In the midst of reading L’art de La Simplicité by Dominique Loreau, I’ve had an urge to write about the changes I’ve made in my life during the past couple of months and why everyone should adopt them to live an anxiety-free, calmer and happier life.
The books main objective is to teach one how to live more with less, something that’s been important to me for the past couple of months. I’ve been incredibly excessive in my way of doing things but most importantly productive; every couple of days I focus on one part of my living space and rid myself of things I really don’t need.
Whether it be clothes I’m just ‘waiting for the chance to wear’, sentimental nick nacks, or old books I’ll never pick up again. It’s all going, not to make room for new things, but to help clear my mind and stop letting my possessions possess me.
I know for a lot of individuals, de-cluttering is particularly difficult, when you’re attached to a pair of trainers that you’re never going to wear but you just can’t get rid of, or you feel like you’ll be wasting money by throwing things away. There are ways round it, but before I jump into it, I’d like to talk about why the minimalist way of living is important; please don’t let the term ‘minimalist’ throw you off or having you scoffing at it, I genuinely believe they are the future and hold a mindset that everyone should and can adopt.
The Big Deal
To cut it briefly, this style of living entails only keeping things you need. No impulse buying of low quality items, no keeping large collections of things just for the sake of it. The whole point is to feel relaxed and calm in your home which is supposed to be your sanctuary, not bombarded with a load of random clutter that’s of no use to you clouding your vision.
There’s a a whole list of how this will benefit you. You’ll stop impulse buying and wasting money on low quality items that will need replacing, you’ll reduce wastage that’s destroying our environment, you’ll value time more and stay in the present rather than dwelling on sentimental items.
I personally, don’t believe any individual can live in masses of clutter and be successful. Average, yes. But no different from anybody else. How can you expect to be inspired and mindful in such mess? I believe the environment you choose to live in is a reflection of yourself. A clean, organised, simple environment will allow one to think clearly, be peaceful and focused. And vice versa.
What You Can Do
Let me get this straight – living minimally does not mean you have to throw everything out, wear black and white all the time, never buy anything (of course, you can if you want but that extreme is not for everyone). To me, it means keeping your possessions smart.
To start, I recommend tackling small sections of your space gradually. For example, start with your wardrobe. Anything that hasn’t been worn in months (unless it’s due to season), can go. Donate it to a charity shop or throw it on Depop and make some money from it. Make sure you’re extra savvy and particular when getting rid of things, else there’s little point.
Then, perhaps deal with a set of drawers. For me, this was easiest when I removed every single thing from the drawers and only put back in what was really necessary. The left over stuff can again, be given to a charity shop, sold, or recycled.
Invest in good quality, timeless pieces of clothing that you won’t need to get rid of (read my article on fast fashion here). This same timeless principle applies to furniture and general objects too.
Make the most of technology. Most of us own a smartphone or tablet which gives you the access to digital books, magazines, movies, recipes, series. Use the online versions to save time, space, wasteage, paper. And if you really like whatever it is you’re accessing online and will make good use out of it then by all means, buy the tangible product.
Also, get smart storage that can easily be put out of sight, whether its boxes for underneath your bed or drawer organisation.
Keep a tab on what you spend money on for a week, or just carefully watch yourself. You are most likely, working hard for your money so invest it in great quality goods – the epitome of luxury is not possessing hundreds of items but having a selection of beautiful objects that are timeless in value.
As consumers, we are trained into the thought process of following trends. “I need this, I need that”, is not normal, it’s totally unhealthy and I know I’m not the first to realise that. Companies are excellent at promotion and making you feel like you need everything, when in reality, you don’t – unless it serves a genuine purpose to you.
I can promise that you’ll feel more relaxed instantly after beginning the journey of minimalism. You don’t have to be really strict, and you’re able to alter it to how it suits you. I personally love interior and a main aspect of that is home decor, which would be hard for me to cut out completely. I’m just extra selective with what I’m spending my money on. Your living space can still look stylish while being clean and organised, evident in the pictures below. The same for collections. Whether it’s shoes, ornaments, keep it refined and store things smartly.
I suffer with anxiety and panic and I can honestly say this has soothed me in a way nothing else has, especially the process of clearing space. I didn’t even realise I started this journey until after a few months into it, I watched a video on YouTube along the lines of ‘How To Live Like A Minimalist’ in the spur of the moment, and realised that’s exactly how I was living. I’m still working on it, especially impulse buying, but I’m going to carry on how I have been as it’s making me a much more happier and relaxed person than I was before.
If this is something that interests you then I really recommend giving L’art de Simplicité a read. I didn’t have high hopes for it at first as I thought I would probably already know it all and it would be common sense, but it’s the polar opposite. It’s specific, factual, and goes into detail about minimalism a lot more than I have. There are sections from beauty, money, time and relationships, however your living space is the primary focus.
We live thinking that we have options but zoom out and were so deep within the process that we follow the path created in the Industrial Age
Thanks to my friend Millie Simon for inspiring me to make this post without even realising it. Check her fashion, interior and lifestyle blog out here.