Following your incredible response to my post The Conscious Edit (aka the art to sustain), I’ve decided to keep a series of journal on the blog where I will share with you all the changes I’ve been making recently to live a more sustainable, conscious, and minimalist life.
Living abroad for about six years now, I’ve learned to possess less by default as we always started from scratch with each of us carrying just a little suitcase ( ok mine was bigger than his). But being the fashion junky that I was, after few months in a new country I was already seeing my closet growing exponentially which in a weird way made me feel more settled and at home as my flat was getting filled with things I like (clothes, books, furnitures, etc.).
So it was very natural for me when I decided to change my consumption behaviour and embrace a more minimalist lifestyle, to start by reducing my overall consumption of fast fashion and to declutter our flat. For someone who loves minimal art and architecture (big fan of Mies Van der Rohe), it should have happened a long time ago but some people are slower to process things than other. Before starting to read more about fair fashion, sustainability, ethical consumption, and minimalism living , the only thing that was obvious for me was that the only way to reduce waste is to cut our consumption and change our habits. I wanted to shift my focus on more meaningful things and stop saying “I need, I need” when I obviously don’t. Whether you do it for ecological or personal reasons (or for both obviously), the journey is not always as easy and obvious as it seems as we are living in a society where almost everything is disposable (food, containers, relationships, humans..), and where we worship comfort and consumption. I buy so I’m happy and feel good about myself, I fill rooms with things I don’t need nor use and feel content, until the day you finally understand that less is more. Having less possessions, will maybe allow us to spend our time differently and teach us how to enjoy something for longer.
I’m completely aware that minimalism and conscious/sustainable living are two very different topics, but pairing them both together when talking about decluttering made sense for me as minimalism calls for less consumption and more social consciousness . Personally my goal with all this changes is to have a simpler life, hurting less humans (sweatshops, social injustices, human exploitation (not only when it comes to make the final products but also while sourcing the raw materials which will make your cotton underwear or your coffee at your local coffee shop)), and reducing my environmental footprint. My approach is not dogmatic nor radical, I’m not seeking for perfection here but to incorporate more sustainable and ethical consumption and minimalism into my daily life.
Before sharing my “method” to declutter my flat and detox my closet, here are some interesting readings:
Ahead of starting this project I read (a lot) to understand the different trends and philosophies arounds those topics, and make sure to take the advices that were the relevant to my lifestyle. This is not a system, but going through these different steps helped me to achieve what I wanted: gaining space and letting go of things that I don’t need.
Step 1: Observation : It was probably what took me the most time in the end . I spent weeks looking at each room in my flat (thank god I’m living in a small London apartment) mentally doing a pre-selection of what was going to go and what I should keep.
Step 2: Planning: Preparing the actual decluttering by looking up for the best ways to get rid of everything I wanted out : donations to charities, recyclying , selling, giving to friends etc. From the start I planned to work by room, and to declutter one room per week, which also allowed me to rethink the organisation of each room and making space for our daughter.
Step 3: Taking everything out (following Marie Kondo’s method): And believe me it was a mess! But seeing so much stuffs piled up made me realise how much I needed this wake up call.
Step 4: Dividing everything into different piles: I didn’t want to have a radical declutering and eventually regret getting rid of some objects, so I worked in piles. I made a pile for donations (only clothes or items in good shapes as it’s not because you are donating to charities that the human receiving your clothes on the other side doesn’t deserve the respect of wearing something that looks good), a pile for recycling (clothes with stains, holes, or any kind of alteration), a maybe pile (if I was not sure about some pieces of clothing or decoration objects I hold on to those pieces and stock them (it if you have room of course) just in case to be reviewed in few months). I don’t have the time to sell my clothes but in the past I did, so if you have the opportunity to do so make a pile for this as well.
Step 5: Packing and saying bye bye: Even though the process was a bit draining, I loved it. I love how much room I gained, I love that I finally understood that holding on to that pair of shoes I wore once in 2017 just in case one day I will “need” it was silly, but mostly I love that it didn’t make me unhappy ,quiet the opposite to be honest.
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