We've been becoming more and more minimalist over the last few years. Not that we're not consumers - that's something that we'd still like to cut back on, but rather than adopting a simple 'one in, one out' policy for things like books, clothes and even furniture we've been going more for a 'one in, ten out' approach. We've also become a lot more choosy about the things that we buy. We're now amazed when we see someone go into a shop and buy something straight away (these days we only do this with food). I spend hours shopping around, not just for the best deal financially, but also to get the exact thing that we want, rather than just the things that are available to us in our local shops. Of course there's the disadvantage that each item we buy is likely to have travelled further than those we've bought in the past, but if we're buying fewer things and choosing things that will last a lot longer then I feel that it's worth it.
One thing we've realised is that the
process of sorting through and getting rid of possessions is an ongoing
one. Of course everything takes time, but what we've also found is that
if you sort through something one month then you can do it again a few
months later and find that you're less attached to things that you
wouldn't have dreamed of getting rid of only a few months before. I
can't quite explain it, but it's some kind of reduction in emotional
attachment that seems to occur, not only with time, but as we realise
that we've been doing perfectly well without the things that we got rid
of in the past.
I've also made some decisions aimed at
reducing clutter and complications regarding possessions in the future.
For example, I've always loved patterned crockery and tableware and only
a couple of years ago was dreaming of getting a full set in some form
of wildflower pattern, but the few patterned pieces that we have don't
match and I think that would always be the case. There's also the issue
of seasonality. Whilst these beautiful buttercup plates from Corelle would look perfect on our table in summer they would hardly be appropriate for Christmas dinner.
This little sandpiper jug is adorable, but would look lost on a table without matching pieces.
we've decided to collect only plain white crockery and tableware and to
use napkins, flowers and food presentation to dress up our table. Of
course if anyone wants to buy that little jug so that I can visit it at
someone else's table that would be just fine!
finding that having fewer possessions makes us happier people for a
number of reasons. Firstly we can realistically achieve our aspiration of
'a place for everything and everything in its place'. I rarely lose
anything anymore because there are simply fewer places to put things and
fewer things in drawers and cupboards when I do have to search for
fewer things we own the less worried I am. I'm not sure if worry is
exactly the right word, but I did use to 'worry' about all the books on
my shelves that I hadn't read, for example. Now I genuinely only have
books that I've read (and will read again) or intend to read soon. I
know exactly what is on my shelves and can look forward to reading those
books that I have decided to keep. Similarly I've got rid of the
journal articles that I'd kept to use as references and which every day
seemed to almost accuse me from their place on the shelves of not having
written up various thesis chapters etc for publication. I have now
accepted that I will never write those articles and am happy with the
Thirdly I find that having fewer things makes
it easier to plan our time. There are far fewer half-finished projects
about the house. Also, when we decide to do something like have a carpet
fitted or wallpaper a room it's much easier knowing that there's
less to move about in order to make it happen.