What does minimalism mean to you?
Minimalism for me means having the things I love which sounds quite normal but my take is only having what I need and use.
When did you first start to consider minimalism and what introduced you to the idea?
I remember packing up an old home in 2015 and being absolutely shocked by the number of boxes and the amount of stuff I had. It was all moved to a storage unit whilst I shared with some friends until I found my current home and for nearly a year I needed nothing from that storage unit and that in itself speaks volumes. So it’s been front of mind for a few years.
I first came across Minimalism as a concept when I listened to a podcast that mentioned The Minimalists and their Netflix show. I watched the show from beginning to end and was shocked by some of the facts, figures and tactics used by companies to sell to us and young children. Equally I was shocked by the starkness of their homes (because I love my home and home interiors) but I started to look at my home with fresh new eyes - like I was really seeing it for the first time.
What changes have made the most difference?
For me the biggest change has been selling my stuff on eBay. I used to give it all to charity shops and then all of a sudden they became really fussy about what they would and wouldn’t take combined with the fact that I decided to step back from working all the time and that gave me the space to sell and earn a little on the side for me. Now it feels like I am recycling and getting a little in return.
How did you find the process of reducing what you have?
Buying has been the first thing - I am well known amongst my friends to pick things up walk around the shop and decide whether I really need them or not. As I’m self employed and have been since 2004 I work out how many hours work it would take for me to pay for that item and that helps me decide if it’s worth it or not.
Inside my home to be honest I’m still in the process as I have so much stuff (including stock from a previous home accessories business I had).
But the big lesson for me is that I need to do things a little at a time, so I make it easy for myself, no time pressure just a conscious way of making sure things leave my apartment.
In July I began the #minsgame on instagram and that really works for me, you choose a month and then on the 1st of that month get rid of one item, 2nd get rid of two etc until the 31st when 31 items have to leave.
I’m a little and often person as that instils new habits and ways of thinking for me.
How much square footage do we really need to live a good life?
I think it’s different for everyone depending on if you have a family. pets and how much outside space you have. I know for me a 400 sq ft is very very comfortable and with my new mindset around minimalism I could live in less with clever storage and fewer items.
How do you see minimalistic living developing in the future?
I think I see minimalistic living growing, and community living growing too. I’m single, have a car that sits around half of the week and in a car park the other half, I pay council tax and bills - multiply that by 4 single friends and non of it makes sense anymore. We could car share, share plates, glasses, pots and pans - do we all need a house full of stuff we use for about an 1 hour a day.
How has this approach changed your life?
In short its made me stop and think about what I really need and want in my life. Im more aware of my actions. An example is at the beginning of this year I banned myself from buying books (yes banned lol) - because I have enough books to open a small shop and not enough time to read them. So this year the only books I have are the ones gifted to me and then I pass those on to others that want them. Slowly, slowly I'm creating more space in my life.
Last item you let go? Two lamps Last purchase? My Disciple skincare Favourite item in the home? My angel wings Favourite wardrobe item? Wow this is tough - a camouflage jacket - I feel cool every time I wear it. If you could chose 5 things to keep forever? 1. A photograph of my family. 2. The first ever book my dad bought for me. 3. My favourite pen. 4. A piece of jewellery. 5. I can’t think of a fifth one - this question was brilliant made me realise I’m not that attached to stuff.
Anita is on a mission to help professional communicators press pause and create a little space in their lives. www.thecommunicatorscoach.com
You can also listen to Anita over at the Get Comfy podcast.