I’ve been reading a lot about Minimalism lately.
It started when I heard about a site called Minimal Mac. That site led me to Zen Habits and then on to mnmlist and before you know it I’m reading a post about how to declutter a closet (or tidy a wardrobe as I call it).
Now I wasn’t really sure if I wanted to embrace the minimalist lifestyle or not but I did have a wardrobe that was in a right old state.
So posts like this tend to grab my attention.
I should stress – I don’t need to be told how to tidy my wardrobe, I just need to be told to clear out my damn wardrobe!
It’s a motivational thing.
And it seemed to do the trick as that following weekend I got started on the wardrobe from hell.
There really was far too much stuff to tackle in one sitting.
So I logically divided it up into sections and did it over the course of several weekends.
I figured I’d lack motivation after a while and give up (this wasn’t the first time I’d tried to do this) but to my surprise the sense of accomplishment I got from clearing a section motivated me to do another section the following weekend.
The key thing was to make sure I had enough time to do a section completely so I could get that sense of accomplishment – the motivation killer is when you run out of time with the job half done.
Nobody wants to go back to a half-completed job.
I’m using the word “section” to mean any number of things.
Some “sections” were boxes of papers I’d been hanging on to for, um, several years.
Going through a box and deciding whether to shred, recycle or file away the papers inside was one of the tasks I dreaded.
There’s a reason there were papers inside going back years. I’d been putting off sorting through it for all that time.
Hmm, that was several dull afternoons of my life I’m never getting back.
No more random boxes
Other “sections” were boxes of stuff.
Generally speaking, I had two types of boxes; boxes of related things (like tools or camera gear) and boxes of random crap that didn’t seem to belong anywhere.
I wasn’t really concerned with the boxes of related things – I knew what was in them as I accessed them fairly regularly.
It was the random crap I had a problem with.
Boxes of random stuff are bad news.
As long as there is no rule about what does and doesn’t belong in them then effectively everything belongs in them.
And once you have a rule like that you’ll slowly but surely end up with a wardrobe that’s a big old tip again.
So, there will be no more random boxes.
If I really can’t figure out where something belongs then it’s quite likely I don’t even want it around.
I thought it would be quite hard to get rid of the stuff in the random boxes but it was fairly easy – most of it had been sat there untouched for years and really was junk.
Various bits already belonged somewhere else – camera bits or stuff for my bike etc.
The remainder ended up in the chuck pile.
Disposing of stuff
As for actually disposing of stuff.
Papers and bits of cardboard were all recycled (sensitive papers being shredded first of course).
Things like unwanted books, records and DVDs went to Oxfam (after being offered to friends – friends who clearly don’t share my tastes I might add!).
Unwanted electrical stuff went on either eBay or Freecycle.
Actually, hardly anything went on eBay – either everyone’s going minimalist or there’s a recession on as everyone was selling and nobody was buying.
Hmmm, I got rid of an all awful lot of stuff – I guess all that reading about minimalism has rubbed off on me after all.