Tidying up has really captured us all lately. Be it Mrs. Hinch and her grey Instagram feed or Marie Kondo’s Netflix show – we’re all hooked. In an attempt to design more of a minimal lifestyle I purchased Beth Penn’s Little Book of Tidying Up. It caught my eye on the shelf of a bookshop when I was looking for sustainable living resources. As much as I enjoy reading blogs and watching YouTube videos, nothing will beat a book in my eyes.
The Little Book of Tidying Up isn’t just about how to effectively clean away and organise your items. It talks about consumer attitudes, and how to have a more minimalistic approach to living. Consistent consuming only broken up by a yearly de-clutter isn’t enough. The idea is to design a simpler life.
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to throw everything away to create a simpler life. What you view as minimal and simple is up to you. Decide what you perceive as essential and hold onto it. For example, I have an old green jumper that’s completely stretched out and has holes all through it. I won’t get rid of it because it brings so much happiness and comfort into my life. You don’t have to part with your most loved possessions in the name of tidying up.
The average person accumulates clutter on a daily basis until one day it reaches it’s limit. We’ve all sighed in exasperation and despair, complaining “Oh I need to have another clear out soon!”. The worst culprit for me is receipts. They crowd my purse and line the bottom of my bag to the point where I go to find money for a coffee and find 10 receipts for other previously purchased coffees. Rather than doing a big overhaul once a year, keep on top of it. Regularly staying on top of those little things can make such a difference to the running of your daily life.
We’re all guilty of impulse buying – I know I’m especially guilty. There’s not a day that goes by where I don’t walking past a shop and think “Oh my God I need this!”. The reality is, I don’t. Most of the things we buy in a whirlwind will fill us with excitement and happiness for a few days at best. After that, it gets discarded in a corner or at the bottom of a wardrobe. Before making that next impulse purchase think about whether it will add real value to your daily life. Will you get a good use out of it? If not, maybe hold off for now.
Hands up how many of you have purchased loads of new stationary as a motivational tool to study for an exam or upcoming test? Yep, me too. We tell ourselves that if we have X, Y, or Z then we’ll have the tools we need to finally be productive. In essence, we’re just bribing ourselves to do things we don’t actually want to do. The truth is, you don’t need a mountain of boxes like Marie Kondo to have a tidy work or home space. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you need more to do more.
What minimal means to you is personal. I have a clear idea of what I want my life to look like, but that may not match up to yours. As long as it’s a simpler version of your current setup, that’s all that matters. The process of de-cluttering can be tedious and at times it feels easier to give up altogether. Try splitting your end goal up into smaller mini-goals. This can make a task seem much more manageable and you won’t lose morale as quickly.
When buying new items, be smart. Buy with the intention of making things last, so that you have to buy less often. Higher quality items usually cost more by default but by investing in these items you’ll save money by not having to re-purchase short-term.
The Little Book of Tidying has taught me a lot of valuable lessons, and has given me a new outlook on minimalism. Before I thought you had to throw everything away and live a humble “live off the land” approach to life. It didn’t seem very attainable for the average individual, let alone myself. Just because something is low-waste doesn’t automatically mean it’s sustainable for the average person.
I’ll be applying the things I’ve learnt to my everyday life and hopefully will manage to document it here. We already know I’m passionate about producing less waste and breaking away from the must-have consumer attitude. My main barrier was knowing how to go about it all. So thank you Beth Penn for the fantastic book! It’s given me a lot to think about and will definitely be a useful resource in my life.
I'm Elen Mai, the brains behind Welsh Wanderer and 20-something human biology student from (you guessed it) Wales! Welsh Wanderer is designed with the eco-conscious adventurer in mind. So stick around for tips & tricks on living sustainably.