“Stuff” that rules your life – how we became minimalists by default

Minimalism  – its all over you tube, face book groups,Instagram and pinterest. Getting rid of, letting go, etc etc. The concept is brilliant and yet its more than just throwing out those t shirts you don’t wear and decluttering a drawer every so often. For us it has become a way of life by default. We didn’t sit down and consciously decided to become minimalists. It just sort of happened.

We started travelling. “Stuff” was in storage in two different cities and then we came back to Australia and what to do with all that “stuff”. Well we couldn’t take it to where we were going to live and besides, we were only home to earn some more money so that we could leave the country again, so it wasn’t really worth getting it all out. 

“Lets just sell it”.  “Yep sell the stuff that we don’t use”.

And so we did. Gum tree, Facebook groups, suitcase rummage, car boot sales – and it was fun!! We met people who liked to buy our stuff and other people who were wanting to get rid of their stuff too and all for different reasons. And surprisingly getting rid of made purchasing things actually harder. What?. Yes its true. Because we were creating so much space in our lives, when we needed to buy something like new hiking shoes, the purchase was not made lightly. It was planned and thought about. Impulse buying had become a thing of the past.

And then we went travelling again. “Stuff” went into storage again but there was much less this time. Roll forward two years and we now only have the “stuff” that we use. We still need to store some things when we go travelling because we use them when we are in Australia like music equipment, the box of kitchen stuff and a few special things but its all things we use. And damm its liberating.

Because we are so aware of the “stuff” it also impacts our consuming. How much stuff surrounds the thing we buy – ie. plastics on everything at the supermarket, bags it comes in etc. Less waste became a bi product of the new lifestyle because we had to get rid of the stuff all the time. And so we started to look at how we consumed. I only buy shoes if the other ones are broken and cant be fixed. If a new thing comes into the house an old thing goes out. Every attempt is made not to use plastic and our consuming habits have changed to accommodate our new way. Obviously there is the take your own bags to the shops policy, and there is purchasing things in bulk. And now we are looking at making our own products ie. dish washing liquid and clothes soap so that we can get away from the plastic containers that have to be discarded all the time.  Its the little changes that make such a difference. We live in a unit when we are in Brisbane and can’t compost but are looking into ways that the food items we dispose of can be used in a local garden somewhere so that its even less stuff that we have to throw away.

I’m not trying to be a zealot and convert you into doing what I do, but being aware of how much we have and what we need to store and dispose of is very important. Our somewhat nomadic lifestyle is supported by a very minimalist approach as all the stuff ends up owning us in the end – we pay for it and then we have to pay to house it or store it. Its just not our lifestyle choice.

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