TIDY NOW OR LATER?
I had to leave the flat I was renting, and I thought I could get rid of a few things. When I move in, I said to myself.
I put most of my belongings and furniture in storage, it was meant to be only a few weeks, until the new flat was ready, only it didn’t happen.
MONTHS OF AUSTERITY
I spent 9 months with the same pair of shoes (no chance to get the winter boots, and never did I think I’d be without them for so long of course), the same 4 trousers, 8 jumpers, and a pair of trainers and one winter coat.
I realised it was not so bad, if I could spend so long without my clothes, although I was frustrated I was throwing away money in storage charges at £140 a week for things that really were not so worth it.
I wished I got rid of things before, but life has a funny way of forcing you to do the things you really don’t want to do (on your knees usually!). I learnt it the hard way.
MY NEW FOUND HERO
I always fantasised about the idea of travelling through Europe, I still have not decided whether I want to do it by: car, vespa, bicycle, train, coach, plane… and I came across this website.
This guy is amazing, he is obsessed about travelling light, the less weight on his bicycle, the less it breaks. He didn’t need pockets, or sleeves. He cut his disposable razor in less than half, and his toothbrush! He was able to spend up to 50 days sleeping in very comfortable lightweight bubblewrap. He wore Crocs, because they were weather proof (with a sock layer if needed be) and comfortable to walk on, and the minute he did, all cyclists stopped talking to him. For the first time I contemplated buying Crocs and seeing the appeal of such a practical yet very ugly item. He even knew how to fix his back problem! He is like a living encyclopaedia. I was so inspired I had to do my own list. If I was to go away, what would I take with me? This can prove very useful in case of emergency too. It turns out we don’t need much to live a basic life.
A SECOND CHANCE IN LIFE
Life gave me a second chance, I moved into a big house, and the landlord had plenty of space, I could secretly see an opportunity to get my boxes back.
His mattress was extremely hard, I never complained about mattresses but that was a killer. I asked the storage people if I could get my mattress out, and they wanted £60 plus vat.
I complained that I never signed up for that condition, and my landlord offered to get the things out for me for free. I asked him if I could store the things in his garage, but he had a lot of junk and said no.
Next day he changed his mind and welcomed the extra money I was offering him, £100 a month on top of my rent. He only wanted £50 and I was relieved to get my things back. ANGELS DO EXIST, HE WAS MY SAVING ANGEL. Please forgive the cheesiness but I was desperate for 9 months not knowing what to do with my stuff, you’d be eternally grateful too!
My plan was to get rid of everything I didn’t really want, I gave away all the furniture straight away to my friends, they never made it to the garage. That was a chest of drawers, wardrobe, washing machine, fridge freezer, coffee tables, stools, stackable shelfs, bicycle, lamps..
I am a very determined person, so no one had to tell me to get rid of the 24 boxes of junk I had. I did it through several months, not rushing as it was important that I carried on with my life to build resilience as things were unstable in life in general.
The first box was a bit hard, I found clothes that mum, my brother, my sister bought me. I had to push those feelings away and be honest and shout “I do not like these clothes anyway”! Someone else can benefit from them.
I had 2 pairs of rollerblades, after 10 years I still didn’t manage to learn, due to weather, tiredness, shifts, can’tbebotheredmoments.. And off I went to the charity shop.
My landlord was planning to sell his house, and so I kept getting rid of boxes, not caring to get any money for the items, I felt very good to give away things for free.
I was box free after 6 months, and I then started looking at the things in my room and going through clothes and shoes and so on.
Eventually the day came, I only had 10 days to move out, I got rid of most of my stuff, and so my move out was not going to be anywhere as painful as his was.
I still wasn’t happy and I still got rid of more things, I had to go several times through the item before I was ready to let go.
Some other things I was very fast to let go of.
It turns out I had to move out again, and every time I have less and less items. I feel so much stronger and grounded as I have been building resilience, which I learnt by going through an awful time of stress which you can read here “How to get rid of stress fast”
It didn’t matter that 5 landlords let me down. I became very thick skinned, so when stressful situations show up, I won’t crumble (as much).
LESSONS LEARNT FOR LIFE
When you are frustrated, you take more authentic decisions. You know what you want, and you are true to your feelings and can honestly say whether you love an item genuinely or if it’s a “just in case” or “when I can” hoarding behaviour.
You will only stop being angry the minute you stop giving people power away to do so. The storage people were mucking me around, I took everything out as fast as I could. 2 landlords were being vague about me living with them, I took the power away and chose to live elsewhere. When red flags show up, run away and don’t look back!
I never wanted to spend so much money in a pair of Nike Air Max trainers. I preferred to wear the more humble VANS. I even went to America and bought a few pairs of VANS trainers. Guess what, after walking for an hour, VANS are rather painful to walk on! It turns out the Nike’s I finally bought were the most comfortable!
After that I was able to look at all my trainers, and finally gave away all of them but the Nike ones. Let’s be honest, the others are nice, but don’t do the job properly.
Although I loved my whole fruit juicer, I didn’t really have the space or the time to use it, so I took it to mum’s.
Kitchen wise, all I have so far is a Brita kettle, rice cooker, which I could easily get rid of, and a small Breville blender. Yes I’m really that crap at cooking that I can’t face cooking rice myself. I suppose I should give the rice cooker away, because let’s face it, I only use it once a year if that.. it’s about time I learnt how to cook rice right?
AND SO I’M LEFT WITH..
I realised that other than the clothes and shoes, I use very little things, and they are mostly gadget related or to do with cleanliness, e.g. iron and board I cannot get rid of, mum always taught me I MUST iron my clothes and mum is always right! Never mind I only iron shirts and I rarely wear them, at least when I do I will look decent! It took me decades to get a tidy wardrobe, but hey I have changed! I was just empowered by the perfect awful storm, no place to store things, losing money, and finding the ultra light cycling blogspot.
I have very few items that I value and I am always looking at them to see if I can get rid of more.
I never regret my decisions because they have not been impulsive, they have been thought of several times, or I knew for sure I was ready to let go. When I gave things away I gave them with all my heart.
We are born naked and without anything we particularly own, and we will leave the same way.
The more disciplined I get, the clearer I can see what I want in my life.
I am so passionate about letting go of possessions that I tend to tell my story about minimalism to either friends or new people I meet, and they always come up with either a suggestion or they walk away inspired to achieve something similar.
A friend mentioned a documentary about minimalism, and I greatly recommend watching it! “Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things”.
I was also telling my story to a lady who mentioned there was this famous Japanese lady that wrote a book about being minimalist. I soon found it, her name is Marie Kondo https://konmari.com and although her story is different, she always thought of tidying up, it comes down to the same conclusions that all people is slowly getting at. LESS IS MORE.
DO I NEED TO BECOME A MINIMALIST TOO? HOW CAN I?
This is your life, you get to choose what you want to do. The benefits of decluttering is that you get less overwhelmed, you get to be more genuine and honest with the things that you own. Some people cannot get rid of their books, or DVDs, or shoes.
I personally think that books and DVDs must be given away to charity, that is dead energy and knowledge or joy that should be shared. We can always find those books again in the library if we really want them to, or watch them online. After all, we are meant to learn and watch new things!
WHAT CAN’T YOU GET RID OF?
I managed to get rid pretty much of everything, the only bulky things are jackets, absolutely necessary and basic shoes, there are 8 and I fell I need them all.
There is only one book I cherish and I cannot memorise (nor find online) “The Juice Master” by Jason Vale.
I also own one CD that I cherish, and that was a present from my brother who passed away. The rest are on the hard drive or a cloud.
I wonder how many times did I say “it turns out”? 🙂
My brother has a very minimalistic wife and is able to get rid of junk very easily, although every now and then he will go to my mum’s to store something away..
I remember wishing to be like her, being able to have the absolutely necessary stuff… well I’m getting there!
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