At the beginning of the year I did a 30 day minimalism challenge that I found on one of my favourite blog sites, into-mind.com. Admittedly, I did not complete it (can I argue a minimalist approach made me cut back on the challenges?), but I did really enjoy it and would encourage everyone to give it a go.
Into-mind.com explains that minimalism is about “Remov[ing] what isn’t adding value to your life, to make room for stuff that is.” Less noise and clutter (mental and physical) means more time to focus on what really matters to you, and what enhances the quality of your life.
Minimalism doesn’t necessarily mean getting rid of all of your worldly possessions. (In fact I get a bit annoyed with some minimalists who get competitive about how few pairs of shoes they have – it feels like they’re missing the point a bit.) But minimalism does encourage you to stop and think about whether you really need a fancy carrot slicer or a second holiday home (I wish!). This attitude goes hand in hand with the ethos of sustainable living, whereby you only take what you need and can use and appreciate, thus reducing wastefulness (and the guilt that can creep in from it).
This is such a powerful thing. For example, if a million people decided not to buy something they didn’t really need, we would save a million products from being brought and discarded… We would prevent the waste of all the materials and resources that went into those one million things. To get your head around this, I really recommend you watch this video: The Story of Stuff
Plus, the beauty of minimalism is that there are so many benefits to you, personally, once you slow down and establish, and then uphold, your own priorities (and not other peoples’) in your life.
- Reduce the things you buy, and rather re-use or upcycle the things you already have.
- You can also swop, share or just give things away to friends, families and even online communities – check out www.freecycle.org and buynothingproject.org, which are platforms that enable people to give their unwanted goods to other people who actually want them and will use them. Everybody benefits!
- Make smarter purchasing decisions. (This is also where a capsule wardrobe is a great idea. It means you will own fewer clothes, but you will be able to get maximum wear out of them all because your careful planning has ensured they mix and match well.)
- When you do buy something, opt for the higher quality items. Cheap and cheerful usually breaks or doesn’t work properly, making it’s lifespan very short, which means you will need to buy another thing to replace it. And the fact it can be sold at such a low cost means the real price is likely being paid elsewhere (by the environment or the factory workers – fast fashion is one such example).
- Re-think everything.