2021 | The Year Of Living With Less

Saturday 2 January 2021

the year of living with less minimalist lifestyle luxury

It started with a Christmas jumper. A funny item to trigger such a realisation.

I had ordered one I ‘had’ to have for Christmas day. It needed to be mine. I placed my order, but a couple of days later I got an email to say that the dispatch had been delayed. It wasn't going to arrive in time.

Immediately, I found another stockist and placed a duplicate order, chucking a handful of other items into my basket while I was at it. The next day, predictably, the first one turned up.

Why was I so desperate to get my hands on a novelty jumper that I would order two, plus a load of other stuff I didn't want or need?

I looked around me - a wardrobe overflowing with items I've never worn, many still with the labels on. A dressing table stuffed with untouched 'must have' cosmetics. A bathroom packed with spare toiletries.

What on earth was I thinking?

Suddenly I began feel suffocated, oppressed by the sheer weight of my belongings. It was madness.

Madness that was harming my wellbeing - my anxiety at the clutter, my shame at the waste of money, my time trying to find anything when I wanted it, my environment with all the unnecessary buys.

Just like that, there were too many good reasons to give a more minimalist approach a try. I've always been intrigued by it, devouring books and articles on minimalist living while continuing to consume at pace. But I can't do it any longer - the time has come to try living with less.

From Shopaholic to Minimalist in 2021? 

living more minimalistically in 2021

I've been flirting with the idea of minimalism for a while, which I suspect will be quite laughable to anyone who knows me or even follows my Instagram.

Shopaholic is definitely a term that could apply to me. My months are an endless parade of Amazon Prime deliveries and obsessing over ever-changing ‘must haves’. I buy things as a deeply ingrained habit, getting pleasure from the transactions.

And yet, the idea of living with less has huge fascination for me.

My YouTube browsing history is a patchwork of minimal living and decluttering videos. My Pinterest is full of capsule wardrobes. Something about the philosophy has been calling to me and commanding my attention for a few years now. But still I continued to buy things I knew I didn't need.

This blog became a driver for consumption as I justified buying things so I could write about them here - and yet rarely did.

It's time for a change, and the enforced break in all our lives the Covid 19 global pandemic presented has really emphasised that. In 2021, instead of reaching for more, I want to get to grips with the concept of less.

The great thing I've learned about this approach from my research is that it doesn't have to be all or nothing. I know in my heart that there is no way on earth I can go from owning hundreds of pairs of shoes to just one. That would be unrealistic and destined to fail. I'm not saying I'm not going to buy anything at all this year, or that I'll never relapse and have a blowout in Sephora.

Instead, I'm planning to gradually cut back and streamline my life where it matters most to me and where it's practical to do so.

My Minimalist Manifesto

There are so many great reasons that I want to give a year of living with less a go:

  • I want to be less controlled by my possessions 
  • I need to streamline my home as clutter gives me anxiety and more housework I don't need
  • With two young children I want to simplify so I have less decisions to make and in turn I'm less distracted and more ‘present’ with them
  • I'm older now and I know my style better so I don't need to chase trends 
  • It will allow me to be kinder to the planet by cutting down on what I buy
  • I need to be wiser with my finances than just purchasing on auto-pilot

A Gradual Approach to Less

I'm not aiming to buy nothing at all, but I am aiming to become a 'conscious consumer' who buys less and is purposeful in what they do buy. I'm planning to:

  • Educate myself about the minimalist mindset 
  • Learn to refuse impulse buys, ‘bargains’ that don't get used and shopping mindlessly
  • Build a delay into every purchase to give myself a chance to evaluate if I really want something
  • Streamline my existing wardrobe and makeup collection and bust the clutter in my house 
  • Use things up before buying another 
  • Don't save anything for best. Buy fewer, better quality items and use them everyday to avoid having two versions of everything on the go
  • Aim to develop a capsule wardrobe by shedding items and selectively adding if really necessary 
  • Plan out clothes purchases carefully with the aim of buying less and better quality 

I'll be using this blog to document my journey from shopaholic to mindful consumer. I don't think it will always be smooth sailing, but for so many reasons it feels more vital than ever.

Could true luxury actually be about having less?

The irony is I have so many things to post about that I've already got lined up, so there are still lots of things to come which predate this new direction - I literally have drawers full of unused makeup ready to be written about! So it might look as if I have forgotten about my promise sometimes, but I'm hoping it won't be the case.

I'm also going to be doing more posts on decluttering, spending less and creating a capsule wardrobe at the same time.

My Minimalist Reading List 

To get started, I have some reading lined up, to clue me up and give me the tools to gently change my habits:

Minimalism - Joshua Sasaki
Mastering Minimalism: Eight Steps To A Life With Less Stuff And More Freedom - Emily Josephine
The Minimalism Challenge - A. Edmond
The Modernist Minimalist Guide - William E. Joyce
The 7 Day Self-Discipline Blueprint - Logan Hawkins
Capsule Wardrobe: How To Build A Smart Wardrobe And Personal Style, A Step-by-Step Guide to Minimalism - Sofie LeGrand
The Style Challenge - A. Edmond
The French Capsule Wardrobe - Renee Herrington

Wish me luck! Here's to a calmer, less chaotic and crammed, more luxurious 2021.

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