Minimalism 2019

It’s been almost three years since I was inspired to make some life changes after watching the Minimalism documentary!

I always knew that de-cluttering our home would be the first step I needed to take before making other changes… I just wasn’t 100% sure when I started the process what those other changes would be.

I’m happy to say that as of last weekend – we have finished minimising our home! It’s still an ongoing process and we’ll continue to let go of things that are no longer needed or loved and to think carefully about anything new coming into the home.

I’ve done big Marie Kondo style clear-outs in the past, but inevitably things crept back in or items ended up out of sight because it was too difficult to make a decision then and there.

This time things are different. Doing the clear-out process slowly and thoroughly over a few years means that we have looked at every single item in the house and made a considered decision. We know that everything that has stayed is either used, needed and/or loved. That’s a nice feeling!

I have no idea how much ‘stuff’ we’ve cleared out, but I would estimate that I’ve thrown out/donated/sold/gifted about 75% of my belongings over the last few years. I feel a lot lighter!

The house overall doesn’t feel that different… we’re not living in empty rooms. But it’s a bit more spacious as we’ve given away a few bits of furniture – mostly shelves that were no longer needed and it generally feels tidier and less cluttered. I won’t share pictures… because (now that we’ve finished minimising) we’re giving the house some love and re-decorating a few rooms. That means we currently have worktops and a sink on the floor in the living room and it’s not very photogenic!

So… what’s changed?

Embracing minimalism and working through all my ‘stuff’ has made me painfully aware of the lack of consideration I have given in the past to where I spend my time and money and the impact those choices have on people and our planet.

We live in a consumerist society where we’re constantly encouraged to want more, but minimalisim has made me a lot more considered in my choices.

Over the last few years I have made some positive changes to my lifestyle in the interest of reducing waste and lowering my impact on the environment. There’s still a lot I want to learn and do, but I wanted to share some of the changes I’ve already made with you!

It’s too much for one blog so I’m going to divide it up and share my ponderings throughout November on: Fashion/Clothes, Food and Health & Beauty.

I’m really looking forward to hearing your thoughts and tips as well!

 

 

Mini Digital Detox

If you’re reading this on Sunday – I’m not contactable because I’m on a mini digital detox!

Snuggle Socks from Cute Comfort Knits by Jem Weston

Over the last year I’ve got into some really good habits with my phone usage. Spending less time browsing social media and switching off my phone before (or sometimes just after) my evening meal and not switching it on again until the following morning.

However… habits slip. When I’m really busy I find it particularly difficult to stick to my new habits – partly because I feel guilty for not being contactable or not replying to emails straight away, but also because I just want to browse Pinterest! But busy times are when I’m most in need of the evening switch off.

My morning habits have also slipped a bit. I try to start each day with a walk, but recently I’ve been switching my phone on as soon as I get up… then I get distracted, waste time and often end up skipping my walk. Not good!

I’m amazed by the technology we have these days and certainly wouldn’t want to be without it, but I’m also very aware of the negative impact it has on mental health, self-esteem and sleep if we don’t use it sensibly.

So this weekends detox is about pressing the re-set button. Reminding myself that nothing terrible happens if I’m off the radar for a couple of days. Breaking the bad phone habits that are creeping up on me and making the time to knit, walk, garden and cuddle the cats – all activities which are far more beneficial to my mental and physical health than passively scrolling through my phone!

Why not join me? Maybe leave your phone at home while you go for a walk, switch it to flight mode for an afternoon… or go full detox and switch it off for the day!

Minimalism: The Highs and Lows

I was wondering recently how long it’s been since we discovered minimalism and was surprised to find that my first blog on the subject was 26th March 2017! I can’t believe it’s been over a year!

My first blog was about starting the clear-out process with something simple. And we chose mugs.

At the time we cut down our mug collection from 28 to 15 and I clearly remember finding it really difficult and finding justifications to keep more than we’d originally planned!

Beardie and I now only own six mugs. We have two each and then two spares in the cupboard for guests/builders. This is perfect for us, but wouldn’t be ideal for someone who has a lot of friends over for tea and cake!

Approximately one year after starting our Minimalism journey – I thought it would be a good time to reflect on the highs and lows.


Highlights

It doesn’t take as long to clean

The rooms that we have tackled already have a lot less clutter so it’s easier to keep them tidy and to clean.

I’ve saved money

Particularly on clothes. I wasn’t an extravagant spender anyway and I haven’t given myself a spending ban at any point – but I’ve been making more sensible purchases and I’m finding it easier to let things go if they’re not right.

I’m creating more

Saving some time and money means I have more time to spend on creating. I’m growing more fruit and veg in the garden and I’m finding more time and money to spend on sewing and knitting garments for myself.

I’m looking after myself

Minimalism isn’t just about getting rid of stuff! It’s about simplifying your life and living more mindfully.

I’ve always been a big advocate of self care and this was largely the motivation behind the Moody Blanket. I believe that looking after our minds is as important as looking after our bodies but it’s something many of us feel we don’t have time for.

I started a habit tracker this year to encourage me to meditate daily, eat healthily and get more sleep. I really feel the benefits when I stick to my daily habits and I notice the negative impact when I let things slip for a few days.

Habit Tracker by Clementine Creative

The Lows…

‘Stuff’ stresses me out

I’m quite an impatient person and if I decide to do something I generally just want to get it done! However – I knew that rushing through the initial ‘getting rid of stuff’ part of minimalism wouldn’t work for me. I’ve had big clear-outs before and I inevitably put things out of sight to sort out later. This time I want to do it thoroughly and make a lasting change!

People deal with the process differently. Ryan of The Minimalists had a packing party – putting all his belongings in boxes/covering furniture and then only keeping what he had used within a certain amount of days (extreme!). Whereas Josh (also of The Minimalists) gradually got rid of the majority of his belongings in the space of a year.

Beardie and I kick-started things in June by playing The Minimalism Game. When we came to a standstill we followed this up with a mini packing party for our kitchen crockery at the end of last year. Other than that we’ve just been gradually working through things… and it’s a slow process.

We’ve probably tackled more than half the house which is great – but because we haven’t completed the process of minimising every room, I always feel like I should be doing ‘stuff’ and ‘stuff’ becomes stressful!

I feel guilty

I guess it’s natural when taking good care of oneself to feel a bit selfish!

I find meditation particularly difficult because my mind bounces around and I feel like I ‘should’ be doing something else.

But taking time out can often make you more focused, more productive, calmer and generally a nicer person to be around. So ultimately self care is caring for everyone… my brains just not calibrated that yet!


As you can see – the highs outweigh the lows for me! I would love to hear from you if you’re working on simplifying your life too… particularly if you’re a fellow crafter surrounded by ‘artistic clutter’!