I still consider myself a beginner when it comes to minimalism but the things I have learned and implemented so far have had such a positive and profound impact on my life that I wanted to share them.
- streamline your wardrobe
- back to basics food
- create more space
- priorities and time management
- economise and become more eco friendly
One of the first steps on my minimalism journey was to declutter my wardrobe. I had so many clothes and yet only regularly wore less than 40% of them. Of course there are some items which will never be worn regularly (an elegant evening dress, ski socks, bikini) we need a few special items but we can be selective about which ones deserve a place in our wardrobe. As I have gotten older my style has evolved and I now wear what suits me rather than trying to follow trends. Now it’s about quality over quantity and simplifying my life including what I wear. Over the course of a few weeks I went through every cupboard, draw and shoe-stand and donated well over half to charity. Now I try to maintain a 1 in 1 out policy so if I’m buying something new then I should be donating a similar idem that I already have.
Simple, healthy food doesn’t mean boring food. When you buy quality ingredients and combine them in the right way there will be an abundance of flavour. Natural ingredients have always been my preference but now that I understand the health and environmental benefits of eating a predominantly plant-based diet I will never go back to eating how I did before. Finding ways of buying food with less packaging will mean less waste for you and a happier planet. Minimalism is also about taking time to enjoy the simple things in life like preparing a healthy meal and enjoying it with a friend. I talk more about my diet on my Food page.
It is amazing how much space you can create by decluttering and rearranging. In Madrid we lived in quite a small flat and it’s amazing how you can transform a room with a lick of white paint, some rearranging of furniture and keeping only the things which have a purpose (preferably multifunctional) or are beautiful and genuinely add aesthetic value. The hardest thing about this aspect of minimalism is letting go of things which might hold sentimental value. Something I did was to take photos of things so I would always have the memory but I didn’t need to keep the actual item. This phase is definitely an ongoing process. I love light bright rooms with very simple furniture, maybe a plant or two and a simple colour scheme, I find it so much easier to concentrate and feel peaceful in a space like that.
For me, minimalism is not only about the physical (what we wear and eat, our possessions) but very much a philosophy of being mindful and deliberate in our decisions and how we live. More on my Lifestyle page. It’s so easy just to ‘go with the flow’ but what if the flow isn’t taking you where you want to go? What if the flow is actually detrimental to your longterm happiness and health? Something which I have always been careful of is not following the ‘path of least resistance’. For me, that path leads to becoming who others want me to be or who society wants me to be, not to who I want to be. To feeling unfulfilled and more susceptible to manipulation. It is important to prioritise the things which make you happy and healthy; those things are often not the easy options. Think about how you spend the 24 hours of your day – yes, 8 are for sleeping but what about the others? Is 3 hours of television really contributing to health and happiness?
The great thing about minimalism is that with a 1 in 1 out policy you end up shopping less and when you do you are more likely to make better purchases. When purchases are well thought out and each thing has it’s place it means you spend less and live more! We can also make more environmentally-friendly decisions which will be more economical longterm. Some good quality re-usable bags instead of plastic ones, a natural multi-purpose facial oil instead of 3 different products full of chemicals. Using good quality Tupperware to take some food into work for lunch instead of throwing away so much packaging and eating something less healthy and more expensive. Televisions, laptops, desktops, tablets – how many screens do we actually need in one house? As I already mentioned if things are multi-purpose then that’s even better. What other eco-friendly ways do you save money, I’d love to know in the comments!