I have a lot of stuff.
I know what you're thinking - first world problem, right? But I don't just mean luxury items and the latest must-have gadgets. Yes, I have some nice stuff, stuff I like to use, stuff I like to wear, stuff I like to see in the house. But when it comes right down to it, a lot of the stuff I have is, well... just stuff. It sits around in cupboards, or boxes, or piles. It makes the house look untidy just by being there, and it gets in the way of the stuff I like.
This is a feeling which has been growing for some time (particularly since our last house move, which for various but mostly stuff-related reasons was quite traumatic), but I have been inspired to do something about it by a book that I stumbled on, Simplify by Joshua Becker, and his blog Becoming Minimalist. Becker is a committed minimalist, but he doesn't live in a white-walled loft apartment with no furniture and a single flower in a vase for decoration. He is a regular father-of-two in a family home, who, after a chance conversation with a neighbour a few years ago, decided with his wife simply to own less stuff; the process which followed involved both reducing the things they possessed, as well as actively deciding not to replace these things with other unnecessary stuff.
I have decided to use this year's Lent to give at least the first part of this a go (and I'm assured that the second part follows more easily once you get into it). On the basis that Lent is about charity as much as it is about fasting and abstinence, I will be attempting to become minimalist by donating to charity or just giving away the stuff I don't need which is in good condition. Throwing away (recycling as much as possible, of course) will be reserved for junk, although I suspect there will be a large amount of this.
Sadly, Becker doesn't offer the guarantee in the title of this post, which I'm fairly sure he would think rather misses the point. I can't promise to become a full-on minimalist by 20 April (Easter Sunday), but on the other hand this is a long-enough period that, if I can keep up the clearing-out and the keeping-clear, I should have formed some habits by the end which will help me keep on in the right direction. And of course there is this blog, which, should I have time to write it after all those epic clearout sessions (ahem), will provide some accountability.
I hope that some of my friends will read along to see how I get on over the next few weeks.