Its been a shocking process. Minimalism has taught me how little I need. I live very comfortably, yet I have parted with a significant number of my possessions. I've not missed one.
Minimalism is a mindset change at its core. There's not point emptying your home of possessions just to fill it up all over again. My shopping habits have changed drastically as I now endeavour to be intentional about what I bring into my life. I still shop. However, I have slowly streamlined this so I now purchase far less and instead focus on quality over quantity.
As Black Friday looms, I thought it was pertinent to share some of these items that I live without entirely, or purchase far less. I won't list everything. That would be a long list. But I've picked a few highlights in those areas that can become notoriously cluttered. Keep reading for my top tops on how you can also reduce the steady stream of items that are brought into your life.
Now, I'm not going to go into too much detail here, as I've already discussed this on my blog about building a sustainable capsule wardrobe, which you can find here. Essentially, I've slowly halted my unnecessary clothes shopping and instead focus on filling my wardrobe with quality items from sustainable brands.
This was a big area of decluttering for me. I'm just not an accessory person. Not that you could tell from the ridiculous amount of jewellery, bags, scarves etc in my possession. I have kept my very favourite jewellery that I wear regularly. I also love receiving jewellery as gifts from my loved ones, as they then carry a priceless story. I only have two handbags and two scarves left in my possession. I was a big scarf person at one time so this took some hacking away. I've kept my cosiest that are needed for Highland living!
I somewhat fail as a girl in this area. The make up aisle always intimidates me and don't even get me started on skincare products. There are so many lotions out there! I've never had much of these products but I've reduced this further and instead rely on a few simple products, that are often gifts in themselves. My haircare consists of washing it every 3 days with a natural shampoo and conditioner and my skincare primarily involves my trusty moisturiser with the odd cleansing product. As for make-up, once I figured out how to put mascara on, I was pretty much set. Anyway, I do enjoy the natural look. Flaws are normal and as long as I am healthy, I choose to wear these with pride.
I love to clean. I am not ashamed to admit this! But that doesn't mean I need lots of specialised products for all areas of my home. Instead, I opt for a few key products that I use throughout my caravan. A good all-purpose cleaner is a failsafe. I've also started making my own cleaning products which is so much cheaper! Perhaps its time for you to have a rummage under the sink and streamline your cleaning routine...
I have a smartphone, laptop and kindle. And that's about it. I don't intend to bring in anymore digital devices anytime soon. Something to think about before spending money on the latest sparkly, apparently life-changing, piece of technology that will no doubt become outdated the moment it enters your hand.
I'm not much of a nick-knack person. I'm all about versatile items. I am the type of person who refuses to buy a bottle opener when a spoon will work just fine. I'm not suggesting you need to do this specifically, but I encourage you do be creative with your existing possessions.
This is just a taster of areas that I have cut down on. But I get it. Maintaining the willpower to resist that shopping urge can be tough, especially during the sale season. Fear not, I have 3 top tips that have drastically reduced the amount of stuff that seems to appear in my home...
1. Record your weaknesses
'I just don't know where my money is going'. A common statement. And the answer? You are spending it. Its not just walking out of your bank account by itself. Since we've moved away from cash, money has become so much easier to spend when its just a tap of a card. That's why I challenge you to write it all down. Take a month and record everything you are spending your money on. You might be surprised. For me, I was spending far too much money on food. I also had a weakness for magazines, which at £5 a time, could start adding up quickly. This can feel a bit shameful as you realise that perhaps you are not spending your money as wisely as you thought. However, once you've discovered your problem areas, you can begin to control them. I've limited my food shopping to once a week and stick to a strict budget. I also avoid the magazine aisle and keep my head down when moving through the supermarket. Try it. Take control and you'll feel so much lighter.
2. Remove temptation
Don't go into shops. A simple yet remarkably effective tool. I stopped shopping recreationally and instead only visit them when I have a need and stick to my list like glue. This includes online shops, which have been the vice of 2020. Unsubscribe from all the retail emails that flood your inbox. If you remove all temptations, you'd be surprised how little you feel the need to spend money.
3. Set yourself rules
Its happened. You've found yourself confronted with an item and are considering purchasing it. Before you take the plunge, ask yourself some questions. I have a list of these questions written in my phone as a reminder, which I've found immensely useful. Go beyond the standard, 'do I need it?' question. Lets face it, the answer to that is normally no. Instead you could ask -
Is this the item I came out to buy?
Does it fit my desired intention perfectly?
If its a sale item, would I buy it full price?
Do I have another item at home that could fulfil this purpose?
Can I return this easily?
Can I dispose of this sustainably at the end of its life/when I no longer need it?
If I don't buy this item, what could I use my money for instead?
Finally, if the item passes all these tests then buy it and be proud of your purchase. Buying isn't inherently wrong and it is your money to spend. Enjoy it! However, mindless buying can negatively impact your wallet, the planet and your piece of mind with the result being living in a cluttered house full of items that don't spark joy.
None of us are perfect. I still make questionable buying decisions. However, this Black Friday I have decided to refrain from the sales and allow myself to be grateful for the wonderful items I already own. Perhaps you will join me?