Minimalism for Beginners

Minimalism can be best described as a way of life and is something that is completely new to me.  I’ve only become familiar with the term within the last year or so and, despite it being something that thousands of people have probably practiced over the years, I feel that this is a relatively new and trending concept as a result of social media and in particular, Instagram and YouTube.  At first, I dismissed it and this is most likely because I didn’t really know what it was.  But over this recent year or so, I’ve become a bit curious.  What is it exactly?  Are there any benefits to it and is it something I could try in my own way?

If you’re completely new to it, minimalism is a lifestyle whereby a person lives with less for one or a number of reasons.  For instance, living with less in order to become in a better financial position, to de-clutter the immediate environment such as the home, for either mental health or space-saving purposes or, just purely living with less to not be a part of the consumerist lifestyle.  What I like about minimalism is that there doesn’t seem to be a correct or incorrect way to be a minimalist.  From my research, it seems that you can be anything from a ‘minimalist clothes owner’, to an ‘extreme minimalist’, where everything you own in your life can fit into a backpack!  Neither are right nor wrong, but due to my curiosity, I wondered whether I could explore this further.

If you’re familiar with my website or YouTube channel Nayemma, you may be aware that I set some goals this year – one being a financial goal where the aim was to save a certain about of money by December 2019.  I graduated from my Masters last year and I was working again and so it was time to be sensible and get myself into a good financial position.  So, not only did I need the money to save in the first place, I needed to look at areas of my life where I needed to stop spending regularly, even if it was a little bit of money as on a regular basis, this does add up.  This is where minimalism comes in!

I decided that in order to save some money by the end of the year, I was going to challenge myself to not buy any books for an entire year!  I am a massive book worm and will just about read anything.  But it occurred to me that I was buying new and trending books when I saw or heard of them, rather than going straight to my own book shelf first.  So I told myself that I first had to read every single book I personally owned on my shelf and then when I had ran out, I had to borrow books from friends or family members.  I could even go to the library if needed, but to be honest, it’s now October and I’ve still got so many books on my own book shelf that I am yet to read!

I have found this process completely easy.  It has made me more aware about how easily I will spend my money unnecessarily, such as on books.  I had so many books on my shelf that I had never read before that were essentially there for decorative or dust-collecting purposes.  This forced me to read books that I probably wouldn’t have read before as a first choice and moreover, it allowed me to give the books that I had read to someone I knew, or to charity when I had finished with them.  Apart from some books that have been signed by the author or the books that are my absolute favourites, I don’t tend to keep them because I never read them again!  Thus making my book shelf and room more minimalist with less objects!

It has made me a little frustrated to have to wait to buy a book.  Though this did make me grateful when I received a book I had wanted as a gift by someone!  I now have a list of self-help and motivational books that I want to read for my 2020 reading list, which I suppose is a good thing as I’ve not bought impulsively and instead have had a good think as to whether I actually want to read it or not and whether I will buy or loan it out.  But on reflection, I think that this has made me more mindful.  For example, if I have openly stated that I generally don’t keep books after I have read them, why buy them in the first place and why not just go to the library regularly?  Usually your local library can get a book in for you for about £1 if they don’t have it available! Therefore I think this is something I will do more of in the future.

If you are interested in living a more minimal lifestyle, as a beginner I encourage you to start small with an area of your life like I have done.  It doesn’t have to be books but perhaps something that you know you personally spend a lot of money or unnecessary money on and go from there.  I know that personally, I have enjoyed and learned from this experience and I know that there are other areas of my life I can be more conscious of in order to save money, buy less material things and be more conscious of needs and not wants!  Who knows, maybe I’ll be living in a tiny, off the grid house in no time!

Is there an area of your life that you have chosen to be more minimal? What was it and how have you found the process? Similarly, are you curious to begin your minimalism journey?  Where do you think you will start?  Comment down below, I’d love to hear from you!

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© 2019. Naomi Laws. All rights reserved

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