I am by no means a radical minimalist as I am far from being debt free and have no idea of how many possessions I own but I have a more minimalist mindset and am becoming mindful of possessions, money, time and relationships.
I wrote this back in September 2012 last year, when I launched my blog, a minimalist blog for the UK.
It's really interesting to reflect back on this, my first minimalist post, almost a year old, and consider where I now stand on this subject.
Luckily, the frenzy of decluttering is over for us now as we live in our small but big enough house for four (soon to be three as we have a son off to uni next month). Since September last year I have carried on decluterring as and when necessary and have found that our simpler more modern house needs less embellishment than our tired 70s house did. Consequently, several favourite items that used to sit nicely in our old home just don't suit our new abode and have had to be sold or given away. Less is more is definitely true for our new smaller home. Shopping is now a purposeful pursuit not a leisure pursuit: to buy food, gifts or household/wardrobe essentials. Items are bought because they are a need not a want. We want our new home to be comfortable and stylish but now when we choose something new for our home we look to buy ethically, second hand or make it ourselves.
I still have urges to buy new things but have a lot more discipline and awareness which results in less rash purchases.
I have done too many car boot sales and charity shop drop offs over the last few months to know that past purchases can weigh heavily and getting rid of items is a lot harder physically and emotionally than buying them. Shopping recklessly catches up with you and I don't want to spend too many more hours of my life at a car boot sale. In fact, donating unwanted items to charity is a much more liberating and uplifting experience than running a car boot sale or eBay auction.
I am very proud of the fact that my clothes shopping/obsession is now under control. Less wardrobe space and a desire for a capsule wardrobe has resulted in very controlled clothes shopping over the last eleven months. Now, when I buy a new item, such as my maxi dress or black jacket, it's a result of careful consideration, extensive research and consideration of value for money. If I'm going to buy something new I make sure that I love it so much that I'm going to wear it over and over again. This is a big breakthrough for me, a one time fashionista for whom repeating an outfit was a sign of weakness. Having a smaller but more purposeful wardrobe means that I enjoy and appreciate my clothes more than I ever used too.
I love my streamlined home and wardrobe. Clear surfaces and cupboards give me joy.
Minimalism has taught me to respect money more. Our smaller mortgage debt means that I can work less which reduces my stress levels generally. Every week I have less money to spend but considerably more free time which I have choice over how to spend. I try not to dwell on money wasted in the past but I am quite determined not to fritter money away now or in the future. Money now buys me time, experiences and security. We still have mortgage debt but it is now half the size of what it was fourteen months ago. Two years into working part time means that money is tight but my frugal skills are developing and there are some great sources of living well but frugally online which I find very inspiring.
Time and relationships:
Whilst minimalism has taught me to set limits on my possessions, spending and time it has also taught me that nothing is more important than relationships. I value unhurried time to spend with my family, friends, myself and in the community above all else.
If there is one thing I want more of in my life, this is it.
What have I learnt?
Minimalism, is a tool.
Downsizing has given us a more enjoyable, easier to maintain and streamlined home to live in.
Smaller outgoings mean that I can work less and have more time to spend on relationships and experiences.
Overspending can be cured.
Less is more.
Learning to live more simply, ethically and frugally is possible.
We learn from our mistakes.
We can learn from others.