Updated: Sep 23, 2018
After returning home to Ireland last year and reconnecting with old friends and family I began to reflect on how exactly I had changed and grown personally since I had been away. People close to me noticed a change. The easiest way to describe the change is that I now lead a more minimalist lifestyle. Obviously minimalism can be quite extreme. I still live a very privealiged life but I have most definitely changed my relationship with what I own and focus on.
Joshua Becker, the blogger behind Becoming Minimalist, says that “minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of anything that distracts us from it.” A few years back I removed the excess ‘stuff’ in my life to make room for what’s truely important. I appreciate the small things and value family and friendship and nature more than I ever have. Before leaving Ireland I spent a lot of money on materialistic things.
Nowadays there is so many things that the media (especially social media) make us think we need; but really we don’t. The idea that things bring happiness is in our face every single day. We are living in a society where humans are constantly searching for more. A bigger house, a more successful career, a new car and then ill be happy; but the reality is that nothing ever quite brings that happiness their seeking. I recently watched the minimalist documentary on Netflix and learned that apparently only 40 per cent of peoples houses are actually used and half of your wardrobe is never worn.
Therefore it’s time to start living a more meaningful life with less.
Here are my tips to help incorporate minimalism into your life now:
Simple, stop spending money on things you don’t really need.
Many people ask how I’ve managed to do so much travel and save large amounts of money in shot periods of time. Easy. I stopped spending money on those materialistic things like clothes , hair and make-up. I kept my spending focused on things like food, rent and self care, things that provide us with our basic needs. It was when I was backpacking in 2015 that the real shift for me occurred. While travelling I stopped dying my hair, getting my nails done, or having a huge wardrobe of clothes to choose from. It wasn’t just a lack of money that stopped these things but also realising that I liked my natural beauty, not having a new outfit for every day made absolutely no difference to my happiness and that I would rather spend the time getting to know someone knew or go exploring than spend endless time falsifying myself. Three years later and I still never get my hair dyed or my nails done, I own 2 pairs of high heels, two handbags and my make up collection is very minimal. I don’t have a brand new car and I never worry about not having the most up to date things. I no longer spend money on nights out or drinking alcohol except for special occasions. I get vouchers for my birthday and Christmas to buy my clothes and those beauty essentials.
Think outside the Box:
Don’t get me wrong I life fashion, I like to express myself through clothes; but how I achieve that has changed. I take hand me downs and shop in vintage and charity stores. I borrow dresses for weddings or just wear the same dress again. Everything I buy is something I need and love and adds value to my life. I have one nice dress opposed to 10 dresses that I never really wear. I change outfits up by adding accessories and being creative.
Think before you buy new things. One of the biggest components of minimalist living is giving adequate thought to the things you buy or bring into your home. I would now call myself a mindfulness shopper. When out in shops I think do I really need this and I never go shopping under pressure as it means less chance on an impulse buy. I have a tiny wardrobe from Ikea that all of my clothes fit into (besides my outdoor bulky gear) and I know if I ever run out of space there is something seriously going wrong in my life where I am substituting a lack of something with materialism.
Clear out what you don’t need. Be ruthless. Decluttering will give you the headspace to focus on whats really important.
Be grateful for what you own. When you feel grateful for everything you own, the desire to own more gradually disappears.
When eating out order one course instead of three and I find out eating out for brunch alot cheaper than dinner.
Have these conversations with friends so they understand why you want to have them over for dinner instead of spending loads of money on dinner or alcohol.
Look up free events in your area. In Dublin especially there is tonnes of cool events that are free.
Finally watch the Netflix documentary ‘Minimalism’ that will sell you on the whole concept.
Things that I do spend money on:
Good healthy food, travel , coffee and brunch (as a treat) and things to look after myself life yoga/ pilates and therapy. I buy things that bring value and joy to my life like my camera or self help books. I am more focused on experiences rather than things. Going on adventures, spending time with friends and weekends away in Ireland and really a lot these things are of minimal cost.
My life now has less, less clutter , less stuff , less need but a whole lot more happiness and fulfilment. When you are not focused on needing materlasitic things you have the capacity to focus on the really important things and the space to figure out your passions and interests.
In my experience the sense of freedom you get when your not bogged down with materlasitic things or the need to have them and the clutter these bring the lighter you will feel.
Live with less and I promise you will be happier.