As you can see from my last Minimalism post (here) things around here have changed quite a bit, and if you've been reading my blog for a while you won't be suprised either. Last time I spoke to you about minimalism I was completely new to the concept, as someone who  had a lust for fashion I had required over sometime a extensive amount of excess stuff. I had 3 wardrobes of clothes. That didn't include the coats, bags, shoes and all manors of other accessories I had hoarded over 3 years of fashion blogging. After a weekend of systematically cleaning and decluttering I managed to whittle my stuff down to 38 items of clothing, excluding shoes, bags and accessories. It was brutal and yes as embarrassed as I am to admit, there were tears. After my initial clear out it was almost euphoric to step back and see all the clean space and empty corners, clearing out that much stuff and practicing non attachment you cant help but get a little high on adrenaline. And thus my minimalism journey started. My goal was to try and live of the 38 items with out shopping for 3 months. After each three months I was allowed to either rotate my items with seasonal appropriate pieces that I had stored away, or shop for new items on a one in one out basis. I was also amazed and how quickly minimalism spread to different area's of my life, from how I spent my free time to finances. After 6 months I thought I would share with you guys how i've been getting on, whats changed and how i've adapted and made this whole minimal thing well,  a little bit more 'me'. So here are my top tips and pointers to make minimalism a bit more practical and a little less clinical.

~ Style and Practicality ~

In true fashion blogger style and being used to having abundant choice, I was to busy curating my perfect 38 piece blogger wardrobe rather than thinking about the practicality of what I was choosing. All the items I was picking ticked the boxes, well made, classic, mixable, Pinterest worthy and ever so stylish, but in reality made getting dressed in the morning a absolute nightmare. I work in a hair salon three days a week and live in yoga gear the rest of the four. I've tried dressing up for work but its costly to keep up when you spill dye, and very uncomfortable. To be honest i'm just not the dressy type. When picking items for your wardrobe please save yourself aggravation and think about your lifestyle. Realistically what type of items are your ride or die favourites. Pick items you adore, make you feel amazing and that you'll reach for time and time again. You can be stylish and practical at the same time.

~ Entertainment ~

Im reluctant to admit that old habits die hard and I found the first month of not shopping for clothing hard. On a Sunday Rich and I love to head down to Westfield Stratford to catch a movie. We love buying our tickets and heading down to this cute pasta joint called Pasta Remoli to eat. With what ever time is left we tend to take a walk round the shops. I soon realised that a lot of our entertainment time was based around consuming. First month I cracked and bought a new pair of vans, three pairs of jeans, two swim suits, four t-shirts and a pair of sliders. Oops!
One of the biggest challenges of the past six months is honestly paying attention to where we spend our free time and what on. It makes so much difference to how much money is left in the bank at the end of the month. It's not just care free shopping with clothing, it's the lunches, take away drinks, magazines and other little things that your don't think about when your out and about.

Same goes for the type of content and media outlet's you read and spend time on. We live in a digital age where its never been easier to  gain influence over peoples shopping choices. We are bombarded with tantalising shopping adverts everyday. Your favourite blogger/ Magazine/ Shop maybe recommending the next best pair of must have shoes, lipstick, restaurant, but is it a investment or are you buying because it's the next cult item to have?  Marketing and Advertisement invest billions a year to research better ways in how to emotionally manipulate you into the 'Must Have it now' attitude. Remember its these peoples jobs to evoke emotional buying. I suggest a cooling period, mines anything between a week to a month depending on the cost of a item. If it's still on my mind at the end of the cooling period it was obviously meant to be.

So lets summarize. Limit your time around situations that will make you want to buy, find something else fun to do, maybe a fun new hobby? And pay attention to social media advertising and what your reading and watching.

~ Attitude and Money ~

I know I know! we've already discussed where your spending your money and on what. Your probably thinking you didn't want financial advice just how to make your room and closet less cluttered but believe me your relationship to money really does make a difference.
According to the business insider fifty percent of americans have less than one months income saved away for a rainy day. You spend 12 - 18 percent more when you use your card rather than cash, and you can save £86,894 over a life time if you bring lunch to work.  See where i'm going with this? Rather than making quick purchases on that top, Tom Ford lippy or even that Marks and Sparks sandwich we can save our money for the more important pursuits like that exotic trip away or a deposit for a house. Just food for thought.

~ Minimalism doesn't mean bare and bland ~

The term minimalist often colloquially refers to anything that is spare or stripped to its essentials.
What it doesn't mean is living a bland lack lustre life. One of the very first mistakes I made on my minimalism journey was stripping things back so much that everything just felt stark and bare. My wardrobe and bedroom was a monochrome lovers dream, to me it just felt boring and uninspiring. Please don't mix up monochrome with minimalism. Your world does not have to be a white haven to be a minimalist! I own things. I own books, paints, yoga mats, clothes, shoes, furniture and ornaments but everything serves its purpose and everything gets used. Cultivate essentials that enrich your life and use them!

~ Mental decluttering ~

"Decide what you don’t give a fuck about. Don’t give a fuck about those things." - Sarah Knight. 
Minimalism isn't just about decluttering your house and wardrobe, it's also a useful tool for decluttering your mental junk too. How many times have you looked at your diary and felt a overwhelming wave of anxiety at a months worth of leaving do's, school reunions and baby showers... If your like me and you carry a weight of guilt if you don't attend one event then Sarah Knights The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving A Fuck may just be the book for you. Sarah's approach to time keeping and mental decluttering is refreshingly realistic and humorous.
 Find out how to spend less time with people you don't like, doing things you really don't want to do. It's all about saving those special after work hours and weekends for things that we really want to do. 


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