Project {Simplify}

Truth be told I’ve had a version of this blog post in my head for probably close to 2 years now. It started when I was pregnant with Penny and had an overwhelming desire to declutter {hello nesting}. We had {have} SO.MUCH.STUFF. It was exhausting. Constantly cleaning, moving things around, re-organising, getting rid of stuff then at the same time buying new things in an attempt to make our home look and feel better. I’d flit from project to project as time and motivation allowed never really finishing anything or feeling like I was making any headway. I never felt that {possibly unreachable} point of feeling content. Never reaching that “perfect” point where I could sit back and relax into my little world.

When Penny was about 5 months old {January 2019} I read Marie Kondo’s Book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying {which by the way I LOVED} and started following The Organised Mum on Instagram closely followed by the online phenomenon that is Mrs Hinch. This was what this post was originally going to be about – how I worked through and implemented aspects of these methods to finally “complete” project {simplify}. Fast forward 15 months and I’m still not there. I still have too much stuff. I still don’t feel like the house is “together” or that I’m in a good housework routine. And actually things have changed. My mentality has been through the ringer and {partly thanks to some pretty intense counselling sessions} I began to realise project {simplify} was about sooooo much more than my home. My whole being felt claustrophobic, enclosed and over complicated.

Penny {at 5 months} helping with a Marie Kondo inspired clothes clear out

The definition of {simple}

So what does simple mean to me. When I broke it down here’s what I came up with:

In a nutshell, project {simplify} meant creating physical and mental space in which I felt good, clean, healthy and productive. A space which felt achievable, clear, inviting and welcoming. A space which felt natural, light, spacious and sustainable. A space where life felt uncomplicated and I could be creative and relaxed at the same time. Sounds like a dream? Maybe so. But for me project {simplify} on some level isn’t a wish list, it is a necessity. I believe it will have a life-long impact on my mental and physical health and open up my creativity to enable me to achieve things that always felt out of arms reach. In essence, I believe it will make everything better. Not perfect. But better. And that’s perfect enough for me.

Where to begin?

Note : This is not so much of a “how to” post but more of an amalgamation of thought processes from the last 24 months.

Inspiration

When you scroll through Instagram accounts filled with beautiful homes what do they have in common? Chances are they are {seemingly} uncluttered. They are usually quite simple and have some kind of theme or style, full of beautiful pieces which bring joy and delight. Achieving an Insta-perfect home may not be realistic for your life {or budget!} but noting down some of the elements you love or creating a vision or Pinterest Board of achievable ideas is a great place to start. Is their toy storage amazing? Does the style of their bookshelves look uncluttered and inviting? What exactly are you drawn to? Is it the colour scheme or the artwork on the walls? Are you drawn to beach homes with a huge open view? Do you love simple, clean cut outfits or bright floral prints? Remember this is more than your home. Project {simply} is about your life.

My {recently decluttered} favourite spot

Implementation

Clear out books, ornaments, clothes, make-up, toys, paperwork, emails, stationery, bank accounts, your instagram feed. Clear all the apps off your phone you don’t use. Change notification settings so you’re not bombarded with information 24/7. Unsubscribe from email chains you no longer engage with. Have a switch-off Sunday where you turn notifications off or delete your social media apps for 1 day a week. Take active steps to clear space. This may be in bite-sized chunks or full Marie-Kondo-ing the s**t out of your home. It’s hard. Really hard. To clear out stuff you’ve held onto for one reason or another. That may have been a gift or has sentimental value. But it is necessary. Think of what you would want to leave behind {without sounding too morbid!}, what makes you happy {sparks joy as Marie would say}, what is actually needed and used. Try not to overthink it. You may chose to clear things out in waves. There are things you may not be ready to let go of and that’s ok. There is no right or wrong to this process. The aim is to reach a place where YOU {and your family} are content. Whether that’s for a season, a year, 5 years or a lifetime. And remember to be realistic about where you are now. If you have children there will be toys. If you have animals there will be pet paraphernalia. If you are saving or don’t have the finances to fund your dream home/wardrobe you will have to make the best of what you have. This is YOUR life. YOUR style and YOUR space. Don’t try to copy someone else – that brings with it a whole heap of other issues!

Decluttering mental space

This is a big one. For me decluttering physical belongings is only half the project. Creating mental space is not only necessary. It’s vital. It’s vital in feeling well. It’s vital in managing the bad days. It’s vital in finding inner peace and acceptance. It’s vital in being the best mother, wife, sister, friend and colleague I can be. Not perfect. Not “high functioning”. But the best version of me {warts and all}. It’s saying no. It’s ending toxic relationships {personal and professional}. It’s nourishing my mind and body. It’s knowing where to go for support. It’s giving myself space to breathe. It’s creating routines which work for our family. And {for me} there is a definite link between mental and physical clutter. I can’t have one and not the other. Physical clutter makes me feel anxious and uneasy. Mental clutter makes me unproductive and unmotivated. Creating a space for mindfulness and self-care is essential to survive and thrive. Filling your cup so it overflows to others.

Having a {mental} declutter

Lockdown

This brings me nicely onto what prompted me to revisit this post. We are now at the end of week 6 of the COVID-19 lockdown. We have been social distancing, furloughed and self isolating for well over a month. This past week I’ve felt incredibly anxious about what happens post-lockdown. We’ve been inside our own little bubble {which in itself has come with it’s own ups and downs} and although I’ve been very active on the old virtual community I’ve been feeling incredibly disconnected with the outside world. I already fear the overwhelm of being re-introduced to society, strange as that may sound. Part of my anxiety is around regretting not making the most out of being at home. {Noting not everyone is at home – the reality for key workers and those who are feeling incredibly lonely and isolated or unwell is very different}. As a way of trying to ease my own anxious brain I decided to make a list. A list of things I would like to do over the next few weeks {or longer}. Not to put pressure on myself but as a way of re-focusing what is important at a time when there is so much uncertainty and need. Here’s what my list looks like:

  • To make progress with project {simplify} {this counts right?!} {see below}
  • To make time for health – self-care, nutrition, exercise, mental health, my skin, weight and fresh air
  • To home school the boys to the best of our ability – including a {flexible} structure to our weekdays
  • To use The Organised Mum Method {TOMM} to help feel/stay on top of housework
  • To implement switch-off Sunday – turn off all social media notifications during the day every Sunday
  • To plan out/start or even complete one of my e-book ideas
  • To start Dermatillomania Support UK
  • To make space for creativity – blogging, writing, painting
  • To support others by reaching out, offering support, listening, laughing, crying or being an Insta-friend – whatever I can give that people need
  • To enjoy my little family

My initial aims for project {simplify} are:

  • To implement TOMM {as above}
  • To clear out my office space and paperwork
  • To finish decorating the kitchen
  • To clear out my dressing table drawers, make-up and medicine cupboard
  • To clear out our garage
  • To simplify my email accounts and unsubscribe from chains
  • To allow myself space for family and creativity by implementing switch-off Sunday {as above}
  • To simplify our belongings to create light, spacious and uncomplicated surroundings

Clean. Clear. Natural. Achievable. Sustainable. Open. Simple.

One thought on “Project {Simplify}

  1. Perfection is not when you have nothing more to add, but when you have nothing more to take away.

    Perfection is in the simplicity of something and requires understanding what is relevant and irrelevant. Remove the fluff.

    Well written post, thank you for sharing (:

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s