There’s a minimalism trend going around my friendship circles that focuses on getting rid of items that don’t bring value to your life. It highlights a great 90/90 rule of thumb; if you haven’t used an item for 90 days or you won’t use it 90 days into the future then it’s time to re-home it.
Whilst decluttering is still on my wish list, I’ve definitely started and stopped my fair share of ways to declutter. The latest is the monthly challenge whereby one thing is given away at the first of the month, two items on the second, three on the third… you get the picture. It gets very tricky at day thirty when you get down to giving away pens, paper clips or plastic bags just to make up the numbers. I got tired after three days and basically forgot to keep going. If you’re like me and don’t think you’ll ever make it into the minimalism ‘cool group,’ it could be because of the following reasons….
1. You don’t have time to launder.
Letting the laundry pile up is a bit of a luxury but sometimes it’s essential, especially if you work or if you have conflicting time demands (read: multiple children). Let’s face it: doing laundry is a pain, so if you have more clothes, you can leave them in the wash for a week and will still have something to wear. This requires a large wardrobe and lots of items for all seasons and doing a big wash that lasts a whole day with multiple loads. The only issue you may face is if you have uniforms and need to keep them clean daily or weekly. If you can, store multiple items of your uniform for those lazy laundry weeks.
2. You can’t let go.
You were gifted a special ornament from your beloved Aunt Bessie who passed away last year and it’s the only thing she ever gave you and reminds you of her every time you look at it. It might be some years before you can deal with grief so you want to hang onto that keepsake. If you have a few of these, I’m sorry, but minimalism isn’t for you.
3. You have multiple children, thus requiring two or more of… everything.
Multiple bottles, cups, cutlery, plates, bowls, bibs, highchairs, food items, beds, clothes and car seats: these alone throw the very concept of minimalism right out the window.
4. You are generous and you want to keep things incase someone needs it.
Getting rid of “stuff” isn’t that easy. “Stuff” usually has purpose (unless you’re a full-blown hoarder and plan to keep those tap heads from your neighbor’s kitchen renovation “just in case”). Sometimes you might have excess furniture or kitchenware and you know it’ll come in handy for your student friends when they move away from home—and they’d be glad if a free item or two came their way. You’re happy to hold on to it (as annoying as it is having to store it), if only to give it to the right person at the right time.
5. You’ve heard a lot about the Depression Era.
Perhaps you’ve heard something along the lines of, “We didn’t have all the things you young people have today had when we were kids” have been uttered from your grandparents many times over. You understand that they or their parents had very little and you don’t want to discredit or disrespect their experience. You feel lucky for what you have and maybe, if we go through another depression or recession, we’ll have to start trading. Who knows, that old bike helmet may just be a useful trade for a pound of sugar.
6. You like crafting with your kids.
Stuff that sticks on other stuff is awesome. If you have glue and anything else, it can be stuck on a box to create a spaceship, even those tap heads from the neighbor I mentioned earlier. Old ribbon, coloured paper, refillable bottles with lids and tape can be used for a pair of fun DIY maracas. You only have to glimpse at Pinterest to know how to use just about anything that is lying around your house and on a rainy day with bored kids, crafting keeps everyone sane. (Just don’t hang onto old glue that doesn’t leave the tube. No one has time to wait for that old glue to suddenly become “good” again and unstick from itself—that ship has sailed.)
7. You have family that likes to bring you things and you don’t want to be rude.
This is fair enough, right? You’re a good person who doesn’t like to burn bridges. I often wish I was a bit more cut-throat so I could put a sign on the door that reads, “If it isn’t edible, essential or encouraging, it doesn’t come in.”
8. You love upcycling or snagging a bargain.
My husband fixes up TVs, which means we have usually five screens under repair at any one time. I love fixing up furniture so that takes up room, too. We can sell these online and make some extra money, so they do add value to our lives—but if they lay around for a year before we start the project, the inner minimalist would go bonkers living in our house.
Good luck to all you bidding minimalists out there. I wish you happy living with your extra time and environmentally-friendly reusable coffee cups. I guess you’ll never lose it with your beautifully simple (yet maybe empty) room. I know I have one somewhere. We probably have five—a size and shape for every occasion. I’m just not sure what cupboard they’re in.