Minimalism

I’m taking a slight departure from my usual style of posts today to write about minimalism, because it’s something I’m very interested in; plus, I think it ties in with being environmentally friendly.

Please don’t be scared off – when I mention minimalism, I’m not thinking about the stereotype of having a sleek, monochrome house without any possessions. I don’t want a show home. I still want to own the things that I need and that make me happy. My focus is on looking at all the things I own, and donating, selling, recycling or (more unfortunately, if there’s no alternative) throwing away the things I don’t need or want, all the things I’ve kept out of habit or obligation.

So why is this eco-friendly? Well, if you don’t want something but someone else might be able to use it, then passing it on will mean resources aren’t used up on making something new.

Another side to minimalism is buying less – in our consumer-focused society, it’s so easy to get caught up in wanting to own more and more things, which is also bad for the environment. Thinking more carefully about what we buy can help us realise what we’re doing to the environment when we buy things needlessly.

I’m tackling this by buying more things secondhand, so they have less of an impact on the environment, but I’ve also decided to keep a ‘wish list’ of all the things I’m tempted to buy. I’ll write them down and look at them again in a month or so and see if I still want them. This should hopefully cut down on impulse purchases, so I won’t end up with so many things I don’t really want.

If this is something you’re interested in, there are so many places you can go to to get started! In particular, there are lots of blogs around. I’d recommend Courtney Carver’s Be More With Less. This focuses on the savings – both money and time – that you’ll make by following a more minimalist lifestyle, freeing yourself to do what you enjoy without feeling choked by unwanted possessions. Also have a look at Joshua Becker’sΒ Becoming Minimalist, which again focuses on the joy of having less possessions.

This might not be the first thing you think of when you’re considering going eco-friendly – but I think it’s interesting nevertheless. If we could break out of our consumer habits and stop buying so many items that damage the planet then we’d be doing a whole lot better! What do you think?

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13 thoughts on “Minimalism

  1. Super post Joanne! Lately, I been seeing really good online sales on clothes. I got excited and started adding stuff to to the shopping cart and then stopped myself. I realized I didn’t need any more little jackets or jeans (at any price!), especially now that I work mostly from home! I’m going to try your “wish list” idea.

    • Thank you! I know, it’s so tempting when everything gets reduced in price to just buy loads, and then after a week (or a day, or an hour) you sit there and regret spending the money. The wish list is great, it’s already stopped me buying things I now realise I don’t really want.

  2. Great post. There is no doubt in my mind that minimalism and green living are inextricably linked. It was environmental awareness which led me to the path of a more minimalist lifestyle.

    The 2 blogs you mention are very good and I would add another http://www.missminimalist.com/ In my opinion, her book, “The Joy of Less” is even better than the website. I reviewed the book in an old post on my blog. http://organisedcastle.wordpress.com/2011/11/14/read-and-re-focus/

    ‘Live simply so that others may simply live’ – Mahatma Ghandi

    To me, this quote sums it up – use only what you truly need and give others a chance.

    • It’s great to know others are heading along the same path too! Thanks for the recommendation – that looks like a great blog, and maybe I’ll put her book on my wish list and check out your review! Thank you for your comments πŸ™‚

  3. I completely agree. I believe in living with less, and giving away our unused things because there are people who will love and use them. Why store junk at home? We only need very little to live every day life. It’s very liberating understanding that we can live happily with just the essentials.

  4. Pingback: Clothes and Project 333 | Every Week is Green

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    • Thanks for the link – a great read to remind me why I’m trying to accumulate less. As you wrote, I also dislike letting go of things that have to go to landfill, but I think that either I get rid of it now, or it takes up my time/energy for another 6 months, 1 year, 5 years etc. until I come across it again and still don’t want it. If you have something that will have to go to landfill whenever you get rid of it I think the best thing to do is to throw it away as soon as you can and continue trying to accumulate less so you’re not faced with the same problem again.
      Thank you for commenting on my blog, much appreciated, and I enjoyed your link πŸ™‚

      • That’s a really good point you make you make about using something that goes to the landfill as a lesson to make smarter choices going forward and to let it go sooner rather than later. here is where I get OCD: I have items that I know are useful to *someone* (finding that person is the challenge), but not quite donatable to a charity.

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