Introduction and the story so far...
My name is Clare and I am aspiring to live a calmer, simpler, less cluttered life!
It hasn't always been this way. When I first moved in with my boyfriend (now husband of nearly 10 years) most of our disagreements were about the newspapers scattered all over the kitchen table and my piles of things that I needed to put away (also know as things that I claimed to still be using) that were prominently displayed on the floor of our study.
Luckily for both of us, about a year later I read a wonderful book called 'Take time for your life' by Cheryl Richardson, and in it she wrote about the connection between your environment and the clarity of your thinking and productivity. Messy, cluttered room = messy cluttered thoughts! I suddenly understood why my piles of stuff were so annoying to my boyfriend and why I desperately needed to change my habits.
In a short space of time I went from piles of stuff and scattered newspapers to a cancelled newspaper subscription and nice clear surfaces. At work too I went from a desk that looked like it housed some kind of elaborate paper sculpture to a desk that was cleared every evening before I went home.
These new habits made a noticeable difference to my quality of life, but did nothing to stem the gentle flow of 'stuff' that was gradually accumulating in our house. We had far too many clothes, unnecessary furniture, a ridiculous amount of extra-large platters (wedding gifts...) and so many CD's they had their own wardrobe!
Two children later, and all the 'must-haves' that go with them, we no longer comfortable fitted in our old 3 bedroom house. Admittedly, the fact that we could stand in our lounge and wave at both sets of neighbours through their lounge windows was a factor too! My husband and I dreamed of radically downsizing our furniture before we decided to move to our current house, but sentimentality got in the way.
It was another two years of rearranging the furniture to try and make it fit before I heard the term minimalism and discovered Francine Jay's book 'The Joy of Less'. I ordered it from the library and was inspired to immediately start decluttering my house.
Her blog www.missminimalist.com led me to www.theminimalistmom.com who led me to www.simplybeingmum.com; all constant sources of inspiration and encouragement along my decluttering journey.
Since then, carloads of clothes, books, toys and kitchenware have been donated to places like church op-shops, the Salvation Army, and the school car-boot sale, but we are nowhere near finished!
*disclaimer: Our choice to live with less stuff is certainly not a judgement on other people's lifestyle choices. We all have different interests and different ideas, and this is the one that works for my family (at the moment!) A calmer, less cluttered space makes us feel calmer and think clearer so we regularly question whether items in the house are still 'useful or beautiful' for us or whether it is time to donate them so they can be useful (or beautiful!) to someone else :)
What have been your minimalist or simple living inspirations?
What or who helps you to keep committed to living with less?