I have been identifying as a minimalist for a good couple of years now. Downsizing my closet, throwing out furniture and re-evaluating my mindset in terms of accumulating, consuming and storing stuff are things I have been well acquainted with in the duration of these years. Loads and loads of stuff has left my drawers, my basement and my cabinets since I began my minimalist journey. So…am I done?
The short answer: No. I have mentioned it before, but minimalism to me, it’s a journey not a destination. It’s a tool towards a simplified life, not a life-goal in itself. And stuff; stuff been a part of my life for a very long time. The accumulation of it, surely, has been an activity that I was very much fond of. Buying stuff on sale, only so that I could afford to buy more items for a lesser amount of money. Thinking about what I desired in the present moment, and not what was reasonable in the greater scale of things.
And even if Chris and I went through truckloads (like serious truckloads…or at least serious sedanloads, which is kind of the same thing, right?) of stuff that we threw out or donated, there are still places around our apartment that could well have been decluttered more prominently. Yet, since the accumulation of all the stuff took years and years, I am calmly accepting that decluttering and minimizing the same stuff is a process. A process that might take several years in its own right. And that is ok.
Let’s look at the status quo, room by room, as it were, shall we?
The utensils and cutlery in the kitchen are a story of their own. We never made any plans when starting to collect inventory for our kitchen, and it also happened that we bought duplicates of stuff just so we would always have a clean one when the other was in the dishwasher. Because quickly scrubbing and cleaning it if you needed it again was too much work? I don’t know. Sometimes duplicates come in handy. Other times I feel that they bring needless clutter.
We also collected porcelain cutlery from a specific brand. Never mind that it was expensive. It’s just one of those things established couples do, right? Now, all I want in cutlery for my kitchen are plain white items with a sleek silhouette. And even if the expensive brand we bought turned out to not be that long lasting and sturdy after all, it’s not with a easy heart that we think to part with it. I do, however, believe that if it costs us more grief than joy it should go, no matter the expense we spent on it all those years ago.
When I wrote about the four minimalist beauty hacks, it was probably evident that I have done some decluttering in the bathroom. For the most part, I try not to stock up on soaps, lotions and shampoo, but rather use until empty and replace as needed. Yet, bathroom products seem to easily pile up anyway, to be honest. My shelf in the bathroom cabinet is currently an untidy mess, as it turns out. So, I guess it’s time to purge again. Get down to the essentials. Waiting until I’ve used up all my hand lotions might not seem like the best solution as the situation stands.
Perhaps it might be valuable to consider the The Minimalists’ 20/20 rule: “Anything we get rid of that we truly need, we can replace for less than $20 in less than 20 minutes from our current location.” From this perspective, holding on to just-in-case items doesn’t make sense. At least not when holding on to them brings you more stress and clutter than anything else.
The living room
The living room is for all intents and purposes mostly clutter-free. We have designated the living room for leisure and work, and as such, it is not used for much storage. The storage is reduced to a couple of book shelves and a tiny drawer. However, our living room isn’t particularly large. Even if it felt a whole lot roomier after we minimized some furniture, such as the TV bench, we have a dining nook that per now is rather inefficient.
The dining nook contains what most dining nooks do; seating and a dinner table. The seating is a bench made from a repurposed IKEA Expedit shelf. With a custom made mattress on top. And throw pillows. The table is a colossal, square table which folds out for extra room in case of guests. Next to the elongated bench, the table looks misplaced and clumpy. It is also unreasonably heavy, due to its extension function. And having guests over is not a forte of ours, either. So, yes; the living room situation is currently clutter-free and functional, with the exception of a dining nook that makes us scratch our heads and is probably due for some new ideas.
Since the living room does not invite to any particular storage of stuff, the stuff we do keep are stored in the bedroom. It hits me sometimes, that we have actually minimized our items pretty well, all things considering. If I look for something, it’s not that may places to look, because mostly things are straightforwardly and it’s easy to get an overview. Well, keyword is mostly.
Our storage units in the bedroom consists of two large drawers on each side of the bed (four in total), a hanging rack and a handfull of narrow wall mounted cabinets (originally for shoes) each. And an antique trunk, which stores my sewing machine and our Christmas decorations, amongst a few other things.
Chris and I have two bed drawers each, on our respective sides of the bed. I recently decluttered one of them. The other is still a mess from when I studied for my Master’s degree. Here, resides textbooks, notebooks and other things I hold on to stored in chaotic harmony. A cabinet bookcase in the hallway also holds textbooks and textiles plus some additional clutter. Dream scenario would be to declutter both this drawer and the cabinet bookcase, and well, replace the cabinet altogether with a smaller, well mounted cabinet and some shelves.
At the same time that I found minimalism, I had just began experimenting with a style change. After growing out of my emo kid phase, I wanted to test out any and every kind of color and my style was all over the place. Hence, pairing down my wardrobe to a well curated capsule wardrobe was a pretty large project.
This means that my wardrobe is still an ongoing operation, as it were. I guess a wardrobe is a never-ending project in many ways, regardless. But mine is still at the stage where I am trying to find out what works and what doesn’t.
I even managed to do a tiny shopping blooper this summer. So yes, those still happen, even when you try your best to be a mindful consumer… It was the warmest summer since forever, and going away on holiday I needed some light fabric pull-pants, or so I thought. I ended up buying three different pairs; one that looks great but is not too comfortable to have on; one that is very comfortable but feels too bulky; and a third who is kind of in-between – comfy, but indecisive in terms of looks. In hindsight, these purchases could have been planned a bit better.
I am wearing the third pair of aforementioned pants in the above pictures, though, so I guess not a total miss, altogether. I’m learning to love it, and it is made of recycled polyester, so that’s a win, at least!
Basically, I still have a few things to take care of in terms of decluttering and minimizing. Some decluttering and re-organizing of utensils and cutlery in the kitchen; a super-messy shelf in the bathroom; an awkward dining nook in the living room; a couple of junk drawers in the bedroom (and a junk cabinet in the hallway); and some mishaps in the wardrobe.
And this, my friends, is how far I have currently come in terms of my minimalist journey. It’s just life, though, isn’t it? There’s always stuff accumulating one way or the other, no matter how mindful or cautious one is from a consumer perspective, and from time to time said stuff needs taking care of.
How about you, if you’re a minimalist, declutterer or organizer; are you still decluttering or do you find yourself in the maintenance stage? Or maybe you’re like me, somewhere in between?