Wednesday 2 September 2015


A feeling - of wanting to simplify our lives - has been bubbling away for a long time. We have never been excessive consumers - always preferring to make what we can, and wait until we can afford what will bring us happiness in the long-term. For example, our small fridge is the same second-hand one we bought as a young couple about 10 years ago. It was meant to be a temporary measure, but we still haven't replaced it. There always seems something better to spend our money on - from holidays to mortgage repayments. But we still have too much. Stuff, mainly. It has crept up upon us.

It is something that I have known for a while. Part of the reason is because we have moved house several times - usually after the arrival of a new child. Without the time to cull before we packed boxes, we took everything. This has happened four times in seven years.

Another reason relates to my work. I have cupboards filled with props, craft supplies and magazines. And I have to say that most of them get used regularly in some way. It is hard to part with them.

But sometimes these are excuses.

Going on holiday for a length of time - and then staying on an artist's residency for a week shortly afterwards - opened my eyes afresh to the contents of our home. I feel suffocated.

Earlier in the year, I started the KonMari method. The first point of attack was clothes. It felt good to get rid of what we didn't need, and the items that I was holding on to because of some sort of obligation on my part - not wanting to hurt someone's feelings (storing unwanted gifts) or fearing the future (keeping things "just in case"). But there is much more to go. Our toy collection needs another overhaul. It has already gone through a big one, but we have since had three birthdays. Then there are CD collections, books, magazines, kitchenware... And then other parts of our lives - digital photos, overflowing email inboxes and languishing personal Facebook accounts.

Time is the biggest problem.

But is it?

Is it more a matter of priorities? Spending less time on social media and more time on making the life we want. Spending less time shuffling items from one part of the house to another, when sending them to the charity bin would be smarter.

I know it is. And that's the first step.

Also, buying less is key. As I said, we are not big consumers, but I am aware that spending creeps into our lives regularly. Instagram hasn't helped. It dangles temptation in almost every image - even the posts and feeds that purport to be about living simply. And while I have discovered some wonderful brands that produce ethically, it bothers me how much I have bought in the name of "buying well", "doing the right thing" and "heirloom goods". Even eco, sustainable shopping can be seductive. It's still consumerism, and adding more "stuff" to our lives.

With the start of a new season, I am looking to continue the cull that began earlier in the year, but also to pare back from spending. 

As part of this I asked my mum to make some clothes for the girls, pictured above. While they have many beautiful good-quality clothes, they were lacking dresses for preschool. I bought the fabric and my mum made them - I'm hoping to learn how to do this myself one day.

While there is a place for buying beautiful new things, for now I want to focus on simplifying our lives and being happy with what we have.

image the indigo crew


  1. Yes! I love IG and the wonderful networks that have allowed us to buy more ethically and eco-consciously produced items but it does make shopping so tempting and I have definitely have been guilty of buying too much stuff. Even if it is gorgeous, heirloom stuff. Sometimes I find it hard to separate the inspiration that so many gorgeous feeds are and the feeling that they make me want more rather than being content with what we have. Thanks for writing on this subject as it is definitely something I have been thinking about.

    1. Hi Joelle, Yes, there is so much temptation on Instagram, isn't there. Even if you follow feeds that are about "living simply". Often they are filled with surreptitious advertising and marketing. That's why I've found it helpful to pull away a little. And when I look at all of the clothes hanging in my children's wardrobe I really don't feel that they need anything else at the moment. And I'm trying to focus on enjoying what we do have. Thanks for your take on this.