So, in the spirit of 2013 so far being the year of my life with the most change so far (most of it good, don’t worry!), I decided this would be the year I embraced Minimalism. Alright, so full disclosure: I haven’t been a giant consumer for a while anyway, and was already a big second-hand shopper (also just general bargain hunter). If I have one vice it’s probably clothes shopping, but as I said, mostly second hand anyway.

So perhaps Minimalism is not revolutionary for me the way it might be if I were, say, some dude who lived in Manhattan with a six-figure job. But, having said that, I decided to do it anyway, because after a bit of pondering, I decided that it may actually have some benefits for me, despite not calling for a massive change in lifestyle — mostly a shift in thinking and taking the last little side-step away from consumerism, as well as dealing with a little clutter. Because despite having a fairly strong gut feeling that consumerism was a fairly big problem in this world (maybe the biggest we face as westerners who have struggled to evolve much further than a new car), I actually did absolutely nothing about this.

Pot, are you there? It’s me, Kettle!

So, hey presto, I did it! As of about a month ago, without much announcement, I became a Minimalist. I, like most people, have my own definition/rules. They are thus:

  1. Don’t buy any new stuff unless it’s really necessary
  2. If it is necessary then get it second-hand (if at all possible)
  3. Slowly downsize the amount of stuff I do have.

So, I’m not doing the big 21-day challenge thing (well, not at this stage, I might change my mind on this later), but again, I was never a six-figure-wall-street dude (although I have begun to sort through and sell some things already). In fact, I already own relatively little, because I’ve moved countries and cities a lot in the last few years, which really encourages you to downsize.

I do remember before I moved to Australia two years ago, the mounting sense of relief I felt with every item I sold. But since my return to New Zealand a year ago, I’ve managed to accumulate a few things. Not too much at this point, but I grew a little concerned when I remembered the snowballing effect of owning more and more stuff and how quickly it can accelerate.

For instance, I lived in Manchester in the United Kingdom for a wee while (and travelled around a few other places in Europe before that), and it took me fifteen minutes to pack all my stuff when I was moving flats. For reals. It was amazing.

When I got back to New Zealand at the end of 2008, my mum kept wanting to buy me things, because nothing I owned was nice enough. I resisted for a while, but then eventually gave in. The kicker was my Granddad’s death in mid-2009. The allure of all that antique furniture and vintage clothing (my grandmother was a sample seamstress during the Great Depression and my Grandfather hadn’t gotten rid of any of her things in the decade since she’d died) was too great a temptation. Later in 2010, I found a growing (and entirely subconscious) dissatisfaction with a year-long relationship led to even greater accumulation of stuff. And I’ve since learned that I had a hint of the sadness-shopper in me, even at the best of times.

So, I have been wary of the accumulation of things since my return to Auckland from Australia at the end of 2011. It’s been happening, slowly but surely.

This time, I’m gonna nip it in the bud. Expect more on this topic.