I have a dream…

Today, I received in my inbox a challenge from Joshua Becker on Becoming Minimalist to share my story. Any of you who are reading this blog have been following my minimalist journey for the past 4 years, so I’m not going to repeat myself. But as my journey shows; it’s no small thing to empower ordinary people to dream decent and good dreams. If we all made these small changes to our lifestyles, then our world starts to look very different. Minimalism is counter-cultural and far from being restrictive it is actually liberating. I am sure that this stems from the fact that setting good boundaries is a healthy and useful life skill.

You may not think that these small changes can really have a great impact. But let’s just look at some examples here:

Minimalism leads to less spending, which in turn leads to greater financial security, which in turns leads to greater peace of mind. That could directly lead to better mental health which means less reliance on the over-burdened NHS. Improved finances could mean families no longer relying on benefits. Imagine having spare money left over, that could be donated to help those less fortunate – every single month. Imagine how good that would make you feel and the positive impact that could have on your mental health. So, you can see that a small changes leads to several different cycles of change and a ripple effect – outwards.

Minimalism leads to less buying, which means that more of the earth’s resources are left intact for future generations to enjoy. Less buying means that less workers in poorer countries are being exploited to make stuff we don’t need. Less buying and manufacturing leads to less pollution which improves everyone’s health and slows down global warming. That in turn, means that more animals are around for us and future generations to enjoy. Less shopping means that we all start spending more time outdoors or with family, which improves all of our mental health and again, reduces the burden on the NHS. Less buying stuff on credit means that we are independent and have greater peace of mind. This relieves the pressure on debt counselling agencies, the benefits system and the NHS.

I could go on, but I think you get my point. What small change can you make today?

Take your time

Minimising is a slow process, at least is has been for me. I think it is best to take this slow- it’s like any other life change- slow= sustainable. If you were trying to lose weight from your body, then your best results would come from making small changes, over time and being able to keep these up. I think minimising is like losing weight- emotionally and spiritually. Although weirdly you’re losing physical weight too- in the form of possessions!

When you are exercising, there comes a point when you hit ‘the wall’ where you just run out of energy. It’s a like a physical and mental barrier that you have to push through. You always hear marathon runners talking about it. I feel like I’ve just done that with minimising. I look around and I want to get rid of more stuff and I know I could, but it’s becoming hard. I have read other bloggers talking about when it becomes harder to get rid of stuff because of emotional attachments. It was a gift, it has been handed down through generations of my family, it was free, I might need it someday- so many reasons.

I have actually sold my wedding dress this week- I mean, it’s not like I was ever going to wear it again! It was destined to sit in a cupboard, becoming ever more dated and probably getting eaten by moths and yellowing eventually. Far better to give a bride-to-be the dress of her life, re-coup half of what I spent on it (making it actually quite a thrifty purchase) and reclaim half my wardrobe which is currently occupied by an item I can never wear again. My bank balance is thanking me for selling it whilst it was still current too! However, I know I am going to have a hard time emotionally letting go of it. I’m going to try it on one last time, get my husband to take one last photo and gaze at it longingly for just a little bit longer. And then I’m going to move on. It’s not like I haven’t got plenty of pictures and I have barely looked at it in the two years since our wedding.

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So I’d love to hear any tips for pushing through ‘the wall’. What items have you had a hard time letting go of?