We Are Chatting About: Minimalism
Minimalism. Maximalism. Mindfulness. Consumerism. Capitalism! All the isms…
We are all talking about ‘stuff’ and decluttering. Its a topic that has been bubbling away for a few years, but now it feels like everyone is talking about it. Books, programmes, articles and documentaries…. Call it the Kondo effect, but minimalism is having a bit of a moment! Some love it. Some hate it. Some are intrigued, but overwhelmed. Discussions get passionate, lively and interesting. This always delights me!
I have been playing around with the concept of owning less. I really want to identify as Minimalist, but a few things stand in my way (Well, one thing). I LOVE shopping. I am also an emotional shopper!! So, whilst scaling down my shopping habit, I am still in the throes of spending. It feels quite frustrating at times. This need for less, but the temptations of having more and better.
This has lead me to have conversations with friends, who are successfully consuming less and making better choices. You know the ones who seem to lead exciting lives, take risks, look amazing, have beautiful living spaces and manage to do so mindfully, sustainably and ethically. How do they do it ? When did it start and how do they sustain it? (in a world that sets you up for failure!!)
The reasons behind it vary wildly:
Small living spaces
Lack of Storage
A need for calm
The reasons for minimalism and yet when we were chatting the outcomes seem very similar. Everyone speaks off:
Freedom of choice
Feeling in control
Becoming minimalist is the reason many have been able to quite their jobs, change jobs, go traveling, buy properties and start their own businesses. With financial freedom comes a freedom in life choices. A freedom most won’t give up for a badly made dress or another useless gadget.
Interestingly enough, the discussion always comes back to, how we value our things more than ourselves. How we judge ourselves and others, on what we ‘have’ and ‘don’t have’. The perception that a new phone or bag, will give us confidence. That a lack of ‘new things‘ can take away this confidence.
The discussions get passionate, when we talk about the impact, excess culture and shopping has, on the environment and society. The guilt you feel when you realise this and the need to do things better!
The one thing we all seem to agree on, is the concept of minimalism being a very privileged conversation. A conversation that indicates we have too much stuff, money and time. For many people around the world this topic would be absurd. This notion of spending money, on luxury items, you don’t want, need or like.
There is also a sense that getting rid of everything at once is deeply impractical, as it creates a vicious cycle of purging and shopping.
There seems to be an understanding that the route to minimalism and consuming less is a slow process, where you decrease your spending, up-cycle clothes and objects, research purchases and step away from the mainstream.
These conversations have inspired me and I am currently on a bit of a spending ban. How will it go ? Who knows, but it already has me contemplating my relationship with ‘my stuff‘ and my need to shop.
Are you having these chats? What do you think about Minimalism? What have you struggled with and how do you cope with shopping urges?