I have been doing a lot of research lately in to minimalism. By research obviously, I mean watching YouTube videos (Jessica Avey and Pick Up Limes are my current favourites) and it has really inspired me into minimising my life. We have recently moved into a new house and we made a conscious effort to not take much with us. This has in essence forced us to live in a more minimalist way because obviously, who can afford to refurnish an entire house in one go? We are buying a few bits every month for the house and I think it has really made us think more about what we buy and what we actually want in our house. I am loving the bright, white open spaces and I am reluctant to fill them with clutter. I am really embracing that saying:
Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.
I don’t believe that minimalism is just about ‘stuff’ though, or how much of it you have. I don’t believe it is about having a pristine, light, white decor or having a room with just a bed in it. I think it is just about taking the stress out of your life and having less clutter, both tangible clutter and metaphorical clutter.
Imagine you are planning a party. Think about who you would invite. Is that list massive? Are there people on that list that you don’t even like? People you haven’t spoken to in a long time? Why are they on there? I’m guessing because you feel like they have to be. Because you feel like you might offend someone if you missed them off the list. This is something I really struggle with. I have what can only be described as a ‘difficult’ relationship with most of my family and I struggle with feelings of guilt and anxiety every time I think about it. I started reading a book recently called ‘The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck’. It’s quite a sweary book, as you can probably gather from the title, but the message is clear. Stop trying to live your life keeping everyone happy at the detriment of yourself. I’m trying really hard to stop feeling guilt over other people’s decisions and to take ownership for my own instead. I realised, you don’t need to apologise for living your life the way you want to.
Obviously, there is a line between not giving a f*ck and being a dick, try and stay on the right side of that line. Everyone has a different opinion on what is ok and what isn’t and I think it is about finding out where you sit and being happy with your own decisions. In relation to minimalism, the point I am making is to minimise your life as a whole, not just dump a load of clutter from your kitchen cupboards and think you’re done. For me, I try and just have things in my life that make me happy and this includes people. If someone is causing me more upset and anxiety than joy, then I have simply stopped seeing them. I say simply, it isn’t easy and if I’m honest, it has caused a lot of upset. But then again, I don’t believe we have an obligation to keep people in our lives if they make us unhappy. As much as it makes me very sad to not have certain people or relationships in my life, in the long run I have a lot less stress and anxiety in my life by choosing to surround myself with people that are positive and bring me joy.
I am naturally quite a negative person, I moan a lot. I whinge about silly things and it’s something I really dislike about myself and something I am trying to change. Minimalism for me, is helping to facilitate that change. I got rid of a load of Isabelle’s toys yesterday and now just have a small box in the lounge and her toy box in her bedroom. Less toys, means less tidying up. Less toys means less stress when she tips the entire box out all over the lounge. Less tidying up and less stress, makes for a happier mama. Having clear sides makes me feel calm, having plants in the house makes me happy.
It’s the same with clothes. I got rid of all the things that made me feel bad about myself. Those clothes that are a little tight, or that I felt made me feel fat. I have tried to just keep things that I feel good in when I put them on. I read an article the other day where a woman let her husband choose her outfits for a week and she mentioned that one day when they were just staying in the house, he chose one of her fancy black dresses for her to wear that she usually saves ‘for best’. What is ‘best’? This really resonated with me so now I’m no longer going to save things for best, I’m just going to use them to make me happy now. Candles, perfume, underwear, I’m sure we all have things we don’t use regularly because we think they are too fancy for daily use. But f*ck it, why not. Today is just as special as any other day.
This isn’t an overnight change. It’s a little stressful taking big bags of stuff to the tip or charity shop to be honest but the feeling afterwards is good. I’m trying to just be more mindful in life overall to be honest. Going vegan, eating organically and locally where I can, using less chemicals (I’ve been using eco friendly products in the kitchen for quite a while now) being more present when I’m at home with Isabelle and my husband, taking more time to do things on the blog because it’s something that makes me happy. I really enjoy make up and fashion, so for me I will still be buying clothes and things like that – that isn’t an area I am going to be strictly minimalist in but minimalism is subjective I think.
I’ll keep you updated on my progress but in the meantime, I would love to hear your thoughts about minimalism?