Monday, 4 January 2016

Minimalism and Me - An Introduction


I wanted to start a series on Minimalism with a new post every Monday and I thought a good place to start would be with my journey into a more minimalist lifestyle and some small ways I have incorporated this into my life.

There are many different definitions of minimalism and what being a minimalist entails floating around on the Internet. One that I particularly like is 
"Minimalism is a lifestyle that helps people question what things add value to their lives. By clearing the clutter from life’s path, we can all make room for the most important aspects of life: health, relationships, passion, growth, and contribution." - The Minimalists

For me personally there are no set rules when it comes to minimalism. I'm still pretty new to the concept and I'm really enjoying incorporating it into my life. I touched on this in a previous post but thinking about it I started moving towards a more minimalist lifestyle when we moved house back in March last year. The amount of stuff we had accumulated in the 2 years we had lived there was astonishing. So much of it was buried in the spare room, under the beds, stuffed in wardrobes, you name it. The amount of things we threw away, donated to charity, sold or gave to friends was quite frankly obscene. I was sickened with myself that I had wasted so much money on things I didn't even remember I owned. 
We resolved that when we moved into our new place we would be very mindful about what we bought for our new home. We went from a two bedroom cottage to a 2 bedroom apartment so we had less storage available to work with. This really helped us think more carefully about what we were buying, where it would go, did we actually need it, and would we still want it in 12 months time. 
This mentality then started spreading into other purchases I made, not just homewares. I started being a lot more mindful about what I was spending my money on, from make up and skincare to clothes and shoes. I started asking myself did I really need this? And if I didn't 'need it' would it add value to my life in some way or make me happy.

Tidy Home Tidy Mind.

Not long after this I discovered the Marie Kondo book that you will more than likely have seen - The Life Changing Magic of Tidying. This is something I would recommend reading if you want to declutter your home. I really enjoyed it and as someone who has always been quite organised but a little messy it has left a lasting impression on me. I speak honestly when I say my home never looked so good. One rule we stick to that maybe you could try is keeping the surfaces clear. Sounds mega simple doesn't it? You would be AMAZED how much crap piles up on your kitchen work tops. I only keep out the things I use daily so my kettle, toaster, teabags, utensil pot, knife block and a couple of plants. That is it. I used to have all sorts on my kitchen worktops, bottle of olive oil, salt and pepper, candle holder, blender, sugar canister (we don't even use sugar) amongst other things. Its so nice to come down in a morning to make a cup of tea to clear surfaces - try it and see for yourself.

Declutter your digital space.

Moving on from that I also attempted to declutter my "digital space." First things first empty your trash bin and your downloads folder. Next up clear your desktop and keep it that way. Do you still have all of those apps that come installed on the laptop on your toolbar even though you only use may 4 or 5 of them? I had all sorts on mine, GarageBand, iMovie etc - keep the ones you use regularly and hide or remove the rest. Next up tackle those emails if you haven't already. I was one of those people who had thousands of unread emails. I downloaded an app for my laptop called Go for Gmail. This worked really well for me. For some reason I never could keep on top of my emails with my phone so I downloaded this app and I religiously clear my emails every night. If you do have thousands of emails to get through you can filter by subject or sender then select all and delete. Or you could be a total rebel and select all and mark as read. I am planning an entire blogpost on this but until then try these tips and also check out this video by Rachel Aust.

Minimalism and Money.

This is another subject I plan on elaborating on but after watching this video by Sugar Mama TV I decided to try a minimalist approach to my purse. I've always had a huge purse, and its always stuffed to the brim with receipts, scraps of paper, more loyalty cards than I can begin to list amongst other general rubbish. I'm not quite sure where this whole "need" to have a huge wallet came from but it happened. This Christmas I downsized my wallet to a smaller leather purse and seriously slimmed down what I carry around with me. I also received a travel card holder which was life changing - no more scrabbling around trying to find my train pass at the barriers! Downsizing my wallet and only carrying around with me the things I actually use has been liberating. This will be different for everyone but for me I take some cash, my bank cards, my driving licence and breakdown cover card, my Boots, Subway and Waterstones loyalty card and thats it. When was the last time you checked the contents of your purse? 

I think I am going to leave it here for this post as I don't want to go into information overload. There will be a new post every Monday covering a different topic and sharing some of my favourite links or resources for you to check out. Next week I will be sharing some of my favourite Youtube Channels and Blogs but until then here are my 3 links for this week.




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