Lost the plot

Missed my usual Project 333 and discardia posts this week!

I’ve been really busy and we’re planning some work to the house that’s taken up all our time.

We’ve decided that instead of editing our rooms in their current form, we’re going to change the layout of the house. That means bringing down the wall between the playroom and living room and turning the two rooms into one big open plan living/dining room with doors at each end allowing a ‘flow’ in and out of the rooms. We’re also going to turn the large living room window into a bifold door way instead, which will go out to the garden.  Outside the new doors we’re having a raised deck area so the floor level inside and outside will be exactly the same with no lips or steps for the baby to trip over. The raised deck area should only be one step up from the grass and will cover a duff patch of garden which gets no sun. We’ve lived here for 4 years and this one section of garden just will not work. We’ve returfed it 3 times, tried planting shady shrubs… it’s still a sodden muddy mess.

Since it’s not useable as grass, covering it makes the most sense and the decking will give us a space for Tabi to play on (which is more kid friendly than the patio) even when the grass is damp.

That gives us a large living and eating space that goes straight outside and keeps toddlers out of the kitchen (the only access to the garden currently) and loses the pretty ridiculous playroom. I mean, what 1 year old needs a whole room for their toys? I want to create family space, not storage space.

The last 2 changes we’re making are to the front garden (moving the front path and extending the fence) and my husbands study. His study is a tiny room and has the only storage cupboard in the house tucked away at the back making his room an elaborate corridor, rather than private man cave. We’re moving the cupboard door so it’s accessed via the cloak room and then painting the study and splurging on a new desk.

That means packing up basically all of our downstairs furniture, which isn’t too bad because then we’ll only unpack what we need, leave the rest in the garage and then get started again on clearing out, but with the house in a ‘finished’ state. Possessions reduced, excess out the door… to the end of the garden, sure but at least it’s all in one place and we can sell the big stuff or ferry off to charity shops from there.

It’s a little extreme, upending the whole house in the pursuit of minimalism but I really want to feel like I’ve reached a stable point at home. Clear and functional, not in a perpetual state of overhaul.

Oh! In reference to my blog name, you want to hear about a failure in minimalism; remember my konmari wardrobe post? Well I gutted my underwear drawer with very little thought to the fact that I, y’know, need underwear, wound up with only 4 pairs of pants and last week, had to wear a pair for a second day while I went to the shops to buy more. D’oh!

Discardia – week 5

Nothing.

Seriously, I cleared out not a damn thing this week!

Far too busy. Hoping to do something weekend but I have a tutorial and baby swimming lesson Saturday, Mother’s Day Sunday and my grans birthday.

My main issues at the moment are

  • The garage: it’s absolutely full and desperately needs a clear out.
  • The study cupboard. I don’t even know what half the crap is for
  • The books, because if we whittle to one bookcase then I can sell the other one and the living room should look a little more open.
  • The ongoing pile in 4th bedroom. It’s been reduced by half but still unnecessary mess.

I’m hoping that once we sort our finances out it’ll be easier to donate things because I’m holding on to so much stuff to sell because we kinda need the money at the moment.

I still find the wasted money the hardest part!

Things I would save in a fire.

Such a cheerful topic, no?

I do have regular wobbles about getting rid of our stuff. Even though it’s more than we need, even though we spent money on it, even though it’s not in use. The money part is what gets me, look at all the cash we’ve wasted goes through my head every single time we drop off donations or something expensive sells for 99p on eBay.

Every now and then I use a thought exercise to refocus. Quite simply: What would you save in a fire?

Assuming my family and pets had already left the building, what would I grab?

I don’t need to grab photo albums, all our photos are digital and backed up to the cloud. Same for music, DVD’s, paperwork.

I might grab the ‘important’ documents folder which has our birth certificates and marriage license, but they can be reordered online so not at the top of my list.

I’d be quite upset to lose my wedding dress. I’ll never wear it again, true. But it was so unusual I’ve never seen anything like it since and I do have a fleeting notion that Tabi could wear it one day as a prom dress.

I’d like to save the clay handprint impressions hanging on the wall beside my bed as they can’t be replaced.

My mum’s ashes are in my wardrobe because we’re still too shellshocked to think about scattering them.

I don’t have any rare books. I do have a 1st edition copy of the Silmarrilion which was a gift for Tabi.

All of my clothes and furniture can be easily rebought (yay, insurance).

I’d grab the emerald birthstone necklace I was given by my parents for my 18th birthday, the earrings they gave me for my 30th and the arrow necklace my friends clubbed together to buy me for my 30th. A bracelet my gran bought me at Tiffany’s one Christmas she went to New York. Another 30th gift was a bracelet from my husband. I still have my mum’s earrings that I borrowed for my wedding and never returned. A necklace belonging to my great gran. Those pieces and my wedding ring are the only pieces of jewellery I own. They’re all ‘real’ jewellery, not costume stuff you’d buy in Topshop and all have sentimental value.

So that’s it? Some jewellery, clay impressions and my wedding dress (which FYI, since it wasn’t a ‘real’ wedding dress, only cost about £400). Out of all my possessions, 10 items?

I do realise the glaringly obvious issues within that thought experiment

1.) I’m only grabbing the irreplaceable, knowing that insurance will replace everything else. That doesn’t mean I don’t genuinely need other things (like my bed).

2.) I have the privilege of having insurance in the first place, living somewhere where there’s no shortage of replacement clothes and furniture.

3.) I don’t think you can consider a ‘imagine you’ve lost everything’ thought experiment without acknowledging there are approximately 20 million refugees at the moment who have been forced to do just that.

It’s still a decent experiment to try out. It’ll help with attachment, thinking about what physical possessions you really care about.

Discardia – Week 4

Loads of stuff jettisoned this week.

I couldn’t be bothered listing on eBay anymore, there was just too much stuff and I’m so time poor right now that both work and uni are suffering. By the time I added up how long it would take to photograph, list, answer questions, package, post, deduct PayPal and eBay fees… it just wasn’t worth it, I’d effectively be working for about £3 an hour.

Basically, its a clothes purge week. A whopping 12 bags of clothes and shoes donated.

 

I also streamlined our crockery. We used to have 12 of everything but some bits got broken so we had 12 of some, 10 bowls, 9 plates… I took everything down to 8 of each.

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While I was sorting the plates and bowls, I spotted something out of date in one of the food cupboards and wound up gutting all the food too!

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And then I found out what a pancake 2 months past it’s best before looks like

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It had slipped behind some plates and been left there. Ick.

 Lastly, a piece of furniture has left the building! Ok it hasn’t actually left yet, but someone is picking it up tonight so it’s almost gone.


 Money earned this week £20

Being Minimalist vs Looking Minimalist

I follow The Minimalists on Facebook and last week they had posted a link to a minimalist apartment tour. One of the comments on their post was along the lines of ‘why are they always white boxes? Aren’t there any minimalist homes that are colourful?’.

I think homes/rooms can look minimal, but actually be full of junk. You know, white walls, grey sofa, white furniture… but all that white furniture is stuffed full. I suppose you could ‘cheat’ minimalism by decorating a certain way so that when you walk into a room you get the same calm, uncluttered feeling. If its just a matter of decor, why declutter at all?

I am making a few changes to my own home that fall in the minimalist aesthetic. The family bathroom is having a fitted mirror installed across the entire top half of the wall above the bath. We’re planning on some white/grey floor tiles in the same bathroom and I already prefer white paint in most rooms.

The thing with the aesthetic is that it hides so much. My friend just bought a new house. She’s very neat and tidy anyway and her house is all white paint, grey carpet, neutral colour scheme throughout… but I’ve never thought of her as a minimalist, especially in the wardrobe. Even still if someone looked at my house (with less stuff) and her house (with a regular amount of stuff and 7.5 metres of build in wardrobes stuffed full) her house would probably be the one you think was a minimal home.

Does anyone else feel like they have to redecorate to ‘suit’ the minimalist stereotype?

Kon Mari – Clothes

I was going to write a review about The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, which I read ages ago, and then I realised there was no point writing about it if I didn’t actually try it out.

So this afternoon, I rounded up all of the clothes in the house belonging to me and my husband and dumped them on our bed. The only clothes I didn’t get were the white load in the washing machine (mainly the baby’s clothes), the small wool load in the washing basket and my wellies, which live in the garage.

I’m still not sure what ‘joy’ feels like in this context. I basically just evaluated by whether it fits, if it’s damaged, if I regularly pass over it for something else. I have no idea what my husband’s thought process was, but he very politely sat while I read the sections on joy, tidy order and clothes out loud so he may well have tried to find joy.

I didn’t think I would toss very much and I thought my husband might ditch a bag full. We got rid of quite a bit more…

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They’re all going to the clothes donation bins tomorrow but we need to replace some items. My husband for example, realised that he didn’t have a complete suit where he fitted both the jacket and trousers so he needs to buy 2 new suits next month, he’s already bought a few shirts and I think he needs a new tweed blazer but he’s reluctant to part with his current one (even though the back lining is shredded and he can’t use the pockets because they’re ripped through). I might need a pair of shoes, definitely jeans and underwear and some hot weather clothes in the next month or so.

I haven’t folded my socks, I haven’t done the kon mari folding much at all because we only have a wardrobe in our room, no space for drawers. I’ve folded some things but it’s just not practical to fold everything.

We have managed to clear the drawers in our 2nd bedroom so I’m going to list them on gumtree this weekend and then get started on the next section, books!