I have been meaning to write this post for a while, but kept putting it off as what I wanted to say and communicate with you all was actually difficult to put into words. I know what I want as an outcome, but expressing that and making it seem like it’s the right thing to do through discussion and through posting made it sound like it wouldn’t be a difficult task, even though I think it will be once I start.
As I sit typing this, sat on the comfy chair in our living room, watching Z Nation on the tv and sipping some Christmas chai tea, I am surrounded by things. There’s a bookshelf full of DVDs that we have watched once and that’s probably it. There are Disney ones that I’m looking forward to watching with DS when he’s a bit older, but there’s so many that we don’t need. We also have a tv cabinet with two cupboards, also full of DVDs. I can’t even remember the last time I opened the doors to get one of them out. What does that say?
I can also see the sideboard that lives in one corner of the room, which has three drawers and three cupboards. This is full to bursting, full of things we never look at or use. The top of it has frames with pictures of me and Mr FC, the baby sleeping and a hand drawn print from a friend. Why do we need the things in the cupboards and drawers if, truth be told, I don’t even know what’s in there?
If I went upstairs and opened the door to my wardrobe, the thought process would be the same. There are so many tops, pairs of jeans, jumpers, summer clothes and accessories (?!) that I don’t actually know just what I own. I have no idea what lurks in the back of the wardrobe, pushed to the back of the top shelf to make more room for, presumably, new things to go at the front. I don’t need all this stuff!
So, I’m making 2016 the year of less. I am determined to get rid of, donate or sell what we don’t need. I am so fed up of living in a house where we are consumed by the things we own. In some ways, it feels like we are programmed to want to buy things, to own more. It’s deemed a sign of success to have the biggest tv, the latest gadget, and all of the things in-between. But, surely, they just distract us from what’s important?
One of the things I think I’m going to struggle with is the emotional ties to some objects. There are items in our house, multiple items, that hold sentimental value to me. I’ll admit, when we go somewhere on holiday, I like to buy a new mug from that place. I have around 50 mugs at the moment. But, how many do I need when I want to make a cup of tea? One. Just the one, to put a teabag in, and some water. I think I’m a bit of a mug hoarder, (Hello, my name is Nicola and I hoard mugs.) because every time I think about getting rid of some of them, as they just sit in the
cupboard two cupboards that they take up, I can think of a multitude of reasons why not to get rid of them. Oh, but I got this at so-and-so, this was a present from X, this one is really pretty… the list is endless! It sounds mad, but I think I’m going to have to work through a process as I begin our declutter.
Owning less will give us more in so many ways; the more things we own, the more complicated life seems to get. The more we buy, the less satisfied you become with the purchase and begin to look for the next thing to buy. By owning less and buying less, it will give us more time. It’ll give us more money, as we spend less. It will (hopefully) make our house a calm, collected place rather than somewhere full to bursting. The realisation that buying things doesn’t make you happy is a powerful realisation. I can focus more on what’s important; family, friends, creating memories.
I want to start to buy quality over quantity. I want the things we do own to last us longer, to be made to last. I want to buy local, to support our local community. I like to buy things from small retailers rather than the big chains, to support the growth of small businesses. Do I really need ten t-shirts from Primark at £3 each or can I buy three t-shirts that are better made, so will last longer. I’m very tempted to try to do a capsule wardrobe project, to really focus on what I need, rather than what I want. Has anyone else tried that?
I realise that this journey will take a long time; we didn’t accumulate all of the stuff in a day and we won’t get rid of it over night either. But, I have to admit, I am excited to start this journey to owning less. To have a house that’s easy to tidy!
Here’s to 2016: the year of less.
Have any of you been through this already? Any tips for how to begin? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!