HOW PRACTICING MINIMALISM HAS HELPED ME + MY NEW MINIMAL OFFICE REVEAL
I’ll be honest, this post started out as something completely different, It started out as a minimal office reveal but I found myself writing more about my own journey with minimalism so far and now it’s out there, I felt like it would be a shame to remove it, so please accept my apologies if this isn’t quite what you were expecting.
The true meaning of minimalism goes well beyond the things that we buy.
Until the 1st January 2017, I had no idea what ‘minimalism’ entailed. After seeing in the new year the night before, I decided to spend the first day of 2017 with a good old Netflix binge. Sat their scrolling through the endless list of things to watch, my attention landed upon a title called ‘Minimalism: A Documentary About The Important Things’. I read through the description and thought it sounded like something good to pass the time and so I pressed play. One hour and nineteen minutes later, I felt like I had just had an epiphany! I had resonated with every single word that had been said in the documentary and I felt like ‘Minimalism’ was exactly what I needed in my life.
This year was the first year, I had not made a new years resolution. I want to say it was because I don’t believe in resolutions and all the BS but in truth it was because I just didn’t know what I wanted anymore? I had wrote about how I had faced my own version of a midlife crisis last year and how I was going to make it my primary focus to find more enjoyment, but I have to be honest I was struggling. I was still so caught up in the past and everything that had happened in the last year or so. I felt like Minimalism could be exactly what I needed in order to start focusing on the future.
After watching the documentary I went straight to the Minimalists blog, scoured all their essays and was delighted to learn they had a podcast. I went on to spend hours and hours listening to their advice on how to de-clutter – both physically and mentally, setting goals and prioritizing. Minimalism to me wasn’t just about getting rid of stuff, it was more about getting rid of things that held me in the past and stopped me from moving forward. Yes it did mean, I got rid of a lot of thing, 6 car trips full of stuff that went straight to the charity shop to be exact (and I’m still not finished!) but I noticed a difference in my way of thinking almost immediately. I moved on to de-cluttering my phone, removing apps that served no purpose and clearing out my inbox.
Within 31 days, my stress levels have reduced significantly, my anxiety is no longer waking me up at night and I am using my time so much more effectively. Removing pacifiers such as Facebook and resisting the urge to binge on even more Netflix has led me to work differently, making time for me to pursue my hobby of wildlife photography and blogging and I have even started yoga!
More importantly this clarity of mind has allowed me to focus more on my health. Today will mark 40 days of being Vegan (I have always been vegetarian), Gluten Free and sugar free, something I would never have had the strength or willpower to do before adopting a minimalist approach. This change has been the most beneficial to me, as a sufferer from Endometriosis, it was suggested that a dairy free, gluten free and sugar free diet might help to combat the chronic pain I was experiencing. Although the symptoms have not gone completely I am still noticing a difference, the pain is less frequent and more manageable, which is life changing for me. I’ve spent way less time this past month curled up on the sofa with a hot water bottle than I did previously and I can finally think about moving forward rather than worrying that my illness might stop me in my tracks.
Of course, there is still a long way to go, but for now, I finally feel like I’m back in control and that makes me really really happy.
Finally, a few words on my office.
I actually started the process of redecorating my small box home office back in the summer of last year. By October I had finally finished painting and adding the finishing touches and had planned on sharing the reveal with you in November, but I just wasn’t happy with the results. So I decided to move to the bigger spare room next door. Again I started the process of painting all the walls white and adding in all the furniture but now I didn’t feel like I had enough to fill the much larger space, so again I put off sharing the reveal.
Now of course, being a practicing minimalist I am more than happy to have the bare space, in fact I love having large areas of nothingness, however being a crafter has made the practice a little more difficult. If you like to DIY you know how easy it is to hoard a ton of crafting materials ‘just in case’. Before embarking on the minimalism challenge I could have easily filled to chests of drawers with all my materials, so I made a deal with myself. I could keep the things I knew I was always going to use, i.e chalk paints, spray paints, my brand new Cricut Explore Air 2, colored card, vinyls and window cling but anything else that I hadn’t used in the last 90 days was a ‘just in case’ item and so it could go.
Now I feel like my office is everything! A clear space for me to think clearly, be creative, relax and do yoga. My favourite thing about the whole room now has to be the pink filing cabinet which I painted myself. A dear friend of mine runs a chalk paint company called Vintage Rocks. I used some of her paint samples in the past and knew it would be the perfect paint for what I had in mind. Unfortunately, they didn’t stock the kind of pink I had wanted but not one to disappoint, Emma advised I mix the flaxen chalk paint with Mineral to get the colour I was after and I was super impressed, the colour turned out better than I could have imagined. I was a little dubious about using the chalk paint on steel but I was surprised by how easy it went on. In fact I should probably say goodbye to you now because once you head over there to check out the paints you will be lost in all the beautiful colors and you might not want to come back.
In case you are still here, I thought I would let you know that we are are now in the process of minimizing and redecorating our bedroom to reflect a similar style. Lots of white, lots of space and lots of minimalism, if there is such a thing? I have already got rid of 2 chests of drawers and now I am on the hunt for the perfect paint for my wooden bed frame which I plan on up-cycling, instead of buying new.
So tell me, have you heard of minimalism? What are your thoughts? I’d love to know what you think of my new look office.