My top tips for minimising

Start small

Today I thought I’d share with you my top tips for minimising your stuff!

  1. Start with one small area- a bookshelf, a drawer, a cupboard
  2. Sell the good stuff on eBay. I try everything on there first! You’d be amazed at what sells and you’ll probably get the best price
  3. If you have really good stuff to sell, try your local freeads or Preloved
  4. Sell your books on Amazon Marketplace. It’s really easy to list items and you’ll generally get a good price. It even has this handy feature which shows you how much you’ll earn and how much you’ll pay in fees, before you list. I wish eBay had that feature!
  5. Join up to a group on Facebook and sell your niche items there. For example, I sold the vast majority of my degree books through a book sales site related to my profession. It was dead easy to do and best of all, there are no fees attached. You can take payments through Paypal (for which you will pay a small fee). Or if you’re local- why not arrange to collect/ drop- off?
  6. Join up to a local selling group- I found one near me on Yahoo Groups. I found it very easy and straightforward.
  7. Sell your books to a trade -in store. I use these as a last resort because the prices won’t be as good, as if you sell the book yourself. Try several and check around for the best price. I recommend; www.webuybooks.co.uk           www.zapper.co.uk www.amazon.co.uk/Trade-In        www.fatbrain.co.uk    www.musicmagpie.co.uk
  8. Do a car boot sale. Google your nearest one. In my experience the biggest isn’t always the best- as you have too much competition. Go as a  buyer first, to check it out. Compare fees, as some are really expensive!
  9. Give stuff back to its owners! You’d be amazed just how much stuff I had around- mostly books and DVDs that belonged to other people
  10. Freecycle it! Search for a group local to you, list your item with a short description and wait for the offers of collection to roll in! Beware, choose your buyers carefully- some are trying to make a quick profit by selling your item on and abusing your kindness. Some will ask for it and never turn up, wasting your time! Don’t be put off though- there are some great Freecyclers out there. There are other similar sites- like Freegle. Find the one that’s right for you
  11. Donate it- bag it up and take it to a charity shop, or fill a charity bag and leave it on the curb (I don’t like these schemes, as there are so many non-genuine ones out there!) Or dump it in one of those recycling type, charity banks (especially good for clothes or shoes)
  12. Donate all sorts of items to a local re-claim scheme for people on a  low-income. They usually like furniture and appliances. But can take smaller stuff, like pictures, mirrors and cans of paint
  13. Some libraries take puzzles and allow people to swap them there
  14. Look out for opportunities in your local area. My local Homebase has a thriving book swapping section. They also carry free DIY items and plants/ seeds. Maybe your item could be used as a prop in the school play? Maybe your local Drs surgery would really appreciate that stack of magazines?

Share your tops tips with me now!

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Could minimalism save us from a world crisis?

I genuinely feel that in the UK and the rest of the world, we’re on the brink of a massive crisis. It will all be tied up with the World Economy.

When I’ve been listening to the radio or watching television, over the past week- one thing has stuck out like a sore thumb for me. People talk about women needing to work or salaries needing to keep rising because they need to maintain their way of life. How absurd is that? But we all know this is what the majority of the population do- work to pay a mortgage, for Sky TV, to have 2 cars, to have the holidays abroad.

 

I think that we need to start becoming minimalist as a society and embracing the way of life that our Grandparents knew.

  • They saved rags and made rag rugs from them or used them for dirty jobs around the house
  • They didn’t waste any food
  • They cooked their own meals from scratch
  • They used things like white vinegar to clean with
  • They grew their own food in gardens and allotments
  • They sewed their own clothes
  • They knitted their own jumpers
  • They knew how to make do and mend
  • They saved up for the bigger purchases in life, they didn’t put it all on a credit card
  • They had one holiday a year, in the UK
  • They knew how to entertain themselves- they didn’t go to the cinema, bowling or eat out often

Let’s face it- you’d have less clothes if you had to take the time to make them yourself. #Minimalist tip no 1

Which minimalist tips have been passed down to you?

Could Minimalism change the world?

I really think it could/ can! It’s not like it’s a new concept. It’s that we all need to learn something that we once knew. We need to recognise that we’re being seduced by consumerism for a start. If you’re reading this, then I reckon you’re probably there already!

Imagine this….if we consume less….we waste less. Let’s take a few examples here- this means that some poor person in the third world doesn’t have to dispose of your old computers and be exposed to the toxic effects of this. If you’re not sending so much stuff to landfill, that’s better for the environment. You’re better off because you have more money in your pocket. You have less stuff in your house, so you feel better- physically and emotionally. You can give away more- stuff, money, time because you’ve freed up these aspects of your life.

If we eat seasonally, we don’t pollute the planet with carbon etc from air miles. We support producers local to us or forage for free. This should mean that fairtrade is in operation, instead of some poor person in another country not getting paid enough. If you buy reduced food from supermarkets, you’re stopping it being put in the bin.

If you employ the principle of buying quality items, rather than cheap- hopefully children aren’t working in sweat shops in India making your clothes. Maybe it will even bring industry back to the UK? Your clothes will last longer and you no longer believe in the invention that is ‘fashion’.

I’d love to hear your comments about any other benefits of minimalism you can think of.

Eating the contents of the freezer and cupboards

I’m applying minimalism to every area of my life, step-by-step. I’m currently eating the contents of my freezer and cupboards. My primary motivation is because we are moving house in about a month and we have to empty the fridge and freezer or throw/ give this food away. The budget conscious person in me means that we are trying to eat most of it ourselves. We’ve gone for almost the entire month of June and spent about £80 on food. Our usual budget is £160! Wow- what a  lot of food we have squirreled away! I think we can keep going for at least another fortnight. I am obviously still buying fresh items like fruit and vegetables or milk as needed.

I was brought up with the belief that you should always have one more of something in the cupboard, in-case you run out. Whilst this is good if you suddenly get sick or the weather turns bad and you can’t make it to the shops. It makes for an awful lot of clutter in the cupboards. It also means there is the potential to waste more food because you can’t eat it all before it expires.

Once we have moved, I really want to be more intentional about what goes into my food cupboards. I like the idea of applying minimalism to this area of life. Although, I could not go as far as some people and eat the same food repetitively until it is finished. My husband could! I get bored of food after a couple of days.

For economy’s sake, I also tend to make batches of food and freeze it. This saves on fuel bills, time and makes for some quick and easy meals if we are working late. Whilst I don’t intend to stop doing this- once we move we will live within walking distance of a supermarket, something I’ve never had before! So potentially, I will be able to do smaller shops more often and only buy what we need.  I will also aim to try and buy seasonal and local produce more often, so that I am paying less and not contributing to food miles etc. It’s all about balance.

An old miser?

Today I made my first conscious decision not to bring excess stuff into my house. Well, my new house- you see we’re renovating it at the moment. During the course of the DIY, it became apparent that we would need a bucket. I knew I had seen one in the shed, so I commented on this to a family member. They promptly tried to persuade me to buy a new bucket, then I could have one for indoors tasks and one for outdoors tasks! I pondered the logic of their suggestion, it kind of made sense. But so did my argument, that I could have one bucket for everything- inside and out and just wash it out in-between! So I stuck to my guns, saying I didn’t want to pay out for a new bucket when I already had a perfectly good one. My family member called me an old miser. I’d like to think I’m an old mini-miser! 😉

Radical Simplicity

I’ve just finished reading Radical Simplicity: Creating an Authentic Life. My reason for reading it was simple- when searching my local library for minimalist reading material, this was the only book they had on the subject! I must admit that is a little disappointing because his isn’t quite the brand of minimalism I am aiming for. However, it was an uplifting read- he still had to get rid of a lot of belongings to live in a teepee, shed, hobbit hole etc!

I loved his explanations of simpler living, like having a fire for heat and not cooking so much. He was so much more in tune with nature than we are today, living in our hermetically sealed boxes. The most profound point I will take away from this book, is what he said about needing to work for something to appreciate it. His example is around obtaining water for his shower/ bath, needing to wait for it to heat- his shower was hard earned, long awaited and all the more sweet. In today’s world, everything is instant and someone or something else does the hard work for us. Therefore, we often don’t appreciate what we have. Ponder that thought for a while!

I was disappointed by the quality of the photos- seeing as he was once a photographer. They were all black and white- simplistic- yes, but not easy to see. I really wanted to witness more of the detail of his radical way of life.

I’ve got a few other books that I’d like to read, but they will currently have to re-side on my wish list. I refuse to buy more books, when I am trying to thin out my belongings and get rid of so many. It seems to defeat the point. Also, they are all relatively expensive and there doesn’t seem to be a second hand market for them here in the UK. This means it will be harder for me to re-coup their value if I decide I don’t wish to keep them forever and they are more expensive to buy in the first place.

I’ve been shipping out more stuff, mostly via eBay and it really is starting to feel like I’ve made a dent in my stuff! It has also occurred to me that my brand of minimalism is going to look somewhat more excessive than others. I can’t abide the thought of having bare surfaces all around. I need some well chosen objects to act as inspiration and give interest to my life.

Minimalist gift-giving

It occurs to me, as I sort through items a) just how much stuff I have squirreled away in cupboards and drawers that I never use. And b) just how many of those items are gifts- things that people have given me or I have ‘won’ from work or Freecycled to me and I have never actually used. I suppose that I must have been holding onto them because of a feeling that I ought to. Even if I didn’t like the item, or wouldn’t use it. You feel so ungrateful if you dispose of it straightaway. You think you ought to hold on to it in-case they come round to your house. It seems such a crazy burden of obligation to carry! I’ve decided it’s time to rid myself of this kind of weight.

Which leads me on to thinking about gift giving occasions. How do you approach this as a minimalist? How do you convey your new ideals to friends and family? I have family members who will flatly ignore my lists of useful items that I actually want and give me useless items that I already have multiples of. I have even tried requesting no presents, but of course- family don’t want to adopt that protocol. What are suitable gifts for a minimalist? I was wondering whether vouchers might be a good suggestion in future? Maybe even something as mundane as supermarket vouchers, so you can take care of your grocery bills for a while?

P.S. I took 2 giant bags to the charity shop today- it feels good to have that stuff gone. Tonight I have listed some furniture on eBay because I no longer have need of it- now my stuff has gone! I am sure that I will notice a big difference with these big pieces gone! I am looking forward to feeling lighter and lighter, as the weight of my possessions is gone and so, the responsibility that goes with that.