#Unclutter2017 – Moving On


Having recently finished Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project, I was on the lookout for something new to read. I was thrilled to discover a Nora Ephron book in Warwickshire libraries’ e-Book collection: I Feel Be About My Neck: And Other Thoughts On Being a Woman.

A wide-ranging collection of essays

Essentially a collection of essays, the book offers an amusing and witty perspective on various aspects of life from the point of view of a woman of a certain age.

Ephron’s topics are wide-ranging: from ‘maintenance’ to the nostalgic quest for the perfect cabbage strudel, I recommend the book to you wholeheartedly (whether or not you are, like me, a woman and most definitely on the ‘wrong’ side of 40).

A surprise in the narrative

A chapter entitled Moving On included the following fulsome surprise. As a minimalist, my virtual antennae is perpetually attuned to concepts like decluttering and its resultant benefits. So, I relished the following paragraph, which I reproduce in full, below. In this piece, Ephron and family are preparing to leave their Manhattan apartment after many years living there:

“So we prepared to move. We threw away whole pieces of our lives: the Care Bears, the wire shelving in the basement storage room, the boxes full of bank statements, the posters we hung on the walls when we were young, the stereo speakers that no longer worked, the first computer we ever bought, the snowboard, the surfboard, the Portafiles full of documents relating to movies never made. Boxes of clothing went to charity. Boxes of books went to libraries in homeless shelters. We felt cleansed. We’d gotten back to basics. We’d been forced to confront what we had outgrown, what we’d no longer need, who we were. We’d Taken Stock. It was as if we’d died but got to sort through our things; it was as if we’d been reborn and were now able to start accumulating all over again.”

Extract from Nora Ephron: I Feel Be About My Neck: And Other Thoughts On Being a Woman

Just look at that:

“We felt cleansed. We’d gotten back to basics. We’d been forced to confront what we had outgrown, what we’d no longer need, who we were.”

Letting go

This piece captures so eloquently but wistfully the process of letting go whilst revealing so clearly the resultant benefits.

Aspiring minimalists already know the joy of living with less. What Ephron captures is the sense of moving on, not only physically but emotionally, from the life she once had.

Where our perspectives diverge is in the very last part where Ephron suggests the idea of starting to ‘accumulate all over again’. We know that re-filling our lives with stuff will not add value or provide the sustained benefits of a clutter-less existence.

Over to you

So, if you are cracking on with #Unclutter2017 this weekend, remember that the process may cause you to confront who you once were. You’ll feel lighter as a result, however, and I promise you it’ll help you get back to basics and focus on what really matters.

If you’re a regular visitor to the blog, do Join the community for additional content, recommendations and news updates. You are all very welcome.

Further reading

5 top tips for moving house

Don’t confuse your possessions for treasured memories 

10 ways to avoid re-cluttering our lives


#Unclutter2017 – One in, one out


What happens when you need to replace something?

Does this sound like you? You need a new X because your existing X has worn out/broken/cracked/gone baggy/has shrunk in the wash. Your natural inclination is to replace X with Y, but to keep X because:
  • I can use it in the garden
  • I can wear it around the house
  • I can keep it as a spare
  • It might come in handy
No! Unless you are seriously into home decorating, gardening or DIY, the likelihood of using/wearing X again is negligible.

Let it go by following the one in, one out rule

Establish this principle: When you bring a new item into the house, an old one has to go. This is the ‘one in, one out’ rule.

Gone for Good

There are some fantastic initiatives that support the ‘one in, one out’ approach. My local independent underwear shop accepts pre-worn bras, which are then donated for charity. Old books are very welcome at the second-hand not-for-profit book store. Charity shops will often accept all sorts of miscellaneous items, some of which can be sold immediately in your local store. Tap into local initiatives because there’ll certainly be a way for you to pass on your no-longer-needed items and you’ll do some good in the process.

Stay clutter-free

If you’re well on the road to living a fuller life with less, this rule will help you avoid the trap of ‘re-filling’ your home with more stuff.

Join the Community

Finally, if you’re new to the blog, I invite you to join the Midlands Minimalist community here. It’s great to have you on board!

The 4-Step Wardrobe Edit

Before and After

I’m so thrilled to welcome new followers to the blog, following the publication
of my 4-Step Wardrobe Edit. Big thanks to Joshua Becker over at Becoming Minimalist

Receive your own copy of the Wardrobe Edit Checklist

Everyone who joins the Midlands Minimalist Community will receive their own copy of my 4-Stage Wardrobe Edit checklist, so make sure to sign up if you’d like to get this straight to your inbox.

Further reading

If you’re new to the blog, you may want to check out related articles including my take on Minimal make-up.

If you’re a shopper, check out why I believe that slow shopping is a minimalist thing.

Finally, take a look at why I believe you shouldn’t keep things for best, but wear them and enjoy them every day: Give up your Sunday best!

Coming up

Next month, my theme will be Frugal February, so drop me a line to let me know if there’s anything specific you’d like me to cover. We’ll be covering a number of topics from grocery shopping to credit cards.

So, don’t forget to sign up to grab your free Wardrobe Edit Checklist. It’s great to have you on board.





#Unclutter2017 – Remove Duplicates


Today’s tip is to remove duplicates.

Find and remove spares

If you look in the kitchen cupboard, I’ll bet you’ll find duplicates of at least one piece of equipment. When I finally tackled my own kitchen, this was certainly the case.
The kitchen is the area of our home where we seem to (inexplicably) acquire more than one of the same thing. It’s likely that you have at least two can or bottle openers. I did! For some reason, we invest in new and better equipment, then fail to get rid of the original.
So, today’s tip is to go through a particular space and remove duplicates, keeping the very best item for daily use.
As I wrote here, I don’t believe in ‘Sunday best’ so lighten the load and retain your preferred item.

#Unclutter2017 – Box it up

Today’s tip emulates the experience of Ryan Nicodemus of The Minimalists who famously boxed up the contents of his entire home, deciding to keep only those items that he used in the subsequent 21 days.
Try this yourself, but on a smaller scale. Take a look at a specific space where you are storing little-used items. In particular, look at a place such as hard-to-reach high cupboards, basement storage units or utility room shelves.
Box up the seldom-used items and retrieve only what you need within the next month (or within a period of time you decide). If, after that period has elapsed, you haven’t emptied the box, take it (as it is) to the recycling centre, charity shop or homeless shelter.
If you’re feeling bold, host a packing party to invite some friends to help you.

#Unclutter 2017 – Play the Minimalism Game


Play the Minimalism Game

Play the Minimalism Game throughout January, made popular by Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus (The Minimalists).

Here’s how

Did you know that if you declutter one item on day 1, two on day 2, three on day 3 and so on, after a month, you will have reduced the number of items you own by 496?
Try it for longer if you feel inspired to continue. Imagine after 50 days, you’d have decluttered 1300 items! That’s a lot of stuff!
Share your story via #Unclutter2017