I have been the highlight of many jokes when it comes to my hate of shopping or spending money on “things”. I hardly ever shop for clothes (let’s ignore the numerous running items I have recently purchased) or for things for my room (I don’t have a house – I rent a room). If I do buy things, I generally buy them on sale or I will pay a good amount of money for things that I know will last or that require it (read running shoes). This isn’t about me not spending money, but the fact that I hardly purchase things unless I NEED or can justify them.
My partner told me about a new documentary on Netflix called ‘Minimalism’. It’s based on two guys (Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus) known as “the minimalists” and covers their journey to a happier life through living in a minimal way. They showcase a range of different people who consider themselves as ‘minimalists’ and outlines how minimalism is different for different people. Over the last 50-100 years, consumerism has told us that we NEED all of these things and the more things we get, the happier we’ll be. Consumerism is a trillion dollar industry and it sucks us in one purchase at a time!
Joshua Fields Millburn talks about everything he owns having to serve a purpose. He doesn’t have things that are just there for the sake of being there. He lives in a deliberate and meaningful way with the things he owns and the things he has around him. While spreading their message they don’t say you have to get rid of everything, but look at what you do have and determine whether what you own brings you value and brings you happiness, if it doesn’t, does it need to be there? They also encourage you to think about what you spend on your money on, is what you’re about to buy going to serve a purpose in your life? Is it going to bring you happiness? They spread messages that we should look at our relationship with material items and ask ourselves what that means to us and whether it needs to change.
After watching the documentary, I realised, I live relatively minimally. I recently moved (again) and reduced the items I own by three bag fulls, which all went to the women’s refuge or to my sister. The clothes I own, I have generally had for a few years but they are all in great condition and can still be worn. Admittedly, I have a few too many makeup/toiletry items that I don’t use and could get rid of, however, I haven’t quiet gotten there yet. I have my giant Tigger that I love, cuddling him and having him in my room brings me joy and happiness and I have a small little box that I’ve had for over 10 years that’s travelled around with me. Filled with baby photos, my thesis from university, a teddy bear from my best friend from eight years ago and my cell phone box.
In two weeks, I move again, this time I move cities and then go travelling for 8 weeks so it will be time to minimise again and I’m excited. When you think deliberately about what you actually NEED in your life, you can easily start removing things that won’t give you a lot of value, which in turn will stop you from buying more of those things in the future – do you know what that will mean? Less monies out of the pocket and more monies in!
Things I will continue spending money on?……
- Food – because, um, food! Nom!
- Running shoes and clothes – running brings me so much happiness, even when I’m injured all the time. So I will be buying what I need (that means upgrading my watch this year too….)
- Investing in what I want to do career wise… whatever that may be!
Looking at 2017, what can you look at minimising in your life to help you get closer to a life of happiness? What things can you identify that serve a purpose in your life and bring it value?
Ryan and Joshua are clear that there’s no perfect way of being a minimalist, or that there is a true definition of what it means, so do what feels right for you. Whatever that might be!