Minimalism is a practice that encourages a more mindful approach to the way we live our lives. Many people think it is extreme and that minimalists buy NOTHING and live in empty homes but this isn't the case. I think minimalism is about freedom and conscious decision making. I want to chat a little bit about my minimalist journey and explain why it has been so important for me.
My minimalist lifestyle started when I moved to live in a static caravan in 2015. From previously living in a rented flat with a lounge, bathroom, 2 bedrooms and large kitchen, It was a big change to move to a much smaller space! I lived in the caravan for 5 years. It introduced me to a different way of life and showed me how we don't have to follow the 'norm'. I felt liberated and inspired and soon became an enthusiast for simple living.
Having since moved to a bigger flat, I have kept the simple living mindset and consider myself to be a minimalist. I chose minimalism. I chose simple living. In this blog post, I want to explain to you why I chose this lifestyle and why it is so important.
When I first started researching minimalism, I learnt about the damaging effect of over consumerism on the environment. Every new product created has some kind of environmental footprint. We know this. The problem is that we have become swept up in a cycle of over consumerism. Why are we caught up in this cycle? Because every time we turn on the T.V, listen to the radio, scroll through social media or browse the internet, we are bombarded with companies competing for our attention. We are told that we need this or that to live better lives. We compare ourselves to other people who show up on our social media feeds and we look at their perfectly edited online life and we think 'She has this and she looks amazing' or 'He has that car and he is so happy' and then we think 'I NEED that too and then I will look amazing and I will be happy'. We are now even being fed tailored adverts to fit with our personalities and interests so that companies can target us and convince us that we need what they have. As a result, people are mindlessly consuming- filling their wardrobes with more clothes, adding more accessories to the outfits they will never get around to wearing, trying out the newest gadgets and smart phone models, decorating every inch of their homes with STUFF.
Not only does all of this STUFF have a negative impact on the environment, it has a negative impact on us too. It may offer temporary excitement or relief, only to leave us with guilt and a dent in our bank balance. To pay for all of this STUFF, we work- really hard! We give so many hours of our precious lives to work, with many of us enduring jobs that we dislike or just about tolerate. Day in day out, we work so that we can afford MORE. MORE STUFF. Minimalism encourages us to stop and look around. Take a breath and see the bigger picture. Life. This one precious life. Earth- this one precious Earth. This is why minimalism is so great! It helps you to evaluate what is truly important in your life. It helps you to discover your values, morals and passions. It helps your bank balance and it helps the PLANET!
Minimalism isn't about throwing away everything you own and never buying anything again! It is about making conscious choices about what you bring in to your life and how you want to live your life. For me, I wanted to be a vegan artist more than anything! Art and animal rights and the environment- these are the things I am passionate about; the things that fuel me. I was completely aware that making a living as an artist isn't easy.
As an environmentalist, I was already sold on minimalism, but I realised that it could also help me live the life that I want to live. So I donated anything I owned that I didn't value. I started with my wardrobe and donated 80% of the clothes and accessories I owned to charity shops. I then moved on to decorative items, keeping only the things that made me feel happy inside or had sentimental value. I decluttered the kitchen- realising that I really don't need 20 mugs and 20 plates! By the time I had finished, I was left with my favourite items. Houseplants that breathe life in to my home, books that have inspired me and helped me grow, a warm blanket that I spent hours knitting myself, Some pieces of wall art that fill me with peace and inspiration every time I look at them, my art and craft supplies that bring me hours of joy, my essential oils that rejuvenate me, special gifts hand made by my friends, some candles that glow when I meditate, my yoga mat that encourages an important practice, a board game that my husband and I enjoy playing regularly, my vegan tote bags and patches that I wear to spread compassion and a few other special items that I cherish. When I moved in to my new flat, my husband and I furnished it with only what we needed -buying all of our furnishings second hand. Now when I look around my home, I only see the items that I love and value.
Now I have adopted the minimalist mindset, I still buy new items, but every purchase is thoughtful. I buy items that are in line with my morals. I support vegan and eco friendly businesses because I believe they are helping to create a better world. I buy second hand and often from charity shops. My minimalist lifestyle has allowed me to be an artist and to dedicate my time to helping animals, helping the planet and raising awareness and money for the causes that I care most about. I want to live my life differently. I don't want money and possessions to be my pedestal for success. To me, success is a measurement of how happy I am and how much of a difference I am making in this world. Every time I create a new piece of artwork, I feel like I am creating a little bit of positive change, and every time, somebody wants to own a piece of my artwork, I know it is because they value it and care deeply about the moral behind it.
Minimalism is a liberating, life changing movement that pulls us off the conveyor belt of over consumerism and gives us the power to make our own conscious choices towards who we want to be, what we want to bring in to our lives and the people and causes that we want to support.
Thank you so much for reading