Living a minimalist life might be unappealing to many of us, but there’s no reason why you can’t simplify your home and live more with less. If you’ve read Marie Kondo’s book The Life-Changing Art of Tidying Up, you’ll know that ditching unused, broken, ugly or purposeless items from your home can radically improve happiness and wellbeing. The whole decluttering process can be a bit overwhelming, so I’ve come up with 5 things you can cut from your life right now.
1 – Cull Your Plastics
We all have a ‘plastic’ cupboard in our kitchen. It’s usually the one that you have to open carefully so containers, lids and bottles don’t spill out. Chances are, you use only one fifth of what you actually have in there. Get rid of all the take-away containers, ice-cream buckets and other bits that you’ve collected over the years. Keep the good quality containers and make sure they have a corresponding lid. Stack them neatly so they’re accessible – and stable! I find designating a small cupboard to plastics is a great way of streamlining. You can’t hoard more than you can fit in the small space and it forces you to be tidy.
2 – Digitise Your Life
We all know that we can download, stream and digitise our music and photos. But do you still have drawers of DVDs and CDs? How about your bookshelves? Are they filled with airport novels that your bought on a whim and will never read again?
You need to take the leap and fully digitise your life. Put all your music on your computer and donate your CDs (even your favourite ones). Burn your DVDs to a hard-drive, or if you can’t, simply download them and start a digital movie library. Same goes with your photos. Storing them on a computer or external hard-drive is safer, easier to edit and is clutter-free.
Next, thoroughly evaluate your bookshelf and donate all the books that you’ll never read again. Buy a Kindle or electronic book and start your digital library. I have a rule that all fiction books go on my Kindle, but non-fiction (including interior design books) can be bought second-hand in hardcopy. You’re still building your book collection – and books give a home personality – but you’ll only display the ones you truly love.
3 – Streamline Your Linen-Closet
Beautiful bed linen was traditionally given as a wedding gift. It was treasured and, because of its high cost, rarely replaced. My mum still has sheets that were given to her on her wedding day. Though thankfully they’ve now moved outside to my dad’s shed – loud 70s patterns do not make for good sleep. But with cheap manufacturing in China, we now buy new bed linen every year or so. Our linen closets are absolutely bursting at the seams. Here’s the solution: buy two sets of plain coloured, excellent quality sheets and rotate them until they fall apart. I love Ettitude Bamboo sheets for their softness, quality and ethical manufacturing.
4 – Say No To Freebies
It may give us a buzz thinking we got something for nothing, but chances are the stuff people are giving away is poor-quality rubbish. Bea Johnson, the queen of minimalism, advocates against freebies in her minimalist manifesto The Zero Waste Home. And she has a point. You really don’t need another plastic water bottle, pen holder or ugly baseball cap. Just say no up front and you won’t have trouble throwing it out later.
5 – Cut Out The Paperwork
Papers, bills and advertising pamphlets make every home look like a horrible mess. And it’s a problem easily fixed. Simply automate bills, have bank statements and other official documents sent electronically, and put a ‘no advertising’ sign on your letter box. And of course, reducing papers at home means you can never bring work home with you. It’s just far too messy .