Is minimalism the answer to less overwhelm?


NOTE> This is how clean and tidy my kitchen was for five minutes on a Tuesday afternoon in March 2013. I took a photo to preserve it’s pristine-ness and it’s never been the same again. Don’t be fooled.


Minimalism is a bit a trend word at the minute, isn’t it?  I have to admit at first I was highly sceptical. I thought it was just a design trend. I didn’t believe it would work for a family. I’m not the main person who brings in the ‘stuff’ into our house, I just seem to be the one who has to manage it? How can I go minimal when people under the age of 5 (and let’s also be honest – Andrew) are not really on board with the idea? He seems to fit more into the ‘keep that I might use it one day, I might wear that again, just in case’ camp. So it just all seemed too hard.


But I have to admit. The stuff level at our house lately has started to overwhelm me.  The toys. The ridiculous amount of paperwork that school creates. All the various bits and bobs that don’t have a home or a system and inevitably end up in our junk drawer which now needs emptying – but where do I put that stuff now?! All those little things that I KNOW I’ll inevitably want some day (probably immediately after I throw it out) but that don’t fit into any sort of category or have a logical home.


UGH! The task has felt too big for too long that I’ve just kept putting it off and putting it off – but I think I’m ready to finally tackle it.


What changed my mind about minimalism?

  1. I watched minimalism the documentary. (Actually if I’m being honest, I watched this over six months ago but it keeps coming back on my radar so I’m taking that as a sign.)
  2. My sister-in-law has packed up all of her belongings into our laundry cupboard and is going travelling for a year – or two (sob!) While I’ve been drowning in stuff, she has been selling and ditching most of hers. I wanted a piece of that freeing feeling and while jetting off to London isn’t an option for us – the stuff I can do something about.
  3. Last term I took on a four-day-per-week teaching contract. The washing piled up. My putting-away efforts were usually just find the closest draw and jam it in there. Nothing was filed – we’re lucky that bills were remembered and paid on time. Life is been over-flowing literally and physically.



So I decided that I would see if I could tackle it with a minimalist approach and do some BIG clear outs these holidays.


  1. Scale back my wardrobe to BARE basics that actually fit me, I love and make me feel good.

Over the last  few years my body has changed exactly 1034234239590980 times. Pregnancy. Breastfeeding. Pregnancy. Loss. Gaining weight from being sad. Losing weight from being sad. Pregnancy. Loss. & repeat will do that to you. I’ve got a weird mix of active wear, casual wear and work (teaching) clothes. Actually If I’m being really honest, I’m not really sure what my style is anymore – did I ever have a style? I don’t really know what I like or don’t like. I really only wear the same rotation of 3 or 4 outfits throughout the week and I don’t really love any of them.  I’ve decided ditching the clothes that are being kept for all the various shapes and sizes I might be in the future is going to help me feel less overwhelmed and get over that ‘I have NOTHING to wear’ feeling.


  1. Boys room – clothes and toys

It’s time for a seasonal and size clear out. Rory has been wearing some pants that come to mid-calf and I really need to move some things along and chuck out all those stained kindy clothes that make them look homeless. Toys mostly just need re-sorting back into types so I can pull out one box at a time rather than having everything out all at once.


  1. Pantry

Our food bill is getting out of control. Yet my pantry is chockers. Time to start shopping from the cupboard I think. For the record, I’m a notoriously terrible meal-planner. I’ll do it for three days and then get bored and ditch the plan.  But I’m determined to finally make a system stick. Plan Friday. Online order and farmers market Saturday. I’ll let you know how I go.


  1. Office cupboard.

I’ve been really avoiding this one because it’s such a mish-mash of things. This was our only storage for a while so it currently has everything from linen to towels, to sewing equipment, to stationery, to random gifts I didn’t know what to do with. Everything.  I feel like my head will be happier when it’s sorted.


  1. Junk drawer

I’m hoping that by the time I get to this one, all the extra space I’ll have created will mean I can re-home anything from this drawer that needs to be kept. Possibly wishful thinking, we’ll see.


My biggest goal in sorting out all of these areas is I want to create some better systems. We really need a command centre (god I hate that term) to organise everyone and all those bits of paperwork that come in.


Yes, we’re three terms in and I’m officially the WORST at being a school Mum. Pretty ironic given I can organise and plan in a classroom but can’t get my own kid sorted. So I want to create a space for bags, notes, calendars, bills, and anything else that needs to be kept temporarily.  Pretty much it’s a ‘save the kitchen bench’ (and my sanity) mission because currently that’s where it’s all being dumped.


So that’s my plan for the next few weeks. I’m going to attempt to spread it out over the couple of weeks and I’ll report back to see if it helps! How do you manage all the STUFF of a family? Tell me you have some amazing system that’s going to solve all my problems.


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