Who knew getting rid of shit was so hard!!!!
Reducing the amount of items in your house is an ongoing and never-ending endeavour. Even if you try to limit the number of items coming into your house, it seems like every second your back is turned the stuff already there breeds another innocuous object.
This year I focused on my immediate living spaces, reducing table-top style clutter at my bedside, in my bathroom, and in my living spaces. I purged wardrobe, minor pieces, furniture, and old electronics. It is absolutely incredible what you find hidden in the crevasses and corners of your home. Tucked under the stairs was a collection of boxes that hadn't seen daylight since I moved into the house 10 years ago. I threw them out without opening them, as I genuinely couldn't remember what was in them. I may regret it, but it's doubtful.
Other crap came out of items left behind by former house-mates. Things that I kept on the premise of "I'll use this, it'd be a shame to waste this *insert object here, usually some kind of bath product*" but as most of those had been stored for 5 plus years, out they went as well. Anything unopened was donated to the local women's shelter, anything opened was drained and tossed.
My husband has a hard rule about purging books, so we haven't lessened that collection at all. However I did reduce my tea-cup collection, my table covering collection (I don't really use table coverings anyway), and an entire old dresser stuffed to bursting with DVDs that, due to the convenience of the multiple streaming platforms we subscribe to, haven't been watched in almost as long as they've been in the house.
When it comes to movies/dvds, I did want to keep some of my all-time favourites. I ditched the plastic cases (which can be recycled in my area), and combined all the discs into one portable, stowable CD folder capable of holding my cinema collection.
In the year since this blog started our City finally adopted curb-side recycling, which has helped dramatically reduce the number of trips I need to take to the recycling depot. With this, we have managed to reduce our household waste by 30% additional percent, and we have a lot less recycling cluttering the space which has helped with the aesthetic of the space as well.
As we continue to reduce, we will keep you posted on some neat tricks to get your space exactly how you want it. Bonus: we're broke, so everything we do will be super budget-friendly!
I suppose the best way to describe the blog for the past couple of months is radio silence. I'm going to go ahead and blame my (now diagnosed and being treated) brain problems and the general weather accompanying a Canadian Winter coupled with just a lot of other stuff on my plate.
But Spring is here, the snow is melted, the anti-depressants have kicked in, and I am back - mostly - I do have a million and one things on the go.
But the minimalist Journey continues, enhanced by the growing popularity of the Konmari method developed and popularized by the ever delightful Marie Kondo. Netflix had a special on her, which apparently everyone has watched (including myself) and it's inspiring to see houses go from cluttered chaos to cheerfully minimal in a matter of weeks.
One of the particularly beautiful things about the show is that Marie Kondo maintains an air of no judgement around the state of a house. She will crack a joke, or make a point, but she is never belittling to her clients and encourages them to make choices that are good for them. Most folks exceed their own expectations on the program, commenting frequently that their biggest hurdle was just starting.
And that is what it boils down to: finding a place to start. In the Konmari method you start with clothes and build your purging muscle (yes, it is a muscle). The ability to say goodbye to things is an art that requires practice, so start from impersonal items and grow towards the more sentimental ones. Do what makes you feel good, and breathe into your new space and new mindset.
Of course, one of the easiest ways to reduce the amount of clutter in your house is to not bring it in at all. Friends of mine and I are participating in a no-buy. Well, they are, I've broken the rules so many times my habits haven't changed at all, so here we go starting again!
If you find yourself in a position like me: the best of intentions and no willpower to change bad habits, take a moment to stop and breathe, reset, forgive yourself for past mistakes, and sit down and write an action plan for how to change your habits. The important part is to forgive yourself and move on. Reset your expectations, give yourself a pep talk, and get back into it. You can do it, I believe in you.
So GOALS this week include: Update the Lethbridge Blog, I have been sitting on 2 interviews for MONTHS and I really need to get those published, plus continue with efforts in the basement of the house.
Onward and upward friends!
The guest room in our home is almost back!
We removed all the furniture to re-do the floor. And what we discovered when we moved all the major pieces is that the dresser, the bedside tables, the boxes that contained unknown amounts of things in the closet: is that all the nooks & crannies had been stuffed with items that should NOT have been there.
Imagine if you will, finding a heap of documentation in a dresser drawer stuffed to bursting, and when you pull out all that documentation you find bills paid 5 years ago, empty envelopes from the mail that have been ripped open, and random kitchy items your housemates have left behind. All of it garbage.
Okay, so there was some income tax documentation in there, some house expenses we needed to hold onto, some more bills, etc. The VAST MAJORITY of it was things that should have been recycled or discarded the moment we had opened them to find the important stuff inside.
Mail for the previous house owner (who is now deceased) had been squirreled away into boxes and envelopes inside of the drawers and drowned in other recycling that was far past-due from making its way to the depot. I filled an entire 40 gallon tote with just useless paper!
So you can imagine my frustration at our household situation. Under the stairs we had been storing 24 UNUSED cardboard boxes that hadn't even been broken down to flat, they were just whole, and closed, and empty. I swear they multiply in the darkness: breeding like some living infestation.
But after all that: after 3 solid hours of sorting and piling and choking back disgust, it's all gone. The drawers are now re-filled with fabrics waiting to be turned into garments (I do sew on occasion, and my hobbies do require me to make some garments that cannot be easily found). I look forward to moving my sewing desk back downstairs to find a home in the clean new spaces left behind by the useless clutter.
Photos will be coming shortly so you can see exactly what I am talking about.
Guest Room tally:
1 dresser - purged
3 boxes - purged
40 gallons of paper to recycling, 1 box of items to be donated (most of them in their original packaging)
2 bedside tables purged
1 closet emptied.
The only items in the room going forward are: 1 bed (queen sized), 2 night stands with bedside lamps, 1 dresser, a painting, and a dress form. Everything else is stored in drawers and tucked away and it feels soooo good that everything has a home!
I’m pretty sure the first reaction my husband Matt had when I told him I was getting interested in “minimalism” was pure terror. We have lived together for almost 5 years, got married last year, and there is definitely a reason I affectionately refer to him as “Hurricane Matthew” from time to time. Our home is a cornucopia of clutter and chaos, stemming mostly from laziness and bad habits, coupled with too many hobbies and a hectic work schedule.
The home we live in is a shared-rental with other students that is owned by my parents. They purchased the property in 2009 when I was attending the University of Lethbridge, as an investment property. Matt and I are both finished school, but as we have set up a business here in Lethbridge, we are continuing to live in the house.
Last year I spent some time working for a local non-profit called Environment Lethbridge (amazing organization with an incredibly dedicated and talented team, check them out). While working there was an incredible experience, it also opened my eyes to the devastating effect modern western culture is having on the environment. It highlighted some of my own bad habits, and brought to my attention just how harmful some of my more innocuous habits have been on an environmental and economical scale.
I began to pay attention to things: habits that we had that were harmful to the environment, attitudes towards recycling and re-use, even our spending and purchasing habits were having a negative effect. Couple that with the general stress of my full-time job (running your own start-up brewery is no easy feat) and Matt having to cover bills for both of us, and the weight of the world was really settling in.
So I began to think about changes we could be making, and the first thing I noticed after frantically cleaning my house before a biannual Parental Visit (you know, getting the house clean enough that the parents don’t bemoan your house-keeping skills aka: getting it “mom clean”) I noticed that my stress levels were significantly lower in a cleaner environment.
Of course, after my parents left the house fell back into its usual state of chaos.
The more I looked into the Minimalist Movement the more I began to understand the general culture and began to crave the apparent ease minimalists had navigating their environments. Each object in a Minimalist’s space is intentional, and it has a home within that space so you can always find it. No tripping over clothing on the floor, no stepping on belts, or pens, or random bits of plastic packaging that hasn’t made its way to the garbage bin yet. (Seriously, our house-keeping skills suck.)
I began looking up videos about tips and tricks to sort through the mound of stuff and the message was simple: Minimalism is hard work! But Minimalism is also worth it.
Now, before we end for today I will let you in on another honest fact about me: I believe myself to be a candidate for undiagnosed depression and anxiety issues. Typing that made my nose prickle and my eyes start to well up. Thank you, weird cortisol fluctuations in my brain.
So in addition to being overworked, over stressed, and living in an environment that is compounding my stress levels, there are other mental-health issues at play. This blog is going to be an honest reflection of my experiences (that’s what blogs are, right?) and how I, and my family/friends, interact with those experiences.
One thing I have noticed doing research on Minimalism is that most people producing videos or blogs or what-not have adopted the minimalist lifestyle successfully and are offering their own personal tips and tricks. There are indeed very few resources where you can watch that person in their journey. This is what this blog aims to be.
While the city-specific pages of Hic Habito will be all about local businesses and supporting local culture, the Minimalism blog will be about my personal journey into a more sustainable, minimal lifestyle. My goal will be to write a post weekly updating you on my progress, likely complete with pictures and anecdotes. It will occasionally feature special-interest topics like how to do holidays in Minimalist Culture, and if you want to see anything in particular, be sure to let me know. Thanks for coming along for the ride.