The Big Clean Out
As I wrote in one of my older posts I discovered the documentary ‘Minimalism’ on Netflix and it is one of the main things that inspired me to change my lifestyle and also to start this blog. The main thing I discovered whilst trying to reduce my wastefulness and declutter was how wasteful it is at the start. I was filling up bags and bags of rubbish and it almost made me stop short. How can I live low waste if i’m throwing so much away?
Well that’s just it isn’t it, you have to be wasteful initially before you can stop being wasteful. I had to go through what I had with a fine tooth comb and get rid of the things that I don’t need before I could find out what I did need. When you no longer have cupboards, boxes and bags full of crap you don’t need to buy more boxes and bags to fill up with more crap. Now with my low waste, environmental goal in mind I didn’t dump all of my stuff into landfill, what I found was that most of the things I was throwing away were still in really good condition, I had never really needed them so I had never really used them.
I moved back into my mums house after I left university and decided that I needed a tidy-up of my childhood bedroom. Whilst I was tidying I found a massive collection of Sylvanian families that i’d collected as a child, it had been left, forgotten, at the back of one of my cupboards. I tried to think back to the last time i’d played with them and realised that i’d kept these toys for over a decade for no reason what so ever. I told my mum about them and her response was ‘you can’t throw them away, don’t you want to keep them as momentos?’ I realised that that was exactly what I had been doing with most of the things I owned, I’d kept them out of some weird sense of ‘well this made me happy in the past so I can’t throw it away now’. That was the tipping point that triggered a massive clean out operation.
I collected everything that I no longer wanted but that could still be used into the same storage bags and boxes that they had originally lived in and I had a car boot sale. Just because these things didn’t enrich my life doesn’t mean it can’t enrich someone else’s. What I didn’t sell I donated to charity shops or gifted to friends and family. I gave my Sylvanian families to my younger sister, who played with them more than I had ever done.
Obviously I tend to be quite a sentimental person, and at times I can be a bit of a hoarder, so the trick that i’ve been using to try and make myself stop hoarding things, especially since moving back home is: ‘if I moved house today would I want to take this with me’. If the idea of packing, moving, unpacking, and finding a new place for the item in question doesn’t sound appealing or important to you, you need to get rid of that item.
I now feel, after my big clean-out, that when I do finally move out everything that I own will come with me.