I am really, really into minimalism. And noooo, I promise I’m not just band-wagoning. Actually, in-fact, don't ya know, I wrote a whole eBook about the topic over a year ago now.
Believe that I'm into it now?
It was my main area of interest on my former blog, but this will be the first posting on the topic here.
Since arriving home from Thailand last week, I have thrown myself into making a fresh start. This has firstly involved clearing out my bedroom at home, making it even more empty of crap than the time I de-cluttered it two years ago. And the several times before that.
Walking into my space, which had sat mostly empty for the past 24 months, I was so taken aback by how much stuff I still had and would likely not need any more, having spent so long living comfortably out of a backpack.
I started piling up things to discard right away. I could have been sleeping off jet-lag or watching crappy English TV whilst sipping tea, but I just couldn’t sit still.
I was suddenly facing my old life in the form of boxes and piles and I didn’t feel like I could embrace my new life until I had sorted through them.
The past two years abroad have truly reaffirmed my environmentalist leanings, and this latest round of minimizing my stuff made me think about the ways I want to commit to being more environmentally-minded in my future consumption.
My Own Goals:
I really aim to buy less and love what I have, use it and give it all a long life. I have some long-standing issues with consuming out of emotion; you could call me an emotional shopper (and eater). But the ideas below certainly give me pause for thought often enough to counter my old bad habits.
I also want to put it out there to people around me, that there are so many non-tangible things I would prefer to acquire in the future than physical gifts, because sadly, the thing someone else thinks you will love just ends up unloved in a drawer.
Furthermore, there are so many great causes I would prefer someone donate to in my name as a gift, because there really isn't any one thing I truly want, but there's plenty of others who don't have even their basic needs met.
To preface, the below advice isn't all about hating on consumerism, this is about loving our things more, and in-turn, loving the planet we are the caretakers of.
The below points revolve mostly around clothing/fashion items, the thing I believe is the biggest contributor to a cluttered bedroom and a less than plump bank account.
Resisting buying new or prettier versions of things you already have.
4 old tee-shirts, perfect for pyjama’s, and yet, colourful fresh silky sets always attract my eye. In general, I am trying to avoid clothing shops, but when I have to go in, I walk past the night-wear section at warp speed. The same goes for socks, underwear and comfy jogging bottoms.
All of these things, if mostly stain-and-hole-free, are serviceable for years and also, less simple to recycle.
Considering more quality investment pieces over fast fashion.
Oh ho, when Primark is right there, busting at the seams with bargains, of course you are going to try and get the thing you want for the least money, but what is the actual true cost? The cost over time to your savings goals? Environmentally, when one cheap thing comfortably replaces another?
And then there's the human cost and the consideration for ethical fashion, giving a little thought to whom produces these insanely cheap items...whole other blog post, innit.
Valuing things despite them being, like, so last season.
When I was travelling Thailand, I observed the way people lived and I pondered how often street vendors and little old ladies with laundromats gave much thought to the passing waves of fashion trends. I concluded, probably not often. When people live simply, out of choice or out of necessity, they love and appreciate all that they have, every day. Every item they own is something they truly respect for what it brings them.
Even in the face of capitalist forces and the deeply widespread manner in which we here the less impoverished west are encouraged to buy new things, we can step back and recognize that an item of clothing, whilst maybe now a little less shiny or on-trend, is worth cherishing.
Recognizing that passive consumerism is a problem, but one with a solution.
The issue for many people isn't that they completely don't give a crap about the environmental impact of their fashion addiction, but they are still a little ignorant to how they, as one person, when combined with everyone else, are part of a problem that is, fo' real, worrying.
If we were to all research the brands we regularly buy from or to at least understand what happens to those things we hastily throw away, (or that the clothing companies throw away), time and time again, its possible we will be more likely to reject the pressures to passively consume. Consumption isn't inherently wrong but there is responsible and irresponsible behaviours associated with it. I think it is possible to express ourselves through fashion whilst not hurting the planet at the same time.