Minimalism...a better way of life?

38 posts in this topic

It’s interesting to see that there is a growing trend towards minimalism. More people are rejecting constant advertising and consumerism in general. Shocking how much advertising is aimed at children. ‘Stuff’ doesn’t really make us happy.
 

I’ve been very minimalistic over the last 20 years, partly out of financial necessity and partly choice.  Choice has taken over. However, my husband is far less so! He is coming round to a new way of thinking, not just due to the corona induced financial necessity. Now that we have a newly ‘empty nest’, we aim to clear our house of anything we no longer need.  It would be nice to recycle some cash though it seems very difficult to sell or even give things away. I now better understand why so many of our elderly neighbours just end up disposing so much that could be useful to others.


We found this documentary very interesting... ‘People dedicated to rejecting the American ideal that things bring happiness are interviewed in this documentary showing the virtues of less is more.‘

 

 

I did however make the big mistake of clicking on ‘Mari Kondo’ on Netflix and now don’t know where to start with our big declutter! 
 

Does anyone else feel that life would improve with less ‘stuff’? What would you clear out? No humans or animals!

 

 

6

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I cleaned out our pantry cabinet the other day and, right now, Himself is cleaning out the spice cabinet. We are getting rid of a lot of stuff we don't use. It is a beginning.

 

At the end of each season, I donate all the clothes that I didn't wear that year. That makes my wardrobes more manageable. 

 

Now you have inspired me to do more!

3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 minutes ago, fraufruit said:

At the end of each season, I donate all the clothes that I didn't wear that year. That makes my wardrobes more manageable. 

 

Now you have inspired me to do more!

Ah, yes, the wardrobe...mine has magically shrunk most items that I’ve kept for years, and whilst I sometimes believed that I too would shrink accordingly, I must face the sad truth that that just won’t happen...ever! Off it will all go!

 

When my daughter moved out last week, I packed lots of food from our pantry so at least that’s one area of our home that’s sorted.  Marmite was packed too!

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ah, Marie Kondo! At first I laughed at her  " Does this bring you joy" mantra. But this helped me focus while de-cluttering.

There is a relief to clearing out cupboards, and realising I do not need, use, want to keep items.

Marie is spot on when she describes categories- start with clothes, and leave the photos and personal memories till last.

Winter is a good time to do more clearing out!

4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think her 'spark joy' thing, along with her useful categories, is also very helpful for removing guilt from the job.

 

Until her somewhat naff mantra, I did feel that clearing out was not something I could do because it always felt hard. Now there is light at the end of the tunnel - if I can truly say that it sparks joy, then it's a no-brainer, it stays, no guilt at keeping clutter. The process is however ongoing, so if the thing in question ceases to spark joy, out it goes.

 

Not painful. Brilliant. 

 

Agree her categories are super, too.

 

4 hours ago, emkay said:

I now better understand why so many of our elderly neighbours just end up disposing so much that could be useful to others.

 

Oh gosh, yes. It's so difficult to do properly. Easy is to get a skip/order bulk rubbish and chuck it all, so much harder to re-home things sensitively.

2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a love it or throw it mantra. I can't think of anything I own that "sparks joy" or that I couldn't live without. Just some sentimental things but I've gotten pretty good at tossing some of those as well.

 

With borderline items, I tell myself I can buy it again if needed.

3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have taken minimalism seriously for years and subscribe to “You don’t own your stuff. It owns you.”  I moved over here with two suitcases, left some things with a friend, and have brought a few things over on subsequent trips.  Around the corner from my Wohnung is a great second hand store (Caritas) and we snarfed some good furniture and other items there. The place is filled with things like china sets.  I also use the method that when I buy something new I take something else out.  I see Germans collecting like Americans and having to purge.  It’s a hallmark of wealth I believe, as I see the opposite whenever I visit my family in Armenia.  

4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, emkay said:

It would be nice to recycle some cash though it seems very difficult to sell or even give things away. I now better understand why so many of our elderly neighbours just end up disposing so much that could be useful to others.

I don't understand this - it is not our recent experience at all. 

Second hand shops should take most stuff and the stuff that they can't sell goes into clothes containers and taken off for further sorting at charity depots for shipment to other countries etc. 

We've had a partial clear out and a friend who recently moved here with just two suitcases and very few winter clothes took oodles of stuff for himself as well as five trips to the second hand shop with further trips pending.

The only thing the shop refused were DVDs and books that weren't in German. So these went to the library or book-crossing shelves locally. 

 

Of everything that was cleared out (and we have still two rooms to do later in the year), I'd say less than 1% of stuff had to be disposed of. 

 

Another option is putting stuff outside with a sign on saying free to take. Around here some stuff you put out goes pretty quickly. 

Some Germans near to the border cross into Switzerland to have a look through when there's the oversize rubbish collection and take things home with them. :)

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, lunaCH said:

I don't understand this - it is not our recent experience at all. 

Second hand shops should take most stuff and the stuff that they can't sell goes into clothes containers and taken off for further sorting at charity depots for shipment to other countries etc. 


Around here, there aren’t any charity shops other than a once per month clothing sale at a church. From what I’ve heard from our neighbours, Caritas don’t normally collect. eBay Kleinanzeigen is a bit hit and miss too.
 

A few years ago when I volunteered at a local Tierheim, helpers were tasked to clear a house that was gifted to them upon the death of a local wealthy lady. EVERYTHING had to go in skips!  Except, any item that anyone wanted to take with them. The three storey house was filled with all manner of collectibles. All of us helpers were just horrified.  The Tierheim manager said that she had tried to donate the house contents though the hassle factor was too high and she’d run out of time before the house sale. They hired 6 enormous containers that apparently cost around 5,000€ each. A whole container just for books and records.  Very sad. 

4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 minutes ago, emkay said:

 The Tierheim manager said that she had tried to donate the house contents though the hassle factor was too high and she’d run out of time before the house sale.

I don't believe that the manager was telling the truth or made a proper effort. Sales are not ever that quick and you can also sell property with the contents - so there was no need to trash everything at all. :rolleyes: The story though is indeed horrifying. :angry:

 

Where we used to live our neighbour at the age of 95 was bundled off against completely her will into an old people's home, the flat was emptied a few months later by a house clearance firm - everything was tossed over the balcony into the garden - and from the second floor naturally everything smashed up upon hitting the lawn, so was all just trashed. The only people who could keep things were the 3 workers doing the clearing. :angry:

 

When we moved in to our current place, we were given the opportunity to buy a washing machine and tumble dryer, which we did. If we hadn't have done, the owner would have trashed them into a skip as he was moving into a smaller place and didn't have room for them, whilst none of his family needed them. We're still using both appliances to date.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, lunaCH said:

Second hand shops should take most stuff and the stuff that they can't sell goes into clothes containers and taken off for further sorting at charity depots for shipment to other countries etc. 

 

I saw a report on German TV a few months ago that most donated clothing is shredded anyway. One reason was that lots of donated clothes are of minor quality and another reason was second hand clothes are not all that welcome in African countries because it's competitive to their own clothing manufacturing industry. 

 

16 hours ago, BethAnnBitt said:

I have taken minimalism seriously for years 

 

Me too. I also hate wasting food. 

4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 minutes ago, bramble said:

I saw a report on German TV a few months ago that most donated clothing is shredded anyway. One reason was that lots of donated clothes are of minor quality and another reason was second hand clothes are not all that welcome in African countries because it's competitive to their own clothing manufacturing industry. 

I saw something similar recently. You're right - a lot of it might well be disposed of. But my understanding is at least it has all gone through a proper sorting process - so some stuff has gone on sale, is bought and money is made for charity. Also some of what is collected by charities goes to refugees in Europe and not to Africa - this is particularly true of winter garments. 

 

https://www.beobachter.ch/umwelt/altkleidersammlungen-schlagen-alarm-so-kann-es-nicht-weitergehen confirms what you said about the low quality.

 

However a house clearance is more about furniture and other objects which definitely can be used/sold still, rather than clothes. ;)

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, bramble said:

Me too. I also hate wasting food. 

 

 

Yep... its my biggest gripe about the discounter stores...  They do not cater for or think about the single people !!   Yes, I would like to buy just 1 chicken breast as 2 would be too much for me... and my freezer tends to be for shop prepped food and not for freezing what I've just made... 

 

Even in the Barn conversion, I am using old materials...   Wooden beams from old demolished barns /houses etc...  Tiles that have sat in someones celler for decades.... I even made door frames from reclaimed timber

 

But what does "mínimalistic"  actually mean?         1 spoon,? one cup?, one chair ? one pair of shoes ?

3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 minutes ago, SpiderPig said:

one chair ? 

And what if you have a visitor?

21 minutes ago, SpiderPig said:

one pair of shoes ?

Not healthy for the feet. Different shoes for different days and different seasons.

21 minutes ago, SpiderPig said:

1 spoon?

You'd need to keep rinsing it and you'd end up using more water - which is wasteful. 

 

These things can be taken too far. Minimising yes, but living entirely minimalistic is really hard to achieve. And people who try it, do they actually manage to keep it up for long? 

Regularly reducing the amount of stuff we have is good, - regularly passing things on to others by way of donating to charity is also good. Once the clearing out has been done, enjoy the free space - and don't go out to buy more stuff. :)

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simple_living#Reducing_consumption,_work_time,_and_possessions

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 minutes ago, SpiderPig said:

Even in the Barn conversion, I am using old materials...   Wooden beams from old demolished barns /houses etc...  Tiles that have sat in someones celler for decades... I even made door frames from reclaimed timber

Yes. Your pictures of it are amazing. It's beautiful. I have a close friend who redid the inside of a small 1920s bungalow the same way. Kudos!

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, lunaCH said:

I don't believe that the manager was telling the truth or made a proper effort. Sales are not ever that quick and you can also sell property with the contents - so there was no need to trash everything at all. :rolleyes: The story though is indeed horrifying. :angry:

 

The house in question was around 400sqm and absolutely packed from top to bottom. Sadly, the lady had acquired a hoarding and online buying habit before her death that also left her financially destitute.  Apparently dealers were invited before the big clear out, poked around a little only to leave with nothing or a single item. The house sale was quick on the condition that it was fully cleared.  Distant peeved relatives also ‘broke in’ one night and took obvious valuables such as jewellery and a vintage Jaguar. So, the Tierheim were also dealing with this issue with the police.  I remember the sound of a huge collection of crystal hitting the skip floor!

3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We are in the process of decluttering the Kellar in order to build a home office. Quite a bit of success with eBay Kleinanzeige and zu verschenken - we put  up unused boxes of tiles and they were gone within minutes. A guy thought we had more and wanted to drive from Bremen to collect them! Also garden tools and metal. We had quite a lot of childrens things that we made into a job lot - the lady who came brought a big bag of apples that she had picked from her garden which was nice.  A carpet took a while to shift though.

 

Furniture is almost impossible to give away. It works both ways though - the home office desk and lamp came from eBay also so we helped someone else's decluttering :rolleyes:

3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, pmd said:

Furniture is almost impossible to give away.

You can put it outside with a sign on (depending where you live, might not be possible in some areas or if you're in a block of flats) saying 'free to take'. 

If no luck with that, there are charities or second hand shops that have vans and come to collect stuff that they deem as saleable. Some still take stuff it is not thought that it could be sold and instead recycle it for you for a small fee. Worth a try before you actually trash it.

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just recently I helped an elderly couple to get rid of settee because it was making their manoevering with walking frame tricky since placed quite in the middle of the room. Had been expensive. Full leather, including back.. Spotless kept. Not too old. Called charities first and found out that at least here the charities expect you to bring your furniture. No picking up.

5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now