Is charity really the best option?

I’ve been on this Minimalism journey for about a year and a half now and I’ve gotten rid of a ton of stuff, however I still have more to go. Below are some photos of all the things I’ve gotten rid of. This is only a portion of it and includes the bigger items, items I could sell and items which I didn’t want to donate to a charity shop.

Sometimes I’m reluctant to donate certain things to charity stores because I’m not 100% sure that they would want or could sell all the items I wanted to donate (e.g. 4 sample pots of teal coloured wall paint, makeup which had been opened, etc). I feel like one aspect of the Minimalist trend that is often ignored or glazed over is the donation of the massive amounts of items decluttered.

A lot of people feel they are doing a good thing by donating the items and not just throwing it out into landfill. And while I agree with that, I also believe a significant proportion of people don’t critically analyse what it is they’re donating – they’re just eager to get it out of their homes and for it to be someone else’s problem.

By donating things without really assessing their condition or the likelihood that someone else would want it, it then places the burden on the charity to dispose of the items that they can’t sell or use. I didn’t want to be one of those people who feels good about themselves because they’ve just donated their stuff when in actual fact its just an easier way of getting rid of things, without the guilt of putting it in the garbage.

For this reason, all the items below are things I advertised on Gumtree (online marketplace in Australia). 90% of these things I gave away for free. One of the main reasons I decided to use Gumtree rather than donating it to St Vincents or the Smith Family, is because I wanted to give these things to people who would actually want them, who would use them and who would appreciate them. I didn’t want to just dump it in a charity bin and hope that the charity would be able to get rid of it somehow.

I am currently still advertising more items on Gumtree for free because I’m determined to find these items a good home, without it being a burden on anyone else.

No Spend Month: Cigarettes

Depending on how you look at it, this was either a great idea or the dumbest idea ever. I decided to quit smoking the same time I decided to start my no spend month.

Considering one packet of cigarettes (Winfield Gold Optimum Crush 30s) costs around $34-$37 now in Sydney, not smoking will do wonders for my savings account. It also helps with the quitting (in a way) because every time I think about going out and buying cigarettes, I also think “It’s no spend month and ciggies aren’t necessities, so don’t buy them”.

On the other hand, I am literally going crazy. Quitting shopping and smoking at the same time feels like the equivalent of chopping off one of my hands. Because the quitting and the no spend challenge is a “thing” that I’m so conscious of now, I can’t help but think about it. If it wasn’t a “thing”, I think I would’ve actually thought about both shopping and smoking a lot less than I have over the last couple of days. In that way it’s actually making it harder. I know this because I have quit smoking multiple times, so I have previous experience to compare to and usually I’ve quit for at least 3 months and often for 6+ months at a time without too much difficulty. Not only that, but I normally don’t find it difficult for the first month to 6 weeks. It’s always around the 2 months mark that I get cravings and once I get over that point, I’m good until the 6-7 months mark.

Right now I’m at the 2 day mark and I think about it every 10 minutes or so. It is driving me up the wall. I really hope that I can persist with the no smoking and no spend, but at the moment it is very hard to do.

I’ve thought about buying cigarettes at least 12 times while writing this post.

 

No Spend Month

So I start my new job in 2 weeks. Until then I’m living off my own money, which is why I think it’s a good time to try the no spend challenge.

I’ve been trying to cut down my spending over the last 6-9months with slow progress. I have cut down my spending a little and I have improved in that the things I buy are not completely useless. Even with clothes I only keep the items I really love and return everything else.

The rules I’ve set up for myself during this challenge are:

  • No frivolous spending e.g. unnecessary things – mainly clothes, bags, shoes, homewares, decor, kitchenware, gadgets, etc
  • No spending on takeaway food
  • No spending on desserts when eating out
  • No coffees, smoothies, juices, etc

What I can spend on:

  • Necessities e.g. rent, bills, groceries, transport, petrol, medication, etc
  • Experiences e.g. going out with friends, dinners out, brunch, museums, outdoor activities, etc

I know a lot of people who have done the no spend challenge also included going out as part of the challenge, but that’s just not something I wanted to include in mine. This is mostly because I think experiences are worth spending money, time and effort on. These are the things that I’ll remember when I’m old and these are the things that help me spend more time with people that I love.

Also, I don’t go out that often and when I go out I never drink, which means I don’t spend much money anyway.

I’ll make weekly updates on my progress. Hopefully I’ll manage to save some money.

125 and on the decline

I’ve done multiple wardrobe declutters over the last 18 months and I am always amazed at how much I end up donating. Right now I’ve gotten to a point where I have pretty much all my clothes for winter and summer fitting into my wardrobe. I’m pretty proud of this because it used to be that the main two sets of clothing (spring/summer and autumn/winter) were split – one set would be in my wardrobe and the other would be in vacuum sealed bags under my bed.

At the moment I have 125 items of clothing – this includes:

  • Spring, summer, autumn, winter clothes
  • Workwear, going out clothes, casual wear, gym clothes and even a bit of lounge wear (only 2 jumpers that I only wear at home)

What it doesn’t include:

  • Pj’s and home clothes
  • Swimwear
  • Underwear, lingerie, bras, socks
  • Scarves

If I was doing project 333 and I split the 125 between 4 seasons then it’d have roughly 31 pieces per season, which isn’t bad.

But deep down I know I can get rid of a lot more clothes. Today I’ve already found another 4 items of clothing that have barely been worn (one still has a tag on it) and which I’ll be donating.

By June I want to be under 100 items of clothing, which I don’t think will be too difficult. I find that the more I declutter the better I am at it and the easier it gets to let things go. Also, the more space I create the more at peace I feel and that is an amazing motivator to declutter more and more. It also helps me mentally bring a lot of important things to the forefront instead of getting distracted by clutter and my habitual shopping problem.

 

 

Goodbye and Good Riddance

I cannot describe the relief and joy I feel at this moment. His stuff is finally gone. After much coaxing and threats to throw his stuff out on the curb, my ex finally came over tonight and got all his remaining things, including the mattress.

Anyone who has felt the joy and relief from a massive declutter will be able to relate to what I’m feeling now. It’s that feeling x100. The feeling of being mentally and emotionally unburdened is palpable. With his stuff, he is finally out of my life, once and for all.

My heart and my mind feel free and light. I am so thankful.

 

Hello Space, I’ve Missed You

So I’ve been on my minimalist journey for well over a year and a half now and during that time I’ve discovered how much it has come to mean to me and how much I want to be a minimalist.

Last year in September, my boyfriend at the time moved in with me. Now, I live in a small one bedroom apartment so there’s not much space to begin with. When he moved in, he brought over all his stuff….and I nearly had a heart attack.

To be fair, its not like he had a humungous amount of belongings. I’d say it would’ve been the average amount for most people, maybe even a little less. But for me it was like he’d brought a whole department store into my home.

What really made it hard to handle was that he had no interest in minimalism. In fact he was the opposite. He just kept buying more and more stuff (and not even useful things, but things that served no purpose). To top it off, he wasn’t very diligent with cleaning or organising either, so his stuff was everywhere.

I seriously nearly lost my mind. That was when I realised just how important space was to me and how much I needed things to be tidy and organised. Every time he brought something new into the house, I literally had to restrain myself from crash tackling him to the ground and choking him out.

Needless to say, that living arrangement didn’t last long and neither did our relationship. He moved out at the end of December. When he left, I felt such relief – like a heavy weight had been lifted. I also felt free – free to move, free to think, free to be comfortable in my space.

He still has a few things at my place, including a single mattress which is squished up against the wall behind my sofa. This is currently the bane of my existence. I have been asking him to move it for the last few months. I think he is finally going to come get it this weekend. I CAN NOT WAIT for it to be gone.

But one very valuable lesson I learned from all this is that whoever I decide to share my life with needs to be a minimalist, an aspiring minimalist or at the very least, not a maximalist and not someone messy. I can no longer stand clutter in my environment. When I see it and I can’t get rid of it, I feel such strong unease, almost as if I’ve been injected with adrenaline while at the same time being trapped in a very small cage.

Un-Minimalist Moments

I have been very un-minimalist the last couple of days and it kind of makes me cringe a little on the inside.

As I mentioned in one of my previous posts, there was the possibility of me getting a new job that would require a more corporate dress code. Well yesterday the job offer came through and I’ve decided to accept. I’m very excited, but it also means I need to update my work wardrobe a little since I’ve been wearing pretty casual outfits to work for the last 3.5years.

I’ve purchased the following online, but I know for sure I’m not keep all of these items (I won’t know until I receive the orders):

  • 2 x black work pants & 1 x beige work pants – I’ve traditionally worn jeans to work through autumn/winter so I currently only own 1 pair of work pants. Even if I like the pants I purchased, I most likely won’t keep all three pairs – probably just 1 black pair and the beige.
  • 1 x black handbag – for this new job I’ll be catching the bus to work rather than driving my car which means I need a bigger handbag to carry my things in. Right now I have a tiny handbag which only fits my phone, keys, wallet and a small cosmetics bag. Everything else I just keep in my car e.g. jacket, lunch bag, etc
    Screen Shot 2018-04-18 at 11.52.59 am
  • 3 x black high heels – I’ve been wearing black slides for the last year or boots in winter but I feel like they would look too casual for this new work environment. I won’t keep all three pairs of heels, probably just one – I bought 3 because I wanted some options to try on and to be able to pick my favourite.
  • 2 x flat shoes – again this is because I’ll have to walk and catch the bus to work instead of driving so I need some flat shoes to change into for the journey. Right now I actually don’t own any professional/semi-professional looking flat shoes. The only flat shoes I own are thongs (a.k.a flip-flops) or sneakers. Even though I am trying to be a minimalist, I refuse to be one of those people that is dressed in a pencil dress and wearing sneakers.

I also bought myself a Kindle Paperwhite. This partially had to do with the new job in that:

  1. I wanted to get myself a little gift to celebrate getting the new job
  2. I want something I can take with me on the bus to work

I feel a little guilty about buying it because I don’t need it, but I have wanted it for a long time and kept putting it off. However, to make myself feel a bit better about it and also to ensure I make use of the Kindle and read more, I am going to unsubscribe from Netflix. That eases my guilt a little because at least now I know I will use and love my Kindle and I will be saving the money from Netflix to pay for it.

Also following on from my ‘Minimising for Different Seasons‘ post, I’m now going to declutter some more sweaters since I know I won’t be needing them for work anymore. One in, one out – the Minimalist way, right?