The Year Of Living With Less

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

It started with a Christmas jumper. A funny item to trigger 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. A dressing table stuffed with untouched 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 couldn't not do it - the time had come.

From Shopaholic to Minimalist? 

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 was calling to me and commanding my attention. 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 in 2019, 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 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.

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 
  • 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’
  • 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'm on maternity leave and I need to watch my spending rather than buying 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 and bust the clutter in my house 
  • Use things up before buying another 
  • Don't save anything for best. Buy lesser good quality items and use them everyday to avoid having two lots 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.

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 for a while, that will still be filtering through. But 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!

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