Monday, 31 August 2015

The best things in life aren't things


It was the tea towels that did it.

I went to TKMaxx to browse, which is basically a euphemism for 'spend money I don't have on things I don't need'. I justify buying stuff in there because it's always a bargain, but surely it's only a bargain if it's something you need and at a cheaper price than usual?

So, I spent £6.99 on three new tea-towels.  We don't need more tea-towels, a quick check in a kitchen drawer tells me that we already have over twenty, so I have no idea why I bought them. But it got me thinking about why I am constantly buying more and more possessions when, really, there's very little I actually need.

On one hand I'm accumulating more things, and on the other hand I'm doing lots of reading about decluttering and minimalism.  I even bought a book about decluttering which I promptly lost; I eventually found it buried under a pile of paperwork on my desk. The irony isn't lost on me.

Last week I wrote about buying some pottery and books because they were such a bargain. This week I went back to the same shop and bought another jug that was too good not to buy.  I didn't actually need any of these things, and that's what I'm struggling with.  What am I doing buying so many unnecessary things?

When we moved into this house almost 4 years ago we seemed to have acres of space. It was, it is, the biggest house we've ever lived in yet since then we've I've managed to fill it with....stuff.  Our belongings have expanded to fill the space, and in fact some rooms are over-crowded. For some reason I'm stockpiling paintings, mirrors, cushions, multiple sets of bedding (at the last count we had at least 14 sets of bedding for just 4 beds), pottery, books, blankets, cushions, empty picture frames, and more cushions. Mostly piled in corners and taking up space because I don't know what to do with them, and giving me a constant, nagging feeling at the back of my mind. I know need to do something about them, but never do and I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed by it all to be honest.

The thing is, I'm on a bit of a countdown, because in just over a year I'll be looking to move to a (much smaller) house so the need to declutter is very real.  I've made some attempts to declutter recently but didn't get very far, mainly because I started in the wrong room, the study, which is a dumping ground for everything that doesn't have a home. I need to start in the other rooms first, so I'm going to tackle my bedroom first.

I should add that I don't want to live in an empty, sterile house with little or no belongings - I just want to simplify what we already have and stop buying more and more of the same things.

Apartment Therapy photo via Pinterest

It's going to be a real challenge, but it's got to be done. One thing's for sure: no more tea towels.

What about you, where do you stand on buying and keeping clutter?


These are the blogs I'm currently reading for inspiration:

Apartment Therapy has plenty of articles about small space living and minimalist design.

Just a little less written by Claire who documents her 'journey to a simpler life'.

Becoming Mimimalist tons of information and inspirational posts about minimalism here.

London Minimalists written by husband and wife, Frank and Michelle, who write very honestly about their need to declutter and live more simply.

The Minimalists a bit more hard core, but their post Someday struck a nerve with me.