1 year ago, I was that person that brought new linen, cushions, rugs and homewares every week just so we could 'change up' the house. Every time there was a sale on at a clothing store, I would overspend on pieces that 'maybe' I'll wear and 'just in case' things because it was cheap. I then watched the minimalist's documentary on netflix and my perception on 'things' has completely changed and given us all such a sense of freedom and opened our time up to the more important 'things' in life, which is 'time spent', not money.
I had some really good questions come through from you all and I hope my answers are able to help you! so here goes my first Q & A!
What are some things you have gotten rid of that you originally thought you needed but can live without?
Decor was such a big thing for me to let go of! I thought our house always had to look like a magazine, with the perfect cushions and latest artwork on the walls. Then as I was slowly taking piece by piece away, I realised I had no attachment to it and most of the time it caused me nothing but stress because it was never 'quite right', not to mention the amount of money spent on this never ending addiction! Now everything has a purpose. We have one couch to sit on, 2 rugs to warm our timber floors, a tv (because we aren't quite ready to give up our secret addiction to Home & Away) and a small table to eat at. i have my wedding flowers on display and plants scattered throughout the place because they give me a sense of warmth and make the place more homely. As for practical things, we have just gotten rid of the microwave and it has freed up so much space and one less use of electricity! so far so good! also little things, like we only have 4 cups, 4 bowls, 2 plates, one fry pan and one saucepan. This makes for easy dishes and a lot let mess after preparing a meal! However, we have got a set put aside for when guests are to come so we aren't complete can people haha.
What would be your top tips for decluttering?
GO SLOW! I started week by week. Consciously going through cupboards and boxes and clothing and only removing little by little. Then I would repeat this each month. If i hadn't used it or warn it in that time, I felt i could live without it, so it went. We are finally now, a year later, reaching a point where we only have around 20 pieces of clothing each, 2 pairs of shoes, and our kitchen has the perfect amount to live functionally with. there are weeks where I feel we could get rid of more, so we sit down and talk about it before we make a conscious decision to remove it. Decluttering doesn't just end at 'things' though. I have decluttered friends and relationships, recently let go of my job so I could have more balance and even for some people it could be a weekly hobby or routine that they just don't enjoy anymore - one that seems to be more of a hassle and causes stress more then joy. Freeing your time is just as important as freeing your possessions. It all leads you to a freer mind and understanding of where you want to be - The best book I have read for this is , 'The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a Fuck'. You will thank me later! You don't have to even be close to a minimalist to read this one. It is just good for life in general and a must read for people like me who care too much about what others think.
How has being a minimalist affected you and your life? Has it changed you in terms of thinking, mood, stress, etc?
YES ! 110% ! Ask any one of my close friends and they know I am a serial worrier and over thinker. I still am. This has just halved it for me, which has been a massive turn around for our life. For example. When we used to have rental inspections for our house, I would have to clean madly for the whole day before because I could never keep ontop of our house work. Now, they could walk in any moment without notice because the housework is able to easily be done in a matter of minutes. Everything we own has a purpose, has a place & is always being used, which means it is always being cleaned. I used to always struggle to find things also, which therefore led to stress levels times 100 every morning with getting ready! Now, same reason, we know where everything is which has reduced everyones stress level dramatically.
What things have you got rid of but then realised you actually really need as a parent? eg. I got rid of all the extra linen last week then the kids got hit with the vomiting bug this week and iv been stuck with what to change their beds with?
Firstly, You poor thing! I hope they are much better now and that you got through it! Secondly, you did get through it. & even though it wouldn't have been easy, it is still possible. However, I have to admit that i have a cupboard full of old towels for this exact reason haha I don't think that it is wrong to be prepared in that sense. That isn't at all hoarding, that is being prepared for these common moments as a parent. Towels are always a useful thing and can be hidden quite easily and only pulled out once needed. eg. We left all our windows open at Christmas and a ridiculous storm went through and flooded our house. That's where our towels saved us! and we were also so grateful that we didn't own heaps of things because there was no loss of pieces. everything was dried off the next day and easily popped back in the rooms. So yes, towels is probably the biggest thing and a spare set of bed linen. However, when my children are sick, I put them on our couch so they aren't sick on the sheets and lay towels around the floor just in case.
What did you do with things you moved forward?
A lot of our pieces and old clothes were donated to charities across the coast. Now, i consciously either purchase from these op shops so that pieces are being reused, or I spend good money on clothing so that we can sell them once we want to upgrade and know that it is now being cared for by someone else and not just dumped.
What alternative items specifically for bubs and toddlers did you replace/remove from your home?
I honestly don't think I have replaced anything! I have removed ALL the children's toys. What remains is a dolls house and an outdoor kitchen that my husband built. I have also kept all of there dress ups because they love playing different characters and I feel that it really helps their imagination! They have one set of colouring in textas to share and a colouring in book each as well as 2 tubs of playdough. If they aren't doing this, they are building cubby houses or playing shops with what we do own which they love! They don't ever ask for toys anymore. I explained and showed our eldest how she doesn't use them and that there are heaps of ways to play at home (which she was doing without noticing when the toys were around anyway). I suppose i did replace all their clothes in a sense! My eldest doesn't like wearing 'mummys work clothes', so I conciously brought 2 pairs of pants/shorts, 2 shirts, a nice dress and a nice jumper for weekends. Washing has decreased so much, therefor making more time and less waste. School holidays will come soon and she will live in her bathers most of the time or switch between these outfits because they all her 'favourite'.
I really hope I have helped answering all your questions! Sorry for the low quality images but i just wanted you to see how we arranged everything - specifically our kitchen! Please don't hesitate to message me if you have any more !
Much love, Courtney x