Let’s go minimal

1st September 2015

Let's go minimal - why I'm going for a more minimal lifestyle

I recently discovered something about myself following a major decluttering session in my flat. I discovered that I was happier with less stuff, and because of this I have decided to go minimal. And I was reassured to find that I wasn’t the only one feeling this way after reading Georgie’s post Live Simply, and Simply Live.

When we think of a minimalist lifestyle we imagine someone living in a home with all white walls with a very clinical feel to it, or who perhaps owns a set number of items. However, I don’t think that’s always the case. I believe that we need to define what minimal living means to us as individuals.

My definition of minimal is:

“Being content with less and investing more in experiences than physical goods.”

There were two main reasons behind my decision to go minimal:

  1. My flat was cluttered with stuff I didn’t need or use.
  2. I wanted to invest my money in experiences and travel, not physical goods.

I live in a relatively small one bedroom flat with my boyfriend. We rent and so there are many rules regarding what we can and can’t do to the interior. This means we can’t put shelves on the walls and we can’t remove the furniture that came with the flat, and this of course reduces the amount of storage space we have. We have been quite clever with our storage solutions, utilising all the space we have, but it is still quite limiting.

Really, there is only room for essentials and not clutter, and this kind of forces me into living a more minimal life.

When I first started decluttering I found it challenging to let go of certain items Of course, there are some items I will never part with for sentimental reasons, but I was keeping some items for the terrible reason of “just in case”.

“I’ll keep this pair of jeans that are too small just in case I ever become a size 6 again.”

“I’ll keep this lipstick that doesn’t suit me just in case it miraculous suits me some time.”

Once I realised I was being stupid and that so many of these “just in case” items were completely replaceable I started decluttering like a pro.

Also, decluttering helped to change my mindset on shopping and buying new products.

If I ever felt like the reason behind making a purchase was “just in case” then I was buying it for the wrong reason.

I wouldn’t say that I’ve become the type of person who only buys the things they need because I really didn’t need those Krispy Kremes, or those Ray Bans, or that notebook from Paperchase. I really, really didn’t. I think that if I intend on using something or enjoy something then that’s okay, but if I know it’s going to be wasted or end up in storage then I shouldn’t be buying it.

(Note: Krispy Kremes never go to waste in this house, I always use my Paperchase notebooks until they’re full and I’ve worn those Ray Bans every summer for the last 3 years.)

Buying less doesn’t just mean more space in the flat. It also means more money in my pocket to save and spend on the things in life I really, truly want to invest in.

I like to buy experiences. Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer (not my quote), and they say that money can’t buy you happiness (also not my quote) but it can buy you travel and when I’m travelling I’m my happiest.

So really, it kind of makes sense that I would buy less clothes, makeup and technology in order to invest my money in one of the most important aspects of my life.

Are you a minimalist in any way? What do you prefer spending your money on?

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  1. Susanne

    I love this! We have loads of clutter, especially in the basement, and I’d LOVE to just get rid of things. We started just before the holidays, but then haven’t had time to continue the decluttering… we’ll do it one bit at a time I guess. Too much stuff stresses me somehow.

  2. I have lots of “just in case” things that I should give/throw away, but I never do it :)) I will have to sort things out one of these days.

  3. I do not buy things just because I like it. I actually weigh the idea of how much time I spent to make the money I am going to spend on the item, and then determine how much use I will get out of it. I literally can walk through the mall everyday for a month and not purchase anything. I’ve learned how much a dollar is worth by working in a restaurant at the age of 15 & 1/2. You learn quickly the value of yourself and the time/energy you spend to make money. I also keep my clothes for a long time, I have jeans from my first year in high school that I still wear, and I am in my third year of university. I feel that really helps cutting back on spending. I have a lot of picture frames though, so in a sense of decorating, I am definitely not a minimalist.

    I prefer spending my money on traveling, saving for a house, and anything that makes a memory. Plus a good camera is always a good investment to help remember those moments.

    I am currently saving for Portugal, so I am deciding to not purchase coffee on campus, and that will be a hard one, but when I buy my espresso in Portugal it will be worth it.

    • Holly

      I’m pretty good at doing this too. If I see something I want, whether that be an item of clothing or a piece of technology, I spend a long time considering it before actually making the purchase. I’ve made lots of stupid purchases in the past as a result of not thinking things through.

      My camera was my last expensive purchase, and I definitely haven’t regretted it.

  4. Amy

    I’m actually writing a post on de-cluttering my room (but it’s probs not going to be very serious) because I’m moving into a small flat on Saturday. I’ve started to be a lot more ruthless with getting rid of things, because I know I need the space now. I used to buy DVDs that were on sale just because they were and it felt so good to get rid of them, even though I hadn’t watched hardly any. Plus, like you, I want to save for bigger things, rather than useless clutter.

    Hope you save up lots of money for travelling. Where do you want to go next?
    xxx

    • Holly

      I can’t remember the last time I purchased a DVD! I end up watching everything online instead.

      I’m planning on returning to America next summer. Not sure where specifically; maybe LA?

  5. I like your definition on minimal. I used to think that it was all white walls, and not necessarily a clinical feel, but everything would look photograph ready. Now, after reading blogs about minimalism, I’ve realised it’s definitely not like that.

    I’ve tried to declutter my room before, but because I share a room with my sister it makes it very hard. I would love to go minimal when I get my own place!

    I have so many ‘just in case’ items in my room – I could definitely do with a clear out. The funny thing is, I did actually clear out my room and yet it’s still messy. I prefer spending my money on things like travel and things I can do around my city. Anything I want for my room, I have to really want it and it has to be an investment as I don’t know how long I’ll be there for now.

    • Holly

      Sometimes I really wish my flat had the photo ready look, but it really doesn’t, even after decluttering!

      It’s difficult when you share your space with someone else. It’s a real challenge to find balance.

  6. Kya

    That is really great that you have discovered that and been able to make your space one you are comfortable with. I have been renovating my bedroom and made the decision to really let go of so many things as well. Sometimes you don’t realise that you have kept things for ‘just in case’ reasons either, until you examine them.

    • Holly

      Definitely! If you read the book called The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying, the author suggests holding each item before throwing it away to consider what it’s purpose was and thank it for serving it’s purpose. Perhaps a little over the top but you get the idea!

  7. I’m so glad to see a fellow decluttering junkie, haha! 🙂 I’m glad you could identify with some of the points in my post and love that you shared them with your readers. :’)

    It’s good that you are somewhat limited from doing certain things in your apartment so it encourages (I would say encourages rather than forces!) yourself to live a cleaner life.

    I haven’t done as much travelling as you (yet), but I know that those are experiences I truly value more than some designer pair of jeans. Yes I do buy Apple products which are pricier than other gadgets but I don’t really buy anything else other than phones and laptops when I actually need a new one. No televisions or games or anything like that, so nothing that would really take up any space.

    I definitely agree that buying less doesn’t necessarily mean more space. Buying less and being a minimalist always has that weird ‘I live in an empty room’ visual, but what people don’t realise is that it’s a mindset that allows you to put less value in material ‘things’, and in turn, as we have discovered, helps us life the good life by way of valuing experiences.

    • Holly

      I’m really good at leaving it until the last minute to buy new technology. I like to get my money’s worth. For instance, I bought my iPhone 4 second hand and it’s been with me for nearly 3 years. It’s only now the home button has broke that I’ve realised it’s about time I replace it.

      I definitely don’t have an empty room, but I do have room filled with items that mean a lot to me, because I thought every purchase out very carefully.

  8. Fai

    It’s funny and ironic, that as I read your blog half-way, I looked around my room and sighed. a super loud and heavy one hahahha~ I REALLY need to declutter and reorganise my room because it is now looks like a “local criminal’s HQ” – like my mom would say it. Thank you for all the ideas, and I would surely give it a try! and yeah, you made me realised that rather than spending money on things that “might” be used, I rather save it so that I can go to more concerts! hahahha XD have a good day!

    • Holly

      Haha! Even though I declutter like crazy sometimes my room can look like that too.

      Concerts are always worth spending your money on!

  9. I have been following Georgie’s Live simply… posts too.
    My life needs a major decluttering. It’s not only about money that is saved by not buying unnecessary stuff, but it is also about ,managing the things you have at hand efficiently!
    Why I need to go minimal can make a post, I feel! 😛