Society sells us this constant lie: We need more. More clothes; more toys or things for our kids; more random objects; more techno gadgets; more, more, more… So much “more” that we don’t even know where to put everything. We are struggling to live, let alone breathe, in and amongst all of the things that we collect. We try to hide everything, shove it into boxes, or onto our shelves, because we want (need) everything to “just fit”.

Our lives become cluttered, which in turn starts to negatively affect our day-to-day living.

My husband and I, along with our toddler, live in a two-bedroom home. It’s hard to keep things clean, neat and simple, especially when we are always on the go. Then, when we come home to things lying everywhere, we end up feeling emotionally overwhelmed and exhausted by the overflow of things. However, when we make it a habit to throw out unnecessary things and become aware of constantly packing away toys and clothes, and washing dishes, life at home feels more relaxed.

Our homes (every facet of it) should be our sanctuary – a safe place where we can just relax after a stressful or busy day.

I have become mindful of following a “less is more” approach: less things and more moment-building activities. As we all know and sometimes forget, “things” do not bring long-term inner happiness.

“Minimalism is asking the why before you buy.” – Francine Vay

Five ways to live with less

If you want to live a decluttered lifestyle, then maybe start off by slowly looking at simplifying the following areas in your life. You don’t need to feel the pressure to do it all in one go, but rather take your time and slowly get rid of things that are merely filling up unnecessary space.

1. Clothing: Invest in key items that that you can ultimately dress up and down. Clothing items that can easily move from day time wear into evening wear. Also, note if you haven’t worn all of your clothes in the last three months. If not, then maybe it’s time to toss it out.

2. Toys: Let’s be honest, kids accumulate loads of toys. Most of the time children end up losing interest in their toys. Then they want new ones, and we end up buying more toys. It becomes a vicious cycle. This ultimately means toys are everywhere, and then your house looks like total chaos. Maybe it’s time to donate old toys, and keep  toys that engage your child for longer periods at a time, that also inspire and nurture their imaginations.

3. Decorative: Often we collect things in our homes that do not hold any sentimental value, but we keep it anyway and then it just takes up unnecessary space. Keep decorative elements that fit in to your taste and lifestyle. Let it flow with your environment and let it remain personal to you.

4. Furniture: Furniture can be practical and it can be decorative, and yes, it too can take up unnecessary space. Sometimes people collect lots of furniture that fill up a small home – to the point where you can hardly move around comfortably in it. Others may have big homes, and have this constant need to fill it to the brim because a little bit of space scares them. Then their homes look visually busy and cluttered with more things. Look at your home, and look at it in context. Do your furniture items flow together, and fit into your home and connect with your lifestyle? If not, then maybe it’s time to donate old, unwanted furniture pieces.

5 . Declutter shelves: I think most people have “that drawer” that they just shove everything into. It’s like an abandoned old treasure chest filled with junk. Trust me when I say that you need to go through that black hole and throw away useless stuff that you don’t longer need or use. Start organising your space more efficiently.

The key to minimal living is to ask yourself whether your particular items and belongings bring you lasting happiness. Do you buy things merely to fill some sort of void or space in your life? Start investing in a “less is more” approach, and you will soon note how simple, minimal living will make you feel happier.