal. You’ll know yourself, drinking out of a mug or china cup, you’ll have your favourites. That’s what it’s all about.
Get rid of all the rubbish that’s lying about, all the clutter and enjoy your favourite things. Things you love, that you bought for a reason or you’ve been gifted with love.
To get you started on your path to clear worktops and cupboard doors that close I’m just going to give you five quick tips.
Five actions you can take today to help shift the old energy and allow fresh air to flow
Take one thing and let it go
Sell it, or donate or gift it. Just one thing, something that isn’t useful, isn’t beautiful. It may be valuable, that could be a ‘sell it’ but take one thing, and let it go. There…you’ve started.
Don’t come at it from ‘I’m getting rid of everything’ instead know ‘I’m making space for the things I love, I want, I need in my life.’
Come back to the touchstone of what’s useful and what’s beautiful.
Stop buying things
We’ve thankfully got less materialistic during lockdown and COVID. The shops have been closed, people have moved their shopping habits online, however in some ways this is more dangerous.
It used to be the joke that you’d get on the shopping channel at 2 am when you came back from having a beer at the pub. Now we’re online 24/7 and so is online shopping. You probably don’t even have to log in, it’s on an app on your phone, so easy, too easy.
Try to have a week without buying anything, and see how you go.
Create a Pinterest board for visual inspiration
It’s easy to get a little bit fed up, or a bit stuck. Pinterest is a visual scrapbook, it’s like Instagram, very visual but on Pinterest you can create your own scrapbook boards. I’ve got various ones, some are secret, I set up one for each one of the books that I’m writing.
I love the arts, I love looking at art, it refreshes me and energises me so I pin visuals I enjoy.
Create a minimalist board and collect images that inspire you. Maybe an interior of a bedroom, a garden, holiday trips, inspirational quotes.
Pin things that make you want to get rid of clutter and concentrate on what’s important in life.
Tell friends and family that you don’t want them to buy you physical gifts
They could give you a voucher for a local restaurant or takeaway so you can have a meal together (or apart depending on what down on how we go with lockdown) They can gift you experiences, or donate to one of your chosen charities.
Stop getting clutter given to you because it’s even more difficult to get rid of. You’ve got the emotional pressure of feeling guilty for getting rid of something somebody else has paid their hard-earned money for.
Why not have an agreement with all your friends that you’re not going to buy each other gifts? Instead, make them something, bake them a cake. Convince your friends and your family that you don’t want more stuff.
Make some mental space
Take five minutes. I would like you to stop at some point during the day, for five minutes, and do nothing. Just sit. Whether you call it meditation, prayer, quiet time, just sitting in the window looking out. If you’re able to get out into green space sit there or in a quiet room with your eyes closed.
Whatever it may be, try to spend five minutes alone in the quiet. It can be difficult, some people don’t like being in their own head and I appreciate that but just give it a go, see if you can do five minutes.
Making space, decluttering, whatever you call it, is about having the right stuff in your life.
It’s about abundance.
Focusing on what’s important.
It might be making time to write a book, I’m passionate about. Everyone should use their voice, tell their story.
Learn from the professionals
Museums and galleries (I miss them so much) often create an open space with just one item in it. It focuses your attention.
An empty room with one item in it, and that item can be tiny. If you go somewhere that’s busy, cathedrals and ancient buildings that are really packed with ‘stuff’ you can miss some of the quality because there’s just too much to take in.
Love plants or your garden? Have cut flowers and want them to show off? It doesn’t need to be a huge, expensive bouquet. If you’ve got a nice clean space with a small posey vase and just one flower, you can focus and appreciate that one thing.
I love to see an old school glass milk bottle holding a couple of wild flowers, or even just a stick.
Simple, effective, beautiful.
Remember minimalism is about abundance, not scarcity
Don’t be frightened of it.
It’s a journey
I’m trying to live by this. It’s difficult because I love my books. I have things my daughter made for me when she was at school, that my grandchildren have given me. They have an emotional attachment so I am slowly letting other things go to make sure I focus on the right things.
Now, stop scrolling and go and start your de-cluttering journey.
What will you let go of today?