What is minimalism?
Something that is characterized by extreme spareness and simplicity.
An old Buddhist saying goes like this:
The less you have, the less you have to worry about.
After spending time in Tanzania last summer and living of the same few clothes for a month made me realise: It isn’t actually that bad! I began to like the simplicity of it and the early morning what-do-I-wear question was solved really quickly. I wasn’t missing one single thing, I could have easily lived of my backpack for another month or even more. I had clothes to wear, a tend to sleep in, food to eat and I was surrounded by wonderful people. I couldn’t help but wonder, do we really need all this stuff? Seeing families living on less than a Euro a day, owning only the clothes they wore and still being the most welcoming and loving people I have ever met. Coming home after several months, you can imagine how disgusted I was by our western world of consumerism. I was ready to hit the road again and go back, living of my 3 shirts and 2 pants. It was so easy. It was so simple. It felt like I had no worries and as if all of a sudden someone lifted all that weight of my shoulders. Unfortunately work called. I asked myself, why is it that we think that all those things make us happy? Why do we think we are defined by the things we own? Why are we so attached to our material things? Being back home again, the weight is back on my shoulders and it’s heavy, really heavy.
Ever since I turned vegan nearly 3 years ago, my buying pattern drastically changed. I was one of those girls that would spend hundreds of Euros on tons of H&M or Forever21 clothes, which would still remain untouched (and with tags on) for years. I would spend a fortune on the newest beauty and make-up products, ending up using none of them, because I rarely wear make up. And when there was sale season, don’t let me even start. Let me just say, the postman knew my name, randomly greeted me on the street and informed me that new packages arrived and that he will come by soon. Servus!
Now things are different. The first rule I set myself: I only buy something new when I replace something old that is worn out or empty or broken. Second rule: When I buy something new it needs to be vegan/fair/biodegradable and hopefully sustainably produced. So that reduces the amount of potential shoppable things to only a teeny tiny amount, making things way easier. Not vegan? Not for me! Of course there are a few things I buy in between where I just can’t say no (I blame all the markets around London!), but all in all I shop less and more considerate.
So what changed for me: I now only buy things that I actually need and will use for sure. No more bad buys. No more hoarding of unnecessary stuff.
Over the last years I slowly began to get rid of unnecessary things. I sold a lot of clothes and accessories on flea markets or online. I also started selling things out of our attic that we haven’t used in years. When I changed apartments in Vienna last year, I took the chance to go trough all of my stuff and got rid of quite some too. Possessing less gives you less to worry about, which again gives you more time and a clear mind to focus on important things. However I feel that there’s no end to it and that things are still piling up. Living in several places simultaneously doesn’t make things easier. You tend to forget about things you don’t see and use regularly (So why bother keeping them at all?).
Inspired by one of my favourite Bloggers Maddie from DariaDaria and after watching some Youtube Videos (here and here) I came to the conclusion that it is time to change things for the better. I will still hold on to my shopping rules and will start to declutter not only my material things, but also my life. Seeing some of my favourite vegan Youtubers (That Vegan Couple) leaving their house and all their possessions behind to live a purposeful live with few possessions, inspired me to the extend that I feel that it is time to start this journey. A journey towards minimalism.
What are your feelings towards a minimalist lifestyle?
I will keep you updated on my progress.