I Want To Be A Minimalist

minimalist room

I’ve been thinking a lot about minimalism lately. It really appeals to me. I know that’s kind of weird, considering in my house I have 16 bookshelves, all full, with overflow, a 3 door wardrobe absolutely stuffed to the gills and a ridiculous amount of pretty much everything, but that’s exactly why I think minimalism has started to appeal to me so strongly.

I’ve started to wonder if all this stuff is a trap.

Joshua Becker Minimalism

 

Consumerism tells us that things will make us happy. If only we have that handbag, that wallet, that hair, that outfit, the latest in technology or the latest kitchen gadget, we will somehow fill that void we are all looking to fill. Only it doesn’t. On an intellectual level we all know it doesn’t, but when it comes to the crunch I think if you examine the way you live your life you’ll find yourself thinking, deep down, that maybe it might. Maybe that next thing will make your life better.

Look, some purchases just do make your life better. I’m willing to admit that. They just do. I love having a robotic vacuum cleaner that does the floors for me. And I recently purchased a kitchen gadget I’ve very quickly fallen for and wondered how I ever lived without. But most of the time, most things, they just don’t matter. Not really.

And I’ve started to wonder if all this stuff, all the things we accumulate and are given and store, and move, and clean and organise… If all this crap isn’t actually making it harder for us to live.

So I’ve been thinking of dipping my toe in the water. I’ve been looking at minimalist houses on pinterest, been reading about minimalism and how it makes you feel better. I started reading a blog post someone shared on Slow Your Home and inhaled the most recent 20 posts before I realised I’d arrived at my station and had to get off the train.

Thinking about minimalism is one thing. Looking at all the stuff you had and wondering if you’d miss things if they were gone makes it all seem so daunting though. How on earth can I part with my 10 handbags? I need them all! 

My parents have minimalism down to a fine art. I suspect that’s why I have such a hard time letting go of things – my mother throws things out at the drop of a hat, has a perfectly clear kitchen bench top all the time, and if there isn’t a place for it, it’s not making it into the house.

Me, on the other hand, has developed what I like to call “The Crap Relocation Program” where every time I clean a room I just move all the stuff I don’t know what to do with into a different room, until I clean that room and it all gets moved back.

I’ve been giving away more and more clothes lately, particularly if I haven’t worn them in a while. Earlier this year I took 9 moving boxes full to Vinnies, and I’ve been doing ample hand-me-downs to my stepdaughter and sister in law. Yet the idea of getting rid of our whole library of books or the extra handbags I really don’t need just seems so… well… daunting.

Could you do it?

Are you minimalist? Does minimalism appeal to you? Do you, like me, take part in the crap relocation program? 

  • http://johnanthonyjames.com/ John James

    Well, you know me — I’ve been living the minimalist lifestyle for years (even without knowing it had a name).

    The Rhonnifer and I live in a small one-bedroom flat — there’s simply not enough room for a lot of crap. We have what we need and not that much more. We don’t own a car, because we don’t need one. We don’t have mobile phones, because we’d hardly use them. We lead a simple life, and consequently don’t need that much in our lives.

    And yet, we live in an affluent suburb with lots of cafes and beaches and bush reserves. In some ways we live a fairly decadent lifestyle — we focus a lot on the things we love to do — being creative, and going for walks, and eating out — but despite this, our lifestyle is very low-maintenance and inexpensive. To me, that’s all part of the minimalist lifestyle as well — keeping it simple.

    I would also imagine that our annual expenditure is tiny compared to most people — and that’s the other benefit of living a minimalist life — you’re not a slave to money as much as most people are. This is why we were able to pay off our mortgage ages ago. This is why The Rhonnifer is retired, and why I only work a four-day week. Even on my reduced salary, I still earn more than we spend. And yet, I don’t feel like I miss out on anything. I have all that I need, and nothing more. :)

    • http://kikiandtea.com/ Tamsin Howse

      I suspect our styles of minimalism would be vastly different 😉

      • http://johnanthonyjames.com/ John James

        Ha ha, yes… :)

    • A Blog Called Henry

      This sounds like a beautiful way to live John James :) I am trying to convince my other half that we could absolutely live this way…and then he tells me he ‘must’ have a new car…I give up!

      • http://johnanthonyjames.com/ John James

        I suspect minimalists and consumerists are as different as introverts and extroverts – you either like one lifestyle or the other – or at least we all sit on a spectrum between minimalism and consumerism… :)

        • A Blog Called Henry

          So true! And immediately made me more considerate to the choices of the Other Half who is happily extrovert to my introvert. Thank you :)

  • Jessica Chapman

    I desperately want to be minimalist too! I want to live in a house where everything has an away and there is very little on tables and benches. The only things on the floor would be a small amount of furniture. This would make dusting and vacuuming a breeze. We currently live in a larger house than we did when I was a teenager, but it feels smaller because we have so much stuff in it. Most of that was because we moved into an already full house with a lot of things that weren’t ours to get rid of (like a worthless organ).
    My wardrobe is so full that it’s difficult to put anything in or take it out, I recently did a clean out where I thought I was pretty brutal but it didn’t seem to make a difference. My draws are so full that they only close if some of my jeans are in the ironing pile and at least half of my exercise wear is in the wash. I’m trying to reform. Not by getting rid of things but by buying less. Each time I consider trying something on I picture trying to hang it up in my wardrobe or shoving it in my draws and that usually puts me off buying it unless I really truly love it.
    I don’t think I’ll ever reform with bookshelves though, where ever I live I think there will be bookshelves filled with books.

    • http://kikiandtea.com/ Tamsin Howse

      Great tip on clothing! I’ve started giving away clothes every time I add something new. It’s amazing how many things I don’t actually need! But I still have a long way to go in that respect

  • http://iamevilcupcake.com/ iamevilcupcake

    I am a minimalist in most things, but a maximalist (I know it’s not a word) in others. I don’t have as many books as you do T, but I do love my books and I think they would be the only things I would have to keep. And my makeup collection. Ahem.

    Anyway, this is a great article, and I’m so tempted to go minimalist. I’m a single person living in a three bedroom townhouse. I love all the space, but it just seems unnecessary you know? I have a three seater and a two seater. Unnecessary. I’m thinking of moving so I should probably start culling everything.

    • http://kikiandtea.com/ Tamsin Howse

      And your nail polish!!

      I’d like to have all the space I have now, but with no stuff in it.

      • http://iamevilcupcake.com/ iamevilcupcake

        Oh yeah the nail polish! I bought more …

        I have a problem.

  • Mazi Grey

    I would like to be a minimalist ( except for books) and since I have moved into a smaller house I am having to become one… that and my wife makes me.

  • 26 Years & Counting

    I feel like I had to give away a lot that I didn’t want to as a child, so it’s pretty difficult for me to throw things out. This year I’ve been doing it slowly. I’ve taken quite a few bags of clothing to the op shops – what works for me is NOT throwing it out at first, but putting it in a suitcase for a few months. That way it’s out of sight and like I don’t have it. That makes it easier for me to actually donate it later. It’s a long road, but I’ve really improved this year.

    • http://kikiandtea.com/ Tamsin Howse

      I’ve started doing that too! Putting stuff in crates in the garage then donating it when I’m ready.

  • http://www.jfgibson.com.au/ Jodi Gibson

    Yes! Yes! Yes! Do it Tamsin, but do it slowly. I’ve recently begun making the transition to minimalist living and it is very liberating. I’ve been very good at not collecting ‘stuff’ and I’m a bit like your mum in some respects, but it’s more than that. It’s about choosing what deserves to be in your life, what makes you ‘you’. What makes you happy. Oh I could bang on for ages. I will stop now :)

    • http://kikiandtea.com/ Tamsin Howse

      Everyone sounds so inspired! What makes me me, that’s exactly where I want to get.

  • Jen

    Like this article.
    I would like to be a minimalist in terms of stuff like toys, clothes, nic-nacs and often I feel like I just want to get rid of everything and start fresh. But in other ways I’m quite happy with the cluttered look of my home its my never-ending project and I don’t like the sparse look of some minimalist homes

  • Imogen

    I have become a minimalist addict! I’ve been purging like nobody’s business for a couple of years now and I can safely put my whole life (excluding furniture) into 5 boxes in a cupboard. I find it absolutely, completely, and deeply thrilling! And it has made me feel so happy. I’ve also recently started a capsule wardrobe. I tell you, that’s a concept you can get hooked on all by itself! We’re moving overseas soon and are planning to do it carry on only. I crave the challenge and the freedom! Start small and stop when you’re content with your personal level of minimalism – there are no rules :-)

    • http://kikiandtea.com/ Tamsin Howse

      Tell me more!! What’s a capsule wardrobe? How did you do it??

      • Imogen

        Oh, also… pick your battles. Love the handbags? Keep the handbags! Some things are sacred. :-)

    • A Blog Called Henry

      I used to be able to fit everything into a few boxes – except my books – and reading this comment has made me want to start culling again! I adore the idea of a capsule wardrobe and Assembled Hazardly recently did an awesome post on that…but I love colour and I love print, which doesn’t really work with the capsule idea. Still trying to figure that one out…

      • Imogen

        Yeah, I think that books are things that become part of you. For that reason, I let myself leave books alone. I’ve only culled things that I didn’t like or have no intention of ever reading. Otherwise, I’m happy to have as many as I want as long as I organise and store them well :-) You can have colour and print in a capsule wardrobe. You can have anything you like 😀

        • A Blog Called Henry

          Do you think? I worry about that (well, not really worry but have considered it!) If you have a beautiful plain top, you can wear it many ways…a brightly patterned top however becomes the outfit…which makes me think I need more of them so I don’t become ‘that girl in that damn top again’ lol. I think I am yet to discover the happy medium and in the meantime will obsess over other people’s capsule wardrobe explanations :)

  • Sophia Russell

    I’ve dipped my toe in, so to speak! I haven’t yet done anything as honed my possessions down to 300 things, etc, but I have decluttered a whole bunch of my kids’ toys (leaving only what is versatile and lasts the distance, i.e. no cheap plastic crap!), limited my kitchen appliances and gave away heaps of my wardrobe. The idea of a capsule wardrobe really appeals to me, but I find the idea of limiting myself a bit overwhelming! One thing I found helpful about the whole process is HOW MUCH LESS STUFF THERE IS TO CLEAN UP. I hate cleaning! Let us know how you go with you minimalism efforts :)