My first minimalism goals were as follows:
- Clean up my environment
- Get rid of anything I don’t wear/like/need/has major emotional value
- Stop stock-piling things “in-case I run out”
- Question my purchases more
As you can imagine, this meant filling a hell of a lot of black bags, and a lot of trips to the charity shop. At the point I decided to try this out I was living at home for the summer, and not having been in my old bedroom for more than 3 weeks at a time for a whole year , meant that I could see a little more clearly what needed to be thrown out. So far, so good.
But my environment entailed more than this. What about my phone? My social media accounts? My folders of uni work? My kitchen and bathroom cupboards and cabinets? Slowly but surely I removed apps, deleted old emails (I had a LOT of emails in my inbox), weeded out people I followed on social media that made me feel bad, threw out foods and toiletries that were too out of date even for me, and started using up what I had. Using up what I had naturally led to no.3 and no.4 on my list. I had a lot of products I had bought “just in case”. A lot of products I had bought spur of the moment. I’ve slowly worked my way through these products, and begun to question what I’m buying/why I’m buying it just that little bit more.
So, it all sounds fabulous. But… What have I found to be the pros and cons of all of the above in the past five months-ish?
- My mind is actually a lot clearer, and my concentration sharper
- I don’t feel as though I’m being suffocated by objects I no longer need/want, and my space is no longer claustrophobic
- I got a real sense of “feel good” from donating items- what I don’t need might be just what someone else really does
- It’s gradually becoming easier to save money.
- Its easier to pick outfits in a morning
- I can find my concealer in my makeup bag more easily
- I no longer have to trawl through tonnes of emails
- My phone is working a lot faster, and not going off every two seconds with app notifications, meaning…
- I feel a bit more connected to what really matters in life
- I sometimes forget to keep an eye on what’s running low. I end up having to do a dash to the shops, or re-juggle meal plans when I end up eating all the food I bought in (we have a very small fridge between four of us at uni)
- Being too ruthless with the chucking out. Not this time, but long ago when I decided to try and go more streamlined, I threw out/donated a lot of my childhood books. I feel this is a MASSIVE mistake many of us attempting to declutter make. If you have somewhere out of the way, don’t throw away things you aren’t sure about letting go of just yet. You can always come back to them
Some Things That I’ve Learnt So Far…
- Fewer clothes has really pushed me to see exactly what I do and don’t like to wear, and get a firmer grip on my personal style. I can now gradually replace items as I have the money (ha), and eventually make up a wardrobe that suits me perfectly.
- Minimalism may seep into bits of your life you don’t expect it to. I’m a poet, and have suddenly realised the value of words in my work. Sometimes I don’t need an ‘and’. Sometimes I don’t need punctuation. Minimalism has actually improved my writing, and the impact it has on the reader.
- Try and de-clutter one room in one day. Yeah, one day. Set aside a day to go through your whole bedroom. Then go through your kitchen another day- preferably close to the first- and continue.
- If you have a couple of mini declutters to complete- say of your phone and laptop- then group these together and get them done in one day.
- Keep on top of the clutter. When you’ve decluttered it can be easy to fall into letting things build up again, but the more you think in a minimalist way, the more it becomes second nature to keep clutter levels low.
- It’s a good idea to let those close to you know- particularly those that might buy you, for want of a better word, “tat”. My mum is one of the worst for this, as she can’t quite believe that the 20 year old me doesn’t collect soft toys and hoard Christmas decorations anymore. The best way to get through to those you love is to say that you know they love you, and they don’t have to buy you stuff to prove that- because they are coming from a place of the best intentions.
- You don’t have to go minimal in all areas of your life. If you love colour and patterns, don’t go painting your room white and grey, and positioning one little cactus on your one little table.
- You can always come back to an aspect of your de-cluttering. Whenever I return home from uni, I realise that the clothes I left here aren’t all things I would wear now- though the last time I sorted them out I did want to keep them. You can always return to something like this, finding that things you thought you wanted no longer have as much of a hold on you.
I feel that one of the most important things about minimalism is this: you have to do it your own way. Some people will just want a clutter-free wardrobe, and to try a few aspects of minimalism- some people will want to run all the way to the other end of the spectrum, and pare back everything they own, their personal style, and so on and so forth. I’ll definitely be continuing with it, and for me means watching what I’m buying, keeping my possessions organised, and my space consistently tidy.
So what do you think? Is minimalism something you’ve tried, or would want to try? Let me know in the comments below…