I started writing a fair few months back about minimalism; the subject really caught my attention because the idea of living more simply seemed so appealing (I was definitely suffering from technology overload!) and because I am always trying to find new ways to make spending less money seem more fun and exciting.
But I am left wondering now; have I drifted off? Or have I continued to simplify my life in a gradual, and perhaps even less conscious way? I think and I hope the latter might be true, because there are several key areas of my life that seem to be becoming ever more minimal.
Firstly, my phone and the way I use it have been changing drastically. My over-spilling pages of apps have been fine tuned into just one page (colour organised, because I’m funny like that) and I finally deleted my Facebook, Twitter, and other social media apps. Since doing so, I find I usually check Facebook once a day in my lunch break or in the evening for a few minutes, and I really don’t miss it. I didn’t delete Instagram from my phone, but I moved it into an obscure folder, and I haven’t looked at it in days – ditto all the other platforms. This is not translating into more physical energy each day; I still get tired in the evenings the same as before, but I don’t feel as distracted. I have found more time to plan new projects, like redesigning our garden, and continuing to redecorate our spare room (hence the long absence here I’m afraid!). I don’t think I am going to reach a point when I want to download them again either, because the time I spent on them just felt like wasted time. I would be absently staring at my phone instead of watching TV, which just seems ridiculous now I come to think about it!
The physical possessions in our house are still burgeoning; redecorating a room essentially means every other room has to take on some extra stuff, until the room is finished and the stuff can be returned. It will be very satisfying to finish that project and figure out which things need to be returned to the room, and which are completely surplus. The spare room was basically a junk room before, but now as a creative / office space, it really can’t house the junk – and so it will have to go.
Financially, I hope I am learning to live a little more minimally. The main take away I had with minimalism is that you don’t need to buy everything – it’s OK to not have one of everything because you really don’t need it! You don’t need a coffee table and a matching sideboard, and a matching stool etc. So our toaster broke a few weeks ago (tried to fix it, but it was sparking when turned on and blowing the fuses – not great!) and we had to throw it away, but instead of buying a new one, we decided to just do without. I realised pretty quickly that the grill on our oven is just as good, and it made me realise that not every item we own is essential – in fact very few are! But rather than just throwing things away or donating them, it can actually make a lot more sense to just stop buying stuff. Stopping the influx of possessions is a lot more powerful than just getting really good at editing your possessions down. I think there is a big temptation with the minimalism trend, to think “well if I’m going to only have one of X, then it has to be the perfect one, so I’ll need to go out and buy that” but in reality, that just doesn’t make any sense. You’re not going to make your life simpler by being on a constant search for the perfect coat, or the perfect, forever coffee maker. So I am learning to make do with what I have; use up food that’s been stored away for long enough, read books I’ve been keeping for a long time (and stop buying new ones until I’ve read them all!) and being generally content with what I have.
My finances, if I am completely honest, were getting a little out of control over the past three months. Partly because of a new job placing me in the way of a lot more restaurants and shops at lunch times! So I have drawn up a budget for myself in excel (let me know if you would like a copy – it’s set up with loads of formulas) and straight away I was shocked at just how much I was spending on things – it’s so easy not to realise how quickly a daily coffee or sandwich adds up! And in February, I spent over £150 on takeaways! Awful. So, I am hoping to pair back my luxury spending to a bare minimum for the next three months. I will let you know how I get on, and how much I save.
What do you guys think about minimalism, is it something you’re still interested in? Or do you think it’s a passing craze that’s now passed?