August Happiness Project theme: Minimalise

I’ve been getting into the idea of minimalism recently. Not just of stuff – although that’s part of it – but a minimalist aesthetic and way of being that reaches into all corners of life. I’ve been dabbling in minimalism for a while, and it’s the movement that lead me to slow living via Joshua Becker’s blog. Minimalism and slow, to me, go hand in hand. In the summer of 2015 when we were still living in the noisy-neighbour flat and preparing to move out I read Marie Kondo’s The Life Changing Magic of Tidying. You can read about the resulting tidy here, if you’re interested, but basically I loved it.

I’d never considered myself a hoarder per-se, but I do originate from fairly cluttered environs. Clothes, definitely, used to be a thing. I started accumulating them when I was a teenager beginning to negotiate my own identity and continued from there.

Recently I did Jessica Rose Williams’ e-course ‘7 Day Minimal Mindset Cleanse’ (you can sign up here on her beautiful website). Day 2 of the course is called ‘Understand’ and starts with the powerful statement “stuff has no meaning”. The thing is, it doesn’t. In another purge of the wardrobe I looked hard at my clothes, touched favoured items long since worn and repeated the mantra “it is just stuff”. (this being said, I don’t disagree with the notion that some stuff has a lot of sentimental meaning attached to it. More on that soon).

“The real meaning is in the way we live our life and all the stuff we fill it with is holding us back” – Jessica Rose Williams

I’m not going to become an ascetic any time soon, but I do believe in this. We are remembered by our actions, not our stuff.

When I employed the Marie Kondo method of tidying I donated at least 5 bags of clothes. I continued to sporadically go through my wardrobe, refining it every time, after that. We tend to attach a lot of meaning to our clothes, seeing it as part of our identity; and whilst I believe what we choose to wear can help us a lot with mindset, and how we feel and present ourselves I also believe we don’t need endless drawers full of choice. Our true, authentic, selves are expressed by what’s on the inside not what we dress it up in.

Research shows the less stuff you have, the happier you are: Jamie Lanister even said it in a recent episode of Game of Thrones so, y’know… I definitely found I settled into a feeling of comfort and ease in my new home in Manchester very quickly, and wondered if there’s a truth in the idea that the less stuff you have the more places you can feel at home?

"There is no ideal minimalist to aspire to - owning or doing the least does not make you the most minimal of all. There is no set goal or end point to achieve, only a mindset and a feeling" Jessica Rose Williams                                                                     Quote source here.

I want to work on minimalising because of how it can help me achieve greater authenticity, intentionality and a slower way of being. I want to find out what minimalism is for me.

Resolutions for the month:

  • Minimalise my Internet time. 1 hour per day.
  • Minimalise food waste??
  • Minimalise negative thinking.
  • Practice saying ‘no’ – Day 7 of Jessica’s minimal mindset course resonated a lot. ‘Make Time’ is it’s title, and this quote perfectly sums it up “We’re all so used to saying yes to everything that our lives become cluttered”. I’m doing okay with the minimalising of stuff, but this making time needs more work.

Whilst working with these specific resolutions, I also want to spend time thinking more broadly about what minimalism is for me and how I can inhabit this mindset in my day-to-day life.

Have you had any experience minimalising? Let me know in the comments below. 

About ecarr

Ellen is a writer and theatre maker who has just taken the freelance plunge after too many years of 9-5 office life. She is a yoga teacher in training and passionate about pursuing your dreams.

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