What is minimalism? To keep in the spirit of the term I would surmise to say minimalism is the conscious decision to live a life of overall less. A minimalist life isn’t a mass clean-up or garage sale of your all your possessions, it’s a mindset.
There are endless blogs on the concept of minimalism that explore it from an all-encompassing whole life shake up to people that practise minimalism in the ‘little ways’. When I decided to start my dedicated minimalist exploration I came to one conclusion. Make it your own, because there’s no such thing as one size fits all.
Personally. I’m a maker – I sew; I cut; I do all the things and I’ve got a collection of tools and supplies in my studio to prove it. That means, for me, a less is more approach needs to be adapted from a ‘throw it away’ to a ‘use it up before you buy more’ angle. I can live with that.
There are oodles of opportunities from your kitchen tools to an overabundance of linen (sometimes the joy of moving out can mean we go overboard with the linen and towel situation.) Do two people really need five sets of fluffy towels with matching hand towels and multiple bathmats? All the way through to your wardrobe, a place that is often the extreme opposite of minimalism.
That’s why I’ve compiled this list. It’s five tools I’ve used throughout my minimalist adventure. Through my constant approach to life improvement, I think the old idiom less is more has never rung truer in our world. Here are a few ways I hope you can find more in your less.
#1 The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up
An interesting little book by Marie Kondo, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up is a common starting point for anyone on their minimalist journey. The book is often met with mixed reception for its unconventional approach to sorting and tidying. To some people, touching every single object you own to discern their joy giving abilities just gets unreasonable and quite frankly, a bit woo woo. I think most “self-help” books you read are designed for you to take what you need; so maybe that’s why I was able to get through the book without being absolutely regimented in following the process.
Creating categories for all your objects and cataloguing everything you own within an inch of your life may not be the most practical action for you. Having spots for your keys, socks and receipts that are all separate is a great idea. Even if you only flick through Marie Kondo’s book, it’s definitely worthwhile for a completely different perspective in owning possessions. And a lightbulb moment on what it means to be grateful.
Unfancy is a minimalist fashion blog that is the perfect place to start. For inspiration for decluttering your wardrobe and streamlining your style, look no further. You may think a fashion blogger is the antithesis of minimalism, Unfancy is different. It’s easy to become overwhelmed with the amount of clothing you own, it can get to a point where you just wear the same clothes on repeat to save the effort. That’s reality for a lot of people.
So imagine if we eliminated the things we never wear, sorted our staples and kept (or kept space for future purchases of) our statement garments. That is what the capsule wardrobe is all about. At Unfancy you can see Caroline’s style, but more importantly her way of fashion. Use the pillars of her style organisation to create your own wardrobe processes. Go download a copy of her capsule wardrobe planner and start your journey to a minimalist wardrobe.
A podcast on living life to the fullest without breaking the bank, Shannon Ables has created audio bites of sophistication. To help bring out the Francophile in all of us. Her podcasts cover relationships, money, style and living among other topics and are usually in handy 30 minute instalments, so they’re easy to consume on your commute.
Shannon usually starts the episode with the topic and a list of what is going to be approached so you can actively listen for the parts that will suit you. Out every Monday, it’s the perfect weekly boost. If you’re starting now there is a whole catalogue of episodes to catch up on. So you can start being your simply sophisticated self, ASAP.
#4 A Brand New Notebook
I know it make seem counterintuitive to be exploring minimalism, under the suggestion of buying a new notebook; but I love notebook. I have a LOT of them. I’m the notebooks biggest advocate and I fill them with different musings, lyrics, drawings, quotes and clippings. I keep them all once they’re full of my thoughts and there’s no amount of minimalist talk that’ll going to get me cull them. In fact, when I started living minimally, I decided to get a new, plain, unlined, black-covered notebook. Like this delightful one here.
It was exactly what I needed, page after glorious blank page to sort and list and plan to my little heart’s content. Plus, it’s also possible to take photos of what you have written with tools like Evernote. Making things you have written easy to sort or file, for quick recall at a later date. Again, that could be considered creating digital clutter but I think minimalism is as much about organisation and systems as it is about getting rid of everything.
#5 Less, But Better.
This is the last note to self, note to your boss and note to the universe we all need to start preaching. In our world of hyper commercialisation, it’s easy to get swept up in the newest this and that craze or style or décor movement. And often it’s better to just stop and say “No. Less, but better.”
But what does it mean? Less but better was first coined by German designer Dieter Rams and it means explicitly what it says. No hidden meaning to decipher here. Less of all the crap and for what is left over… make it extraordinary.
So I’ll let you think about that one and how it fits into your own life as you take these tools to begin your own minimalist exploration.
Image source: Un-fancy, Hip Paris, Pinterest, Lifehacker, Cloudfront.