Inga Sibiya discovered the joy of minimalism when she exchanged her enthusiastic hoarder tendencies for mental health bliss, sans drama.
Spring is a wonderful season because, despite the harrowing hay fever, the vegetation on the planet can finally flourish unapologetically.
The chill of winter begins to thaw at this time of the year, giving nature a chance to shake off hibernation and resume its organic agenda.
Its Decluttering Time
The season signals new beginnings. It is decluttering time!
In celebration of this paradigm shift, many of us task ourselves with the undertaking of giving our homes a thorough wipe down.
Not only are we taking feather dusters to light fixtures and cupboard tops, but we are stowing away our mohair blankets, chunky coats, and all other brumal paraphernalia.
Spring-cleaning provides a great opportunity to reorganise and realign our homes. Recently, I have challenged myself to take the entire exercise a step further.
Two years ago, I was one more porcelain figurine away from becoming a hoarder.
The stockpile of broken SLR film cameras I had committed to repairing, uncompleted paintings and charcoal sketches I vowed to return to, useless holiday souvenirs, and high school memorabilia were all a testament to that untidy prognosis.
Inspired by my parents who, themselves, collected antique knick-knacks enthusiastically, I could argue the value in keeping anything.
It wasn’t until a good friend introduced me to the concept of minimalist living that I was truly confronted by all the junk I had accumulated over the years.
Minimalism and Mental Health
Pinterest mood boards and Tumblr timelines full of crisp, clean spaces accented by blooming indoor plants presented a stark contrast to the… erm… bohemian environment I had created for myself.
What struck me most about the austere was that not only were these people living with nothing but their necessities, but the minimalism looked good, and the curators of this aesthetic seemed incredibly happy, and stress-free too.
So, I began to research this growing trend. A theme that ran through many of the articles I read, was that there is a scientific correlation between minimalism and mental health.
Essentially, the less you have, the better you’ll feel. It seems people who fill their spaces with bits and bobs tend to be mental hoarders too.
Tackling Tidying Up
Admittedly, there used to be a great deal of stress associated with confronting a chaotic desk. I’d feel incredibly guilty about letting the mess get so out of control.
Those feelings were then compounded with confusion and hopelessness because I didn’t know how to tackle tidying up. It was a complete conundrum.
Thankfully, my friend who had unknowingly performed a kind of shotgun intervention introduced me to Japanese organising consultant Marie Kondo, or KonMari, as she is also known.
This lifestyle guru was already reshaping the way many consider “space”. I willingly enrolled as her new student.
The KonMari Method
The KonMari Method helped me to decide what to do with all my possessions.
Last spring, when I made the active decision to “trim some fat”, I noticed a drastic drop in the drama and stress I experienced daily. As I got rid of things, I no longer felt I wanted or needed; emotional “baggage” seemed to offload itself as if by magic.
Following KonMari’s instruction, I began by streamlining my closet. Oh, what fun it was creating a capsule collection of 15 pieces. Then I took to clearing my spaces: getting rid of posters, flyers, and business cards I already had in my contact list.
I stored break-glass-in-case-of-emergency cosmetics away. Empty wine bottles I had intended to upcycle into distressed candle holders, were sent to the glass depot. The list of reorganisation goes on and on.
While I certainly am an eclectic enthusiast, it isn’t easy to enjoy calm in cluttered spaces.
Who can feel zen after they have bumped their little toe against a table, trying to hop over a futon in the passage on the way to the kitchen? This year, I plan to resume my ritual of reorganising and redistributing, because the holistic benefits brought about a great sense of calm.
Extreme spring-cleaning is always such an indulgence. Instead of mourning the things I know I will eventually get rid of, I use the time to enjoy uninterrupted nostalgia.
For the weekend it takes to complete the task, I walk down a proverbial memory lane of all the hotels I visited, the events I attended, as well as the people I met and collaborated with.
You would think decluttering is focussed on getting rid of things, but the opportunity to uncover hidden treasures long lost under piles of stuff is far greater.