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Monday, 5 March 2012

Mrs B Abandons Her Post - Minimalismismism

Isn't it just amazing what you can find knocking around on Blogger?  Here is a post I wrote way back before Christmas and then completely forgot to publish.  At the time I was in the full throes of decluttering, partly motivated by guests coming for Christmas and an urgent need that they never see under what conditions we really operate at Blighty HQ.

Dahlings, in an exciting new life style development, I have been exploring a rich seam of minimalist blogs and applying the knowledge gleaned to Blight HQ.

(Or shouldn't they really be called mini blogs if they are truly serious?  Or even m blogs? or mogs? (note to self : there you go, being silly again, spoiling what was going to be a really grown up, perceptive post full of carefully thought through insights and....ha, ha, (falls off chair* laughing as per )...

*virtual chair obviously, as have got rid of actual physical chair, Step 58 of Chuck Out Clutter Kwik, my own decluttering manual, available on-line for the modest price of £3000..

I found blogs like Miss Minimalist The Minimalists and  The Everyday Minimalist. Also Leo Babauta and his mnmlist; which links back to Lisa of  Privilege.  And  Project 333 which the lovely Janet of Gardener's Cottage has been doing  (it all comes full circle in blogworld!)

All very intriguing and inspiring. And so seductive - the idea of Less Stuff.

And there seem to be a lot of different variations - extreme minimalists - they only own 25 things or they live in hotels and all their stuff fits into one suitcase, or they have a house with just a mattress on the floor and not even a table, or a tiny house under 900 square foot; or they have got rid of their car and cycle everywhere;  or more moderate practitioners where you are allowed only 30 of each thing - one lady recommended only having 30 coats !! Or minimalism linked to Christianity, or frugalism, or environmentalism - using less to leave a smaller footrprint on the world... just fascinating, a total reaction to excessive consumption - it's no surprise that lot of these bloggers are American.

The result of this research has been:
  • no housework has been done as I have been too busy reading on how it's easier to keep your house clean if it is uncluttered
  • a lot of Decluttering Lite (trade mark Blighty Inc.)*
  • Mr B too frightened to leave for work in case I declutter him
  • no one being able to find a bl**dy thing
  • Mr B late for work as I moved his clock radio, accidentally turning down the volume so he did not hear the alarm
*Decluttering Lite TM is a unique form of decluttering which I have devised myself (coughs modestly).  Dahlings, I don't mean to be patronising but you may find this next bit hard to follow, not having sat on your arse on the sofa for hours drinking cups of tea and gawping at the internet with mouth hanging open undergone an intensive immersion course in the precepts and key principles of minimalism and achieved a high level of understanding and expertise...
Anyway here it is, do try to keep up..

Decluttering Lite TM = you take some stuff and shove it in the garage.  Et voila!

But there is even more to it than that - you must then remember ALWAYS to put the light on when entering said garage otherwise  you will fall over the 3 baskets, 2 whiteboards, vegetable rack, 28 footballs, 300 plastic bags, 12 pairs of wellies and wobbly footstool you got from a charity shop which you thought was shabby chic but in fact is just shabby...
ALSO must warn your Significant Other of the same (unless you want your offspring to pick up some interesting new non-minimalist vocabulary about f***ing %$%£%  deathtraps etc).

Anyway, must go as there are 2 small lumps cluttering up the sofa... they need to be Litely Decluttered TM but possibly not to the garage...although.......

So that was my abandoned post.  What do you all think about minimalism? 

My thoughts now:
  • well, it was very invigorating to declutter like a woman possessed but rather unsettling for my nearest and dearest, Mr B was particularly upset when he got into bed one night and discovered I had removed the headboard but now we gain tremendous enjoyment from sitting in bed of an evening and taking it in turns to shout, "Who was the idiot who took the headboard off this bed?!" (what can I say, the winter nights are long and we live in the country);
  • I feel much better now I only have 2 colanders  - why did I have more than that?
  • I like not having a plastic washing up bowl - Mr B found its absence very disconcerting until I mentioned the possibility of Germs
  • Things are slowly creeping back of course - lipsticks, toys, clothes, small boys
  • I love the idea of Distributed Ownership which I picked up from my blog trawl - now when I go to the library I can revel in the fact that I am Exercising Distributed Ownership, not just borrowing books

“A popular habit of the extreme mmnlst is to negate vowels from words. Not only is this rdcls but it gts fckng cnfsng.” – Anonymous

The above quote comes from very amusing post on minimalism - do go and have a read!

On a more serious note, I did find, for me, that minimalism could slip over into Giving Up and Not Making an Effort - for example, I won't wear my watch as I have the time on my mobile phone; I won't wear jewellery as what does it do? I won't put together a different outfit I'll just keep on wearing the same jeans.  I think to embrace the ascetic side of minimalism you need to be a very buoyant, committed person.  Ultimately I like my inner landscape to have a scattering of fripperies and frivolities, they keep me happy and prevent me howling with existential angst in the middle of the supermarket (or at least snatching scones from the nearest old age pensioner in the overcrowded bread aisle); I guess I am deeply superficial.

But I tell you what worried me most about minimalism - one blog suggested that one should even be minimalist in one's conversations - to weigh each word and only have meaningful communications with other people. That, my dahlings, you will not be surprised to hear, frightened the life out of me!


  1. I'm still working on the decluttering thing. It's not my natural state of affairs. I'm a HOARDER and will probably be found mummified in amongst piles of newspapers from the last 100 years when the time comes.

    I sometimes find the odd abandoned post too. I must see if anything can be salvaged.

    Well done on the colanders. And the headboard :-)

    Ali x

    1. Boys really impede the whole minimalist thing don't they? Things are so much easier to find when they are lying underfoot, apparently

    2. oh no that last reply was meant for Kim, and your reply has vanished, blogger really hates me! Alison - wanted to say that Mr B complained once too often about headboard and now is wearing colander on head xx

  2. Blighty,
    Loving this post. It's so me, especially the decluttering light and moving everything to the garage. My husband gets very cross about that and the fact that I, in his words, "basketize" his stuff when he's at work.

    I've got loads of books on decluttering and being a minimalist! Adding them to the piles! I keep reading how it's good for the kids to grow up in a calm environment with less. If I could just stop screaming at them to put away their crud it would be much calmer.

    The headboard thing is hilarious. I tried to get rid of our bed a while ago too, but it's still here because of my husband. Darn realists.

    So thrilled you popped by my blog! Kim:)

  3. Blighty, Thanks for your note about, The How to Look Like a Million," post too. I love Faux Fuchsia! xo Kim

  4. hi blights.

    i think there is going to be a huge backlash against minimalism soon. esp in america, that's how it goes here. in one minute and the next...out. anyway, i loved this post and i think people ultimatley live just how they want, trends be damned. i'm glad you got rid of the headboard and not the mattress! xo janet

    1. Janet, how typical that I get hold of something when it is going out of fashion!! Next you'll be telling me The Beatles have broken up.

  5. Bwahahahaha. Also thank you. Also dear lord woman you make me laugh.

  6. Mr red roses and I could write a wee book on de-cluttering due to two house moves in three years. At the mo we are selling what remains of antiqueish wooden furniture from our old farmhouse (doesn't fit or work aesthetically in the new abode) and both of us are loving the extra cash being thrown our way.
    The other night Mr rr had me scouring the house for anything else deemed worthy to sell. In fact he looked possessed and I thought he might advertise me next.
    I do believe he has caught this ebay bug.

    A good de-clutter is good for the soul Blights.

  7. I am still going to do my wardrobe and pantry after reading this, I am, really. Perhaps I will just check out those blogs first.

  8. Hi!
    I've also been reading all about minimalism for the past few weeks (not much de-cluttering has been done yet, but I now all about it!) ;)
    About the tiny houses, did you mean "under 90 square feet" instead of 900? 900 is quite a lot for a tiny house, no? Unless that was for the lady with the 30 coats (!) ;D
    I actually did like the idea of minimal, more meaningful conversation.
    Very inspiring anyway.
    Good luck!

  9. Hmm, I couldn't even manage the 'no more than 30 of each thing' idea. I couldn't bear to declutter my CDs and books.

    Even William Morris's advice to "Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful" is a struggle.

    No, I am with you on the existential angst. Minimalism is not for me. Though I really should think about pruning my keep-fit DVD collection, if I can just find a duster.

  10. Hilarious! Had tears rolling down my face!

  11. Glad you found this one. Minimalism in the Legend household is not something my dear wife is comfortable with,(she of a thousand shoes) unless it involves shoving household chores in my direction, I mean after all, I don't go out to work anymore.
    Jr also has not embraced this anti American philosophy (he of a thousand legos).
    We used to have some furniture like that naked dresser. It may be here somewhere, but unless we do a huge purge a la Declutter Lite, is unlikely to be found. I am going to get an electronic tag inserted just incase I disappear.

  12. Ha! Hello there, I'm glad you've taken to minimalism like a 6 figure corporate jock on a spiritual cleanse!

    And that you appreciated my post on mnmlsm, it seemed to hit a nerve with the more serious decluttering litely folk..

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