It all started when I returned home from surgery a few years ago. I felt agitated, tired and emotional. While I lay in bed recovering, it dawned on me that the bedroom didn’t feel like the relaxing haven of calm I needed it to be. It was then, I think, I truly understood the impact that my home, the space I live in, can have on my wellbeing. For years I had always concerned myself with how my home looked, having religiously consumed the pages of interior design magazines. I realised that how I feel in a space and how I connect to it were more important and so began my journey to slow down and simplify my home.
- design and decor
- habits, routines and rhythms
I decided to start with my belongings.
Don’t get me wrong. I’ve never been one of life’s hoarders but it’s inevitable that by the time you reach your late forties, you’ve accumulated quite a lot of ‘stuff’. I realised I needed to part company with a lot of my possessions, as much of it I didn’t truly need nor did it make me any happier.
I started with the kitchen, working my way through the various cupboards and stripping back the contents. I mean, 24 wine glasses and a collection of teapots, really?? From there, I turned my attention to the upstairs bedrooms and study, clearing out unwanted bedlinen, home decor items that no longer inspired (and were probably bought on an impulse) and downsizing the mementoes and keepsakes I’d accumulated from numerous birthdays and special occasions. The main bedroom was next, streamlining the contents of my wardrobe, although there’s more to be done before I could say with any confidence that I have a capsule wardrobe. This year too, I hope to focus on the living room and dining room.
So, what all I have learnt during this process?
Well, firstly I’d say, it takes time. Unlike the Marie Kondo programmes you see on Netflix, I didn’t work through the entire contents of the house in a week. I’ve had to do it in stages.
I liken it to peeling an onion – once you start peeling off one layer, you begin to realise you can peel off another until you reach the core of what is important for you.
It’s therapeutic. I think we all underestimate how much our possessions can weigh us down. When you take time out to assess what you truly need and value, then it is much easier to part with what’s left and you feel ‘lighter’ as a result.
It’s not always easy to let things go, but once you realise how much you can actually part with, you begin to wonder why you bought it all in the first place. Certainly, these days, I am not so quick to part with my money – purchases are a lot more considered and intentional.
It saves you time in the long run – it’s easier to find what you need and you are less likely to buy more of what you already have.
Stripping back the ‘stuff’, you see more clearly what you truly value and enjoy and you appreciate it all the more.
Finally, returning home after a stressful day at work to a space that feels more stripped back, calm and considered has a positive effect on the mood. Where once I felt the need to fill a space with something, now I prefer an empty space. What I have gained is more headspace, a space where I truly feel at home, a space that stimulates my creativity.
Of course, creating a slow home is about a lot more than just downsizing your belongings. In this ongoing process, I’ve found this quote useful…
‘Clutter is not just the stuff on your floor – it’s anything that stands between you and the life you want to be living‘
….a quote by Peter Walsh from the book All you need is Less by Vicki Vrint
I’m off now to make breakfast and wait for the rain to hopefully stop, if even for a short while. Have a lovely Sunday x