Minimalism is a concept that has been 'trending' for a while. Have you already heard about it?
At first, I admit, I didn't get it. A minimalist lifestyle? Why? Why would you want less stuff when you can have more?
In the face of consumerism and ever-growing materialism, of course we might think this way. Our wealth is all too often judged on how much stuff we have - what model of car, how many ensuites, where we do food shopping, what brand our handbag and makeup is. And I would be lying if I didn't join in with this way of thinking for a while.
But more and more, this different way of living kept cropping up. Friends mentioning it, a documentary on Netflix, 'capsule wardrobe' pins and blog posts. The idea of it all fascinated me so I read into it a bit, I watched The Minimalists documentary on Netflix and I became open-minded and curious.
What is minimalism?
From what I have learned on the subject, minimalism is a way of living 'more' with less stuff.
But it might be easier to explain the idea by saying what it is not, as you may have misconceptions like I did. So, it is not getting rid of every item you love and use. It is not ensuring you own a specific number of items. It is not wearing the same outfit every day or never buying books. It doesn't mean quitting your career and not having aspirations. It isn't being nomadic. It also isn't simply, chucking away everything you own.
Minimalism is, however, simply removing the stuff from your life that doesn't add value to it. So those pair of jeans in your drawer that never have fit you and never will, yet they clog up the drawer anyway - those sort of items. The idea is to 'minimise' the amount of objects in your home to create a less cluttered, more manageable space.
You could get rid of these items by simply recycling them or chucking them away, donating them to a charity shop, giving them to friends or family who could get value out of them, or selling them online. But the key idea is, if an item in your house doesn't add value to your life, minimise it.
Minimalism can extend into other areas of your life too, such as your social life or your job. But as 'The Minimalists' put it:
Minimalism is a tool to rid yourself of life’s excess in favour of focusing on what’s important—so you can find happiness, fulfilment, and freedom.
Why does minimalism appeal to me?
First things first, in the last few years, I've moved a lot. I've moved to Germany, I've moved within Germany, I've moved back from Germany, I've lived in 3 different uni accommodations, my mum moved, my dad moved, I moved out of my parents and I'm now living in a flat with my boyfriend. When you move around a lot, you realise how much stuff you actually own. And oh my god, I own a lot. I hoard, so much.
And I don't need this stuff. I still own stuff at my mum's house, yet I never use any of it because I don't live at home anymore. I once counted I had 28 pairs of jeans at uni alone. No one ever needs that many.
I know that I will end up moving again in the near future as this flat won't be permanent and we don't want to be renting forever, and with that in mind I already want to make the whole process easier.
This is just one of the aspects that appeals to me though - having less stuff to tie me down and stress me out and get in the way - there's more to it.
I want the whole lifestyle that minimalism can offer.
What are the benefits of minimalism?
There seems to be a never ending list of benefits that adopting minimalism into your lifestyle can bring. This is just the surface of it:
- Less stuff, more space: your house is going to suddenly feel so much bigger
- More time: If you're not spending all that time mindlessly online shopping and tidying up, think of all the things you COULD be doing instead
- Extra money: by being more conscious with your purchases, you'll be surprised with how much you actually end up NOT buying, and of course you're going to save a tonne of money doing this.
How I am taking steps to a minimalist lifestyle
I am beginning to delve into minimalism - other than just learning about it. I've started sorting out my flat bit by bit. It's going to be a very slow process for me as I am so sentimental at heart - on Saturday I spent half an hour debating whether I should chuck away revision cards I no longer need - but I think it will be worth it. I spent the rest of the morning of the going through stuff in the storage boxes under my sofa and managed to get the things I'm going to keep in one box. I didn't even chuck anything 'significant' away - it was just crap that I had accumulated - things like old notes from uni, notes from training at M&S that I no longer need, broken iPhone leads, a gazillion train tickets and receipts... it all went. This stuff is easy to purge, I think my wardrobe will be the hardest!
This will be something I leave until last though. I love clothes and fashion, I love switching up my style. I know there's definitely stuff I can get rid of, but I would argue I wear 90% of the clothes I do own throughout the year, so though I have a lot of clothes, this isn't something that is a main priority to me.
I'm also minimising my spending. There's no point decluttering if you're just going to go and drop all your money on a load of new stuff the next day, amiright? I saved nearly 3 times more last month simply by cutting down on buying stuff I didn't need in the first place.
Want to learn more about minimalism?
I think the best way to really get a grasp on what minimalism is and how it could benefit you is by researching into it yourself. Have a read of a book or some articles, watch a documentary or my latest favourite thing to do - listen to a podcast. I would 200% recommend The Minimalists podcasts. I've been listening to them while working and during the many hours I've spent recently on my blog redesign and every single episode is so informative and inspiring. Plus, they seem to have quite a de-stressing effect. Worth a listen if this is a subject you've wanted to explore a bit more!