18.3.13

Minimalist Monday: The Path to Minimalism


One of my favourite reads on minimalist sites are the real life stories from readers of how they first became interested in minimalism. One day I will submit my own version but in the meantime I thought that today I would tell you a little more about why I am attracted to minimalism and simple living. Several things have triggered my interest – here they are broken down.

1. Control. In the past I was very good at accumulating possessions but not so good at editing them. Suddenly, a few years ago I realised I had too much of most things: clothes, books, CDs, sentimental keepsakes and various odds and ends. I found owning too much overwhelming and I longed for more control and enjoyment from having less possessions. I began to read minimalist blogs and ponder if I could live with less. Major decluttering followed and continues to this day.

2. Health. Without warning two years ago I developed a ME type stress induced illness. I had to completely rest for several months. During this time I re-evaluated my life and made the decision to work part-time as my job was the the main source of stress in my life. My return to work was successful but I still have to keep myself in check and not over schedule my time. Reading minimalist and simple living blogs has taught me the value of relaxation, hobbies and time to be. I now have time to stop and stare and enjoy simple pleasures each week.
3. House clearing. Over the last two years I have had to help my Mum and Dad (who is disabled) with the house clearances of two deceased uncles. Both were bachelors and serious hoarders. In one house we found hundreds of old newspapers going back many decades and numerous identical blue shirts some unopened from their packets. Clearing their homes honed my decluttering skills, making me better at getting rid of sentimental items and more determined than ever not to hoard. 
4. Values. I am attracted to less because I don't feel comfortable with owning too much stuff or any one item that is too expensive. Trying to develop non-attachment to material possessions makes me a happier and a more giving person. When I am not obsessing over my next purchase I can be more present in the moment and have more time for family and friends. I am not impressed when other people buy expensive things and I am not interested in buying something that will give me status. 
5. Experiences. I value my time and the time I share with others more than material possessions. Memories of good times and the positive effect that these experiences have on my life are worth more than any one possession. I try to plan trips out as regularly as I can afford. Watching live music, theatre and simple holidays are things I like to spend my money on.
6. Self-development. Downsizing was a big step for us but one that has been successful. Earning enough money to feel secure is our only financial goal and we are beginning to pursue other projects outside of our main jobs that may have potential for income in the future. Working less hours allows me more time to pursue interests such as reading, writing and photography. Also, living with less actively encourages creativity - having to make do forces you to become more creative.
7. Calm. From an aesthetic point of view I like the look and feel of clearer and less cluttered spaces. Some of the images I choose in this blog are beyond my reach but I still aspire to the essence of this pared down stylish look. Also, living a less hectic life leads to more moments of calm. I'm not there yet - but I have more calm moments than I used to. And this is because of changes I've made that have been influenced by minimalism.

Those are the main reasons I started down the minimalist and simple living path. 


Why are you attracted to a simple life? Do you think living with less stuff improves your life ? I'd love to hear from you.


source


22 comments :

  1. I have been very sentimental about so many possessions, and reluctant to part with things. Then came a time when I realised that none of my children would see my possessions in the same light. What would they do with them? Ebay? So I took the plunge and began to declutter, but still a way to go!

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    1. I try and be selective when keeping sentimental items - too much of anything means clutter to me xo

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  2. I have told my children that just because I valued certain things doesn't mean they have to keep them too! I've seen what a burden inherited things can be. I love how clear you are in your thinking about living more simply - I have been blogging about this for three years (today!) and loving it. Am enjoying your posts.

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    1. Happy 3rd blog birthday and thanks for your kind words xo

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  3. First of all Claire I'm so pleased that your health has been one of the improvements on your simple living journey.
    Apart from the health/work aspect I could have written the exact story although it was two aunts instead of two uncles whose homes we cleaned out.
    My husband had kept a lot of sentimental/ future useful things in our basement but after helping me with my aunts and then later sadly both lots of parents, he realised what a burden these things can be. When I asked him if he wanted our two children to have a similar experience after we've gone he started to evaluate and get rid of many things. In fact now, even though our home is fairly minimalist, he'll sometimes suggest that a particular item could go to the charity shop instead of "cluttering up our house" :)
    Unfortunately we have a stumbling block with downsizing our home - we have a large garden and the families who've been viewing don't want a large garden!

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    1. Great that your husband supports your anti-hoarding approach. I your find it interesting that your viewers don't want a large garden - is that because of maintenance? Hopefully the right family will come along soon xo

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    2. Yes the maintenance of a large garden is something young families seem to be switching away from. Twenty years ago we thought it was great for our kids to have a garden to play in as well as a pool but nowadays many only want a pool. Thanks for the encouragement and yes, we are happy to wait for the right family. :)

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  4. Yes, I firmly believe that having less possessions clears your life and helps you grow. Making our lives lighter open up space for possibilities... For other things to happen in our lives. Love the post :)

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    1. Thanks - feeling lighter and more open to new opportunities is a positive benefit of minimalism xo

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  5. Oh yes, probably all of those. I fancied a "country life", an idyllic, roses-round-the-door sort of existence so when we were able to rent a large, old-vicarage type place, we grabbed it. 8 years down the line, we had exhausted ourselves trying to keep it up, create a garden, have a family and pets and my husband a career. It was totally out of control - and I realised I am a control freak!! Other elements were there, too - interest in environmental and ecological issues, for instance. Eventually the whole bubble collapsed, including my marriage and we were forced to re-evaluate. Best thing that ever happened to us!
    Now in our much smaller house, we are in control, we can live our values, enjoy simple entertainment (there's a converted ironworks used as a cultural centre next door!), have time for relaxation and recuperation. My husband's career is still a bit hectic but we can see light at the end of that tunnel, too, yay :)
    It helps that you chose a great picture for this post - almost a combination of the two sides of my living/dining room (long low cream sofa along one wall and long oak table with lots of chairs along the other, under the windows looking onto the trees around our small property!!)

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  6. I started my simplify journey for your #1... I felt overwhelm in our house... It was a 2 or 3 years ago and I keep going... I tackle things one after the others... I have a different approach to values. I do buy things that are expensive but not to give me a status but rather because I worship craftsmanship... I love to buy things that have been made with love, by someone passionate about the topic, being it things for the house or clothes... I don't like mass production and so, it always leads to paying a bit more... That help me in the control aspect as therefore, I buy less.

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  7. I agree with you about having the time and mental space to do more rather than buying, thinking about buying or dealing with "stuff". We had a (much needed) clothes shopping trip the other week, it was exhausting and took up so much time. When I'm not doing things like that I seem to be able to cram a load of stuff into each day and I have space in my brain to think about things.

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  8. I've always been drawn to the concept of simplifying. Some areas are really clear, but there are still those hidden areas! I also had to clear through several family members posessions. The thing I find difficult is all the photos and certificates. I have quite a few boxes in the attic I would like to organise one day. it's kind of hanging over me! I feel like the family record keeper! Also we could be enjoying some of the photos in our lives instead of having them up there, so I would like to make it happen one day, Heather x

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  9. Love it - this says it all! Possessions can be such a burden.

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  10. It is really an ongoing process of clearing and decluttering. We live in a small house and I've gotten rid of so much , but there are still problem areas I want to work on. Minimalism has really helped me evaluate what I need and don't need. I love the look of mid century furniture and own a few pieces that helps with clean lines. But there's still more to get it where I want my house to look.
    Thanks for your posts I enjoy them.

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  11. I can't put into words how simplifying my/our life has changed me - I'm no longer stressed out or in debt.

    I was on a hamster wheel of work/stress/shop/debt - thankfully I broke the pattern.

    Love this post Claire x

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  12. Living with less stuff gives me so much more free time to do the things I enjoy!
    Sarah x

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  13. fabulous post claire,could you write a post on simplified skincare,toiletries and makeup.

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  14. I nodded my head throughout this entire post. I feel the same as you on all counts. It's so freeing not to be thinking of the next "thing" I want to buy.

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  15. I really, really like your blog! I'm just starting to tip-toe into minimalism
    http://lasagnolove.blogspot.de/2013/06/you-get-to-decide-what-to-worship-i.html)
    and find your site really well written and informative!

    Gretings from Germany and a sunny weekend,

    Bambi

    http://lasagnolove.blogspot.de/

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  16. I've probably always had a tendency toward a simpler life. As a young child I remember being fascinated by a series called 'living in the past' where they managed with the bare basics. It's probably in my psyche...

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Thanks for reading and leaving your comments. Keep in touch xo