It has been seven whole days since I decided to become a minimalist. On Monday armed with the research I had conducted into minimalism, a thirst for more knowledge; a desire to achieve a less stressful and happier existence and a good attitude I began my journey. This minimalist recruit was lining up for duty!
In preparation I read a few books on the subject including – ‘Minimalism – Live a Meaningful Life’, ‘Everything Remains’ by The Minimalists, ‘The Joy of Less’ by Miss Minimalist and my current favourite ‘The Life Changing Magic of Tidying’ by Marie Kondo and simultaneously scoured the internet for Minimalist blogs to get my journey started.
I jumped straight in with my two size 9’s taking the advice of tidying expert Marie Kondo and began by Kondo-ing my clothes. If you haven’t heard of Marie Kondo’s book ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying’ then like me you haven’t been going to the right dinner parties. In fact… I haven’t been invited to any dinner parties lately; perhaps I need to improve my table manners?
The Kon Marie method invites you to tackle de-cluttering your home in a particular order, starting with your clothes by only selecting the items that you love or as she describes it ‘spark joy’ to remain in your wardrobe. She also has a unique method of folding clothes which helps to make the most of any storage space that you have (more on this in a future blog post).
I combined this with Project 333 from Courtney Carver’s ‘Be More with Less’ blog, the idea of this fashion challenge is to dress with 33 items or less for 3 months and so I decided that I would try to cope with 33 items or less for the duration of my 3 weeks.
Could I actually cope with just 33 items of clothing for the whole 3 weeks? My guess was a resounding ‘yes’ especially as the good news for me was that underwear doesn’t count and so my healthy collection of multi coloured and patterned socks escaped the axe…for now at least.
This was a good start but I couldn’t help but feel like I needed to structure my approach otherwise I would be chucking out my belongings willy-nilly. I then came across a post from The Minimalists which described a 21 day journey into Minimalism, these guys have it all covered don’t they?
The 21 day challenge provides you with 21 daily tasks to complete before you can declare that you are a fully-fledged Minimalist (I’m secretly hoping I will get a certificate in the post). I quickly put my Maths brain into gear (you could literally hear cogs moving) and realised that 21 days equals 3 weeks, the exact amount of time I will be trying my hand as a Minimalist… that worked out well didn’t it.
Here’s how my first week went…
Day 1 – Decisions
Day 1’s challenge was to stop saying that I should do things and start saying what I must do.
Here’s what I wrote down…
- I must stop buying things
- I must start taking care of the things that I already own
- I must read more
- I must contact my friend that I haven’t spoken to in a while
- I must run at least 3 times a week
- I must stop stressing about the little things
- I must stop checking social media so much
- I must write more
- I must, I must increase my bust…
- I must pack all of my belongings as I have just found out that I have a move date in a week, eeek..
There is nothing like a bit of pressure to kick off my journey into the world of Minimalism. I am turning my ‘shoulds’ into ‘musts’ and I can feel it my god damn gluten intolerant gut. I’m making a change. Look at me.
Day 2 – Planning
Now that I have a vision, today’s challenge is to start planning, I have to answer questions like – what is standing in the way of my musts? What is truly important in my life? How will my life improve with less stuff? That last one took me a while; it is hard to imagine how owning less stuff could truly make a significant improvement to my life so I decided to park this one for now and re-visit it at a later date.
Day 3 – Packing
Because of my imminent and slightly unexpected moving date my packing party had actually turned into packing to move house and it had become a combined effort with my partner Laura to pack up all of our belongings for the big move to our new home. She probably knew that she would get roped into ‘Self Improve Me’ at some point but I’m guessing not as early as the third day.
The Minimalists suggest that you turn packing into a party because ‘everything is more fun when it is a party’ and so I approached a few friends and members of my family to enlist their support who didn’t appear to be overly keen to pack up all of my stuff for me and so I stopped short of setting up a Facebook event because of the already impending tumble weed rolling into view.
We took action and had our packing party with just the two of us in attendance, packing all of our belongings into a variety of different sized beige boxes. I have to admit it; I have been to better parties.
Despite a healthy purge of our belongings, I decided not to throw away everything at this point and what dawned upon me was that I had a number of boxes which I had scrawled on things like CD’s, nick knacks, sideboard stuff and most worryingly for a wannabe minimalist ‘junk drawer’. I began quite rightly to question why we were moving some of these things in the first place.
Day 4 – Unpack your essentials
Our move date was just a day away and we had to unpack some essentials, work clothes, toiletries, 2 plates, cutlery etc… But most of it remained in boxes.
On the way to my car I offloaded the black bin bags of things we had decided to throw away. Did I feel any better; could I hear the sound of Minimalism? The rooms in our apartment didn’t sound any different and the impending move was doing nothing for my levels of stress but it did feel good to offload some of the belongings that weren’t essential and significantly reduce the number of boxes that we had to move.
Day 5 – Things
Day 5 was move day and as today was about unpacking things that were essential this one was easy. That’s exactly what we needed to do and so that’s exactly what I did. Kitchen essentials, clothes, sofa, record player…well maybe not everything was technically essential but listening to music does help to make un-packing more fun and well more like a party.
Day 6 – Fear
Day 6 and after celebrating the move with a few too many glasses of champagne I woke up with the fear, boy did I have the fear but this wasn’t the fear that The Minimalists were talking about. I had the alcohol induced, fuzzy brained, nauseous fear. Nothing to see here readers….I unpacked a few more essentials, Day 6 was a slow day.
Day 7 – Relationships
Day 7’s challenge invited me to tell my loved ones that will support me about my Minimalist mission. I took the opportunity over Sunday lunch to tell my Mom and sister about my Minimalist ‘mission’. They looked at me with a mixture of confusion and amusement before saying err ok, well what does becoming a minimalist mean? ‘It’s about getting rid of your stuff’ I say ‘and by living with less it is meant to make you happier and less stressed, and from what I can tell it means that I will get better at hugging. There seems to be lots of hugging involved.’
Why not try out The Minimalists ’21-Day Journey into Minimalism’ for yourself. You can find it on The Minimalists website now.
If you want to find out more about ‘Self Improve Me’, you can read about it here.