“Your home is living space, not storage space”
Have you ever considered minimalism? Living a simpler, minimal life can have so many positive benefits to our wellbeing (and our bank balance). “A tidy house, a tidy mind”, so they say – there’s something about a tidy room with minimal clutter that just makes your heart sing.
With consumerism at the heart of blogging, we are literally bolstering the ideology with a constant need to update our belongings and bring more pointless stuff which we don’t need into our homes. In part, without much consideration, or looking at the bigger picture.
My Pinterest passion includes pinning inspirational words, affirmations if you like, of minimalistic living ideas. I’m seeing these words often, every day in fact, and actually, the message is beginning to get through.
Living in a converted barn we don’t have the luxury of loft space, and whilst our home is spacious, storage can be a problem. When Dan and I decided to move in together, I had seven years worth of clutter in my own loft, including every out-grown outfit, pair of shoes, toy and crayon drawing my daughter Lily had ever worn, used or produced. Mainly, because as a parent, it can be difficult to let go of the memories and sentiment such items hold and so it builds and builds each year. I emptied my loft and without a word of a lie, my downstairs living space was filled with my clutter. I couldn’t believe how much “stuff” Lily and I had accumulated, but the reality was staring me in the face.
I remember looking at it all, tears rolling down my cheeks. How was I ever going to get through it all?
Not wanting to part with any of it, but knowing I had to get rid of the majority was heart-wrenching. Let’s just say, 2013 was a very good year for my local Barnado’s. I took another bag full in at a later date and could’ve been revisiting my loft, everything in the shop literally once belonged to me, or Lily. I left feeling both mortified and humbled as I imagined who might be tottering around in a pair of my discarded stilettos somewhere.
Admittedly, I do still have a very large tub in my shed containing every pair of Clarks shoes Lily ever owned from her first to last. Plus, her much-loved and well-worn outfits which I can’t bear to part with. There’s just too many precious memories knitted into the fibres.
Dan often complains about the shed filling up, but I ask him “what’s the use in an empty shed?”
I also tell him, if we had a loft, the shed would be empty, right? That’s my justification. I tend to be quite “wanty” by nature and the things I want are generally clothes, shoes, handbags and/or bits and bobs for our home. I often buy clothing which I don’t need or wear and later, wish I’d returned. So, with “fast fashion” (which I’m still trying to get my head around) being the latest craze, It’s got me thinking about minimalism as a lifestyle choice.
I’m going to try and buy less clothing, I have enough to last me. (Although, “I could do with a new pair of boots and a couple of chunky knits” – says my inner shopaholic voice. Or, can I just manage with what I already have? – my reasoning voice.
My growing interest in minimalism means I yearn for a pristine living space, perfectly preened paintwork and Feng shui Master Choi Pak-Lai himself would be proud of, but thinning it all down is something I regularly put off. A combination of “I can’t be bothered”, “I can’t face it’ and “I don’t have time” seems to work for me…
Minimalism is about taking small, (but simple) steps to simplify your life…
- Firstly, stop Buying “things,” Ask yourself – do I really NEED it?
- Start with your wardrobe – this one’s a no-brainer. Thin it right down, get everything out and go through it properly, get rid of anything which has been unworn for a while, or you don’t get excited about. Aim for a capsule wardrobe.
- Next, tackle your drawers, and do the same.
- Continue to de-clutter your living space, understair and kitchen cupboards. (You don’t need 15 frying pans and 3 sets of cutlery).
- Get rid of your credit cards. Yes, It is possible – I cut mine up in 2009 and haven’t owned one since.
“If you can’t afford to buy it with cash… you can’t afford it to buy it”
I refer to myself as a recovering shopaholic (loosely, of course) – hence cutting up my cards and resisting the temptation to buy, buy, buy. My inner voice still tells me I need this and that (on repeat), but I now try a process of “thought stopping” whenever the urge strikes. I get excited about a new coat but then I’ll rationalise it – do I actually need a new coat? How often would I wear it? And I imagine my money staying in my bank account, instead of constantly going overdrawn in the name of fashion. I’m coming around to this way of thinking more and more and it seems to be working…
“Forget the sale price, it’s 100% off if you don’t buy it”.
Of course, I’m not suggesting we shouldn’t live that luxury lifestyle we all crave or have nice/expensive items around our home but keep it to what you NEED not just what you WANT and consider that people, not possessions are important.
Spend your money wisely. An old saying “buy cheap, buy twice” stays true and with that said, sometimes spending well on an item you need or a piece of clothing far outweighs the benefits of saving a few pounds and have the item last little more than a year or so.
If you have a night out planned, do you need to buy a new outfit? If you feel you do, that’s perfectly fine, we all deserve a treat occasionally! Life is for living after all. For me, minimalism isn’t something I’ll get completely hung up on, however, I quite like having more money in my bank account, I must admit!
Finally, a little tip to improve the chi in your home. Clap your hands in the four corners of your room/s to liven stagnant energy. Try it, there’s definitely something in it!
What’s your take on minimalism? Do you hang on to things you should let go of? I’d love to know what you think of living minimally in the face of consumerism. I wrote a post on how the blogosphere can skew our focus and turn us into people of mass consumption. Chasing the blogger lifestyle if you fancy a read.