On Saturday evening, I was lucky enough to be able to squeeze in (quite literally , it was standing room only!) to see The Minimalists on this book tour, in Romsey near Southampton.
The Minimalists are two American guys (I think if you’re an American male, you have to be a ‘guy’, or maybe even a ‘dude’. But certainly not a ‘chap’. Only Brits can be chaps…), Joshua Fields Millburn, and Ryan Nicodemus, who started on the road to Minimalism a little bit by accident about 4 years ago.
They started a blog, The Minimalists, and it now has millions of hits a year, and is obviously delivering a message that people seem to want to hear. So much so that they have written two books, and are touring the world spreading the word.
The message is less is more.
Or “how to live a meaningful life with less stuff”.
Josh and Ryan are very engaging, and very amusing, and they manage to make Minimalism seem achievable.
Minimalism, as they live it, isn’t about austerity and deprivation, it’s about making room for the things that matter.
It’s about stepping off the treadmill, the treadmill that is best summed up by this fabulous quote from Nigel Marsh:
Nobody actually wants to live like that do they?
Nobody makes a conscious decision to live like that. Yet when we actually stop for a minute, that’s what we’ve kind of sleep-walked into.
In the ‘developed’ world, we seem to have been brainwashed into thinking that ‘things’ and ‘stuff’ can make us happy. And if we’re not happy, then buying x, y or z (or all three of them!) will make us happy.
Yet we all know that really, deep down it doesn’t.
So this is all about making very conscious, deliberate decision to step away from that.
To de-clutter, and in doing say, make time, and money, for the things that matter.
If you figure out what it is that you truly need, the ‘things’ in your life that allow you to a) survive; b) live comfortably; and c) have joy, then you don’t need all the extra crap.
And once you realise that you don’t need the ‘stuff’, you don’t need as much money to buy ‘stuff’, so you can work less, or maybe afford to spend some money on doing fun things, with the people you love, instead.
Maybe spending a year Buying Nothing New was always going to end in a quest for more through less. Buy up until now, it kind of hasn’t.
I think I am now much more conscious about what I am buying, much more deliberate. But actually, this only seems to extend to new things.
I’ve fallen into that trap of thinking that as long as it’s secondhand, it’s ok! Of course I don’t need another dress/jumper/book/other thing, but it’s ok, because it’s secondhand, and not fuelling the whole supply and demand thing, and not draining the world’s resources, AND it’s only£2!!
Which of course is rubbish.
I think that to a certain extent, the Make Do and Mend mentality is prone to spot of hoarding. Or at least, I think I am!
It’s hard to let go of something that looks like it ‘might be useful’, and not to hold on to the fabric stash, because it actually is pretty handy, and means that if you want to make a gift for someone, you probably have something vaguely suitable kicking around.
It’s hard not to covet all the gorgeous vintage nik naks and loveliness. And not to want my home to look like something out of Country Living.
But it doesn’t. And in all honesty, I don’t think it ever will.
My house is home to two small boys, and a hubby, and all the accumulated crap that goes with parenthood and years of pretty indiscriminate consumption.
I am however, starting to feel more than a little overwhelmed at all the crap.
My head is feeling as cluttered as my book shelves.
I feel like I need some space to breathe.
I feel like I need to strip it all back and start from the beginning.
And filling (or not filling!) my house with only things I/we need, or that bring us value and joy.
Sooooooo, aside from imploring you all to go and see The Minimalists as they continue their UK tour (tour dates are here, the events are FREE, and it’s a fab night out! Just don’t blame me when you get home and want to Freecycle the contents of your house…), I’m embarking on a mission. A mission on which you are cordially invited to join me on.
And a mission that I will tell you all about very soon….!