Live more with less
I still remember it as if it was yesterday. If we would go out, even if it was just for grocery shopping, my mom demanded that my room be tidy. She wouldn’t have it when my stuff was just lying around. I had cupboards in my room to put my things in. Oh, and also, they were organized. If I remember correctly, I had one drawer that was my junk drawer.
Besides that, our house was always spotless. Yes, we had a cleaning lady that came once a week on Tuesday. But, to my defense, on Friday I was running around with a duster and vacuum cleaner. My room? That I had to clean myself.
When you used the bathroom, you made sure that the bathroom would be as clean as you found it. Just to make it as welcoming for the next person.
Dishes were done straight away; the countertops were kept clear and the kitchen sink was empty. When I came home from school shoes were put in the cupboard and my school bag had its designated spot. Laundry was folded as soon as it came out of the tumble dryer and ironing was done at a specific time of the day.
You can imagine that I was rolling my eyes more than once when I got remarks about having too much stuff and that it was that time of the week again to clean my room. And why, oh why couldn’t my shoes just stay at the door, I had to use them again tomorrow anyway!
Little did I know that she was actually creating calmness by keeping the house tidy and clean. By doing these little things during the day cleaning and tidying up wasn’t an overwhelming task at all. I’m sure that she wasn’t motivated by any scientific reasons that keeping your house tidy would actually make you happier. I do know that for my mom her approach just felt right.
And I have to agree that it was indeed a good approach. One I only started to appreciate by the time I moved out of the house. I never realized that I had created a couple of good habits along the way as well! I had my own Marie Kondo, one that was ahead of her time 😉
Walking into a bathroom that has a clean sink is nicer than looking at yesterday’s toothpaste marks. Knowing that there are no dirty dishes waiting for you is very relaxing. At any time of the day, someone can walk into my home and I wouldn’t feel the need to all of a sudden start tidying up because it is tidy, and it feels good!
I however took my mom’s approach a step further and I started to realize that I had too much of everything. Too many things I had to put aside to dust the tops of the cupboards. Too many clothes that I never wore, too many things I was keeping because I could use them someday. I didn’t need a bigger home, I needed less “stuff”.
Out of clutter find simplicityAlbert Einstein
Less stuff to manage, less stuff to worry about, less stuff so I could focus better, and less stuff to need and own. Honestly, why do you need good dinnerware if you are only going to use it once in your lifetime?!
I was very lucky that my husband had exactly the same thoughts about this way of living. Slowly but surely, we started to declutter. We tackled room by room and soon our house looked a lot different, and in a way, it feels calmer and more peaceful. We still have the good dinnerware, but we use it every day now and we got rid of our other dinnerware 😉
By decluttering and living minimalistic, we learned to disassociate ourselves from our material belongings. We only buy quality products that will last us a lifetime but are not afraid to use them. We both have a capsule wardrobe and really embrace the concept less is more!
I’m sure that it’s obvious that also cleaning and keeping it tidy is a bit easier with… less.
But I guess the most important lesson that living this way has taught us, is that you really don’t need all this stuff around you to make you happy. On the contrary, by having less you have more freedom. You create space and peace. You can focus on your health and your hobbies instead of working till late to make sure you can keep up with the Joneses.
Yes, we still have photo frames and some decoration but, we display what we value most. Everything has got a story behind it and that makes it more special.
How do we keep things this way? Well, ever so often we declutter a space, a cupboard. If we haven’t used something for the last year then it goes. It either goes to a yard sale, we donate, or it ends up in the bin if it’s to no use anyone anymore. Anything we have double goes. Books are donated to the library.
By the way, you really don’t need a professional organizer to start decluttering, you just need to be honest with yourself and get started!