I have been investigating minimalism over the winter period as I become more and more conscious about the stuff that I own. I am aware that in the past I have flippantly bought more things because I just ‘felt’ like it. I have been looking at my need to buy from a number of angles – the ethical, the minimalist and the psychological and it’s been an interesting journey for me.
Ethically, I made the decision at Christmas that I would buy from small businesses and that made life a lot more interesting. Previously, I had always bought from larger businesses – pressing the ‘buy’ button on the Amazon app. made life easy but it didn’t feel right.
Buying gifts this year gave me a lot of pleasure, they were beautifully created and I knew that the person who had made them was a single trader or very small business. I think the gifts that I bought were well-received too. There is a real groundswell of support for the small business and it’s great to be involved in that from a consumer’s point of view.
On a minimalist front, I really think about the things I buy and I have been enjoying this way of life throughout January. I keep a simple budget and only buy things that give me pleasure or that I really need. I’ve been doing some research into minimalism and that brings me to some recommendations for you to read this month.
The Minimalists are Joshua and Ryan, a couple of young men who decided to turn their back on the corporate life and live by their values, getting rid of the junk in their lives along the way. I watched their film on Netflix over Christmas and it really resonated with me. I have been reading the essays on their website and listening to their podcasts. I love listening to podcasts on my early-morning dog walk and The Minimalists episodes are all packed with thoughts and ideas to get your started. I would recommend them to you all.
I have also been reading essays by Joshua Becker who’s message inspires me and, coupled with The Minimalists, really helps me on my ‘less-is-more’ journey. I’ve got a long way to go but I’m making small changes along the way and these changes are helping me to feel more positive about my choices.
Remember that clearing the clutter isn’t just about making room in your house, it can mean clearing out the relationships which don’t serve you anymore.
- Are their people in your life that you would like to see less of?
- Do they drag you down and suck your energy?
- What steps can you put in place to minimise your contact with them?
If you find it difficult to declutter your life space then this could be the most difficult step to take.
Psychological, I have been questioning why I buy so much stuff. I read a book a few years ago called Stuffocation and it resonated with me. I tend to buy art equipment and books so you could argue that they aren’t going to break the bank but all these little things add up. I buy books and store them to read at a later date but I now have a bigger pile to ‘To Read’ and it’s starting to feel a little overwhelming.
I am starting another Open University module shortly and so my time for reading for relaxation will become shorter and shorter. I’ve also noticed that my attention span isn’t as good as it used to be and I’m very distracted by my phone. It makes me sad that I am so distracted and it’s something I really need to work on.
I need to go through my books and take some to the charity shops but I enjoy being surrounded by them in my living room. I see them as old friends who have been there with me throughout and it gives me pleasure to see how my tastes have changed over the years. So I’m not sure what to do about it. If you have any ideas to help me deal with this conflict, leave a message for me in the comments.
The message I have taken from my research is to start where you are.
- What one step can you do today to clear your life of all the junk and mess?
- If you don’t have time to physically do anything to take you one step nearer the goal, can you make a plan to clear a space over the weekend?
- Can you look through your books and take some of those to the local charity shop? (that’s one for me!)
I’d love to know how you get on but in the meantime, have a great January. I’ll be back next month with some February Favourites.