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2 Medium suitcases: a reflection by the 'newbie' minimalist

I’m ‘down under’ once again; the christmas carols chiming through the halls of Melbournian houses and shops, I can’t help but wonder if I can make it through the christmas ‘gift crazy’ season.

It’s been almost 10 weeks now since the beginning of my minimalist and zero waste journey, and I can truly feel the transformation in my mindset -- feeling no curiosity to walk inside a store, nor purchase items that are inevitably packaged in a non-degradable format, plastic inside plastic inside of a box -- if it wasn’t so maddening, you would laugh at the craziness of it!

The awesome thing about minimalism, is that once your mind adapts to the habit of consuming strictly valuable and essential items only, you begin to focus more on what you have more than what you could have or desire . The same applies to the zero-waste concept -- moisturisers, usually covered in plastic for ‘safety’, aren’t considered an essential to me, and can be quite easily replaced by coconut oil in a recyclable glass jar. Inevitably, I end up using coconut oil for almost all my essential bathroom products; saving trash production, money, and energy when deciding what products I really use. It’s a no-brainer… coconut oil, reusable containers, a small wardrobe, and an eye for homemade product experiments is the perfect start for a minimalist/zero-waste lifestyle -- both habits seem to complement each other logically and perfectly!

Reflecting on my progress so far: I can easily fit ALL of my clothes and accessories into 2 medium suitcases, one small box of sentimental belongings, a sewing machine, guitar, school stuff, and very few room decor items that I use to make my bedroom look like home are all I need.

Now, for some it may seem a mediocre effort so far, but recalling my past self, I look at this list in disbelief that I’ve managed to rid so much excess crap from my life. From having no space in my wardrobe, nor on my bedroom shelves… this 10 week reduction milestone is quite a transformation.

I consider myself thrifty by nature, and although minimalism may require a sense of abstinence in consuming things, I continue to shop only at thrift stores/second hand for things I find that can provide me with adequate attire for certain occasions and cure a bored heart. (I have to admit a pain point for me is the boredom of choosing an outfit out of the limited clothing I now own, when I used to have fun choosing from more options). Although owning less helps me focus on the outside world and be more present and in the moment, I find myself more restricted in self expression through my clothes etc. As I purge more clothing items from my wardrobe because of their lack of value to me, I find a sacrifice of some self expression may follow that item, leaving me to reconsider my previous love for fashion expression. However, I may only be in the early stages of reluctance and resistance in this journey. I am a sucker for adding items to my clothing collection, but am often worried about losing my love for these items, and needing to get rid of them. My crazy sock collection may begin to grow, but has much value to me as the socks I wear reflect my love for quirks and artful expression -- definitely something I would never voluntarily give up!

And, as a zero-waste advocate, my jar of trash fills to half way, and I am reminded of the environmental impact my lifestyle changes have prevented. The jar; glass and see-through, reminds me of what can’t be avoided as trash, and how my zero-waste quest is running along. Perhaps, if the jar fills to the brim, I can assess the items inside, looking for anything I can try to avoid more strictly as I move on to my second jar. It’s a visual learning lesson, and powerful tool when encouraging others to start.

With Christmas approaching in the next week, my excitement bubbles from the possibilities of focussing on my family around me more than what I will be receiving. I now have less space to focus on what I WANT, and more time to focus on what I really NEED.

Merry (giving) Christmas, Happy Holidays, and have a fantastic New Year!

#minimalism #zerowaste #lessrubies #simpleliving