Thinking About Minimalism

I’ve been banging on about this so much, I can’t remember if I’ve already blogged about it. Oh well, here goes (again?).

A month or so ago I stumbled across a documentary on Netflix called The Minimalists. As a big lover of not loving stuff, I decided to give it a watch.

Since then, I’ve re-played it three times and told as many people as I can to go and check it out. As the overwhelming festive season creeps upon us, I just can’t stop thinking about this film.

I’ve always tried to live minimally. I’m reasonably good at getting rid of things that I don’t use. I own five pairs of shoes, one coat, one pair of heels… you see where this is going. At the same time, I am also a sentimental collector, of: tattoos, polaroids, magazines, books, crystals and a few other select things.

Anyway, despite already currently living with little, watching this film about de-cluttering still had a massive impact on me and appears to be changing my life with each day I can’t shake it from my brain.

“There’s nothing wrong with consumption, the problem is compulsory consumption…”
The Minimalists

The Minimalists isn’t about throwing all of your shit away. It’s about making conscious decisions about what you do with your time and money in order to appreciate the things in life that really matter, the things that really bring you the most joy.

You can put everything you own in a skip tomorrow but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll wake up the next day, the happiest person in the world. Mentally exploring how you consume is what allows you to acknowledge the things that can completely alter the course of your life.

I’ve come to realise that having an airy and empty house does help me live lighter, yes, but where I’ve failed over the years is having that internal dialogue with myself about why I have always wanted to live like this, what it says about who I want to be, and what I need to do to finally be that person.

Watch the documentary. You’ll either get it, or not. Deep down, you will either want to change something about your life, or you won’t. I know plenty of people who will never throw out old clothes, will always find pleasure in buying things that they don’t really need and don’t wish to change. These words aren’t for them – I’m talking to anyone who has an itch.

I always had an itch that I couldn’t scratch. A niggling anxiety, a feeling that happiness and peace was somewhere that I must get to, a destination that I hadn’t arrived at yet. I had a desire for everything to be perfect – for me to have achieved all the things I want, travelled to all the places I can. Quite literally moving things out of my life has allowed me to see that I’ve reached that destination already. I am so lucky to have the life I have right now and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

In the corner of our small lounge are two bookcases filled with magazines, crystals and other collectables. Last night, I boxed up 50% of those things, found homes elsewhere for the items I wanted to keep and have now cleared a successful 2.5m x 2.5m area that we’re now going to fill with a six seater dining table. For the first time ever, my partner and I are going to be able to sit down and eat across from each other. We’re going to be able to have friends round for dinner. Thirty years into my life I’m cooking my first ever Christmas dinner this December.

I’m so excited to have a home that’s going to be lived in, and filled with memories rather than objects. If you get rid of stuff, it makes room for new exciting things, on so many levels: metaphorically, literally, emotionally and mentally.

The Minimalists touches on subjects that I’m always thinking about and chatting about with my friends. The importance of: quiet time away from technology; being able to switch off from this noisy 21st century existence; seizing the opportunity to just be happy here, right now, in this present moment. For years I’ve been saying that the thing I need most in life is the ability to switch off, find quiet within my mind, turn my phone off in the evenings, stop worrying about silly things, and so on, and so on. The list goes on for us all. I’ve suddenly realised that I’m sick of hearing myself talk about these subjects and not action them. Maybe watching something on Netflix has kicked my ass into gear, or the fact that I’m approaching 30, or some other third thing that I can’t identify right now.

Who cares why. All I know is – it’s now or never. I’ve decided to choose to be peaceful and happy now. I know I won’t look back.

Today I’ve been replaying my favourite song of all time: