A couple of weeks ago, I posted on Instagram that I cull five things from each room in my house each week. Surprisingly, I received so much feedback – both from people who are trying to do similar or people who wished to do the same but couldn’t stand to lose their possessions.
Last night I sat and watched The Minimalists documentary on Netflix for the third or fourth time – yes, I’m cool like that.
During this viewing, I was sitting on my laptop ordering new skincare online. I had been trialing all-natural versions of skincare products and my skin, for want of a better word, has turned to shit. With it feeling red, inflamed and congested, I was on a mission to get it back to normal.
So I sat, half listening to the documentary, going through all the cleansers the website had to offer, moving then onto the toners, the exfoliants, the serums, the eye creams, etc. etc. I filled my cart with item after item hoping at least one would reverse the damage that had been done. Then I realised the irony in this situation – I was watching a documentary about minimalism whilst being what every company wants you to be – a wreckless consumer. I stopped myself from going through the check out and asked myself, ‘what did I come here for?’ ‘Which products am I currently using that I know are causing me grief?’ All of a sudden my shopping cart went from $300 down to $75. No, it wasn’t $0. No, I didn’t just shut down my computer. Instead I reevaluated my potential purchases and asked whether each one would, as The Minimalists would say, ‘add value’ to my life. For me, that’s what minimalism is about. Having a life full of things that have value and add happiness.
I definitely do not consider myself a minimalist by any means. Nor do I consider myself any sort of expert on the lifestyle. But I do believe that it’s a beneficial lifestyle and one that we should try to move towards as much as possible.
Answering the question ‘does it add value’ can be quite challenging when you begin to use it to reevaluate your possessions both current and future. Although difficult to answer at first, once you overcome this and realise how much better life can be with less, it becomes easier.
I’ll never reach a stage where I am down to one cup, one plate, one set of cutlery, where I ride to work on a bicycle in one of the three outfits I own. I am however, aiming to live a life where everything I do, everything I spend my time and money on adds what I perceive as value to my life.
If you’re someone who devotes your spare time to driving through rugged terrain, why can’t you spend your money on the best 4WD you can afford?
If you love to spend your days reading, love the feel of the paper and the smell of books, why can’t you fill a room with the many novels you love? Why must you read them on a Kindle just because it’s ‘minimalist’?
It’s about living an edited life – one that suits you and isn’t dictated by society.
I love watching makeup tutorials on YouTube but it infuriates me when I see suggested videos of clothing hauls, beauty room tours (aka expired makeup tours) and publicity package reveals. Not only do I find it in poor taste to flaunt your material possessions, I find it disturbing that these videos are so popular, all they do is feed your minds with messages of what you must have.
I can sense your mind wandering to my previous posts and yes, I do let you know what brands I dress in/eat/use but I have never posted anything that I have been sponsored or paid for. For me, it’s not about a brand, it’s about the quality and its use. Most of my clothes aren’t hot of the rack. I have been working hard to build a wardrobe where the pieces can be mixed and matched, pieces that are both statement and staple, pieces that fit well and can be chucked on in an instant. I’m not trying to show you what you need to rush and buy.
I’ve worked hard to spend less time shopping and more time doing things that will bring me true happiness and I feel lighter for it.
I don’t regret that my culling has left me with empty hangers in my closet nor do I have a desire to buy things just to fill them. I haven’t missed anything I’ve thrown out or sold. In fact, I can’t even remember half the things I’ve gotten rid of because they never added value. They just stole space.
I do still allow myself to shop, I just try to shop for what I know I need. I’m not perfect, I still spend way too much money on buying cups of coffee or quick lunches because I was too lazy to pack it and I definitely still spend money on indulgences. I do try to limit those times – some days I’m successful, sometimes I’m not. I know that there is always room for improvement, but I also acknowledge that I have improved and I celebrate that.