You can afford less

June 28, 2020

I'm sure you heard this thousand of times - less is more. However, do you know what makes this so special or what does it exactly mean? The unanimous supporters of the idea of minimalism repeat - it is better to use than to have and they put pressure on limiting the number of items and needs. However, the marketing does not give up so easily - it tempts with gadgets and guides that are supposed to help you live simply and happily. So how do you become a minimalist without falling into the trap of consumerism?

What is minimalism

Minimalism means limiting yourself to possessing only the necessary things and getting rid of excess items in order to focus on those that are really important to us. Also, I've seen a lot of definitions saying a real minimalist is the one with no more than 100 items. It's extreme, isn't it? Nowadays, fanatics appear in all areas of our life and I believe the last definition is contained in this worldview and fanatism is not good in any form. 

How often have you thought about household items? How many of them do you use on a daily basis? Have you ever wondered how much work, energy, resources you have to use to produce a given item? Do you think about it when you throw it away? When you still want something new? Minimalism is a response to times full of consumerism, mindless gathering, disrespect for things, to the planet, to money and work.

To be honest with you, I have never thought twice while deciding to keep or throw away a specific item. Usually, the situation looked like that - I bought a new kettle because the old one was too old, I came back home, switched off the old kettle, and put it to the storage. Probably you are wondering why I didn't throw it away. I didn't do it because what if the new one will break? what if we go camping and I need a kettle? I was 100% sure I will need this kettle somehow in the future. It was a few years ago. Guess, how many times I used it? exactly, not even once. Do you see where we’re going with this?

Moving out 3 years ago benefited my minimalistic approach a lot. I was forced to pack the things I really need and what's important the things I like. After packing all of the meaningful stuff, my room was still full. This was the time when I decided to stop cluttering my house, hence my life. 

Is it all about things

No, it's not just about things. Let's put this straight - house is not a museum. I make sure it's clean but exaggerated sterility is not my thing. While entering, probably you wouldn't call the person who lives there a minimalist. However, taking into consideration my mindset, here I am! Minimalism flows from within. It is a feeling that things do not define me, that my self-esteem does not result from how much and what I have, but from what I am, what I do and what I have to say. It's the ability not to pretend to be anyone, to remain yourself, even if you can't afford anything at the moment. It's a lack of desire to have news, trends, and updates. It's a real and honest sense of happiness from what you already have. This definition does not refer to me fully, because sometimes I like to get a dress from the newest collection, but I think being reasonable is a key. When you possess this secret knowledge, the presence of objects in your life becomes a secondary matter. Also, it would be simple and natural to giving them away, sharing them, selling them, and finally throwing them away. Isn't it great?

Minimalism at home

This topic is close to my heart as we finally started the second part of the house renovation. The structural work is finished and the building shops are opened again so we can focus on the interiors. I'm a little bit fussy regarding everything so it's not an easy job! Thank god my husband has a similar taste to mine and he always puts quality over quantity, so we are half winners already! The lesson I learned recently was that we can't buying the separate things we like because when you assemble everything, it won't create a unity space in one style. I mean, when you go to IKEA you see a wood lamp and you buy it, then you go to HomeSense and you like the orange armchair, then you buy a glass coffee table, etc. It doesn't match together, does it?

Pro tip: Pinterest is a lifesaver!

Suddenly there comes a thought when you find that you are cleaning over and over and over again and it is getting messy over and over again. Have you ever got to this point? It's a sign that your nest is simply cluttered. You are beginning to understand that the only thing missing in it is free space and simplification. 

I believe that segregation is a starting point for making your life simpler. It will help you to eliminate things that you don't use, so you don't need them. The old rule - if you haven't used something for a year, give it to someone who needs it, sell it, or throw it away. There is no other way. Putting things into smaller boxes, storing them into a closet or basement is a good idea only for a moment. Sooner or later it will become a big mess again.

Also, the elimination is an ally of minimalist interiors. After getting rid of all unnecessary gadgets and extra-home furnishings, it's time for larger dimensions, i.e. furniture. One large built-in wardrobe and a bed with a chest can easily accommodate any assortment. You don't need so many shelves, cabinets, chests of drawers, tables, benches, etc. They clutter your home. Excess has gone out of fashion and does not make the house prettier.

Unification and simplicity are the quintessence of minimalism. One wall color will help you maintaining harmony. One material - e.g. wood that warms you, will also do a good job. A simple set of curtain rods for all rooms or the same poster frames will also be an advantage. A simple, but the comfortable sofa, with one or two blankets on it (not 6 different "on stock".) Simple lighting, because crazy glitter will disturb the simplified interior. In a word, simplify and limit the field of fantasy when it comes to colors and everything else. Choose furniture that is functional and will fulfill its role regularly. Do not buy a nice footrest just because it would match the color of the kitchen or bedding of your pet.

I am sure when minimalism will reign in your apartment, you will feel that this is it. Order and space will make you feel really good. You will find more time for yourself or your family because you will not have to waste unnecessary hours cleaning. Simple is beautiful, so start your adventure with minimalism and joyfully celebrate every moment spent in your minimalist kingdom.

Minimalism at work

Yes, it affects your work a lot! In a quiet workplace without distractions and the place with a clear schedule of tasks you will do the entrusted work in a shorter time, and you will feel that you have everything under control. Isn't it great? What you can do it to clean up your desk, organize files on your computer, mute apps for a while, and cut off office noise by listening to quiet music through headphones. Focus on important tasks and plan everything you do. Get rid of all distractions such as a snack drawer. I noticed my workday is much more in order when my desk is clean. I don't know about you, but I feel like my life is in order as well. It depends on the person, but sometimes I can see the desks which are cluttered with empty bags of crisps, a few bowls from 2 days breakfast, and hundreds of unnecessary things. Probably I wouldn't do anything if my desk looks like that, but once again, it's a personal approach. 

Minimalism at fashion

Capitalism teaches us to tie various emotions, desires, and even make self-esteem basing on objects. Consumers enjoy shopping, bragging about their wealth, and comparing it with the material status of other people. Minimalism allows you to get rid of the desire to constantly buy new clothes, home appliances, and electronic devices. However, it helps to learn to recognize durable, timeless, and high-quality items. Reasonably spent money brings more pleasure. Higher-quality items are usually more environmentally friendly and perfectly fit into the minimalist lifestyle. It is a luxury in a limited range. Another solution is to express yourself through self-created clothes, objects, and works of art. I have never was a fan of DIY, I don't know why. I hope you have the opposite approach! let me know in the comments below what you've created. I recently noticed that people got crazy about macramas. It's such a great decoration to a boho house!

Minimalism at beauty

It means having fewer cosmetics, choosing the ones that are right for your skin and hair type, and have "clean" recipes with high-performance ingredients. Natural beauty means the use of carefully selected ingredients, selected for the sake of sustainable development. It is believed that it's not just the end result that counts, but the entire creation process. The point of contact of pure beauty and minimalism is a hair salon, where a conscious ritual of hair care allows us to cleanse and free ourselves from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and inspire with a moment worth remembering, striving to regain inner balance and peace of mind. Let's all remember - quality above quantity.

Benefits of being a minimalist

I am not 100% minimalist but I every day I introduce this approach to my life and this is what I noticed:

  • I started appreciating all big and small things and now I know I have more than I could have dreamed of.

  • I slowed down the pace, no credit cards, no debts. I live as much as I have. I furnish my home at the pace I can afford and I feel good about it.

  • I don't want to and I don't have to prove anything.

  • I have time.

  • I'm free. I can pack a small backpack and go to the seaside for the weekend and have everything I need in this backpack.

  • I learned to let things go, cut off toxic people, and not to devote even a second to them, do not over-analyze everything. This is what I mean by focusing on what is important.

  • Simple things make me happy, like a sunrise, the smell of homemade bread, or a coffee with my friends and family.

Pressure

There is one more thing I would like to mention. Nowadays, you can feel pressure everywhere and zero waste terror. It's visible in the Facebook groups and comments. You use a paper calendar, planner, notebook - how dare you not to use the electronic one? You use a shampoo/antiperspirant produced by a corporation because it serves you and works well - how dare you support a bloodthirsty corporation? I could multiply these examples, but I think you understand what I mean. Once I've seen a post in which a girl asked for a recommendation for a hair shampoo - she was attacked because a real minimalist washes her hair with rye flour. A real minimalist must be zero waste, eco, and bio. You know, it doesn't have to. It may and often is, but it does not have to be. Hence, please don't fall into this trap.

I hope you guys enjoy this blog post! Let me know what your experience with minimalism is or you are a starter who would like to improve your life!

 


© 2020 Natalia Snopkowska