The rumours are true: I have been sleeping on a mattress on the floor for six months. No, I am not adopting a Japanese futon-style sleeping arrangement (although that is super minimalist…) – my boyfriend and I simply could just not agree on a bed that we both wanted. We debated sleigh beds (yuck), day beds (yes please), and even floating platform beds, but not once did we come to an agreement. Then, after months of deliberation, our saviour came in the form of, you guessed it, an IKEA bed. It has heaps of storage space not just underneath, but also along the sides and the headboard, and so eliminates our need to buy dressers and side tables, meaning less clutter! This is, in my humble opinion, the holy grail of beds.
The Christmas season is the season best characterised by spending time with our loved ones, but also spending tons of money in a way that we always seem to automatically justify because, y’know, it’s Christmas. Sure, there’s definitely nothing wrong with spoiling the people we love most with lavish gifts, but a lot of the time we seem to get lost in a flurry of picture-perfect advertisements telling us exactly how our Christmas should look, and the types of material gifts we should be giving… But it doesn’t necessarily have to be that way! My family have had a tradition for the last couple of years (this year marks the third of our slightly unorthodox gift idea), and it is definitely a game changer in terms of gift-giving. Gone are the stacks of surplus bath sets that end up never touching the bathroom tiles; gone are the excess socks bursting out of our drawers, enough for a small army; gone are the latest fad electronics that secretly we only wanted because we saw it on TV and it looked cool. In their places lies a whole new kind of Christmas gift: adventure.
I’ve always been pretty bad at throwing out stuff I no longer need or donating to charity/a friend, but nothing is as bad as my cosmetics hoarding. I seem to accumulate a lot of useless stuff throughout the year, and when Christmas comes around and I’m inundated with masses of bath sets, the realisation that I have way too much to handle is all too stark. After stressing myself out not being able to find mascaras, medicine, and hair mousse, I told myself enough was enough and decided to give my cosmetics drawers a clear out and a bit of a re-shuffle.
The first of my baby steps to living a more simple life involves me getting rid of the things which I just don’t use but have attached a lot of unnecessary sentimental value to. First, it’s my vinyl records. I know as well as the next music geek that the sound of vinyl trumps listening through headphones on Spotify… but that only really counts if you actually listen to the records you own. After sorting through the collection I amassed over the years, I realised that although some of them are pretty cool (and yes, I am keeping a few that I just couldn’t bear to part with) somebody else would get way more enjoyment out of them than I do. It’s not fair for them to just sit in a box in my bedroom, unspun and gathering dust. I mean, I didn’t even bring my record player with me when I moved from my parents’ house into my boyfriend’s, and so they seem pretty redundant nowadays. Since I’m keeping a few of them, I’m going to talk through my reasons why, and if they aren’t good enough reasons then I guess I’m a step closer to getting rid of those, too.
Minimalism can seem like a strange, hard to define concept, not only to those who don’t regard it with high importance, but also to those amongst us who hold it as a cornerstone to their best lives. To me, minimalism has always been, as above, an artistic movement. But what about when people begin applying the concept to their lifestyles? Is less really more? And how do we go about shaping our lives in this so-called “minimalist” way? These are the exact questions which I am hoping to answer through my own, personal experience of contracting my life to fit into the minimalism thresholds. I want to declutter not only possessions, but also my mind, my time, and my relationships. I want to strip everything back to its bare minimum. I want to be as free from the constraints of modern, consumerist life as possible.