After my last post I received quite a lot of questions about the progress on my decluttering plans, so I thought it might as well be nice to give you a bit of an update on that matter. The short version is: it’s going well. That doesn’t make much of an interesting blog post, does it? So here’s a lengthy version:
I think my search for a more meaningful way to spend my money and to live a more meaningful life in general started when at the beginnen of 2016 Lennart and I suddenly had to leave our house. A bit of a shock, because we had just decided to not move closer to the city center, because the house we were living in had so many benefits: it was large, relatively cheap (as houses in Amsterdam are never really cheap, but you get the jist) and location-wise very convenient for both Lennart and me, when it comes to commuting. Anyway, as if being forced to move isn’t stressful enough, we found a house, got they keys to our new place and moved all our possessions within a week. As I said: a stressful situation indeed, but to be honest: it brought me more that I could have ever imagined. Let me explain.
The moment we heard we had to move out, I decided to divide our huge task (MOVE!) into many smaller tasks. Like compartmentalization. Compartmentalization started off as an architectural theory; when you divide a building in different sections, each of which can be closed off separately to prevent a potention fire from spreading further, this technique can also be applied on several other aspects in life. In fact, it makes everything much easier. In this case: moving all the stuff we owned wouldn’t make sense: we were moving from quite a large apartment just outside the city center of Amsterdam to a much smaller one in the city center. So we started breaking up the huge task of moving everything we own into smaller tasks; declutter per space. First one up: the walk in closet (a huge task, especially when keeping in mind that I had one entire room filled with shoes and clotes, but also an extra room filled with ‘stuff’ I planned on selling/giving away).
Honestly, moving houses is the best thing that could have happened to me, decluttering-wise. I have to admit that instead of taking pride in my so-called double-walk-in-closet, I was started to feel more and more ashamed of all the clutter I collected. Of how much I buried myself with clothes and shoes and accessories I didn’t need. Of how much I was being distracted by owning so much stuff, that I forgot to value the things that are most important in life (newsflash: they’re not even ‘things’!). My house became a storage space, instead of a living space. And that didn’t make me proud.
I’m not saying it was easy, but the feeling of being forced to declutter really opened my eyes. I’m one of those people who attaches memories to all her belongings. Those shoes that I wore on that wonderful trip. That dress that I wore to my grandad’s funeral. That bag that I bought from my first salary. You get what I mean, right? But soon I came to realize that those items are not real memories, because memories happen in your head. Besides that, I realized I’d much rather have extra space and time in my new house than extra stuff. So that’s why I can tell you that there and then I got rid of approximately 75% of all the things I own. Clothes, shoes, but also books, souvenirs, decorations, make-up, heaps of unnecessary things. The feeling? Liberating. So, so, SO liberating. Have you ever tried this yourself? Is this story relatable to you? Curious to know :)