The title to this is both an accurate physical and metaphorical statement…we all have cobwebs and clutter in our homes, and inside ourselves. This will be a two-part post, with this first part being about physical clutter inside our house, and the second part being about mental/spiritual clutter.
To be brutally honest, I am a class A++ hoarder of pretty much anything that catches my eye. I collect clutter, or at least, I used to. If you were to open my closet and either one of my two dressers, you would see one overflowing with clothes that I never wore, one jammed so full of shoes and bags that never got used except once in a blue moon, and the other dresser was jammed full of…stuff. I don’t really even know what to classify it as. Some of it was makeup, some of it was ribbon and sewing kits, several photographs, nail polish, art supplies, random school papers, books…you get the picture…it was just all in a jumble. And the tops of my dressers were also jam packed with just about the same list of stuff mentioned above. Needless to say, it was bad. There were clothes on the floor, and the carpet had mud tracked into it. Dust was on the walls…and I don’t even want to think about what my ceiling fan blades looked like. “Gah” is the only expression of disgust I can fathom to describe it all.
My story of de-cluttering isn’t one that happened magically overnight…or even in a few days, or weeks. It has been a journey, and a very slow, tiring one, of several months. And these several months were not occupied by me cleaning and organizing, they were mostly taken up by me staring at the mess, and just saying something along the lines of “NOPE not today” (which really meant “never”), Or perhaps doing a not-even-half-hearted clean up…which entailed me taking a trash bag, and at least getting the trash out of my dresser and some of it off the floor. My room was the most accurate description of a pigsty that there ever was.
So, time went on, and my room basically got no cleaner. However, the one thing that I did make progress on, was my thought process. I started to actually notice the clutter, the dirt, the dust, the random junk that was everywhere. Whereas before it was just a part of the very much living and breathing ecosystem of my room. With this new-found “noticing” came new reactions. I was actually embarrassed of the state it was in. It disgusted me, I didn’t want my friends to see the mess, so I’d just shove it all into some dark corner of my closet or cram it deeper into my dresser, and hope they wouldn’t open it. Not that this really helped anything either, because I did nothing to eliminate the mess, I just tried to hide it more. Speed up a couple more months, and now I was really fed up. I was actually seeing the stuff that was classified as “junk” and the stuff that was classified as, well, “stuff”. But I still couldn’t draw the line between what I wanted, and what I needed. And that wouldn’t come to pass for a good while longer.
To be truthful, I got my first taste of minimalist living from the hit social media outlit of Tumblr. I had been binging on it during that time, mostly looking at nature photography and fashion (an interesting feed mix to be sure), when I stumbled upon some indoor decor images in a collage. They showed a very clean, bright and airy room, with clean cut lines, and minimal decor (mostly of elegantly potted plants, and a couple inspiring sculptures). Well, I was intrigued. But as I was looking around the rooms in these pictures, and indeed feeling awed at the open air environment, I was quite confused. “Where on earth is their stuff?” I couldn’t figure it out, they had this perfect surface image, but I felt sure they had to have loads of junk like I did tucked away in some closet. I saw the word “Minimalist” as one of the tags and clicked it. I was bombed with image after image, article and post, DIY and tips and tricks, and buddy, I was hooked. But even though I was visually addicted to the IDEA of living the minimalist lifestyle, I had no idea of where to even start.
After all, my room had to be different from where they all started out from…they were born being minimalists…right? The answer to that question came from one of my dearest friends and soul sisters, Eleeyah. She and I both had a lot of stuff…but the difference between us, was that every time I would go for a visit, I was shocked at the fact that she had gotten rid of loads of it, every time, and her room would be a little emptier, a lot more clean, and near perfectly organized. I couldn’t figure out how she did it, and she was more than happy to tell me about how she viewed the items she owned, and helped illustrate the differences between need and want.
Did I need those fifteen bottles of stale nail polish? Nope. Did I need four pairs of boots when I only actually wore one pair consistently? Nope. Did I need those mountainous piles of clothes that were stacked in my closet, and in my dresser, that out of all of it for each week, I used approx. exactly ten alternating shirts, three pairs of jeans, and one denim skirt? Nope. I had to look at that pile of clothes, pick out what I was IN LOVE with, that I simply COULD NOT live without, and then give the rest to charity or throw away what wasn’t in prime condition. This action took me about three days of hauling giant bags out the the car to take to Goodwill, but once I got it done…I had more space in my dresser and closet than I ever had before. Plus I color coordinated it, which adds a flair of colorful symmetry that certainly was not there before.
I did the same sort of exercise with my “junk dresser” the extra dresser that I crammed all my random stuff into. Unless it was something I used nearly every single day, (like my now much smaller makeup bag, my two necklaces and my favorite hair products) I threw it away or put it in a give away bag. Although my dresser is now far more spacious, my next goal is to entirely eliminate the need for this second dresser, and be able to give it away. I have a naturally small room, and my dressers are antique…and huge.
The purpose of this post is to simply give some examples of my work-in-progress of eliminating ALL clutter, until what I have is the basic minimum that I need. I will update periodically on how this is going, but for now I hope that my tentative insights will help you to de-clutter your own home!