26.8.13

Minimalist Monday: Setting Limits

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. 

Possessions:
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.

Money: 
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.


14 comments :

  1. Claire this is a wonderful post as you reflect on the upcoming first anniversary of your blog.
    I love your list of things learned - but I would add "We can inspire and support others on their journey". Thanks for the inspiration and support you give via this blog.

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  2. You have done so well, you should be proud of what you have achieved. You are right that time to yourself, free of work, is worth so much more than money. I'm glad you are feeling so positive about your achievements.

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  3. A wonderful post.

    You seem to have learnt so much from this last year and I think I can speak for most folks that read your Blog when I say that WE have all learnt almost as much, so thank you for sharing your journey (up to now) with us. I look forward to seeing how things carry on from here.

    Some of your phrases above really resonate with me -

    'Shopping is now a purposeful pursuit not a leisure pursuit: to buy food, gifts or household/wardrobe essentials.'

    'Shopping recklessly catches up with you'

    So very true, I'm glad that I have learnt this too.

    Happy Blogoversary for next month, a year goes so fast here in Blogland :-)

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  4. Well said, and well lived!!

    I have just been going through some of Miss Minimalist's archives; I find I do need to keep up my inspirational reading as a bit of a kick in the behind sometimes :) But life is a lot better than it used to be, that's for sure, even though I am having rather a busy phase. Now I am more aware of ups and downs, it doesn't just get lost in the chaos, even being busy is more mindful.
    An added bonus is similar to you, my husband doesn't feel he needs to "provide" as heavily as when we all seemed to have more demands and expectations, conscious or not, so he is more relaxed and that's better for him, and us :)

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  5. Hi - I'm new to this site but already think that I am going to have to go back over your archives to check out what has been happening - your attempts at minimalist living seem to have been very successful and I look forward to reading further posts for inspiration.

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  6. I've been following you for most of your journey, and have shared many of the experiences with you. Since returning from a large French home to a much smaller English one, we have had to consider just what we need rather than want, to keep. Hard sometimes, but also refreshing.

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  7. Minimalism, is a tool.

    This is the key point that jumps out for me. It's an umbrella term that encapsulates lots of different thoughts and approaches, not an end in itself.

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  8. Letting go of stuff is SO refreshing. I feel light, free, happy. I still want to let go of more, because every time I give something away, I get a high. Much better high than the one you get from buying stuff!

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  9. What a lovely self aware post. It sounds like you have enjoyed the journey of the last year and are happy where you find yourself now. Thanks for sharing.

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  10. Thanks for the inspiration you have gave me through your blog! I found it some time ago and I've been reading older posts as well. Not so many UK minimalistic blogs I have found, even less Finnish minimalistic blogs. Nice change comparing to American blogs. Thanks!

    -Anu from Finland

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  11. Hi Claire,

    Shopping is now a purposeful pursuit not a leisure pursuit: to buy food, gifts or household/wardrobe essentials.'

    Amen to that!

    But strangely...

    Although I don't crave or feel I need 'stuff' and value the experience over the materialistic I have managed to accumulate so much stuff-well clothes really. I did the 303 challenge and am still using the clothes sorted but have bought maybe 3 more things. The rest is in suitcases or boxes.

    I'm just being lazy about getting rid of it.

    And I think I will do the charity shop approach-I totally get what you are saying there too.

    Sft x

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  12. An inspirational post which sums up the day to day reality, and positivity, of minimalism. Also your 52 weeks of happy posts are a joy.

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  13. I does take time to change habits of a lifetime and I am still learning how to live more simply but the rewards of doing so are so great. Following your lead I have been forecasting on my Autumn and winter wardrobe. Thank you for all your tips and inspiration.
    Sarah x

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  14. I LOVE this post! I'm so glad you started writing a blog :)

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