Happy New Year to all my readers and followers. It’s been a crazy and difficult year, and to those of you who may have lost loved ones, are struggling with mental health, or have lost your livelihood, my heart goes out to you.
I also want to say a big thank you for reading or following my blog. It means so much to me to share my simplicity journey with so many others, and I hope my posts have been helping you on your own journey.
Saying that, I do have some goals this year, some of which I’ve already made a start on. They are:
Start up my YouTube Channel (of which I already have the script)
Improve my photography, learn photoshop skills and possibly start an online portfolio. An added benefit for being into nature photography, is that it gives me an excuse to go for long walks in nature and be fully present. It also makes me feel gratitude for the beauty of the planet and want to take care of it much better.
Minimise even further. I’m not done yet. My current inspiration for minimalism is Youheum from Heal Your Living. I love how she’s so gentle, non-judgemental, and has crafted an extreme minimalist life for herself so she can live her life to the fullest.
Make a few more friends I’m mainly an extrovert and love connecting with others.
Make even more eco friendly lifestyle changes I already have a list of things I could do which are quite simple changes. So far I’ve changed to reuseable sanitary pads, reuseable wet wipes, reuseable food wrap, and a non-toxic home cleaning solution made from white vinegar.
Learn to drive so I may access courses and also drive to beautiful places to practise photography. I turned 34 this year, and it suddenly hit me how much I’m limiting my opportunities by not driving. Most things I want to access are miles from me.
Apply for counselling level 3. I completed level 2 earlier in the year and it was extremely fulfilling. It’s also made me grow as a person in many ways, including being more of an active listener.
Look into learning to coach on simple living and minimalism/creating resources. I’ve always wanted to do this so I can do what I love as well as help other people in a meaningful way.
What are your current goals and what do you hope to achieve through 2021? I’d love for you to share with me in the comments or drop me an email.
Have a happy and prosperous 2021 and I’ll see you all next year 😉 In the meantime, stay safe, stay healthy, stay hopeful!
It’s that time of year again. The time of year when we all post our goals and state that this year will be a ‘New Year New Me’.
I used to make lists of things I wanted to achieve in the new year, then I’d wait for my life to reset as if by magic on the final chime of Big Ben. But now I don’t make New Year’s Resolutions. It’s not that I don’t want to change anything in my life. It’s that whenever I want to change anything, I start right here, right now.
When you’re serious about your goals nothing kills them faster than waiting for that perfect time to make a start, especially on New Years. Once the celebrations fizzle out, often so do most people’s resolutions. And when you see others around you giving up, it’s even more of a perfect excuse to quit when things get challenging.
If there’s something you’ve been meaning to change in your life, remember this: There’s no need to wait for the New Year to ring in when every day is a new tomorrow.
So, don’t wait for the fireworks, start now. Your future self will thank you.
I’ve done it! I’ve gone and written a script ready for my first Youtube video on minimalism and simple living. I don’t even have a channel name just yet but I’ve taken the first step.
My hope is to share the benefits of a minimalist life with a wider audience, and with a Youtube channel, hopefully this will become possible.
It’s also a challenge for me going into 2021, to do something I have never done before so that I can grow and, in turn, help others to.
All that is left now is for the video to be filmed and edited, which my husband has kindly offered to help with. I will be keeping you all posted on here, and am hoping that pretty soon one of my upcoming posts will be a link to my channel.
Of course, I’m terrified. My heart’s pounding harder just thinking about the camera pointing at me. But that’s part of the challenge. So even if my videos come to nothing, I’ve still taken a step closer and done something my old self would never have even considered.
After the crazy year that 2020 has been, I’m really looking forward to having something new and positive to jump into and learn.
If there’s anything you’ve been putting off doing, go ahead and take the first step. Even if it doesn’t work out, at least you can say you started.
2021 is almost upon us, and one of my goals (which I’m actually starting from now) is to get a real handle on my finances and let minimalism work its magic on my bank account.
I’m not going to lie; I have a real weakness for books, video games, cafe trips, alcohol, takeaways, and replacing my backpacks for newer ones that catch my eye. My worst financial sins by far are falling back on Paypal Credit or my Argos store card.
The allure of these credit services has allowed me, throughout 2020, to make some really silly financial decisions and questionable purchases that were far from mindful.
Admittedly, finances are something I’ve always struggled with despite becoming minimalist. It’s not that I’m incapable of making sound decisions with my money, but that I’ve been living reactively rather than intentionally.
I have no problem getting rid of my old stuff once I buy something new. The problem is that I buy new when I don’t need to.
A couple of months ago I went back to decluttering the attic. Only this time I tackled some of the stuff that was harder for me to let go of: my old game consoles.
I will talk about that process in another article, but what’s important to mention now is that I sold them and made quite a substantial amount of cash. It’s been my second time doing so. The first time I blew the money I made, but this time something was different.
The SNES and a bunch of other things I sold meant a lot to me. They were a huge part of my childhood and my identity as a gamer. This time, I wanted the money I made from them to mean something. After all, I’ve minimised so much that there’s not much left to sell so I saw it as my last chance to use it for good.
For the first time in my life I used that money with real intention and didn’t buy anything frivolous. In fact, I was loath to spend it at all. That’s when I decided I wanted a big change and have made quite an extreme plan in the form of a 365 day shopping ban.
Cait Flanders did it in ‘A Year of Less’ and the methods she took to turn her life around have always stuck in the back of mind, especially after reading her second book ‘Adventures in Opting Out’. Cait couldn’t be living the lifestyle she is living now, travelling the world and growing as a person if she hadn’t first taken serious stock of her negative habits, negative self beliefs, and chaotic spending.
I hit 34 at the start of this month and it’s terrifying to realise I’m middle-aged (or almost middle-aged depending on how you look at it) and am only just waking up to the fact that I need to be in control of my finances if I ever want the future I’m working towards to materialise.
So, I’ve sat down and drafted my shopping ban. It’s not as extreme as Cait’s was because we have different interests, but it’s a start. I also found myself including a ban on ways to spend my time. Here’s my draft with a few notes:
SHOPPING BAN 2021
Gluten-free food (I’m gluten intolerant)
Herbal and decaf tea
Alcohol (from budget) would ideally like to quit -set low budget
Cafe trip (from budget)
Books (but only if my backlog is empty)
Easter eggs for Eiden (my son)
Birthday gifts and cards
Xbox Ultimate (I adore video games too much to deprive myself)
Driving lessons (very important to be able to get to future counselling courses)
Counselling course level 3 (very important for my future career)
It’s almost Christmas, and although it’s different to previous years, what isn’t so different is the mad panic to buy, buy, buy, either to show love to friends and family, or out of sheer obligation.
But as I’ve turned minimalist over the past couple of years, dramatically reducing my possessions and experiencing endless self-growth, I’ve come to realise that stuff isn’t the key to love or happiness. In fact, an excess causes untold stress, financial hardship, damage to relationships, and to the Earth.
As a child, I’d physically always had everything I wanted, never going without the latest console, latest games, or best toys. The walls of my bedroom were lined with toy boxes, but even back then, I was never satisfied. There was always a new toy I wanted, a new book, or a new video game.
From my teens to my early 30s, I was what you’d call an organised hoarder. I had so much stuff that it was breaking my bedroom drawers, had filled up several storage boxes under my bed and on top of my wardrobe, stuffed every cupboard and lined every shelf. But no matter how much I had, I wanted more, more, more.
No matter how many games, consoles, books and trinkets I had, it wasn’t enough. I often dreamed of owning a bigger house, certain that if I only had more space to keep everything and entertain my friends, I’d finally be happy.
It didn’t matter whether I’d just acquired an entire wishlist of stuff for Christmas, either, come January I’d hit the sales to fill the hole inside me. You see, I didn’t realise at the time that one of the sources of my unhappiness was the sheer amount of stuff in my life. Greed and excess.
Another reason was low self-esteem which was further exacerbated from going down the path people expected of me rather than what I really wanted. Stuff was acting as a bandage for the trauma in my past, and as a smokescreen for decisions I had made that I wasn’t truly happy with.
I hated myself with a passion, but as long as I didn’t face it and kept the smokescreen going, I convinced myself I’d be fine.
Except I wasn’t. I was as far from fine as one could get. All of this hoarding and consuming caused countless arguments between me and my fiance, Leighton (now my husband), and I was forever in overdraft with my bank due to spending splurges. I was also a hot mess inside.
Then, one day, my mum had a declutter of the attic at her house. A huge amount of the stuff, she said, was mine, and she was bringing it to me to sort through.
When she arrived, I was stunned. It took her several trips back and forth between my house and the car to bring the bags and boxes. Years of my childhood and school life bulged at the seams and was dumped on the living room floor for me to sort.
At first, I wanted to put it all in our attic, but Leighton stopped me. “No way!”, he said, “That attic is rammed as it is with your crap and we aren’t having any more. Either you sort this or it goes in the trash!” So, with that, I was forced to confront some of my hoard, and the past I had been clinging onto.
And 75% of it was trash.
This experience didn’t instantly turn me into a minimalist, but unbeknownst to me, it was the first step.
Fast forward to the present day and I can tell you with a hundred percent certainty that freeing yourself from the burden of your excess physical possessions is one of the most freeing things you can do.
The second most freeing thing you can do is to free yourself from the desire to own more, and the pressure to buy more for others ‘just because it’s the norm’.
Free yourself from the expectations of marketers and focus on being grateful for everything you already have, especially the people and experiences in your life. Advertisers would have you believe that to ‘give her the best Christmas ever’ you should buy their latest scent or designer handbag. That to be a true friend you should buy any number of random seasonal gifts.
Instead of buying your friend yet another pair of socks and a novelty gadget from the gift aisle, why not connect with them and get them something that aligns with who they are and what they want for the future? Maybe they want nothing at all, in which case you should believe them. After all, most people are already drowning in a sea of clutter and years of unwanted gifts.
Why not spend time with them or donate to a charity of their liking instead?
Not only will this be lighter on your wallet and your stress levels, but will help people (or animals) in need, and give you both a far longer lasting glow than any physical possession can.
According to Nationaldebtadvice.org.uk, over 16.9 million people borrow money to pay for Christmas gifts, and one in twenty will skip paying a bill over Christmas because they can’t pay it.
We’re falling prey to marketing and trying to buy love and connection – things which cannot ever be bought. And when you think about it, would your loved ones want you to go into debt for them? Would you want your loved ones to go into debt for you?
I shocked myself last Christmas when I found there was nothing I wanted my family to buy me. I had minimised so much and had been practising gratitude whenever I could, so I felt grateful for what I already had. I also didn’t want to add potential clutter back into my home, undoing years of decluttering and emotional work. Instead, my husband gifted me money to put towards the counselling course I had applied for.
Rather than short-lived pleasures from receiving physical gifts, I invested in myself. As it turns out, taking that course was one of the best decisions I ever made.
Since then I’ve also bought a photography course because I love taking nature photos and want them to be the best they can be. Without minimalism, I’d never have discovered any of these passions or invested in them because I’d be too busy organising my stuff and looking for more. I’d be too broke.
It wasn’t easy to reach this mindset, especially as I was used to always receiving piles of presents and spending beyond my means for everyone else. Most likely, it won’t be easy for you either, but I can assure you it will all be worth it.
If you’re new to this I suggest starting off with small steps and changes, which will gradually snowball into huge life transformations if you let them.
With that, I wish all of you, my amazing readers, a Merry and stress-free Christmas. You deserve it.