It is difficult to write a blog about minimalism without describing it in some way at some point.  So, exactly what does it mean​ to me and what do I want to achieve with minimalism?

Recently I have read many a blog that describes it.  Most accurately for me is that minimalism is letting go of the non-essentials and focusing on the feel good moments, people and, yes, things.  In doing so, I practice minimalism, in turn being more mindful rather than mindless.

In the last week I have been practicing minimalism whilst taking some planned time off work.  For me, this has meant applying five principles.

Principle 1 – Living with Less

The week started with a trip to York, with a stop off in Leeds.  Now, usually, when we use the car as our mode of transport for trips we take advantage of the space and pack several bags with just in case items and possibly things we aren’t going to use.  This time, for a four night break, we took just one bag and my handbag.

Included in the bag for me was:

  • 5 tops
  • 1 denim shirt
  • 1 long lightweight cardigan
  • 1 dress
  • 1 pair leggings
  • 1 pair jeans
  • 1 pair ankle boots
  • 1 pair trainers
  • Make-up

For the husband:

  • 6 t-shirts
  • 1 pair jeans
  • 2 pairs trainers

We also both had a wash bag and underwear (of course!).

Our stopover in Leeds included catching a football game so two hours in the cold required a long pair of boots for me and a couple of warm layers for us both that could be worn over the tops.  Anyone can see that we had more than enough to see us through in that one bag.  

In all, I am pleased with the attempt and it has given me confidence to pack well for a trip to London in May when we won’t have the luxury of the car as we are traveling by train

Principle 2 – Un-busy Days

Whilst we had a rough plan of how we wanted to spend our days away, we generally went with the flow.  We set the morning alarm for a time that would allow us to make the most of the day but then leisurely readied ourselves.  One morning we even watched the football highlights in bed with a cup of tea!

Slow mornings were followed by slow days.  We had looked into going on a couple of walking tours but decided that if we weren’t​ in the area when they started then no problem, do it some other time.

No trip to York would be complete without walking the walls.  It’s free to do and there are some great online resources giving you information on what you can see from up there.  This one in particular I found really good.

Our trip, I confess, was mostly centered around visiting historic buildings, and when I say buildings the majority were pubs!  They are quite beautiful to look at and at 600 years old some of them have seen many a life, conspiracy, and wrong doing.  A good number are also haunted but thankfully we didn’t see any ghosts.

The Black Swan Inn built in 1417 for the Lord Mayor if York
St William’s College, originally built for chantry priests attending nearby York Minster

Principle 3 – Focus on the Important People

When we arrived back in our hometown, the sun was shining and, although a little chilly, we decided what better way to enjoy Spring’s attempts than to take a walk.  We finished up at my parents house and a quick catch up turned into a great evening spent with family.  It was completely unexpected and all the better for it.

Principle 4 – Getting Rid of the Non-essentials

With a couple more free days available of my leave time, I got down to the serious business of rooting out all of the unloved and unused items from my wardrobes and drawers.  I have needed to create more space for the items I love for some time now as the constant struggle to try and fit everything in has been getting overwhelming.  More on that in tomorrow’s post.

Principle 5 – More Considered Purchases

In conjunction with deciding whether or not I need something, I’ve also started to look harder at the effect it has on nature in all it’s forms.  In particular this weekend I have been looking into the make-up and beauty products I use to determine whether the product or the ingredients are ethically tested and resourced.  This is still in the research stage at the moment and so I will be looking to write a post on my findings in the future.

Summary

So there you have it.  Those are the principles of minimalism that I have been applying this week.  Did I miss any?

Ear worm: Point of view, DB Boulevard

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