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A story of becoming a minimalist: living with less

I always imagined living life as a minimalist would involve residing in an empty house, owning nothing, and to be honest, it just seemed very hollow to me. And that would of course be my mindset, as a self-confessed hoarder at the time. My weekends would be spent shopping, I had two overflowing wardrobes and drawers full of clothes – if you haven’t guessed, my penchant was fast fashion.

I tried doing clearouts more regularly, dropping bin bags to the charity shop, and then rewarding myself for my hard work by placing yet another order online for more clothes – how counter-intuitive, I know.

Why I decided to finally make a change:

I can’t pinpoint the date, time, or day, but I can tell you exactly what I watched that shifted my entire world and that was ‘Minimalism: A documentary about the important things’ on Netflix. I resonated so much with Josh and Ryan, their outlook on life and they really highlighted how much more there is to life than ‘stuff’. I went down a big rabbit hole into the world of minimalism, coming across an amazing book along the way – ‘Marie Kondo: The life-changing magic of tidying’, which ironically, despite being surrounded by clothing chaos, I am someone who loves tidying and organization so this book truly spoke to me.

It has now been 5 years, and a lot has happened within that time; more declutters and clear-outs than I can remember, 'no buy' months, having stern words with myself when it comes to adding something new to my life, and in reality, the biggest change, has been my mindset.

How my mindset allowed me to make the change I needed:

Buying ‘stuff ‘did not make me happy, but consumerism is very much alive and kicking, and sadly it is forced upon us everywhere we go. You can’t avoid it, but you can work on your own mind and learn how to manage the barrage of messages we receive from everywhere we look

encouraging us to buy something.

I don’t today lead a life where I live in an empty house, with only 2 outfits, but I do lead a life where everything that comes into my house has had some thought behind it. I aim to buy as much as I can secondhand, or from sustainable brands. If I need something that I may only use once, I look to borrow it first as opposed to buying it. If I have big occasions where a certain style of dress might be needed, I see if I can borrow an outfit from a friend.

Am I perfect? Absolutely not, I make the odd unnecessary purchase – I’m only human, but they are few and far between. I guess the lesson here is about being mindful of your purchases, ask yourself these questions;

Do I need this item?

Is this item going to add to my life?

Do I already own something similar?

Is the brand I am giving my hard-earned money ethical?

Am I shopping for need, or am I trying to fill an emotional void?

Minimalism and I are an ongoing journey, one that has had bumps, but overall has made my life so much fuller, brighter and calmer. I sleep easier at night knowing I don’t have a countless stream of parcels arriving at my door, and that I’m in some small way not contributing to the environmental effects of being a part of the consumerism game.

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