I can’t believe 2016 is nearly over.
Hasn’t time flown? I’m writing this a week before Christmas, so there’s still the pre-Christmas hullabaloo in town with folks frantically buying gifts and generally racing about.
Why we need to and how to adopt minimalism
I’ve stepped back from the “Christmas-that-was-hijacked-by-consumerism” for the last few years and it’s refreshing. A few years ago our family declared a present truce; we’d only give gifts we really knew the other person wanted and there could be absolutely no clutter given.
Many of us live in a daze of habitual behaviour so, fortunately, the New Year is a prime time to reset how we look and go about our life.
It makes this time of year fun with all the joys of Christmas, remembering the reason for the season without the racing about ticking people off a list. My family and friends know I love them and am there for them regardless of whether I give them something wrapped in a fancy box.
Many of us live in a daze of habitual behaviour so, fortunately, the New Year is a prime time to reset how we look and go about our life. One thing to consider adopting in 2017 is minimalism.
Buy less stuff
Throughout 2016 I’ve seen just how powerful buying less stuff is, and what I do have is useful and of value rather than just sentimentally keeping things.
Having fewer clothes or even adopting wearing the same clothes every day means you do not spend time choosing outfits, you simply get dressed in clothes you enjoy wearing. My clothing choices are natural fabrics, (I’ve shared my concerns over synthetic fabrics in recent articles) either jeans or a skirt and a cardigan or sweater. It’s far from boring; it’s refreshing. I do still buy new clothes occasionally, but for me fast fashion fads are over.
If you’re tempted to minimize your wardrobe in 2017 have a look at Project 333, created by Courtney Carver who runs the blog “Be More With Less.”
American film producer Joseph E. Levine said: “You can fool all the people all the time if the advertising is right and the budget is big enough.”
Sounds familiar? In 1983, U.S. companies spent $100 million on marketing to children; in 2006 it was $17 billion. That’s worth remembering when you wonder how we have such a materialistic society. We are marketed to all day long, so it’s no wonder we have an insatiable appetite for stuff.
If you have Netflix, I encourage you to watch Minimalism: A documentary about the important things. It shows the benefits of minimalism and simplifying life. The film suggests we ask ourselves: “Does this add value in my life?”
If the answer is “no” then be willing to let it go. Having asked this many times, of material items and other areas of my life, I can vouch it works. There’s no point keeping things that hold us back from realizing our full potential.
When we travelled for a year, we put our UK house contents in storage. When we emigrated to Canada and our stored house contents arrived, we decluttered over half of the boxes. Living from a suitcase made me realize we need far less stuff than advertising leads us to believe.
The freedom from travelling
Many speak of how liberating travelling is. Could it be that when we live out of a suitcase we have eliminated clutter and thus have time and space to focus on other things? Could our at-home life be less stressful if we simply had less stuff?
Consciously buying less is freeing, not only financially, obviously, but from an environmental aspect it’s vital. The sheer amount of food waste and post-Christmas rubbish is horrifying. A simple trip to the waste management station in Function or Nesters shows you just how much rubbish is created and it’s upsetting.
Buying things is a habit though, and let me encourage you that you can buy less and still really enjoy life. Before I started on a path to more minimalist living, I thought: “Ugh, life will be so boring if I don’t buy new things.”
Yet nothing could be further from the truth. Rest assured I’m not a minimalist in an immaculate modern house with white sofas and orchids; I’m just buying less and living a less distracted life.
How to adopt minimalism
Might 2017 be the year to dip your toe into the world of minimalism and simplifying life? Imagine how you’ll feel 365 days from now when you have a compact wardrobe you love wearing, a tidy garage and neat bathroom cabinets and kitchen cupboards.
Imagine how great it will be to find all your household bills and insurance documents in one neat folder, and no more panicked searching for your passport the night before a trip!
Simple tips to adopt minimalism:
Start tidying your underwear drawer, it is an easy place to start.
Then tidy kitchen utensil drawers
Sort through your clothes and only keep those you love wearing, fit into and feel good wearing.
It’s a start!
Whatever 2017 may bring, let’s minimize distractions, tune in to life without the need to keep running on the consumerism treadmill.