Changing habits: How to create new and sustainable habits
Why less is more

Reset to zero

Having-a-minimalist-home-means-less -to-clean-and-tidy. Little eco footprints

I recently stumbled across an idea that really appeals to me – resetting to zero. Once a week, author and blogger Colin Wright resets his home, work and life to zero. He tidies his home until every surface is clear of clutter. He empties his inbox - every message is either deleted or acted upon and archived. His to-do list is emptied of urgent items. Each and every week Colin enjoys a moment when his mind and environment is clear of clutter.

When I first read Colin’s post I envied that moment of clarity, but dismissed the idea as being totally unachievable for me.

Since then, the idea has remained in the back of my mind. While being able to clear the clutter from my home, work and life seems unachievable at the moment – perhaps I can manage to regularly reset just one of these areas.

Creating a minimalist home

I saw our recent move as an opportunity to create a home that is minimalist enough that it can easily be reset to zero once a week.

Resetting to zero is not about spending more time cleaning and tidying – it’s about having so little that there’s less to maintain.

Colin claims that “when you own only the most vital of possessions, and occupy a space that makes sense for you and your needs, you’ll find it takes all of 10-15 minutes to reset to zero, giving you a quick and easy way to clear your mental tablet and start from scratch.”

Being a lover of all things slow – slow living, slow food, slow travel, and slow parenting – I’ve embraced the idea of slow moving. Rather than move everything from our shed home – we’re slowing moving only what we truly need into our rental property. We’re questioning the value of each item we bring into our home.

The furnishings and contents of our rental property are relatively minimalist. The first Saturday morning I attempted to reset our home I enthusiastically raced around tidying and cleaning while trying to enthuse my husband and daughter about how wonderful it would be to finish all our chores in one day and have a clutter-free home. A few hours later we gave up.

We’ve since tried to reset to zero a few more times and haven’t yet succeeded. There’s always a pile of paperwork on the fridge, or far too much washing to tackle in one day, or a desk that we can’t manage to clear.

But each week we are getting closer. Forcing ourselves to deal with our belongings each and every week is helping us question not only what we own – but also what we choose to purchase. I’m still hoping that one day I’ll enjoy a moment when my home is entirely clear of clutter.

Originally published in my Newcastle Herald column 'Less is More' Saturday 29th March 2014.

My Less is More column has a new home. My column will now appear in the Living Green section of Monday's Newcastle Herald.