Hooray! After nearly 18 months of blogging, I’ve finally secured a guest post from my other half, Ruth.
If you don’t already know, Ruth’s decision to bring a little book called ‘Minimalism: Live a Meaningful Life’ on honeymoon set me off down this rabbit hole in the first place.
While she has been hugely supportive of my decision to turn our house upside-down, for a long time she seemed not particularly fussed, one way or the other, about how many things we owned.
Then, a few weeks ago, she totally astounded me by getting rid of pretty much all of her huge CD collection in one go. This was a BIG DEAL. Ruth is a musician and she’s always prided herself on her music library. I guess more of this was rubbing off than I had realised.
Anyway, I asked Ruth to put pen to paper and describe what it’s all been like from her point of view. (I’m sure you’ll all give her a big welcome!)
So, Claire has asked me to write a guest post for the blog. I’ve agreed (with some trepidation), but I’ve been promised her excellent editing skills.
I have a tendency to waste time on the internet. So one day, frittering around on the web, I Googled something like ‘giving up the internet’. One of the first posts I came to was Joshua Fields Millburn’s post on how giving up the internet at home was one of the most productive things he’s ever done.
Transfixed, I read on (and on). I couldn’t read enough of The Minimalists’ website; how it had improved their lives, made them more passionate, healthier, more compassionate…
I told Claire about my find and she took it from there and she’s just run with it really, I think it would be fair to say Claire is way more immersed in minimalism than I am, but I’m glad I introduced her to it.
While Claire is further into her minimalist journey, I can confidently say it has all had a positive impact on my life. For a start, choosing clothes to wear in the morning is a complete doddle, thanks to Claire helping me sort/donate my wardrobe.
In fact, the further I travel on my journey into minimalism the easier I’m finding a lot of things.
I’m a musician and music teacher by trade, which can sometimes lead (guitarists especially!) down the path of collecting a lot of equipment and chasing a lot of work. Minimalism has reminded me not to work all the hours that God sends and for the first time in eight years I have a timetable that includes a lunch break (which my acid reflux will thank me for).
Previously, I’d been eating lunch in a hurry and rushing from one place to the next, not really a recipe for digestive comfort.
I’m also interested in the ‘life experiment’ side of minimalism. A while back, I stopped using my smartphone for a month and got by with a £5 ‘dumbphone’.
I managed to reprogramme the ‘twitch’ to absent-mindedly check Facebook/emails/pictures of bass guitars.
BUT, I did miss having a camera and GPS system in my pocket, so in the end I went back to my iPhone with a new approach: I have no notifications and my email goes nowhere near it.
I recently went to a Federation of Entertainment Unions workshop on productivity. The leader asked how many unread emails we had in our inbox. I sheepishly put my hand up and admitted to having around 7,000.
You know, just 7,000 unread, fairly useless words clogging up my life. So, his answer was to archive them. Brilliant. Now, when I check my emails I can see exactly what’s important instead of wading through spam.
(I also recommend ‘Unroll Me’, which sits in your inbox as an extra folder and ‘grabs’ the spam as it arrives. It also helps you unsubscribe from sneaky mailing lists you’re not even sure how you signed up to. The best thing about it: it’s FREE)
Minimalism has helped us think about how we spend our money too. In the past year or so I’ve gone from regularly spending on credit cards to hardly using them at all, closing the accounts on all but one or two of them. I’ve started to save again (even if I’m a little slow at it).
Claire described the effect minimalism has had on our spending brilliantly the other day; a new high-end shopping centre just opened in town. We were in the city centre, so we had a walk around it, but we were just not interested in it. Claire said it was like having a superpower that made you immune to the usual shopping frenzy that so many fall into.
Overall, I feel minimalism has helped us eat healthier, appreciate a slower home, not buy the latest new ‘thing’, meet new people, make more sustainable/ethical/better quality choices and it’s made us appreciate who and what we have in our lives.
If you like what you read, subscribe to Want Less via the arrow at the top of the page, follow Claire on social media using the buttons under the title or leave a comment below. Also, feel free to check out Claire’s other site, Simplicity Voices.