When I started decluttering I wasn’t sure what the end result would look like.
My hope was that I could free up some time by having less to tidy and clean up on a daily basis.
Things were out of control at home. Our house was full of stuff, overflowing kitchen cabinets and closets full of clothes that no longer fit us. As a result, we struggled to keep up with tidying and cleaning (and other house chores).
Fast forward a few months and we finally got to experience some of the many benefits of owning less.
Living in a nice, neat home is the most obvious one but there are other unexpected ones that changed our lives in amazing ways.
Here are 5 things that happened since I simplified my life.
1. I’m more creative
A clutter-free home means more freedom and a free-er mind.
Through decluttering, we managed to free up precious hours in our schedule. I found myself wondering what to do with that spare time.
‘Boredom always precedes a period of great creativity’. Robert Pirsig
Instead of turning to TV or social media, I used that time to explore my creative side again. I started playing the piano after years of ignoring it. I signed up for singing lessons and dedicated more time to reading and writing.
Being creative filled a gaping void in my life. It gave me a chance to re-learn how to think for myself, grow and simply enjoy life more.
And it all happened because I decluttered and made space for it.
2. I feel grateful for what I have
Most of us have so much stuff that we don’t even know what we own anymore. Things like letters from ex-boyfriends, 15 year-old Christmas cards / letters, and pairs of jeans from our teens all come clutter our homes.
The problem with that?
Clutter makes it hard to differentiate what we love from what we don’t.
The process of letting go allowed us to figure out what we actually appreciate from what we accumulated just because..(it was cheap, it was a present, it looked pretty, etc.)
Today, we have much less but we value and enjoy using everything that’s in our home. We feel grateful for everything that we have.
3. I focus on quality, not quantity
After I had let go of about 70% of my clothes, it hit me that I loved (almost) none of the clothes that I had in my closet. Not the ones that I kept and definitely not the ones that I gave away.
I had spent years buying cheap clothes from retail chains. About 80% of what I owned was from cheap quality retail chain stores. And while my closet was full of options, I valued very little of what I owned due to the poor quality and the wrong fit.
Fast fashion’s price tag is low but that also means that nothing lasts very long. After the first wash, the t-shirt or sweater shrinks. After a few weeks, the buttons of the jackets come undone, black jeans become grey, etc.
And then I realised that cheap doesn’t mean cheaper, not when it comes to clothes anyway. And I started to get the meaning of:
‘I’m too poor to buy cheap things’. Anonymous
That’s when I decided to build a capsule wardrobe, one of few but good quality pieces. Pieces that I would love to wear day in day out and that wouldn’t get damaged after a couple of wash.
Today, we apply that same principle to other areas of our lives too: always quality, never quantity.
4. Free Therapy
The process of letting go was a therapeutic one for me. It gave me a chance to part with things that were associated with painful memories. For me that included letters, decorative items and even clothes.
While proactively facing the pain brought on by past situations can be healing, surrounding yourself with things that are a constant reminder of that pain may be destructive.
Letting go of anything that brings those memories back allowed me to let go of the past and make room for new experiences, friendships and happy memories.
5. I value experiences over things
As we let go of our “stuff”, we got blessed with the gift of time.
We started travelling more, spending more time outdoors and making new friendships.
‘We are the sum of our experiences, not our things’
Minimalism has taught us that focusing on experiencing rather than accumulating things is the quickest route to a fulfilled life. Our fondest memories involve people, adventures, experiences. They don’t involve things.
Simplifying brought endless riches into our lives: more focus, more calm, but mostly more time to spend on things that really matter.