The start of my journey to a more fulfilling life with less

Becoming a minimalist in a society where everything seems to be about getting more, more and more… Why take the hard road if you can go the easy road? Well, I guess because the easy road isn’t so satisfying as I thought.

Ever since I can remember I love stuff. Beautiful clothes, nice gadgets, smartphones, you name it, I have it. I actually never thought about it, I just kept buying. There can’t be another DVD, book or CD fitted on the shelves, because then the whole thing probably will collapse under his own weight. And that same weight has been on my shoulders for a while now…

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Oh, how I love these shoes… Bought them, wore them once, and now they’re just collection dust

At first, I didn’t really noticed what was going on. I was feeling a bit restless for a few weeks, felt like my house was a chaos, even though it’s really tight and clean. So I changed my interior, I was hoping that would take away some of the restless feeling. It did for a while, my house looked like new, but the feeling came back. I walked around with it for a while, not really paying attention to it, kept buying more stuff than I actually needed, until I realized that the stuff I was buying wasn’t really making me feel any better. In fact, it just made me feel worse.

That’s when I realized something had to change. I was having that restless feeling for years now, on and off, and when I started thinking about it I noticed a pattern in my spending behaviour during those on-periods. I was buying lots of stuff and felt better for a while, until the feeling showed up again and I started buying things again.

So I started reading a bit about consumerism and how to lower it. When I was reading all the blogs I could find about the subject, I stumbled upon the word ‘minimalism’. Google is your friend, so I looked it up online and started to read more blogs about it. The more I was reading about it, the more I was starting to get all exited and enthusiastic.

This might be the solution to my restless feeling! An other benefit of it would be some more money on the bank. I have always been a big saver, I can’t stand the feeling of not having any money on my savings account. But every time the buying-urge knocked on the door, I emptied out my saving account and was feeling real bad about myself.

Don’t get me wrong, I will be the first one to admit that I love beautiful stuff. I safe every picture I find online with something I like on it on my computer and look at them with great joy. I buy notebooks and books just because I like the cover so much. I have so much clothing that it doesn’t even fit in one closet anymore. I have music on my iPod of which I don’t even know the artist and I never listen to it.

So, time to change! Along with the blogs about minimalism, I also ran in to a blog about going no ‘poo (not using any shampoo anymore, although my first thought when I read it was, well, something else). I’ve read about that years ago, but decided it wasn’t for me. I used to wash my hair every day with shampoo and conditioner, after which I would blow dry it, use a straightener and a bunch of styling products. I felt like I needed to use all that stuff, because if I wouldn’t wash my hair every day it would get really greasy (now I know that’s because I was stripping the natural oils from my head everyday, which made that my head was producing new oils which were making my hair greasy). I felt like I needed to straighten my hair every day, because there was a weird kind of wave in it, my hair was really thin and frizzy, and if I would straighten it, it would look decent. But well, what the heck, I have nowhere to go anyway right now, so this would be a good time to try going no ‘poo along with becoming a bit more minimalistic.

I was afraid to start this blog, because I’m the kind of person who gets really exited about something, spends a lot of time and effort on it for a while, and then just quits… Yes, I am a quitter. Have been all my life. It doesn’t matter how bad I want something, after a while I just quit. So, that makes I have three challenges going on here:

– Becoming more minimalistic (is that an oxymoron?)

– Going no ‘poo

– Follow through with it all

I have been taking a few steps now, of which I didn’t really kept track, because at first I wasn’t considering starting a blog. So what I did so far is:

  • Cleaned out my closet. Stuff that I wasn’t going to put up for sale (five bags filled with clothing to be exact) I took to charity. Stuff I am going to put up for sale needs to get photographed and put online.
  • Started thinking about things I have double or just don’t really need. I had two cameras, so I sold one. I had a BlackBerry, but never used anything on it. So I put it up for sale and started to use my old phone again.

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Bye bye camera. I love you dearly, as you were my first camera ever, but we have to say goodbye

  • Got some baking soda and apple cider vinegar to replace the shampoo and conditioner. I also stopped blow drying and straightening my hair and use hair products. I donated all the shampoo and stuff to my boyfriend, who now smells like strawberries.

Something I’ve been doubting about is whether I should use stuff that’s in a such a good shape that it looks like it just got out of the store (books, DVDs, CDs, beauty items still wrapped etc.) for presents. I’ve been out of work for a while now and my budget is a bit tight. So giving nice stuff that I already own as a present would save me some money and clean out my shelves. But I’m a bit scared I might come across as cheap. So, I need to think about that.

I’m also going to start to get an x-amount of cash from the ATM the first of each month, put it in my wallet, and that’s the amount of money I have to spend all month. I live in the Netherlands and having a credit card around here isn’t something most people do. I don’t own a credit card and so I don’t have any credit card debts or other debts that need to get paid. I like to keep it that way, so having a clearer view on my spending will allow me to save more. Because before I was just spending money untill there was nothing left and I had no idea where all the money went.

Well, if there’s something I’ve learned from reading all those blogs is that you have to start small. If you set too many goals for yourself, you’re more likely to give up. So I’m going with one goal at a time.

The first goal: Photograph everything I’m going to put up for sale.

So here we go, on a journey from being a big time consumerist to a more fulfilling life as a minimalist.

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