I’m over 3/4 through buying nothing for a year and now, it feels normal. Like shops are for other people and things are meant to be used until they fall to bits. Joy is found in eating fresh food, grown from the garden; in a sunrise, in a moment. Distraction is found in a book, not the high street. In an interaction, not a TV show. Fulfilment is found in plans, ideas, action and hope.
In removing consumerism from my life, I removed distraction. I removed a tool, a crutch, the way I used to cope with situations and emotions. That short burst of plastic happiness, the wild swings from purchase to purchase to purchase. I took all of that away.
And in taking it away, I discovered more than I ever dreamed of.
I hear minimalism is boring. I hear it is unsustainable. Take away all the stuff…and what do you leave behind? Empty rooms and shelves to dust? Clinical, sharp houses, without any of the trinkets that are supposed to make that house a home?
I hear minimalism takes away personality. I hear minimalism takes away interest. I hear minimalism is hard to maintain.I hear all these things from people who haven’t given minimalism a second thought.
I call myself a minimalist but my house has things in it. I love that minimalism can be used in whichever way I see fit. There aren’t really any rules about how much you need to let go of. I got rid of a lot of stuff, and I’m always getting rid of more. Slowly, slowly. That’s how I maintain it. That’s how I keep my enjoyment.
And I find the more I get rid of, the bigger questions my mind seems to ask. My attention isn’t caught up in things and stuff. It’s caught up in the universe, in the cycles of nature, in politics and history, in people and experiences. It gets easier and easier to maintain a minimalist lifestyle, because the more I give away, the more interesting my life seems to become.
I have more time to pursue things I love. Music, outdoors, writing. Continuing a life inspired by minimalism isn’t as hard as I imagined, even a few years down the line. By getting rid of so much physical stuff, I actually found my life started to have more in it.
I wondered what advice I’d give to myself, if I ever found the going got tough. My top tips for maintaining minimalism are:
- Keeping the right mindset. Look at minimalism as a way of removing the unnecessary to make way for more of the important. Don’t look at it as a form of denial.
- Continue to edit your possessions. It’s easy to do one big clear out and then start to hold on to other things that no longer have a use. Continually pare down if you need to.
- Find inspiration in the minimalism community. Read blogs. Read books. Find inspiration in the stories of others, then create your own stories. Try here, here and here. Also here. And here. And while you’re at it, make a cuppa and check out here, too. (And here).
- Marvel at the space and time you create to devote to things you love. Minimalism isn’t about removing things and leaving a gaping void. Minimalism allows you to fill that gap with every single thing you love to do and create. It’s a fuller life but a more meaningful one.
What are your tips for sticking to a minimalist lifestyle?