Today I am excited to share with you a speech my soul sister wrote on minimalism. My sister and I feel in love with minimalism a few years back and this is her story.
Have you ever bought something and then felt buyer’s remorse?
Have you ever moved house and felt overwhelmed by how much stuff you own?
Have you ever had to repurchase an item because you couldn’t find it?
I experienced all three of these situations before I changed my ways and became a minimalist.
When I tell people I’m a minimalist they think of me in one of two ways. Either as a traveler who lives out of a single backpack; or a person of limited means and possessions.
Actually, I’m neither, For me, minimalism means being more mindful about what I choose to bring into, and keep, in my life.
The revelation came to me two years ago when my sister first introduced me to the blog theminimalist.com. In a manner of speaking, it was an information super highway to a new way of living. You see, we had both grown up in a household where our parents were hoarders. It was a home where bills and newspapers had piled up endlessly on the kitchen bench; where innumerable boxes of stuff and limitless books and random junk seemed to surround and threaten us. Mum and Dad simply couldn’t bear to part with anything. I always felt so frustrated when I was living with them. So when I first moved out of home and into a place of my own, I felt excited. It was a chance to break with the past. I resolved that I wasn’t going to live like my parents: burdened by belongings. I already knew that I had more stuff than I needed. Too many clothes, too many magazines and books…an ingrained lifetime habit of consumerism in which I’d buy without thought.
Discovering minimalism gave me a new mindset. Shopping became more about needs than wants. Before making any purchase I began to ask myself: Will it add value to my life? I realised that our most precious memories – our most valuable moments in life – don’t reside in things but in people. It was that clarity of thought that made it possible to start clearing stuff out of my life. Joining the community of minimalism infused me with a fresh philosophy on life. And tonight I’d like to share with you three of the changes I have made.
Let’s start with clothes. These days I’m pretty brutal when it comes to fashion. If I put something on and it’s not comfortable or it doesn’t make me feel good, I don’t just put it back in the wardrobe. I get rid of it. You all know what I mean: Those jeans that are a bit too tight or that shirt that just doesn’t sit right. I now only buy clothes that I really love; or clothes that are classic and versatile. Having fewer clothes simplifies choice and keeps my cupboards organized.
The next thing I tackled was paperwork. These days we don’t really need to keep paper copies of many things, so I now get all of my bills and paperwork sent electronically. Instead of keeping cards, receipts or letters – I take photos of them! This can also be useful for those sentimental items with which you have trouble parting. The sentiment isn’t vested in the physical item itself, but rather the memory of the moments associated with it.
And lastly to books, which, for me at least, has been the hardest challenge of all, because I love them so much! However, If I now know that I am not likely to read a book again, I will give it to someone who will get value from it, rather than leave it on the bookshelf to collect dust. I have also donated some of my books to the local library and to charity shops. Now before I buy a new book I always check whether my local library or a friend already has it.
So my friends, with my new found insight I now spread the word that less is more, and I implore you all to summon your courage and make the break from consumerism!
What are the benefits you ask? Well, by owning less, I save more money that is now available for the really important things in life, such as dinner with a friend; attending art classes; or even an overseas holiday. I no longer feel the need to keep up with the Jones’s…or anybody else for that matter. I spend less time cleaning…or pondering just which outfit to wear. I spend more time indulging my passions. And I’m at peace.
After all, in an imperfect world, happiness isn’t having everything.
Rather, it’s being happy with everything you have.
Amen Sister I couldn’t agree more! xx