There have been many exciting changes to my life since purging my belongings and so I thought I would share them. Removing my life laundry gave me a whole new outlook and for the first time in years everything became clear. I apologise if that sounds a little cheesy but it really has been a moment of clarity.
‘Welcome back life, I lost you under all my stuff.’
Simple living and minimalism are not about living uncomfortably for the sake of it, nor are they about a white minimalist homes, although that’s my preference! They’re about being grounded and grateful, and breaking the habit of constantly wanting more. Minimalism is prioritising the good stuff and discarding the things that don’t bring happiness and joy.
So here are a few of the things I gained when I decluttered my home.
1. Feeling lighter
I thought I’d start with a totally abstract benefit which I’m already struggling to put into words. I guess what I’m trying to convey is I feel lighter and freer. Cupboards of clutter can weigh us down and excess baggage connects us to the past and can prevent us from moving forward. With the majority of my stuff gone I feel clear about how I want to live. Every item in my home is something I use or love, they all facilitate my life and there’s nothing getting in the way. It’s a lovely uplifting and energising feeling.
2. Less housework and maintenance
Less stuff means less housework, less time organising and tidying, less time looking for things and less time getting things repaired or replaced.
My man and I live in a small apartment which is inexpensive to heat and involves little maintenance. It’s cosy and we enjoy every inch of the space, not to mention the smaller mortgage!
3. More time for family and friends
The increased time from owning and pursuing less means more time for family and friends.
4. Less focus on consumerism and a greater enjoyment of the things I own
I’ll always love nice things, however, I no longer have the desire to collect stuff. The old me was a hoarder and I purchased far more than I ever needed or used. Since letting go, I really appreciate and enjoy the things I have left and I feel content and grateful.
5. More freedom
Owning less has given me more time for day trips and holidays, it has also redefined my life values. I guess I’m now a collector of memories rather than things.
6. Healthier living and less stress
Having more time has encouraged me to improve my diet and enjoy regular exercise. I’ve always been someone who struggles to relax, so living in a low maintenance home has forced me to put my feet up.
I also have time to read and at the end of 2014 I started mindfulness which I do using the Headspace app each morning. It’s wonderful to engage in a positive lifestyle and to learn a little more about myself.
7. More space
My apartment is bigger now the shelves, stuff and excess furniture have been removed. Perfect for those Kate Bush arm waving dance moments!
8. Less comparison
Simple living has helped me to think about the way I’d like to live, without the trappings of consumerism. I can make choices without worrying as much about money or what the Jones’s are up to. It’s a liberating feeling.
9. Less work
After buying very little, I soon realised I no longer needed to work as much and so at the beginning of 2015 I began working part-time after twenty years of full-time work. The extra time to indulge in creative projects resulted in an increase in work offers. And so, after much consideration and planning, I decided to take a career break from the University of Oxford to work freelance.
Looking back I definitely felt my job title and salary defined me. But by abandoning the pursuit of material possessions my view of what was important shifted and the pressure I put on myself seemed to fall away. Life’s far too short to do what’s expected of you and I regret not realising it sooner!
10. Doing some good
I decided to donate the majority of my stuff to Cancer Research. This enabled me to quickly remove it and start enjoying my new clutter-free life. It also lifted some of the guilt I had from buying things I hadn’t used.
So there you have it, the 10 benefits I’ve found from clearing the clutter. I fully understand that simple and minimalist living are not for everyone, but for me this is the best lifestyle choice I’ve ever made. After all, who can argue with less work and more fun?
I hope you have a wonderful weekend!