Saturday 24 February 2018

Delving further into the world of minimalism

Over the past few years, I have really been fascinated by the world of minimalism. I've been interested in minimalism since around 2015 when I read Marie Kondo's famous book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, but I think the move to Hobart, combined with rediscovering The Minimalists podcast, has rekindled my interest in this subject lately. Minimalism is essentially the concept of removing any items or things in your life that don't spark joy or bring value, and only keeping those things that you truly love (and only bringing new things into your life that you love), enabling you to focus on the more important values and relationships in your life.

Minimalism has been infiltrating my life in a number of ways recently, which I've unpacked a bit more below.

Decluttering my items

Moving houses is definitely one of the most motivating ways to make you declutter your items. Given how long it takes to pack up your things, and when you're paying for removalists to move your goods, you really want to try and minimise what you are moving by only keeping the things that you love and use regularly. Over the summer, I made a few trips to the local charity store to donate boxes of books, kitchen goods, clothes and miscellanous items around the house that we didn't use in the past year or so, and that we were unlikely to use in the next year. The feeling of opening up your kitchen cupboards and not having items falling out as there is no space for them, or looking around your living room and seeing everything that you love having a place, really is so calming and satisfying.

The Minimalists, who I mentioned above, are a couple of guys from America who discovered minimalism a few years ago, quit their corporate jobs, and now write books, produce podcasts (as well as a documentary, which is available on Netflix) and tour around the world talking about minimalism (side note: they are actually touring in Australia in March and I am beyond excited that I just got a ticket to one of their shows!!). Anyway, they came up with the 90/90 rule when decluttering, whereby if you haven't used an item in the last 90 days, and are unlikely to use it in the next 90 days, then you should part with it. I prefer to look at it as the 12 month/12 month rule, as there are some things that I use less frequently than 90 days, but would use at least annually (e.g. camping gear, certain books, my tennis racquet, etc). Whatever time period you use, I find that this is a really helpful rule to keep in your mind when decluttering.

Capsule wardrobe

I have really been intrigued by capsule wardrobes since around 2014, and have been adding and refining this method into my wardrobe over the past couple of years. I wrote a post on this a while ago here, but essentially a capsule wardrobe is the concept of having around 30-40 pieces of clothing in your wardrobe that you love and wear, and that you switch around each season. You store your non-seasonal items away (I store them in a couple of plastic containers under my bed) and every 3 months, you switch out the pieces you don't want for the coming season and add in any seasonally-appropriate items. I tend to do a big switch out from summer to autumn, and again from winter to spring, as my autumn/winter wardrobes and my spring/summer wardrobes tend to be pretty similar due to the nature of those seasons.

If there are items that you want to add to your wardrobe that you don't own, you can add these in, but the idea is that you avoid shopping for the season. Now this is the part that has been a challenge to me, as I love fashion and really enjoy having a bit of a browse on Asos, The Iconic and Everlane every now and then. Something that I want to try (and which I explain further below) is a one month shopping ban, so that I can really appreciate the items that I own, and have fun with creating new outfit ideas with those pieces, without the need to hit the order now button on my favourite online stores. I have just switched out my summer capsule wardrobe this weekend with my pieces for my autumn capsule wardrobe, so I'm excited to try out a few different outfit combinations with those clothes.

Challenge for March - shopping ban

As mentioned above, in order to appreciate and love what I own, I have decided to do a one month shopping ban in March. For some people, this might sound really easy, and something that they can easily do a lot of months of the year, but for others, it might be quite the struggle, if you are used to buying the odd item here and there every week. I recently finished reading a book called The Year of Less, where the author, Cait Flanders, decided to go a whole year without shopping and documented the process. The idea of that terrifies me a bit, but I think that while it will definitely be a challenge, I can probably get through a month. The things that will be on my banned shopping list are:
  • Clothes
  • Accessories (jewellery, hats, scarves, etc)
  • Makeup
  • Home decor items
  • Books
  • Candles
There will only be a few things on my allowed shopping list (which are essentially consumables) - these include dining out, groceries, repurchasing any toiletries that run out, and a new book on my Kindle, but only if I finish my current book (which, funnily enough, is The Minimalist's Everything That Remains book).

I will report back at the start of April with a blog post on how I got on with the ban!

Conscious shopping

Something else that I have been learning about recently with the whole delving into the world of minimalism is thinking about where my clothes come from, who makes them, and what the impact of fast fashion is on our environment. In 2016 I watched the Netflix documentary The True Cost, which really opened my eyes to the detrimental impact of fast fashion on our world. Even though I still buy the odd piece from a fast fashion store every now and again, I have really been trying to shop more consciously, and certain online stores like Everlane and Grana have become my new favourite sites to browse. While a little more expensive, the quality of the pieces is outstanding, and the pieces that I have purchased are such classic styles that I know they will last in my wardrobe for years to come.

I've also been getting into buying more second-hand items from sites like Ebay, and while I still struggle a bit with this (given the risk involved in buying something that is potentially damaged or worn out that you can't return), I have managed to grab a couple of amazing deals from people selling their unwanted items on Ebay.

Environmental aspects

Leading on from the conscious shopping point, I've really been thinking about the impact of our actions on the environment, and have slowly started changing my day to day activities to be a bit more environmentally friendly. In particular, I've really been trying to recycle all soft plastic items through REDcycle, which you can read more about here. Essentially, REDcycle is a program where you can collect all the soft plastic items that you would otherwise throw in the garbage (e.g. glad wrap, the plastic wrapping that fruit and veggies sometimes come in, biscuit wrappers, etc) and drop them off at a REDcycle bin, which are located at various Coles stores around Australia (and New Zealand).

By doing this, you are really helping to reduce the amount of plastic that ends up in oceans and land in Australia and beyond. I think I've really been encouraged to do this since moving to Tasmania, as there is so much natural beauty here, and the idea that rubbish can cause our stunning beaches and national parks to deteriorate (as well as the impact on our wildlife), when it is so easy to prevent it from occurring, has really made me want to change my actions.

My favourite resources

Finally, I wanted to list a few of the books, YouTube channels, blogs and podcasts that I really love to come back to when looking more into the concept of minimalism:

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