our journey towards minimalism

I’ve been wanting to write this out for awhile now, but never knew exactly what to say.

I’ll just start from the beginning…

BACK STORY

I grew up knowing that it was impractical to have an “unnecessary” amount of stuff. I moved [on average] every three years growing up… sometimes more often and sometimes less. I stayed in the same general city for a good ten years where I completed junior high, high school, college and finally my midwifery training. But even so, I moved houses five times in that period including a move to the UK for six months. Then of course, once I got my UK marriage visa, I moved permanently to England to spend my life together with my husband. Naturally, the moving didn’t stop there. In the 2 years I’ve lived in the UK, we have moved 5 times. What’s truly scary is that I moved to the UK with only two large suitcases! And now to look around and see what we’ve accumulated in those short years… shutter.

All this to say that I got very good at purging things fairly often. Moving is not fun, and the less things you have to pack, move, and unpack, the better.
Unfortunately, I also got even better at re-collecting things in between moves. No matter how many times I would purge garbage bags full of things, I always would unconsciously replace them with other things. Most of the purchases were impulse buys and not things I had wished for, truly considered or made a smart buying decision.

Every time I got rid of things, de-cluttered, and organised, I would make a vow to myself that this was how I was going to live… more simply. I remember the feeling off freedom and my new thinking space. It felt so good.

It wasn’t until I watched the eye-opening documentary The True Cost that I really saw how [almost] unavoidable consumerism is… especially in our culture. The True Cost gives us a honest peek into the fast fashion industry. It explains what it means for us to be able to buy a top for $3, the pressure to be on trend, keep up with the new weekly seasons at Zara, etc… but no matter what you reason with, you must buy more, more, more, more. Always buying more.
{Watch The True Cost on Netflix!}
Not only did I see and hear the heartbreaking stories of the people making the clothes, their bosses and the corporations that have ultimately ruled the world of consumerism, but I realised that my choices really have a lasting effect. I wasn’t comfortable contributing to the abuse and poverty of workers and giving into consumerism like we’ve been fed for so long.

Tom and I agreed that we would make a change. We said we would choose to rid our closets and homes of things that we didn’t agree with and didn’t need. That we would gradually transition into things that we could believe in and felt right. We wanted to choose to shop ethical/fair trade shops and buy organic whenever it was feasible.
[I know this process can take a long time, but we want to get there]

I went to YouTube (of course!) and started searching for videos on shopping ethically. Most of the videos naturally included a stance on minimalist living. It seems they often go hand in hand. I finally found what I was truly looking for. The base ideas put into words how I’d felt when I freed myself of stuff. 

This. This is what I want. That resonates with me.

MINIMAL LIVING

A great explaination of minimalism: Minimalism is a tool that can assist you in finding freedom. Freedom from fear. Freedom from worry. Freedom from overwhelm. Freedom from guilt. Freedom from depression. Freedom from the trappings of the consumer culture we’ve built our lives around. Real freedom. [taken from Minimalist.com]

One common reservations about living minimally is the idea that minimalism means you cannot have much and certainly cannot buy things. That isn’t true. It’s the idea that what you buy, you should love. It should bring you joy and add to your life. It shouldn’t burden you, have a bad memory or give you a negative feeling. It shouldn’t clutter. It should bring you joy.

And no, your closet and home doesn’t have to be monochrome!

Okay I’m back tracking…

THE PROCESS

Once I realised what I wanted for my life, I started from the beginning. Tom and I both went through our wardrobes and chest of drawers (including Harvey’s things) and got rid of everything that didn’t fit us properly (it didn’t make us happy to wear it), things we hadn’t worn in awhile and didn’t see ourselves wearing in the very near future, and extra articles that we had plenty of.

As recommended, we separated our things into 3 (well technically 4) piles: keep, hold, donate + sell

We kept a pile of things that we know we love and wear very often. We had a pile of things that we wanted to think about and come back to later. (Naturally, after coming back to it, we chose to rid ourselves of most of those things) And then we had a pile to donate and a pile to sell.
In a way, it felt better when I could sell some of our things because we somehow felt like we weren’t losing everything. It made getting rid of the more expensive things easier. Although, overall, it was remarkably easy to get rid of so much.

In the end, we had about 4 large garbage bags of clothes we donated and sold. How did we accumulate so much?!

I have slowly been applying that same technique all around the house. I’ve went through our home items, my toiletries, our storage, etc. It feels so good tackling another room in the house. It takes awhile completing the process with Harvey running around, but I’m determined to get to a place of true satisfaction.

Tom and I are even considering having a capsule wardrobe as we think that will be a good way to maintain a minimalist wardrobe. There are lots of different ways to go about it, but we like the Project 333. I feel like I’d have to replace a lot of things in my closet and buy quite a bit of new items (or preloved, but new to me) to feel satisfied with the capsule wardrobe, so I think that will take awhile to achieve.

To further keep our life simplified, Tom and I decided that instead of gifts (giving or receiving), we’d like to make memories or for the funds to be applied to something that has been desired for awhile and is a smart decision. I don’t think anyone can argue against that, right?

Another bonus to living simply and minimally is that you have time, space and money to put things where they truly matter to you. Tom and I will be able to use the money and time that we would spend on buying stuff we don’t need or truly want to things like traveling and making memories… the things that we loved doing together since we met! Our life started as a crazy, fun adventure. We’ve always had that as a priority to maintain, but somehow lost it a bit when life seemed to get in the way… but really, it was just stuff that got in the way!

WHAT’S NEXT?

Enjoy life and all it has to offer… naturally!

Andrea xoxo

P.S. I plan to make a proper video about our journey soon and possibly our capsule wardrobe. We’ll see how far I get with that. But it’s a goal!

RECOMMENDED RESOURCES

| YouTube |

My Green Closet 

LightByCoco

Lavendaire

| Blog |

The Minimalists

Becoming Minimalist

Be More With Less

| Book |

Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
{I haven’t actually read this myself *yet* but have heard great things about it}

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