When you live an entire year out of a couple of bags, your ideas about what constitutes home and the things you need in your life, completely change. Home becomes transient and adaptable.
Remember way back when I announced that less stuff = more happiness? It’s absolutely true and remains my biggest lesson of 2016. This doesn’t go along the same lines as more money more problems, I’m sure we could all do with a few bob, but it does matter what we spend it on.
Over this year I actually felt really emotional when getting rid of stuff that I had, which made me realise all the more how much my things had an effect on me – not good!
At the start of this year I arrived in Suffolk with a large van full to the top of my stuff from London. I left at the end of the year with 8 boxes, 4 bags, a shelving unit and a table and chairs all neatly packed into my friend’s tiny van, which is almost car size. I must admit on my drive down I let out a little squeal (loud scream) when I saw the sign on the motorway which reads “Welcome to Brighton & Hove”, equally because of the new life it offered but also the minimal amount of things I had.
De-cluttering has taken me roughly 10 episodes over a year. The final one was the toughest as I was left with things I have decided I needed 6 weeks ago. Upon arriving back in Suffolk (after a month of flat hunting) with my two bags, I realised there were things even within those bags that I didn’t need, I was just carrying around extra weight.
My new place is small and therefore needs to be minimal, which is possibly the best time for me to address exactly what it is I need/want in my life. And so I’ve even minimised on the minimalist items I had left over.
The Millennial generation appears to have the freedom of not having a mortgage and being able to go on lots of holidays. Whilst this appears fun, we are lacking the financial stability of being able to invest in property. I don’t know of any friends who have managed to buy property unless a relative has died, they’ve got lucky through other’s generosity or they’ve had to move home to their parent’s for a few years to save up.
I realise it’s not the same for all of us but for lots of people like me I want freedom. The same rules don’t apply to my life as my parent’s. At the moment I’m not a parent and so don’t need to have a secure base necessarily, though one day I’d love to, it just doesn’t seem possible.
Bear with me…
So while we are living this mortgage free existence, doesn’t it make sense to invest in items for our home that will bring us happiness, while being able to set up at least the foundations of a home that we can take with us from home to home?
Millennials tend to also focus more on experiences than stuff as they realise that in the long run having lots of stuff doesn’t make you happy. Connection with others, giving back to society and travel makes people endlessly happy.
But when we’re not doing that the rest, comfort, focus and creativity we get from our homes and offices are vital to rejuvenate us and ensure our lives are best lived.
While I can’t offer you a holiday right now, instead based on these ideas and experiences, I thought I would help you with your own home with my 6 tips to minimising so you can make the most of it.
- Firstly split things into categories and lay out the items you need as if you were about to go on holiday. Clothes, toiletries, tech etc.
- Select your favourite items of clothing ensuring they all work well together as outfits. Hang them up again in a dedicated space in your wardrobe, then look at the other items and see how they can work with your selection. To further reduce your wardrobe, split it into summer and winter clothes, then you can store away the set you don’t need. You’ll soon end up wearing only what you love and it will become easier to put gorgeous outfits together instantly.
- Toiletries are the bane of my life and I always seem to buy more than I need. Select your favourite brands, put the rest in a box in your bathroom and use it all up. When you do come to buy new toiletries, make sure they’re your favourites.
- Tech can be simple and only consist of a few things, depending on what you do for a living or for pleasure. I have my laptop, hard drive, large screen, phone and Digital SLR camera. Try to minimise extra wires or at least tie them up neatly.
- No paper! There really is no need to print things out anymore, plus the papers you do have can be scanned and are much safer that way. Anything legal can be filed in an organised way, just make sure you scan it too.
- In terms of rooms, the kitchen was my most difficult area to tackle. I have so many utensils and some gorgeous crockery from my grandparents that I am emotionally attached to. I think with this area just get rid of duplicates and anything you never seem to use.
The main point here is
USE what you’ve got – burn that expensive candle, mess up your pretty napkins.
Or LOSE it – donate to charity, sell on eBay.
The emotional and physical freedom that minimising gives you is honestly amazing – it opens up your life and simplifies evening making your cup of tea in the morning.
You clear space for good things, and by things I don’t mean more stuff.
Our homes can dictate how healthy we are. Tiny reminders to push the mental focus onto the positive – A smoothie maker in prime place with enticing fresh fruit in a bowl, or mental focus with an inspirational mood board or some positive quotes around the home.
If that stuff makes you cringe, photos of family and friends are just an excellent reminder of what to be grateful for.
For a room by room guide to getting minimal, you can take a look here: minimalist guides