Hello everyone! I hope you all had a nice week, full of nice moments with your beloved ones but also with new challenges, ideas, and interesting readings.
These last days I discovered a blog which really inspired me, so I would like to share some thoughts about it with you. The blog http://www.missminimalist.com/ is the journey of Francine Jay, who decided some years ago to declutter all different aspects of her life (housing, wardrobe, way to travel etc.) By reducing the amount of possessions to the minimum, she discovered a way to feel truly free, independent and more focused on her life’s priorities: writing, travelling, being a spouse and a mom and much more! “Less is more” could be the philosophy of this blog where she explains why she made these choices and give some tips for the people who recognize themselves as “minimalists” or would like to change their perspectives.
This blog inspired me, as I recognized myself as “minimalist” for some aspects of my life as – like the author – I do not see the point of accumulating many things I might be bored with after a while, whose production might harm the planet and represent some financial sacrifice. I totally share the author’s point of view about not turning money into possessions, but into nice experiences with people you like (going for a day trip, enjoying a coffee outside, etc).Although I consider myself as a “consumerist” sometimes (after all, who is not? except if you live in cave, everyone is concerned nowadays), I would like to promote “minimalism” as an alternative lifestyle, that is the reason I share this blog (although I discovered many others on the topic exist such as http://naturemoms.com/blog/ or http://www.minimalistbeauty.com/).
From my own experience, as I moved several times for short term during my studies, I can tell that having a “frugal” lifestyle is not a big issue for me. While studying in Belgium, I used to live in a 9 square meter (a bed, a desk, a closet and a sink) and got used to it quickly, although that sounds pretty uncomfortable. As I had to move after one academic semester, I lived with the content of a suitcase and my laptop. Of course I bought some stuff there, which are absolutely necessary for me as I could not cook properly: a kettle, a big bowl, some forks and a glass. During this time, my everyday food was a whole bowl of couscous grain, and plenty of teas (although I was lucky enough to live next to a really nice sandwich bar with student prices.) Although my place looked a bit “empty”, it was also one of the happiest period of my life, as I was busy with studying, getting to know new people, planning day trips, etc.
Today, this always make some of my friends smile (girls especially) as I walk around with a very tiny handbag, wear very often the same clothes regardless the fashion, can skip perfume easily – I was amazed to read how many chemicals this supposedly glamorous liquid can hide – and our kitchen contains only the minimum (1 pan, 1 pot, etc) as my partner and I like very simple food – you probably noticed it if you follow this blog. On the other hand, I just LOVE having books on a shelf, although a lot of them had to stay at my parents’ place as I had to move many times from my hometown. I used to love buying cosmetics for a long time, until I realized it was REALLY expensive for what it was bringing to my life (do you REALLY want someone to be attracted just by the way you put make up today?).
So I try as much as I can to limit the amount of things at my place, and limit my purchases of what I call “non sustainable stuff“: that is to say things I can not take with me easily, share with other people, still enjoy in some years, etc. I like enjoying what I have at home, trying to be creative with that, and discovering that there are so many things I do not need anymore (especially in the wardrobe: I love the idea of a 10-item-wardrobe, although I think it is a bit hard to manage here with the London weather). But I also find it very difficult to keep minimalist with a partner who likes keeping leaflets, brochures, old phones, gadgets – that’s why I admire Francine so much as she managed to carry on with her lifestyle after the birth of her babygirl!
The point of being a minimalism for me is not throwing all your possessions from day to another – although decluttering is necessary several times a year , but more questioning yourself when it comes to purchasing something: do I need it? what is the promise of this object? what if I break it? how much will I give it to possess this object?Last time I was reading an article about personal finance which recommended the following tip: when you have to purchase something which costs over £7 (same in € or USD), think 7 times and wait 7 days until you buy it.
You can expend this lifestyle to a lot of aspects of your life: some people choose to have a “minimalist family” (see the article “Is One Child enough?”), not to buy a house to have more freedom to travel, etc. So I found it interesting how a whole “philosophy of life” can help you making some crucial decisions, but in my case I would always put my own deep desires of the moment first, although they might seem inconsistent with my ideal lifestyle.
One more thing: I think it really depends on WHERE you live: having lived for a while at the countryside, I can tell you feel totally different needs: when you only have 10 shops in your town, you really focus on other activities than shopping. In London, not buying the last fashion clothes or the latest smartphone becomes almost an act of “resistance” :-D. And I feel really peaceful about all the time I use not follow fashion/latest trends but reading, discovering new places, developing recipes…
So, if you have any experiences of “downsizing” or “minimalism” or have a totally different opinion about this lifestyle, I would be very happy to read them!