A Year Of Minimalism - A Recap
At the start of 2018 I made the decision to embrace elements of minimalism that I thought could work with my current lifestyle (blog post found here). After watching several documentaries such as Minimalism: A Documentary About The Important Things (found on Netflix) , reading beautiful blogs such as A Considered Life and Jessica Rose Williams - it has really helped compound my growing feeling that I needed to make a change and be more considerate of what I consume, buy and recycle. As a human it can be so difficult to be truly minimal as we’re all running our own race plus our current climate garners towards the power of ‘ease’ rather than the necessary. Our passions and personal lifestyles don’t always take minimalism into account but like so many things it’s a work in progress. In this post it’s all about the baby steps I’ve taken to not be such a wasteful soul, what a year of this journey looked like and how I’m taking it forward into 2019.
Do you have any tips to share on being a little bit more minimal ? …
My current goals for my version of minimalism may not suit everyone and are not as niched down as they could be but they speak to where I am right now as I’m very much at the beginning of my journey:
#01 || Living with less & finding real joy from it
#02 || To be more mindful of my consumption & usage
#03 || Continue my affinity with simple shapes (in all things) but be more mindful of their ethical & ecological impact whilst balancing that with my teeny tiny bank balance
#04 || Look at my own notion of style, quirkiness & sentimentality
Some Positives From The Year
Earlier in the year I wrote about some of the goals I’m trying to accomplish and in some ways it has been really successful, so instead of focusing on the negatives or the fact I’m not changing the world in leaps and bounds - we can celebrate the small changes:
#01 || Using Up Things & Not SAving For Best :
For certain items I fell into the very easy trap of buying pretty things and not using them because they were pretty or convincing myself to save things for a special occasion - but that important time would never come. Take candles: I’m such a home bird and my evenings are an important part of unwinding / recharging from the day - part of my very cosy, cocoon of an evening includes lighting a scented candle. I am aware that in terms of air quality they aren’t always the best choice but until my stash is empty, there’s joy to be had from lighting those wax pillars. My candle collection has now gone from a whole draw to a small container, admittedly parting with one-off beautifully scented and packaged items has been a hard hurdle of a mindset to get over but it’s slowly establishing itself. Other objects I’ve been using up and not saving for best are: working through my multitude of notebooks, writing with my far too many pens and using my collection of wrapping paper (plus wrapping accessories).
#02 || Decluttered My Wardrobe :
Fashion trends are not something I keep up to date with however I am in habit of keeping clothes for years even after they’ve had their time in the sun with my style, although it does attest to the longevity and care to my items however it has led to my wardrobe becoming a little stale at times or lead me to ask so many times ‘so what do I actually want to wear?!‘. Thanks to completing the Spring 10 x 10 style challenge from Style Bee (her recap blog post can be found here) which had varying results for me (found here) plus falling head over heels for Jessica Rose Williams’ instagram with her constant updates on her own style / minimal journey - it’s prompted a change in how I do things. One thing I have been struggling with is my balancing my ‘office attire’ with my ‘at home attire’, at work we’re required to dress smarter - which doesn’t always align with my rule of comfort. It’s been interesting to find and adopt a few pieces that not only work for all occasions plus my style goals but also help to add a bit more confidence to my day. A bigger post may be needed but I tend to stick to a neutral monochromatic scheme so that it’s easier to create a working wardrobe that works all-together but I’ve found I like to give my own spin with odd pops of colour from 1 off pieces plus accessories. After having a huge clearout I found that all I needed was to get reacquainted with my wardrobe and play with styling pieces again - I may not have completely different outfit for everyday but I like how I look and feel. Another lady who has been influential is Marie Kondo and her Netflix series on tidying and letting go of our excesses has really helped how I perceive what I actually use and what brings me happiness - the bonus of a big ol’ declutter is that is also gives us a fresh breath of clarity that can re-energise us.
#03 || It’s Opened Up More Food Choices :
It’s no secret that I am a very picky eater, it’s made meal times in the past mighty difficult / awkward and has in the past knocked my confidence a little. I’ve no idea whether it’s getting older, a change of taste palette, more confidence or a slight sense of growing willingness to try more but in wanting to be more mindful of my physical consumption I’ve introduced a few more healthier choices. Hello greens and vegetables! Regardless of where you stand in terms of food politics and dietary practices, it can’t be denied that the meat industry is an absolute giant and like other big industries does have an effect on our environmental climate so it is a consideration for me when researching minimalism. Although a tiny change (even if it’s 1 or 2 meals of slightly healthier or meatless alternatives) it has helped influence not only my relationship with food, my waistline and a different attitude toward exercise.
#04 || Bought Less & Thought More :
When I was younger I was much more of an emotional shopper than I care to admit and my tiny bank balance was ruled more by my wants rather than needs. Whether it’s getting older but I’ve found I don’t need as much to make me happy, what has been another factor is the fact I still live at home with the parents, meaning all my things have to be with me in my room. This means that there’s not a whole lot of space to go around. This experiment in minimalism came at a good time as it allows for more thought in what I bring into my space, if it doesn’t add anything to my life then it’s not needed and this applies to clothes, equipment, home furnishings, stationary etc - it’s been good to truly think about how the latest purchase will fit into my lifestyle. What has been tough is getting over the mindset that you are allowed a treat and sentimental trinkets, when starting my journey I convinced myself that I couldn’t buy ‘frivolous’ things e.g. a new dress, but just because you’re trying to be more minimal doesn’t mean you need to deprive yourself of the things that can truly bring you joy. Understanding the importance of wants and needs has been a big lesson - wants are a treat for a reason. This experiment will truly be interesting when I have my own place. With less stuff I’ve found there’s less to think about and as we’re busy enough as it is that can take the pressure off.
#05 || Recycled More :
After making the conscious decision to be more considerate of what I take in and put out into the world it became very noticeable of the waste that was being generated. The joy of buying less plus living in a home that welcomes recycling has made this part of my transition fairly easy, there is still better alternatives to source but it’s a solid start. The biggest shock to the system was to my professional life, my job needs me to play with paper, plastic and cardboard for the majority of the day (reprographics is my calling apparently), at the end of the day my bins can be a mountain of excess rubbish. For my own piece of mind I’ve had to introduce my own recycling policy with work so that I know it’s actually going to the right place - as before it wasn’t being recycled at all. Thanks to being slightly considerate of minimalism and what it means it has helped me see some of my own practices I could well cut back on.
Some Lessons I’ve Learned Whilst Conducting My Own Minimal Experiment :
#01 || It’s a lot harder than it looks
#02 || No one can be 100% minimal & it’s very hard to maintain - so don’t be too hard on yourself
#03 || It can be difficult understanding the difference between your needs and wants (but that you can also allow yourself a treat)
#04 || Plastic is convenient and mistakes can happen but also retailers make it very hard to go against the grain of our current culture
#05 || Your personal style can still be quirky & fun
#06 || You can ask for plastic-free packaging in some online cart comments
#07 || It’s going to take time
Some Ideas I’m Taking Forward Through Into 2019 :
#01 || Take advantage of the sales (in everything)
#02 || Making own lunches & dinners as much as possible
#03 || Create a zero waste ‘on-the-go’ or ‘at work’ kit, mine includes: water bottle, lunch box & cutlery
#04 || Always bring a tote bag (also part of the ‘on-the-go‘ kit)
#05 || Keep a look out to buy in bulk
#06 || Every now & again give your wardrobe a cull
#07 || Continue to use up my stash of stationary / candles / saving for ‘best’
#08 || Look out for / invest in non-plastic packaging alternatives where possible