If we go back in time, I was 14 when I started my first job at a cafe, and this meant taking responsibility for buying some of my own things. As a country girl, we would go into the city 2-4 times a month. I remember feeling satisfied with being able to buy my own clothes that I’d worked for. In my first year of uni in 2013, I would buy several items each month, and at the end of the year they were either left in the wardrobe or only worn 2-3 times. This taught me a lesson on choosing wisely, spending your money on clothing that will last and embracing your personal style. Over the years, I noticed the only pieces of clothing that I never threw away were predominantly my black clothes.
Our wardrobes should be filled with clothing that we will wear and make use of. In the book L’art de la Simplicité, it talks about how the things we own should have a purpose. This is why it’s important to purchase things that are good quality, long lasting and reflects who you are, in order to be useful. Minimalism doesn’t mean that you need to have the style of only wearing black, white and grey, because well, everyone has a different style. It simply means simplifying your life, not just in clothing materials, but in your lifestyle, relationships, mindset and so on. Decluttering is beneficial in the mind as well as our surroundings, as it sets free unnecessary thoughts and allows a clearer mind.
I think it’s important to mention that minimalism doesn’t mean that you only have seven items in your wardrobe, that you wear for each day of the week. It’s a reminder that we don’t need a lot in order to be happy in our lives, and that we should embrace the things we have. Therefore, you create a sense of satisfaction that isn’t attached to materials, and you have an appreciation for what you do have. It gives a sense of cleanliness and keeps your lifestyle simple, creating a space with less stress. Creating a habit of buying things of good quality means you spend wisely and am more thoughtful about what you’ll realistically use or wear for the next several years.
For fashion lovers, you should embrace your personal style, because it means you don’t buy something impulsively or for instant gratification. I remember in my teenage years, I used to buy things that in the end were not worn anymore because they didn’t completely connect with who I am. Now, I tend to buy from secondhand stores, choose more carefully or only purchase things that reflect my style. Minimalism in Fashion also ties into our lifestyle and the way we live. We live in a society that often feeds off of our fears and insecurities to make a profit, and unfortunately, we are used to this. However, the materials we own shouldn’t be a reflection of our self-worth.
Minimalism lessened my anxiety in my everyday life and made my lifestyle far more comfortable and far more stress-free. Life felt much more meaningful and enjoyable once I let go of toxic friendships, bad habits, unhealthy thinking and letting go of items that I had an emotional attachment to, but didn’t hold any value or use in my life. In The Minimalists, it says Minimalism is the thing that gets us past the things so we can make room for life’s most important things—which actually aren’t things at all.
I was reading an article this morning from womankind, which really spoke to me, and made me reflect on the question of “How much do we really need?”. I recently purchased a book called How to live more with less, because minimalism has always been something I value when it comes to living a more simple life physically and mentally. Recently, I feel that I have been asking myself how I am living my life and how I would want to live my life each day. When we think of materials, we may think of clothes, makeup, our cup collection and magazines sitting in a pile. In the last few years, I’ve gradually made my schedule more simplified, which makes life feel less cluttered. When thinking about work and our daily schedule, I believe that it all comes down to how we organise things. Minimalism can create a much more stress-free lifestyle, by not feeling overwhelmed with everything around you.
An aspect that I changed significantly is my view on fashion and clothes. A few years ago, I used to buy clothes from fast fashion companies every weekend and at the end of the year, they would end up being thrown away or recycled without being worn many times. It made me feel that I was not putting in value on what I already have, and making a clever investment in what I wear. For that reason, I rarely buy any clothing and I don’t go out of my way to shop at fast fashion stores. Most of my clothing are second hand or from the markets. I find this is a great way to embrace your personal style when we shop ethical, second hand or sustainable.
Sometimes I feel if I didn’t purchase the things I ended up discarding (clothes, magazine and so forth), how much would I saved? The truth is, I feel that in my life I would not be significantly happier earning a lot of money or owning a lot of things in the sense that object cannot provide true happiness. I believe when our relationships, work and life is enjoyable, that is what is important. We are sometimes convinced that the more we have the happier we will be, especially by consumerism and what we see around us. The more friends, the more clothes, the more money, the more this and that. How much of it do we truly need? I believe a person would be happier with a few close friends, than a group of distant friends that you only spend time to have fun with.
Minimalism encourages us to spend less, own less and appreciate what we already have. It creates a more simple environment and makes you focus on the important things in life: the people you love and the things you love to do. Minimalism doesn’t just imply towards objects and materials, but it also expresses our relationships and way of living. It makes us question the people we surround ourselves with, and tells us to let go of toxic friendships and treasure the ones who love us. Of all the things that truly give me joy during each day are the people in my life. It seems so simple and true, yet we are told otherwise by being told that we need this or have to buy that.
It made me realise how much we buy things to stay up to date, how many things we convince ourselves we need or how many people around us may be a negative influence. Letting go and embracing your self is important. Creating a peaceful space for your mind will affect how you feel and what sort of life you create for yourself. We spend a lot of money on quick happiness that wears out like a battery. Taking time to have positive self talk and learn to place yourself in a calm place in your mind will gradually make one realise how much we have to be grateful, rather than the ongoing stress that is created. Quality of life will always be far more valuable then the quantity of things we have.