Mimimalism.. When we talk about minimalism, what do we think of it? What does it mean?
I’m sure, to most people, “minimalism” inspires thoughts of clean, almost cliinical surfaces, no ornaments, no added “stuff”. We imagine people who live with barely anything in seemingly empty homes, convinced that their life with nearly nothing is comfortable, right?
But what if I told you that minimalism doesn’t have to look like that. What if we could call it “simiplicity” instead? “Living simply” would mean living without all of the added humdrum instead of giving up everything you own. Not convinced? Here are 16 points in which my life has (and has not) changed after a year as a minimalist.
8 Ways minimalism has changed my life
- Less time cleaning
This has to be number one on my list. I’m sorry, but it does. I cannot tell you how much easier my hime is to to clean now. We’re down from 12 mugs to 6, 24 plates and bowls to 12, no spare “just in case” guest bedding. Simply put, less stuff to clean means less time cleaning. This should be your number one reason to take the leap. Always.
2. Less stress and anxiety
Finally! I cannot tell you how great it feels to clean and feel like you have accomplished something. What used to be a 4-hour task and an endless endevour is now 10-15 minutes and done. A clean home is one less task and one less stress to manage. When you feel accomplished, it is bound to make you feel uplifted, at least a teeny bit.
3. More mindfulness
Mindfulness is something that confuses a lot of newcomers. What is mindfulness? What does it mean to be “mindful”? Mindfulness is really about being in the present moment. There here and now. I have many ways I like to be mindful, and not stressing out about housework is one of them. Mindfulness means being present in conversations instead of worrying about all of the endless tasks you need to do a home. Mindfulness means being able to stop and appreciate a sight or a smell, even a person, right now and in the present moment. You can’t do that if you’re stressed and tired.
4. Improved intimacy
I’m not just talking about sexytimes here, boys and girls. I’m talking about everything. Cuddles, kisses, snuggling up and watching the TV.. whatever intimacy looks like for you and whatever it may be. When you’re not racing around cleaning, you have more time for it. When you’re not stressing out about how much cleaning you have to do, you have more time for intimacy. Try it and see.
5. Better friendships
Minimalism need not only be about your life and lifestyle. Part of minimalism is about getting rid of everything that you don’t need, so if you have a sort of “eh” friendship, now might be the time to do away with it. I recently cut out that friend that was always too “busy” for me. You see, I used that as my reason to formally end our friendship. After she asked me for a second chance and then returned to not messaging me back after 2-3 days, citing that she was busy, she gave me the perfect reason to end our friendship. I told her that I was busy too, too busy for her, too busy to try and save a failed friendship. Not only was I busy visiting my Dad in hospital and supporting my family, but I was busy living life. As cold as it sounds, her tepid friendship was surplus to requirement, so I let her go.
6. Less sentimental
People who throw out their sentimental belongings are quite frequently seen as cold and emotionless, but whoa there! What are you really holding on to? The thing? Or the memory attached to the thing? For minimalists, we come to realise that what we are holding on to is a memory of a place, a time or the memory of a person. Instead of keeping hold of a thing which brings back a memory (sometimes painful, for example, it reminds us of how that person died) wejust live with the memory of them, which is able to come up entirely of it’s own free will. Despite the initial guilt, not having these emotional episodes being bought about by a seemingly random object can siginificantly improve your overall mood.
7. More money
When we stop needing things, we stop buying things. When we stop having things, we stop needing places to store things or replacing broken things. You don’t have to go to the extremes, this isn’t about not having, but it is about having less. When you don’t have things to break or store, things don’t need replacing or storing. When you’re not buying replacements or storage, you don’t spend money. Et voila! Money not spent is money saved, ready for that time when you do want or need some extra cash flow!
I will put my hand up and admit that I did recently make a “needless” investment, and I will put my other hand up and say that, while I don’t usually advertise on my blog, the Bissell Featherweight upright vacuum cleaner (£50 in Argos) is the best damned vacuum that I have ever owned or will own. I made a swap from my bulky Dirt Devil bagless vacuum cleaner to my Bissell beauty and holy cow.. vacuuming is now my favourite chore! Bit of stuff on the carpet? Out with the vacuum! It is so light and so easy to use that I have gone from vaccuuming my carpets once in a blue moon (the fight with the Dirt Devil was seldom worth the visible crap on the floor, to me) to spotless carpets and vacuuming on average 3 times a week – sometimes more! If you do this and you have a bulky vaccuum cleaner, make it a priority to swap that sucker (pun fully intended) for an upright hoover. You will NOT regret it!
8. Improved health
I put this one last on my list of improvements because really, I can’t say that minimalism has led to a huge improvement. However, it has led to more “me” time which, naturally, has made improvements. Quite often, if I’m tired, then I can just go to bed earlier because my chores are done. If I fancy a hot bubble bath, I can just have one because the home won’t fall apart in my absence. Although these won’t make marked improvements to my overall health, they do help.
The 8 ways that minimalism HASN’T changed my life
- If you’re on board, your partner needs to be, too
Ladies and gents, this has, has, HAS to be number one on this list for me. If your husband, wife, fiancé, fiancée, boyfriend, girlfriend or any other romantic interest isn’t on board… you’re going to have a fight on your hands. In fact, if you have children as well, then this could equally be very, VERY hard for you. I love my husband dearly, really, I do. But if there is one issue (okay, two) that I have with that man, he has a severe case of the Justin Casey’s (just-in-cases , ICYMI). Cables, books, game discs (which he can download, but needs the disc anyway “just in case”), an infinitive collection of jeans, hoodies, shirts, t-shirts and funky socks, if this sounds like your partner.. exercise extreme caution when considering the minimalist lifestyle. Minimalism may not wind up being as simplistic as you’d like it to be. That, or you decide that your partner is the problem and your values are not as compatible as you once thought. Whichever you decide, know that one way or another, if you want simplicity and your partner doesn’t then there are going to be some challenging times ahead of you.
2. Your perfect and minimalistic home won’t last when you’re sick
About a month ago now, my husband came home from work with a nasty head cold. His face was red, his eyes were sunken and he was breathing through his mouth. I took one look at him and I realised that this was a man full of mucus and cold. No matter how much I tried to =get him to rest and keep myself out of the contagious zone, eventually, I too ended up infected. Within a week, there were dishes piled up on the counter, the sofa throw was dumped unceremoniously on the lounge floor and the waste paper bins that emptyied daily were overflowing with snotty tissues. Although minimalism means less cleaning, it still requires energy, energy that you don’t have when you’re sick.
3. Things still break, money still gets spent
My husband.. bless his.. err.. polyester socks, is a clumsy f*ck. I kid you not, in my family he is known as “Sasquatch”, “Bigfoot” or “Frank” (Frank Spencer, Some Mothers Do Have ‘Em, if you have ever watched UK Gold). Not too long ago, I bought a set of 4 beautiful, curved hi-ball glasses to replace the 1950’s-style,chipped second-hand glasses we’d been given. Within about a month, my husband had turned them into shards, one by one, on our kitchen floor. If you think that in minimalism, nothing breaks and nothing will need to be replaced, then you are wrong. The things that you keep still need to be maintained and occasionally (or quite frequently) replaced.
4.Minimalism won’t save you in an emergency
I always thought that less crap to clean meant that I would be constantly ready in the event of a family emergency. That was, until my father was rushed into hospital at the beginning of February 2019. Suddenly, there was still chores and cleaning to do and I wasn’t so ready at all! If you think that minimalism equates to preparedness, trust me, it doesn’t. Preparedness equates to preparedness, not less junk.
5. I still have clutter
Gah! I know.. a minimalist and I still have stuff, right? How dare I! I have ornaments, flowers and plants (fake ones.. my rapport for looking after real ones is NOT good!). I have things that, despite my simplicity, still make the place look and feel like what it is. Home. Minimalism is not about living with nothing, it is about living with less. You need to find your own personal medium. Nobody can tell you what that looks like for you. Nobody has the same passions and interests as you do. It has to reflect you and your relationships, not Home & Living or Pintrest.
6. I still have chores, and less free time than I would like
If you think minimalism will mean never having to pick up a microfibre cloth again then you, my friend, are wrong. Clean surfaces take work, tidy tables and made beds take work. You either want simplicity and a few tasks to maintain it or you want lots of free time but to live in a pig sty. Choose, but choose wisely.
7. I still have electronics, and I am still “on grid”
One of the things that minimalists are quite frequently associated with is living “off-grid”. They generate electricity through solar power, recycle water, grow their own vegetables and generally live in a way that doesn’t depend on a society which causes harm to the environment. Alas, that is not the case fo me. Even though my home is dotted with energy-saving bulbs and I try to be as environmentally-friendly as I can be, I’m still paying my £70 monthly to SSE.
8. No, I’m not a vegan
This is the other thing quite frequently associated with minimalists – veganism. While I have nothing against my brothers and sisters who don’t eat meat. For me, I haven’t taken the leap quite yet. I believe in ethical farming and humane slaughter, but I also believe in ecosystems and humans naturally do eat meat. That is not to say that I don’t accept that animals do suffer, but I am making decisions to eat in a way that gradually weans me away from meat. For example, I am giving up pork and beef and eating more chicken, fish and shellfish. Having raised chickens, I have fewer qualms about the raising, farming and eventual slaughtering of poultry. I may make the eventual to vegan yet, but for now, my “pesce-pollo-tarian” lifestyle is a first step.