Minimalism for Beginners
Heaven Knows I’m Minimal Now… Jade realised she probably didn’t need yet another a urine-powered wilderness survival pack or that many spare duvets.
All that stuff. Do you need it? Do you even remember what it is?
I’ve spent a lot of my 27 years on this earth accumulating stuff. Clothes I never wear, books I’ve read a hundred times or will never read, boxes full of weird, useless little things I reckoned would one day’come in handy’. The notebooks half-full of scribbled novel ideas; the costume jewelery Elizabeth Taylor would have thrown out for being too tacky, the solar-and-urine powered battery pack for wilderness survival. You know the kind of stuff I mean.
Eventually I became so mired in my own belongings that I really belonged to them; my personal space was eaten up by possessions and my mental space was consumed with worrying about them. I read about people who’d jacked in consumerism for a simpler life and envied them, but I still couldn’t quite let go of my hoard. I comforted myself with it as my quarter-life crisis took a nasty turn; I might be a social failure and my career dreams were at a standstill, but at least I still had some stuff, right? Like normal people?
It all came to a head when I was moving house. Lugging bags and boxes down the stairs and almost breaking my neck tripping over a ‘spare’ duvet, I threw down the box I was holding (which contained wooden clogs and a driving theory book from 2007) and declaimed ‘Enough! I REFUSE to be HELD TO RANDSOM by this mindless accumulation of stuff!’
That was six months ago, and you know, I still have a lot of work to do. I still fall prey to the odd impulse buy I will later puzzle over, wondering what part of my brain convinced me I needed a Zither repair kit or stuffed ornamental camel hump, but resolving to drastically simplify my possessions has led me into a much greater appreciation of the things I do have. Here are a few tips for anyone looking to declutter but not knowing where to begin. You can check out Mookychick’s article on feng shui to declutter, but these are my personal rules…
A minimal outlook can be cosy as well as clean. Keep the things you use. The things that count.
The ‘Have I Worn It In a Year’ rule.
Seasonal items like winter coats don’t count, but if that t-shirt, those jeans, or that crotchless lingerie set hasn’t seen the light of day for a cycle around our star, it’s probably time to let it go.
Breaking Up is Hard to do.
It can really hurt to let go, and that counts for things as well as people. That holey jumper or china figurine of Marie Antoinette probably has real sentiment attached to it, and that’s okay. Only you can decide if the feeling behind an item is something you can carry in your heart, rather than around with you, without feeling sad. You never have to get rid of something you don’t want to.
Re-imagine Your Space.
Take a good look around your home. How would you like it to look? What would you put in it if there were space? Sometimes refreshing our ideas about our perfect hideaway highlights what we need to let go of, and points us towards the kind of smart buy we’ll treasure for years to come. If you’re not ready to tidy your room or space just yet, do it on your winter clean.
Earn A Bit of Extra Money in Your Spare Time
Make that shirt that still smells faintly of that asshole you never even really liked anyway work for you! That’s what Ebay’s for. Let your old clothes and that china Marie Antoinette give a little back by selling them on. Online or at a car boot, there’s hundreds of people out there turning their old clutter into currency.
However you do it, de-cluttering can be one of the most liberating experiences for the modern human living in a world that bombards us with billboards telling us we need more, more, MORE. If you want to make the concept of ‘less is more’ work harder for you and feel happier about it, then a dip into minimalism is a good place to start.