Why I became a minimalist

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Today I want to share with you my minimalism journey. 

How I went from a clutter-free home to a more minimalist one.

If you’re new around here, I’m Madeline, I’m a mum of two, and we’re currently living in the UK. But I am originally from Transylvania, Romania. 

Why I Became a Minimalist Mum

Why do people become minimalists?

Over 5 years ago, we went through a pretty traumatic experience with my first baby. He had a major surgery when he was about 11 months old, and I do feel like that was, in a way, a trigger for us to want to make a change. 

This wasn’t when I started becoming a minimalist, but we’ll get to that in a second. 

After his surgery, we felt we needed a change. 

He was all good and recovered, and we decided to move country. 

I never would’ve seen myself moving to another country a few years before that.

Feel free to keep reading below or watch the video:

At that time, we were living in Romania, and there was a whole variety of things that spurred this on. But to be honest, we made this decision a bit on a whim. 

I have always loved English, so an English-speaking country was very appealing to us. 

And we chose London, UK. 

My son was 1 year old at the time. I was still on maternity leave, and my husband decided to look for a job to see if it would be a possibility for us to move here. 

We came to London together, all three of us, to see what our life would look like there. My husband went to interviews, and once he got a job, we started prepping for the move. 

We went back to Romania, and we started to pack. 

So we had to make lots of decisions, “Okay, let’s see what we’re going to take with us.” 

We didn’t want to bring with us everything that we owned. 

In Romania, we were living in a 2-bedroom flat that also had a living room, and it was quite spacious. 

Now, looking back, I realise how much stuff we had, and so many storage areas that were just full of stuff that we didn’t need. 

Deciding to move country meant we needed to declutter a lot too. And we did a massive declutter back then.

We donated a lot of things and gave a lot of things to friends and family. 

We didn’t sell many things because there was no time for that, we had to do this process quite quickly.

We moved to the UK with only six boxes worth of things, and they weren’t even large moving boxes. 

That feels insane looking back, that we only moved with such a small amount of stuff. But we didn’t need that much. And I think this process made us aware of that. 

Not long after though, we got back to a cluttered-up point again…

Moving to London with only 6 boxes

So we moved to this small flat in London, possibly the smallest flat there is.

I’m joking, but it was quite tiny. 

Yet we were so happy there. 

I don’t feel like the space that we had there was an indicator of how happy we were. I truly enjoyed our experience there, and it was such a fun time.

Then, after a year of living in that flat, we moved to a bigger house a bit outside of London. It was a 3-bedroom house. 

It had a garage, shed, and lots of storage, so we thought, “This is brilliant!”

We lived in that house for a bit over 3 years.

The amount of stuff that we accumulated in just those 3 years in our garage and our shed is honestly insane. 

These two spaces quickly became a dumping ground for a lot of things that we didn’t want to deal with right away: boxes, old toys, old bikes, and just so many different items like that. 

And this might sound familiar to you too. 

You don’t want to deal with an item. You’re not using it anymore, but you just don’t feel like taking care of it either. So you’re just dumping it in the storage (your loft, your shed, your garage, or your spare room). 

Now, looking back, I feel like having a garage like that can be quite a dangerous thing because it can so easily become a dumping ground or a graveyard for all of your stuff and clutter.

During those 3 years that we lived in that house, we also struggled a lot with infertility. 

It was probably one of the darkest times we went through. A lot of tests were done, and we had four baby losses in that interval of time. 

Luckily, at the end of 2022, I found myself heavily pregnant, and we were so excited to have a new baby. 

At the same time though, I was starting to feel very anxious. 

We already had a 5-year-old, and I was already feeling overwhelmed with the amount of stuff that we had in the house. 

I do think a lot of the time I was good at stuffing things out of sight, hiding the clutter in closets, wardrobes or the garage. 

But I still knew all those things were there, and this thought was definitely stressing me out. 

And I was thinking, “If I am overwhelmed now, that means that when I’m going to give birth to this baby, this is going to become insane!”

I knew I needed a change. 

Why I Became a Minimalist Mum

50% of stuff gone

So I started doing a bit of research into clutter. 

The first step was to read some books like ‘Minimalista’ by Shira Gill and ‘Goodbye Things’ by Fumio Sasaki. I also watched many many YouTube videos on the topic. 

All of these contributed to me feeling really inspired to let go of the clutter. 

The more I researched, the more I realised that clutter had a massive effect on my anxiety, my stress levels, and my overwhelm and overstimulation. 

You know that feeling you have when you walk into a room and it’s full of toys on the floor or crumbs and plates? 

If you’re a parent, you know what that feels like. 

Sometimes you might feel like, even after you tidy and clean, it’s not going to last or that it still doesn’t look like it’s all finished. 

Going on this decluttering journey, I started picking up one box at a time, one donation box, and one rubbish bag. 

And we started decluttering. 

By now, I believe we let go of more than half of the things that we used to have.

My wardrobe was bursting at the seams. 

We had many toys in storage as my son wasn’t playing with them anymore. 

Our garage was full, and the shed was full too. 

We just started letting go of anything that we weren’t actually using and that wasn’t bringing value to our lives anymore.

With every donation box that went out, with every rubbish bag, with every item we sold, with every single thing that left the house, I could feel more and more air coming in. 

I could feel this relief that I could open my wardrobe and not feel stressed and overwhelmed. 

This wasn’t just one weekend in which we decluttered. It was a process that we went through over months and months over the past year. 

Even now I’m still decluttering as I do find you need to go in layers. 

Decluttering in layers

The first time you declutter, you’re likely not going to let go of as much as you probably need to to have that calm space, and that’s fine. 

I do think you need to exercise your decluttering muscles before you can make those decisions that you need to make to regain your space.

It’s like peeling layers. 

You need to go over an area probably more than once. But I do find that it makes a huge difference going through little areas at a time and just doing 15 or 20 minutes, however long I have. 

Just doing one cupboard, one bit of the garage, just one little thing at a time. 

If you try to do too much in one go, you’re probably just going to give up, and you’re going to feel overwhelmed. 

And that’s because it simply is overwhelming going through all of that clutter. 

So just going small bits here and there is so, so helpful. 

Our home is so much more simplified now, and it feels so much better. 

And I’m not here pretending that my house never gets messy. Of course, it does! 

We have two little ones, a 6-year-old and a 1-year-old baby, and our house definitely gets messy and there are often toys on the floor. 

The difference is that it doesn’t overwhelm me like it used to. 

Everything has a space to go back to. Plus it’s really easy to tidy up now.

For example, the kitchen is now really easy to get back to that standard clean state because when I go to put things back in the cupboards, they are not stuffed. 

There’s lots of space in there, and that helps a lot.

It’s funny looking back. I used to think that minimalism was this extreme thing where you have to get rid of all the things you love and only keep like 10 items.

But it’s not about that at all. 

It’s about letting go of the excess stuff that you don’t really need or use anyway. 

Letting go of all of that excess so that you can enjoy the stuff that you love even more. So that you can have more time and energy for the things that truly matter to you, like family and friends.

If you’ve been thinking about decluttering your house but have no idea where to start, then I hope you stick around as I am going to give you more tips. 

I also have a free simple decluttering checklist for you to help you get started. I poured as much as I could in there to give you the steps that you need to get started. 

Over 20,000+ people have already downloaded the checklist, and lots of people have gotten back to me saying how useful they found it. And I think you’ll find it helpful too.

I hope you enjoyed this article and maybe felt inspired by it, and thank you for coming along on this journey with me.

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