That’s what we thought when we decided to pursue a simpler, and more minimal, way of life. We sorted through our possessions with ruthless efficiency.
Being able to release ourselves from the shackles of stuff was a great incentive and made us realise we were making a better life for ourselves. It gave us energy and allowed us to be bolder and do things we wanted to do.
Bin bags were piling up outside our house and the local charity shop must have thought it had hit the jackpot.
But getting rid of stuff is the easy bit, it’s keeping it simple when you have to add things back in which is difficult.
Now, buying even the smallest item, which previously would have been inconsequential, has a number of decisions around it.
Take an invite to a game of tennis recently. I didn’t have a racquet and didn’t want to clutter up my life with something I’ll only use a few times a year (I’m no Andy Murray) but I wanted to play because it’s a nice way to see friends.
No one had a spare racquet I could borrow and the ones in the charity shop had seen better days. I had to buy one.
However, the process of purchasing the racquet was different to how it would have been a year ago; it wasn’t bought mindlessly. It was bought as an enabler, as a way to spend time with friends and for me, spending time with friends and family is one of the driving forces behind the move to minimalism.
So, I learnt to accept this temporary addition into my life, and later on it will go to the charity shop where someone else can benefit from it in the future.
A rather less temporary addition is yet to be purchased: a pair of hiking boots for a trip away.
My wardrobe isn’t hiking-specific but I need to make sure I don’t freeze to death on a hill or find myself careering down a mountain thanks to the wrong shoes.
The old me would be rubbing my hands with glee; let’s go shopping! In a few clicks I’d have ordered all the gear (but have no idea), spent too much and be stuck with items I’d never use again.
But not the new me, I’ve decided I have plenty of cycling clothing that can be repurposed for the trip and the only addition I’ll be making to my wardrobe is a pair of hiking boots (I’m sure they won’t end up in the charity shop after I’ve had my feet in them for hours a day!).
These are only small examples but they illustrate the need to stay focused on the smaller details and not just look at the bigger ‘minimalist picture’.
It feels great to have broken the cycle of consuming but being mindful about what you buy is a lot more hard work than I realised.