When I recently started tip-toeing around the world of minimalist lifestyle bloggers, I would have sixteen tabs open at once, reading about their mantras whilst replying to emails, having a coffee, conducting multiple conversations on social networks, and reading a book or two. I could relate to a few of Courtney Carver’s ‘25 Reasons You Might be a Minimalist’, but most of them made me very, very anxious. Follow less than 100 people on Twitter? Have less than 33 items in my closet? Nope, nope, nope.
Yet here I am, unable to look away from the uncluttered lives of these bloggers with their whitewashed apartments and capsule wardrobes. I have started taking baby steps as I follow in their footsteps, and I wanted to share my progress in the hopes of inspiring others who feel that their sense of existing comes from the number of books on their shelves, or in the memories safely tucked away in The Sentimental Drawer(s).
I like things. And this doesn’t have to become a reflective thesis on Consumerism And Me, I just like things. I am very good at attaching memories to objects and suddenly I’m Lizzie McGuire walking around with that broken hunk of plastic on her charm bracelet to remind her of her mom. I don’t enjoy shopping, and on Christmas and birthdays I’m content with books and baked goods, yet I seem to have an astounding amount of possessions for someone who has only recently entered adulthood.
First Things First: Be the Cleanest.
I’m a tidy person. But what I’ve discovered about minimalists is that their tidiness is not just surface; when you open those beautiful closets, it’s organized, specific, accessible. So I’ve had to face the skeletons inside my Monica Geller closet. You need to be ruthless, fellow sentimentalists. The ticket for the movie that you saw the second time you met your third-best friend really has nothing to do with the strength and importance of that friendship. Remind yourself that important memories will stay with you without the need for reminders. I’ve found that as a compromise, photographing these silly keepsakes before throwing them away is pretty comforting.
More Data is Better
In order to have a truly less-cluttered life, you need to look beyond your living space. Your desktop and home screens are begging for some empty space. Delete the apps that you never use. Delete the apps that you use to avoid thinking or being creative during long journeys. Trash as many folders as you can, and reap the rewards of knowing what’s on your computer and exactly where to find it.
It requires a lot of confidence to accept that you have everything you need in your life. Good advertising is all about making people feel like they cannot live without whatever is being advertised. Even the morning coffee run should be coming under scrutiny. Keep focused on the things you need, and ignore the rest. When you see money you’re saving slowly growing, it’ll get easier.
Minimum Effort Minimalist
I’m not destined to be a fully committed minimalist. I mean, I love adjectives. My life is always going to be full of words; I’m always trying to fill the empty space. But challenging myself to make some minimalist compromises in my life has gotten rid of a lot of clutter and a lot of baggage that I was holding on to. My money goes further, and I remain more focused on what I want from life and what I need to get there.
If you’re looking for some inspiration from real minimalists, check out The Minimalists, Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus and Xandra of Fashionably Light. And feel free to share your minimalist experiences, tips and tricks or thoughts in the comments below!
Candice Cathers is a 21 year old English Literature student living on the rainy coast of Northern Ireland. She does a lot of writing, a lot of reading and a lot of sleeping. She dreams of being a professional cake-taster. You can find her on her YouTube channel where she’ll likely be talking about books, Harry Potter or life as a twenty-something. Talk to Candice about cats, coffee and girl power by tweeting @candysomething