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Anyone want to join me in a minimalist journey?

(954 Posts)
lucysnowe Thu 13-Dec-12 14:30:53

I've been reading a load of minimalist mum blogs and have been brainwashed inspired smile. We are undergoing some building work at the mo and the amount of stuff everywhere is absolutely doing me head in. Once it is finished I want to have a ginormous sort and throw out. We are getting a tumble dryer and I plan to start culling clothes, sheets, towels etc, with the aim of getting ALL washing done each week and not have massive full up bins cluttering up the place. Next: toys, ornaments, and random bits of paper. grin Anyone fancy doing the same for the New Year?

MinimalistMommi Fri 04-Jan-13 18:29:28

PretzelTime Fri 04-Jan-13 19:04:29

I'm glad people on this thread has mentioned how weird Zenhabits can be! I used to read that site religiously. But Leo have written some really embarassing things through the years, such as the minimalist post on health. The advice was "eat less" as a cure-all (?!). And his angry vegan posts about his arch enemy, the Weston A. Price Foundation.
The recent post "The Other Person is Never the Problem" made me a bit angry too - what if the other person IS a problem grin

And so on. I'm going to declutter his blog from my bookmarks and spend more time contemplating off line like the wise harriet.

QueenofWhatever Fri 04-Jan-13 19:05:37

I really agree with both IWipeArses and Remus' posts. For me minimalism is abut fun and enjoyment. There's also that serotonin rush when I get rid of a load of stuff and feel much lighter and calmer. That's why I reacted so badly to that 12 Rules post. Why would I refuse to answer the phone after a set time unless it had been prearranged? My friend got engaged last week - imagine if I had a rule that she couldn't have called and told me?

The thing about books is very insightful Remus. I know I enjoy and read a lot and I know I enjoy and listen to a lot of music. Why do I feel the need to have a home full of these things? Is it to prove to people that I like books and music? Is it to present a certain image of myself? We all do this to a certain extent, that's what the clothes that we wear are all about.

And yes, anyone is welcome on this thread - minimalist, declutterer or lurker.i'm getting a lot out of the variety of takes on this. I thought I was more like minimalistmommi but am realising that I'm not. I am also a terrible rainy day hoarder - as an example, my rationale for keeping some jimjams that are too hot for me was "well, what if DP leaves me and I get cold in bed? They'll be useful then" confused.

BlackBagBorderBinLiner Fri 04-Jan-13 19:31:56

MinimalistMommi We've been living a lightweight lifestyle since we university nearly 20 years ago! Travelling, couch surfing, camper vans because we never seemed to live and work together in the same area.

Children have been a big challenge. We are the opposite to you in that we have the floor space, currently (80+80+80+40+16+15) 311 square metres plus outbuildings and we're going to add to this another 110 sq m.

I don't think it's about how low can you go. For us it's about finding the perfect solution for a task. We've been looking for a perfect reading chair for years, rejected many, not bought several 'it'll do' options then last year we found it!

with the kids toys, the local toy library was brilliant:
The kids got to try stuff out,
our families and new friends saw that the kids 'had stuff' but we did n't have to buy, store and dispose of it.
Why buy jigsaws, perfect library fodder.

With stuff we bought it's flexible, the largest thing we have is a cupboard & shelf arrangement that can be a cooker, shop, post office,puppet theatre.


Paper, paint, felt tips, glitter & glue

Keyboard for music, a few puccusion things

Sometimes you get it wrong, no one loved the open plan dolls house.

Dressing up stuff is either ignored or quickly a firm favourite.

A treasure chest each, doubles as a seat, for small 'precious' stuff

A good bookcase, everyone a joy. 1001 you must read type stuff

Unintentionally we make other people uncomfortable, by not having lots of duplicated stuff, we highlight that have chosen to. I watched friends declutter successive waves of 'developmental' toys, complaining that their kids grow up so fast these days. Not much gets bought here but not much gets thrown away and the kids are genuinely bonded with most of their stuff rather than constantly on to the next thing.

harrietspy Fri 04-Jan-13 19:41:56

remus's post about books - yes yes yes, that's me!

So many interesting posts on here!

Reporting back on my screen-free night (which was a very big deal for me...) it was just lovely to go to bed with a book for the first time in ages. I'll do the same tonight. And I went back to my usual morning writing/meditation thing and felt so much better. I am decluttering my head! smile.

I think this thread is for all - declutterers, those interested in a more formal idea of minimalism (whatever that might be), simplifying, frugality, non-frugality, living with less, living more consciously, etc.

LentilAsAnything Fri 04-Jan-13 20:16:28

Leo didn't write the 12 Rules post though, it was a guest. Or am I getting confused, as the link upthread said 12 Rules but linked elsewhere?
I am totally in agreement with him re the WAPF, I believe he is spot on. Follow the money! Milk is unhealthy. The only thing healthy about it are the profits.
I am on board with much of his lifestyle choices anyway (we are also vegan, and also unschool).

But I digress. Minimalism. For us it is about being more footloose and fancy free, free to jet off with minimal effort. It's about not buying in to the consumerist lifestyle that tells us we need this that and the other. We need very little.

Shirley, your travel plans sound fab. Any idea where you will go?

PeppaPrig Fri 04-Jan-13 20:18:30

remus's post about books - yes yes yes, that's me!

^^ this.

madwomanintheattic Fri 04-Jan-13 20:23:42

We had over forty boxes of books when we moved last. I have bought more since.

I am thinking about them hard...

harrietspy Fri 04-Jan-13 20:45:30

Lentils, you're right: it wasn't Leo B who wrote the 12 rules, it was a guest blogger. I've found a lot of value in ZH but, as with the Soule Mama blog, I sometimes find that I'm yearning to be like them in a vague and unsatisfying kind of way rather than changing my behaviour in the moment.

Minimalism for me just now means not having 12 grades of pencil because I Want To Be An Artist, but rather having one pencil with which I draw every day. (I can substitute 'pencil' for '12 kinds of notepad/writer', etc). I suppose it's about aligning what I have with what I do rather than with an identity I'd like to have, or about my possessions accurately mirroring my lived life rather than my fantasies...

IWipeArses Fri 04-Jan-13 21:12:16

Harriet, spot on with getting rid of that unfulfilled aspirational lifestyle we get cluttered up with. I think that can be one the hardest category if clutter to get rid of.

I love SouleMama's blog too, love to breathe it in. blush

xMinerva Fri 04-Jan-13 21:16:14

Hi all, just found this thread. Only read to page 4 but thought I'd say hi before I forget.

I love the minimalist idea and thankfully we're in the exact position to do this right now. We moved from the UK to NZ 3 months ago and hardly brought anything with us.

We are in a fully furnished place at the moment and the only things here that we actually own (not including clothes and toys for the moment) is

3 le creuset pans (LC)
1 LC casserole dish
2x LC baking dishes (one small, one large)
1x LC Wok
A small handful of utensils
A coffee machine
A Kenwood Chef
2x single beds (the dc's)
4x sheet/duvet cover sets (2 for each dc)
A handful of my favourite books
Quite a few CD's

And erm, that's it.

We obviously need to move from here into an unfurnished place at some point so need to buy ourselves stuff but I'm determined to only buy the very basics.

In the meantime I will do something with all my CD's. they are all on iTunes and backed up on the hard drive and don't even have a CD player so can't play them. Going to be hard but no point in them sitting on a shelf collecting dust.

I already scaled back my books when we moved, will have a look again but don't think I'll get rid of any more.

I NEED to sort out the dc's clothes. They have WAY TOO MANY and they are only 3 and 2 years old.

Toys, I'll have a look through but tbh they don't have that much anyway. We couldn't bring many from the UK and they didn't get too much for Christmas.

Will read through rest of thread as and when I can, but Hi to you all.

LemonBreeland Fri 04-Jan-13 21:21:44

Agree this thread is for everyone.

I really came onto this thread with a decluttering mindset but am getting a lot of ideas that are interesting me with regards to a minimalist lifestyle. The idea of a simpler life with less screen time etc.

BoffinMum Fri 04-Jan-13 22:55:16

I lived with practically nothing for three years before I got married. I can't say I felt particularly light. The place itself was small too, and done times felt a bit squashed. I think it's less about minimalism and more about equilibrium sometimes.

SuffolkNWhat Sat 05-Jan-13 08:34:02

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

xMinerva Sat 05-Jan-13 09:06:27

Music magpie looks like a good idea. Will have to try and find a NZ version though.

Have downloaded simplicity parenting today and so far so good.

I'm trying to persuade dp that we don't need a tv but he's having none of it. sad

BoffinMum Sat 05-Jan-13 09:09:33

Older classics do well on MusicMagpie.

blossombath Sat 05-Jan-13 09:27:18

I don't know, I have one internet free evening to watch a film with DH, and you all go off and have really interesting discussions which take ages to catch up on...

Seriously, some real food for thought - like lemon this thread caught my eye because I wanted to declutter, but there have been so many challenging and inspiring posts I'm definitely now on some sort of minimalist journey. Starting, of course, from a much more 'stuffish' place than MM or queen. I am more of the blackbag persuasion in my own take on minimalism - it's about finding the perfect solution for the task. But also, for me, about not letting stuff take up too much of my time: whether researching, agonising over, choosing and buying it; cleaning, maintaining and organising it; or clearing, agonising over, deciding and disposing of it...all of this takes up my energy and time and I'd rather it didn't.

Also agree with remus about books, largely, but then I also want to ensure my DS grows up in a house where books are evident and important as I'd love him to share my love of reading. But am I using that as excuse for keeping books? And perhaps he will love reading on a Kindle and I will make my peace with that...

Finally madwoman one thing I have found helpful is to tackle groups of items. So we cleared our bedding drawer, then our towels, next all the socks will be heaped in one place and sorted/cleared out and then the underwear and nightwear. Our bedroom is a real problem as we used it to store things that had no other home, so I find tackling a 'genre' of items in this way is less scary than even the 15 minute fly lady thing. It's it's helpful both to see how many duplicates you own and to be able to clearly decide on what are your favourites/most useful of any particular genre, making it easier to get rid of the duds.

AntoinetteCosway Sat 05-Jan-13 09:42:23

I'd love to get rid of the TV but DH is having none of it. He's an X-boxer (well, only Skyrim really, but he's been playing it for over a year!) and doesn't want to stop. I'd like to put it in the spare room instead of the sitting room but there's no space hmm

PeppaPrig Sat 05-Jan-13 10:21:10

I don't want to live in a book-free house. I like how they look, I love reading (and don't find it the same on my kindle), and like blossom want the DC to see that books and reading are a normal part of life. I'm going to use the gorgeous and nourishing mantra though - paperbacks I'll never re-read will go on the kindle, gorgeous and nourishing ones will go on the shelves.

I've decided to face up to virtual clutter this morning - goodbye Facebook and twitter. I want to live a more mindful, richer life, and don't think the way I use twitter (snarky comments about tv shows) or facebook (wasting time over who to friend/defriend, looking at holiday snaps of people I hardly know, thinking about how to present myself in the best light, dealing with feelings of envy over other people's lives, hanging onto the past, spending time on fb friendships rather than nurturing real-life ones) contribute to this. Pinterest is going too - that's just a huge, virtual cluttersphere!

MN has to stay - I get all my child-rearing and life advice here, and it's invaluable entertainment during the night feeds! And of course, there's this thread grin.

^aligning what I have with what I do rather than with an identity I'd like to have, or about my possessions accurately mirroring my lived life rather than my fantasies...^ is how I want to be. Thanks harriet - this sums up my approach to minimalism.

harrietspy Sat 05-Jan-13 10:36:00

I love this thread!

I don't want to be book-free either, but I don't want to hang on to books for the wrong reasons. Perhaps they're only clutter if they're stand-ins for something else.

PeppaPrig Sat 05-Jan-13 10:38:19

I'm also unsubscribing from marketing emails from shops - this should help my frugal resolution too grin.

IWipeArses Sat 05-Jan-13 11:47:12

My ILs have hardly any books in their homes at all, but read all the time as they are library regulars.
But I don't read a lot of popular fiction, I tend to buy non-fiction most of the time, and usually the library doesn't have it, or I will reference it many times in the future.
We got rid of most of our novels,. If I wouldn't read it again, had had it a long time without reading, or it was out of copyright and therefore free on kindle it went.

MrsPennyapple Sat 05-Jan-13 11:57:24

This thread has been a total eye-opener for me - especially considering I only clicked on it when I was bored and I could see it kept appearing on Active Threads.

I will be totally honest, I always thought "minimalist" was purely an interior design concept, i.e, living in a white room with only a stone on a coffee table as decoration.

However, having read through, I certainly recognize certain minimalist tendencies in myself. The feeling of being opressed by STUFF. The feeling of relief and lightness after clearing out a load of crap that hasn't seen the light of day for five years. I read a comment upthread (can't remember who, sorry) about keeping stuff to fulfill an emotional need, and it really struck a chord. I'm no hoarder, but I do keep things just in case. We have a drawer full of cables, many still in their packets, that I dare not throw away because the moment I do, I'll need it. (To be fair, this has happened to me plenty of times. I had a recipe book dedicated entirely to apple recipes. I worked out I'd had it for twelve years and never cooked anything out of it, so I gave it to charity. Three days later, I was given a HUUUUUGE box of apples. But I digress...) I also recognise the need to reduce screen time. I'm on here too much, and the housework suffers. If I got of my backside and got on with it, the house would be cleaner and tidier, and nicer to live in.

So right now, I'm not minimalist, I'm just decluttering. I too like the idea of making housework quicker and easier. I don't like fussy frilly things, I like clean lines and plain, open space. But I am keen to live more mindfully, too much money goes on unnecessary rubbish. I love crafts and have lots of equipment, but can't resist a pack of pretty papers. But realistically, I know I have enough to make all my family's birthday cards for the next ten years, so I'm attempting to use only what I have. It's a creative challenge too, and I find I do my best work when I am tinkering about with what's already there.

And on that note, I shall get off the aforementioned backside, and get on with something.

pixiestix Sat 05-Jan-13 13:40:40

This thread is throwing up so many thoughts and feelings and lots of them are really uncomfortable. Like Harriet said, its about so much more than just getting rid of excess stuff.

I'm taking on board what Remus said about books. I have five big bookcases stuffed with books and pamphlets, yet I never read. I used to be a total bookworm and loved my book collection - but now? I never have the time or the inclination. I am tired. If I have half an hour free in the evenings I want to go to bed, not curl up with a book. So am I keeping them to impress? To convince myself I will get the "old me" back some day? To force my own values on to DD by making her a reader, whether she wants to be or not? I don't know the answer - what I do know is that 95% of those books haven't been opened in about ten years. It feels like giving some part of me up to get rid of them though. A part of myself that I really liked.

PretzelTime Sat 05-Jan-13 15:21:08

Books are difficult, yes.
I'm afraid of getting rid of many non-fiction books which I have not had use for in years, because it's like if I get rid of the book, the ideas and facts within it will disappear from me too. And what if someone else I know would need the info! Even if internet and libraries exists!
There is something cozy and homely about them too.

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