Minimalist mind, hoarder at heart

Hello lovely lot.  I hope you are getting into the swing of this new year ok?

I have finally been able to shake off the cosy fug of the festivities and have emerged fresh and fighting into this bright new week of the bright new year.  As I mentioned in my Happy 2018! post, I have indeed thrown myself into the cleaning like a woman possessed.  I haven't quite touched all the deep dark recesses of the home just yet, but I'm getting there.

The thing I haven't really started upon in earnest, is the sorting and de-cluttering of the tremendous amount of stuff we seem to constantly accumulate.  I mean, I de-clutter quite a lot.  Most years I have a bit of a go, at least once, if not twice, and yet still we have too much.  How can this be?

It doesn't help that I have daughter who hates to part with anything, literally any blooming thing!  Not even clothes that don't fit her anymore, let alone toys she doesn't use.  Sorting her room is a big task and it's quite hard to stop it turning into a bit of a battle ground really.  Which is unfortunate because the birthday and Christmas presents are so much more plentiful when you are a child and finding places to put them... Well, you get the idea.

But that's not really the point.  The point is, the rest of the house.  The point is my de-cluttering.

And I have to admit, I'm having problems.  I had a tentative go up in my crafty little house the other day and I can't say things went well.  As is usual with unsuccessful attempts in this area of sorting, I mostly managed to simply move things around, and achieve very little.  I only selected about three tiny items which I no longer need.  Oh dear.

I always struggle a bit with the task of going through things and clearing out.  I love the idea of having less, my organising brain yearns for a house which has 'a place for everything and everything in it's place.  Everything neat and tidy, easy to find when needed and easy to put away.  Can you imagine?  How joyous that would be!  In my mind I am a minimalist.  Think how much easier the cleaning would be.  (I'm lazy too!)

But, in my heart, I fear I am a hoarder.  There are so many things that I really want to keep, if only I had the space to.  So many things that I feel might come in handy, one day.  And the trouble is, I've been bitten before.  There has been more than one occasion when, a few days/weeks/months after a vigorous clearing out session, a time rolls around when I really could do with just that yarn/fabric/top/kitchen gadget that I decided not to keep.  I don't blame myself for making the choice to throw it away, I can't keep everything, but oh man, it is so annoying!

So this is why I always find the job hard.  But this year, it seems harder still.

Maybe because of the years gone by and the previous pruning and re-fining that has already taken place, but this year I really don't know what can and should go.  Although, once again I feel almost oppressed by shear weight of things in the place.  Something needs to go.  On that point I am sure.  I just don't know how to select which ones.

I've always tried to keep in mind the wise words of William Morris whilst I attempt the de-cluttering...

"Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful."

Well actually, to give myself a little more wiggle room, I tend to follow this adapted version from Anthea Turner...
"There’s only a place in the house for things which are useful, beautiful or seriously sentimental."
But it seems this time, these words just don't help.  At least, not in the craft room they didn't.  Obviously, it's full of beautiful things.  It's my lovely, lovely crafty place, that's the point.  It's also full of quite useful things, storage, sewing machine, desk etc.  And there's a fair chunk of sentiment up there too.  Lots of precious and treasured gifts from friends are kept in that special place.

So if everything seems to fall into one of these categories already how do I ever slim things down?  Which beautiful thing is beautiful enough and which isn't.  Which sentimental thing is precious enough?  I really didn't know.  If you've got any ideas, or good 'de-cluttering' words of wisdom please do feel free to advise below.  Help appreciated and much needed at this stage I think!

In the meantime, I'm going to have a go at clothes.
Much easier to know what I've worn or am likely to wear, much less sentimental.
I'll have to build up to the rest!

: :

Read the follow-up post: De-cluttering... An update!

S x

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  1. Well I think minimalism is nasty anyway - so hoard away!As long as a home is tidy-ish and not too cluttered, a home with 'things' looks so much nicer than a stark bare minimalist one. It makes me shiver thinking about it.The more we keep,use and appreciate stuff we have, the less lightly we are to keep buying more to replace what we got rid of (and that's a good thing). Anyway, I like looking at things in people's homes as well as my own and your house must be filled with pretties you have made, which should surely be treasured and used and seen.

    No idea why we have this idea that throwing things away is good for us, I think it can be quite upsetting. Who cares what Marie Kondo thinks? (I've read too many stories about people throwing out all their stuff and then needing it after applying her advice - didn't we get it in the first place for good reasons a lot of the time?) and you can bet that the fabric we had for 10 years will be just what we need shortly after getting rid of it. I remember babysitting in a home that had no magazines or pictures on the walls, or photos - not even her children as it was messy. It wasn't a nice home to be in at all.

  2. oh dear, I can relate....maybe we are twins. One huge diufference does appear to me: you do unse your yarn and craft stuff, I can see that for sure. My creative stuff is just staying here and it´s not used. I feel so bad about it. There is so much to do always and I just feel either tired or just not going for it, call it lazy? I am decluttering for a decade by now, it is getting better, but it oesn´t get me to the sewing table. Therefore, be happy with what you got, enjoy and work with it. Still declutter , but also crafting. Thats wonderful.
    Greetings from Sanne /Germany

  3. I have a half way house for things I box stuff up and store it in the loft, if the next time I an boxing I haven't brought it down then its not 'needed' and out it goes, yes occasionally I find I needed that thing I got rid of last month but not often, normally it is oh I put it in the box Ill just go get it! so what is still boxed goes come sort time.

  4. I also have so much stuff. I looked around one day and said why do I have all this stuff? So many collection of things.. I just went with it like a wild woman.Collections got wrapped in paper and packed into boxes.Put in the shed. Craft room stuff got sorted , yarn and old cloth bags of stuff I had not touched in years, trashed.Closet cleaned out out with 20 blankets and sheets and curtain unless you live in Alaska who needs all those blankets. Dishes, lord why, do we have so many dishes....You have to look at your life and say, what do I really need? Its still a work in progress and I haven't missed a thing.It is so nice to be free of clutter and my home still looks like home and I haven't missed a thing. Good Luck on your new adventure...from NC

  5. Oh, I completely understand! I'm on a decluttering mission too - I have been for a few years really, on and off. It's always in my mind to declutter, but as you say it's sometimes easier said than done. I completely agree about the weight of all those things we have. Stuff to clean (I'm lazy too, I hate cleaning!), to try to organise and maintain - it all weighs down on us and consumes our time and energies. The good thing about minimalism (as a way of life rather than an interior design style) is that it doesn't necessarily mean that things should be stark and bare and empty, but that the things you have around you are important to you and add value to your life - whether it's through their usage or aesthetically. I also try to live by the William Morris quote - I hadn't heard the Anthea Turner version before.
    If you struggle every day to rummage through a crammed, messy wardrobe to prise out the few items you actually wear, then it is going to bring so much more calm and serenity to your mornings to clear out anything you don't love and/or wear a lot. Imagine easily reaching in to a wardrobe where you can see what you've got, the items have room to breathe, and you like wearing everything in there! (That is my goal - I haven't managed it yet!!) But it is easier when it comes to clothes. Craft things are so hard to part with - I think hoarding crafty bits is just part of the creative mind!!! You never know what you might be able to make with something at some point! (I also have a problem with hoarding pretty packaging - if something comes in a beautiful box I struggle to ever part with it!)
    Well, this is a bit of an essay - I just love decluttering and the whole thought of minimising all the junk and excess! I'm not sure I've really helped much, though. Perhaps leave the crafty stuff, and focus on every day clutter - clothes, books, ornaments, all those random things stuck in the back of cupboards that you've forgotten you had so clearly don't need! (Although, maybe you've already done that in previous phases.) Crafting is a different case and you need supplies to create, so give yourself some slack there! :)
    Maria (Dinki Dots) x

  6. My son is a collector too! So much stuff. I tend to toss the older clothes when he’s at school and bring bins to his room to store the extra toy stuff. These bins go to the garage. I feel like the kids will have to deal with all of it along time from now but while they’re living with me, we can keep a somewhat tidy place. For myself, I use the garage as a halfway house like Ruan said. I miove my things into a laundry basket and this goes into the garage. Sometime in July I clean the garage and de clutter. Sometimes these things go or sometimes I decide to keep them.
    Maybe your craft room is just perfect the way it is.

  7. I have the same problem. Half of my DNA came from a person who hoards everything (including things that are broken) and the other half comes from someone who has every part of her life organized. So I feel like it's a constant battle between the two parts of me. But I have gotten a better handle on it lately.

  8. We are a house divided! Patch and I hugely sentimental (a trait which seems to have been inherited in an even stronger form by P... toilet roll tubes?) and Mr R not at all. While I like bits though I would dearly love a place and space for everything - this years plan!

  9. Your daughter and my son would get along well haha last week i told him to throw out his socks after seeing a huge hole in one of them...he refused to throw out the other 😂 I relate to your post so much and live the idea of being a minimalist (less cleaning less laundry more breathing space) but i just love to collect stuff...Lastbyear i started going through a book by Marie Kondo and that hugely helped me sort and clean up my craftroom actually most of it still is sorted! I definitly should pick it up again....thanks for moving me;)

  10. I don't remember writing this post but it is so me!
    I decided I would pass on my 'junk' to second hand shops and then imagine how someone would feel to find it!!!

  11. Are you a Gemini like me? :-)

  12. www.mytimestitching.com10 January 2018 at 14:37

    I, too, have decided to take on the task of de-cluttering this year. I actually started the end of last year, but need to tackle the rest of the house this year. While decorating for Christmas, I decided that what I haven't put out the last few years, went into the donation box. I don't burn candles anymore, so tons of glass candle holders and candles went into the donation box. I actually took a car load before the end of last year and still have 3 boxes in the garage to donate. Little by little I will de-clutter. Things that I don't use or have no place will end up in the donation box this year. Good luck with all of your de-cluttering. Some things are just hard to part with ;)

  13. OMG, I am so glad I read your blog. I can really relate to your story. For me, throwing (or even selling) fabrics is tough decision, because I always to keep most of them :)

  14. I was a full-on hoarder until I found the thing that made it easier for me. I label things with the date that I got them. Seeing that something is a year old or two years old and that I haven't touched it makes it so much easier to get rid of things. I also try to take something out for everything that I bring into the house (other than groceries).

    I really believe that you have to find your thing that you can build your system around. Once you find it, you will be able to easily declutter and find a happy balance. Keep trying and good luck!

  15. Oh la la. You've touched a nerve here. You are NOT alone. I'm still on my mission after several years of half-hearted sorting and de-cluttering. I seem to go no where with it. And the craft room is the hardest. Last spring I sorted out 2 big black garbage bags of stuff to donate... come Christmas I started to look for certain fabrics, yarns and ribbons... took them all out and it was like Christmas itself to open up the bags and dig into them... More than half of it is now back up on my shelves after med wondering loudly what on earth I was thinking of when wanting to give it all away 6 months ago. It is all so gorgeous!!!

    I'm totally with you, wish I was a minimalist but reality is I'm a hoarder. I continue my battle, one space at a time. One box at a time. And maybe I'll get there by 65...


  16. An interesting post - thank you for sharing :)
    To my mind when de-cluttering the key issue is certainty. If I KNOW I don't want / like / will not use something it goes. Otherwise, if there is any doubt I keep it and refuse to feel guilty.
    I personally find it better to keep something then change my mind than to get rid and regret!
    Vicky from Brum

  17. You and I must be twins. My mind wants organization and clutter free, my house shows just the opposite. It didn't help when I inherited a lot of furniture and stuff after my father's death. It is hard to decide what to keep and what to let go so I just don't do anything. It is rather paralyzing. It would be helpful to have someone help me, but my husband isn't interested. Anyway, no whining. I will get to it. I think starting with clothes is a good idea. It is the easiest way to start for me as well. My craft room is very full as well. Now that I crochet in addition to sewing, it is worse, but I will persevere! Having an organized home really helps my mind settle. As a child, I organized M and M's by color before eating them...haha Good luck and you're not alone!

  18. Great post! I am determined that this will be the year that I finally get my house under control. I have been a collector all my life, but as I get older, I feel my desires changing. I want a more clutter free home. I have a craft room that I can't even craft in because it has so much stuff in it! :-) It just seems to take so much time to declutter, and after a day of taking care of a large family, I am so tired and overwhelmed by the thought of decluttering that I always put it off. I have been making lists on paper of what areas needs to be decluttered and then breaking each area into smaller bite-sized pieces. Then I only allow my self to do a couple of small 'pieces' each day and no more so that I don't get too bogged down. I need to view it as a journey.