How it Started


Epiphany – any moment of great or sudden revelation; a sudden intuitive perception of or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something, usually initiated by some, simple, homely, or commonplace occurrence or experience.

For me this moment was back in October 2010 – the date is etched larger than life in my memory. I read an article titled 'The Cult of Less' written by Ben Machell for the Saturday Times magazine. It referred to the boom in minimalism amongst 'Generation Zero' and the growing number of (mostly) American blogs dedicated to this subject. I began to devour minimalist blogs from that moment. I found reading about the extreme lifestyle of some of these minimalist practitioners fascinating, inspiring and curiously glamorous and I immediately wanted to learn how to begin this process myself. 


The underlying philosophy of anti-consumerism and freedom from owning 'stuff' rang true. My feelings of being enslaved to earning money in order to acquire, upgrade and manage a house and its possessions had gradually built up in recent years. I felt trapped by the status and security of the life we had built up around ourselves and dreamt of a different, less pressurised slower pace of life but thought that achieving this was impossible. I know now that I was frightened of change and of going against the expected norms of society and our friends and family.


Gradually I began to re-evaluate my relationship to possessions. I read the 'Joy of less' by Francine Jay and 'The Power of Less' by Leo Babauta like many new to minimalism I began slowly, starting first with physical clutter. Each time I decluttered an area I felt lighter and motivated to tackle the next problem area. Then life changes intervened: reduced working hours for my husband, stress induced illness for myself and the declining health of my parents. The need to downsize our possessions, lifestyle and commitments was now a necessity and not just a pipe dream. After much deliberation we chose to sell our house and reduce my work commitments. This was not an easy step for us as one of our main concerns was unsettling our children's lives. There were many unanswered questions: Would we sell our house in a depressed market? Would we find a smaller house that we liked? Could we cope with the upheaval? Yet we knew radical action was needed.


Major decluttering ensued. Fast forward two years and we have got rid of shed loads of stuff (two in fact), downsized to a smaller house with a smaller mortgage and I have been working part-time since September 2011. 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 may now own less, earn less and have a less expensive house and lifestyle but I am beginning to achieve freedom from possessions and I have gained more time for myself and to give to others. Minimalism has given me so much and I have learnt that even small reductions in debt, possessions and commitments can have such a positive impact on your life. 


Just a little less is an attempt to track my minimalist journey here in the UK and also an attempt to help others to simplify their lives, just as I was inspired by those first blog posts I read. 




13 comments :

  1. Inspiring! A book that helped me a lot was Living More with Less by Doris Janzen Longacre. It's written from a Christian, Mennonite perspective (I'm a Mennonite) and it takes stories from a lot of different people.

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  2. Thanks - a great title. I will check it out :)

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  3. I'm so happy I checked your blog. It's amazing to me that oce in a while I just decide t check somebody's blog and I have ended up "finding" some amazing ones... And yours is one of them. I'm so very inspired and you have motivated me to continue a journey have been trying to start for a long time ... :)

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  4. So refrshing to read this!
    I am so in agreement...Simple things...we have vowed not to buy new but to make or upcycle, we still have lots of things to sort out, but its a start?
    My blog and reading others such as yours help keep it all in perspective....
    Bestest wishes to you
    Daisy j x

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  5. Just dropped in here from Journey to Ithaca. Very interesting story and I'm already hooked on your blog. Going to read from start to finish as soon as I can. :) Thank you!

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    1. Great to hear from you Tony - some shared interests here. I have browsed your blog and I will be back for a good read too. Thanks for commenting and happy reading/writing :)

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  6. Very interesting story and philosophy. I really struggle with getting rid of 'stuff' and find many items particularily hard because they belonged to my parents and have emotional connections. I'm off to reserve the books you mention from the library and I feel like another wave of getting rid is imminent. This piece is very inspiring and I'll be back soon, thanks, katie x

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  7. I find it incredibly empowering to clear stuff (pass it on where appropriate) and buy less. I decided to leave media work to look after children at home a few years ago; the job is much more enjoyable (outside hours, simple pleasures, etc) but all the toys that I thought had gone when my son became a teenager are now back! When I'm asked what people can buy for birthdays and christmas, I prefer time with friends to more "stuff" indoors - quality not quantity!

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  8. Wonderful story! And how lovely that you now get to share this experience with others new to minimalism.

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    1. So lovely to hear from you... look forward to reading your blog now :)

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  9. Just discovered your blog and am glad I did! My husband and I are trying our best to adjust our lifestyle to be more simple and frugal in our spending habits. I am big on purging clutter and always feel that we can get rid of more "stuff". Sounds like we have a lot of similar views - your holiday party outfit post made me laugh. Just got home from my husband's company party tonight and I had been debating for several weeks about what to wear. Decided on something that was comfortable, warm, and still fashionable, yet I did not buy something new, as I have in the past. You discussed your epiphany, well mine was when I became a stay-at-home mom and started blogging. I feel so much more in charge of my life and aware of the things that are really important.

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  10. A dear friend told me that the artist Michelangelo began with a simple stone. The hard part was not in creating the statue but simply removing the stone to get to the statue of David. What a lesson to learn. We find ourselves by chipping away.
    pve

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