By Natalie Bascur
We often think we need more material things to be happy – a better car, the latest iPhone or the newest trending fashions.
However, it’s not true. When we become so swamped by all the things that we have, we are often unable to see what we actually need to live a happy life. Yup, minimalism is becoming a ‘thing’, and for good reason. A declutter of belongings can give you space to breathe again, simplifying your life in a positive way, and bringing more contentment.
So where do you start? Right here baby.
1 // Clean out your wardrobe
This may sound counter productive, but allocate a day and pull absolutely everything out of your closet. Take in everything that you see and start pulling aside only the items that would be very difficult for you to give up. Maybe a designer dress you spent a small fortune on, a silk scarf from your mum, or the perfect jacket that goes with everything. Now look at what’s left. Take out anything you see that is ripped, ill fitting or stained with what you thought was chocolate but never quite came out with Vanish. Bag all these in the throw-away pile and place them out of sight. Next, you need to be ruthless and get rid of anything that does not empower you to be the woman you want to be. Ask yourself questions. Were they bought for special occasions that never eventuated? Was there some unbelievable discount involved? Do they fit a certain way that is not entirely flattering? Every time you consider deleting a piece from your life, a chorus of ‘what ifs’ might start in your mind. What if overalls come back? What if I take a trip to Ibiza? What if Brad Pitt asks me and the kids for a play date? It isn’t easy to limit your options. To narrow it down, look at your clothes remaining and if even two or three of the items share a distinctive trait, it’s time to get rid of at least one. No one needs three baggy floral maxi dresses when you are a jeans and t-shirt mum most of the time. Pick your fave and ditch the rest.
2 // Recruit help
Sometimes we can’t bear to part with particular things. We imagine our future self might be desperate to wear those shoes one day. So enlist a family member or close friend who knows your tastes who will be a lot more ruthless and dispassionate about your ‘stuff’. Invite trusted GFs around ‘Sex and the City’ style, and look at all that you have.
3 // Revel in the aftermath
Now that you’ve edited out all the ‘bad’ from your closet, the good should finally be able to show through. What is it about these clothes that you like? What do they have in common? Are there particular colours or silhouettes that have taken over following your ruthless edit? These are the elements of your personal style, something you probably had difficulty articulating before. Now that you know what they are, you know what to look for the next time you hit the shops. You should be able to stop yourself from making the same shopping mistakes that forced you to embark on this epic closet cull in the first place. Think of the money you’ll save and the stress you’ll avoid.
4 // Embrace your style
Now that every item in your wardrobe has a place and a purpose, you can be one of those women that you overhear while shopping who is only looking for a ‘white business shirt’ or ‘grey t-shirt’. It’s good to know what you want.
5 // Declutter the surfaces
Simplify rooms at home by working in one room at a time. Start by getting anything off the floor, then work your way up to all flat surfaces. Get rid of anything that doesn’t need to be out, by placing it in a drawer or cupboard, or storing away. Keep out only the things you want to walk past each day that uplift your soul and keep you motivated.
6 // Reconsider your routines
Write down all your weekly chores and obligations and write a schedule. Try to allocate all your most hated chores, such as the washing. This could be in the morning while listening to tunes, or when the kids are tucked in. Once you have a routine set, there will be less dread as you know you only have a set time of the week to have to worry about it.
7 // Enjoy your space
Once you have cleared out an area, really focus on how much you love your new, simplified space. Once you’re hooked on this and appreciate the low-fuss, decluttered feeling, you’re more likely to keep it going.