I’m on a mission to declutter and simplify my life and over the last few weeks I’ve drawn a lot of inspiration from The Minimalists aka Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus. These two really are the experts when it comes to living on the bare necessities and both claim their lives have improved since they started to focus experiences rather than stuff!
While reading their blog today I came across the concept of ‘The Packing Party‘. Basically, a Packing Party involves inviting all of your mates round and spending an evening packing all your belongings away into boxes.
Literally everything needs to be packed away, whether it’s a slow cooker from the kitchen worktop or a random knick-knack from your bedside cabinet. According to Ryan and Joshua, you should even pack away things that you use on a regular basis.
Keep the boxes as organised as possible and label them to give you an indication what’s in each box. For example you could have a box called ‘toiletries’, one called’ books’ and one called ‘kitchen utensils’.
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Once your Packing Party is over, each time you need to use something, you have to retrieve it from the box in question and replace it in its rightful place in your home (not back in the box).
The idea of this game is to highlight just how few of the items you own you’re likely to actually need and use. After a week or so, The Minimalists recommend you start to decide which unnecessary items to trash, donate or sell.
This whole Packing Party concept does sound pretty drastic. If I invited my friends round and asked them to help me to pack stuff away despite the fact I’m not moving out, they’d think I was crazy. However, I think this is a great exercise to determine exactly which items are ‘essential’ to our lives.
If you’ve already tried decluttering your home but you can’t bear to throw anything away in case you ‘need’ it in future, this could be the best option for you. You’ll realise that there’s no point hoarding things for the sake of it. If you’re not going to use something yourself, you may as well pass it onto someone who will use it. That’s right. Make your junk someone else’s problem ;).
This also could be a great task to complete if you really are due to move house soon. You could pack up all your stuff a few weeks before you move and use the removing-from-boxes process to highlight which items you shouldn’t bother lugging to your new place. Alternatively, you could pack up all your stuff like normal, move to your new place and only unpack gradually if and when you need stuff.
If the whole process sounds a little too drastic for your situation – or you’re not planning on moving anyway – then why not try a watered down version? Rather than removing things from cupboards and cabinets, and putting them into boxes, simply make sure things are put away. Put all loose toiletries in a box in your bathroom and take any loose ornaments and place them in a box in your living room. Basically – remove visible clutter. Pretend you’re a teenager again and your parents have ordered you to tidy your room. Remember kicking everything under your bed or throwing it in your wardrobe? Do that.
Just like the Packing Party – remove things if and when you need it and place it in a designated ‘safe space’ in your home. Once a week or two has passed by, inspect the items still packed away and start to question whether you really need these things.
What do you think of this whole concept? Have you ever tried something similar yourself? I’d love to hear your decluttering and minimalism tips in the comments below. Alternatively, don’t hesitate to tweet me @CantSwingACat or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.