As a ridiculously sentimental person, letting go of stuff is tough for me. From text messages to jewellery to recipes I’ve never made, I’ve always been a hoarder. I once moved three times in less than a year, and all T could say as he did the grunt work was: “YOU HAVE SO MUCH CRAP!”
Yeah, for one person, I did have a lot of crap. Old photography projects. Random books. Shedloads of paper, namely, lyrics to songs I penned back in the day, and drafts of my “great teen novel” that I can’t bring myself to even look at now.
But I’ve actually pared down a lot recently. Perhaps most remarkable was culling my book collection. It wasn’t large by anyone’s standards, but there were very few in there that I liked. I don’t buy books. All of these were gifted, donated, free or basically free to me. So you can imagine…
Until recently, I would have laughed at the thought of ever considering minimalism as something to aspire to. But it’s a topic many of the blogs I read regularly have touched on recently, and like anything else, you take from it what you want.
Living in a small, confined studio leads you to reconsider what you actually need to own. In the future, we’ll have a proper kitchen and utensils. A living room and a dining table, even. A garage and a workshop for T. But for now, this is all we need.
I’m starting to compost, to grow things in our garden – we had our very first baby carrots this month, and I think onions are on the way! – and cut down on the amount of rubbish we put out. I’m not going to make my own detergent or ditch plastic bags in favour of rinsing the bin every other day; I’d rather pay $2 for a box of laundry powder that lasts months, and reuse the free bags we get at the greengrocer. (Real greenies, don’t jump down my throat: we use reusable grocery bags at the supermarket.)
Ultimately it comes down to three things:
Saving money. Don’t buy what you don’t need. Capisce?
Eco-awareness/health. For example, I may not make my own washing powder but I do use homemade, more natural cleaners from baking soda/vinegar. That also crosses over with saving dosh.
Sheer laziness. I mean really, why use more ingredients when you can use fewer? (That’s why I love stonesoup – Jules introduced me to the world of minimalist cooking, plus she’s an Aussie so uses metric mesasurements.)
I don’t know if I can or want to call myself a bona fide minimalist. I’ve never been a shopaholic by any stretch of the imagination, but I still have a lot of trinkets – my clay bears I’ve had forever, a few stuffed toys, and other things (to name a few) which serve no practical purpose but hold some kind of meaning or memory for me. Maybe over time I’ll slowly let go of those too. In the meantime, minimalism to me serves as an extension of personal finance and my own beliefs – prioritising what’s important to me, as an individual, and valuing experience, in most cases, over physical stuff.