A Minimal Millennial – Six Ways to Live With Less

I have spent the last 18 months simplifying my life. As a result, I have been enjoying my experiences, my lifestyle and my choices way more.

As a young twenty something, I find more and more that I am surrounded by the need for ‘more’. More success in the workplace, more technology to help me with my everyday activities, more clothes to make me look better, more to show on social media, and the list goes on.

I found that by forever looking at what I could be doing, and not focusing on the great things I was doing, I became blind to the enjoyment I got with achievements, purchases and adventures. The thing was, it was never enough. I was always comparing it to someone else’s greater achievements and purchases on social media, in real life and on the television.

It was only when I moved house for the third time in the same amount of years, once again hauling boxes and boxes of things up and down stairs, that I started to think about what I was collecting. Why was I spending so much money on things, and missing out on the important experiences I could be having whilst I was still young.

I set about simplifying my life in six different areas, and I felt balanced and happier within a few short weeks. You can easily do this too, and start focusing your attention on what is important once again.

  1. Material Possessions.

I realised that if I was really going to minimise my life successfully, I would need to start by decluttering my home. I didn’t go crazy and start binning items left right and centre (though I was tempted). Instead, I did it in several easy steps.

  • Firstly, I did a tour of the house with three boxes. Bin, Charity and Rehome. Anything I hadn’t used in over a year, that didn’t have sentimental value, had to go into one of these boxes. I will admit I kept quite a bit at this stage as I still had the ‘but what if I need it to do x, y and z mind set’.
  • I waited two weeks before doing it again, and this time I tried to be a little stronger. Did I really need copies of the last two years’ of Vogue magazines? Yes I might have flicked through them now and then, but was it really something I couldn’t find online if I needed to?
  • Next, I tackled the wardrobe. Goodbye old holey leggings that I kept ‘in case’ I did any decorating. You will soon notice a theme here. At this point, I removed everything I hadn’t worn in a year (aside from my couple of ball gowns and wedding dress) and set a reminder to come back and have another look a few months down the line.
  • Kitchen items. I had so many needless utensils, plates and measuring spoons. Boxed up and given to a charity store.
  • I now go back one a month, just to check, do I really need all of this?

If you take the time over a few months to declutter your home, you will really feel the benefit of living in a fuss free environment. It will also free up your purse strings as you stop buying the extra pieces of home clutter that you really don’t need. You just want.

I now have the spare finances to travel more, something that has always been really important to me. More memories, less materialism. It seems like a fair trade off to me.

Less things, more money and time to travel.
Less things, more money and time to travel – Sardinia, 2015.
  1. Diet

I am not saying that I have the best diet in the world, I am all too aware that I am easily swayed by the temptation of a Chinese takeaway on a Friday. One thing I can say though is that I have minimised my consumption of overly processed foods compared to what I used to eat, and the results have been great.

I live by a few simple rules.

  • Less dairy (being Lactose intolerant certainly helps here) however I have encouraged my husband to do the same, and he has noticed some great benefits.
  • As little sugar as possible. Avoiding this sweet additive is hard, but if you need any encouragement as to why you should, I would fully recommend watching Jamie Oliver’s recent documentary.
  • Go green. More cabbage, more kale. Got to love the green veggies.
  • Ditch the packaged products as much as possible. I find that however good they may taste at the time, they make you feel worse for days after. Put in that little extra effort to eat something homemade.

By minimising your intake of processed foods and sugars, you will notice an improved energy level and that you are healthier and happier overall. Try just cutting out one item today, and going from there.

  1. Time for you

Mornings are, and have always been, my favourite part of the day. I find that it is incredibly important to have some time in the morning to do something that matters to me. This is why I have a morning routine that I quite firmly stick to. This way, every day, I know no matter what happens after I have left the house, I know I have achieved something important to me.

I always try to fit in Yoga before I leave the house. It is a time to reflect, exercise and meditate. My husband wakes up even earlier and dedicates his time to writing and digital art. He never used to be a morning person, now he feels that it is his most productive time in the day.

Write down three things that would make your morning better, and start doing them each day. Give yourself that extra hour to focus some time on you. You deserve it.

  1. Pressure

In 2015, people are feeling more under pressure than ever before. Speak to people around you today, I can assure you that at least 50% of them are feeling pressured or stressed in some way.

Firstly, give those stressed people an ear and listen to them and their worries. Then secondly, assess how you are going to escape the ever growing pressure that you face on a daily basis.

I used to feel stressed about a whole range of things. Why do I not look like the women on the covers of Vogue.

Why am I driving this car when ‘x’ over there has a newer shiner model, am I supposed to have that car too?

Why haven’t I been promoted yet. Why don’t I look like that in a bikini. When will I travel there.

When I started to live more minimally, I began to realise that I didn’t care about having the newest material item, I just wanted others to know I had it. I put a stop to wanting something to alleviate pressures I was constructing in my own mind.

I came to realise, that although people may judge me on a day to day basis, they spend more time worrying about their own problems and pressures to give much thought to mine. I decided that I was no longer going to do anything that I felt I ‘needed’ to do to be achieving, but only things I wanted to do.

Yes, I still feel pressured on a daily basis when I see a Instagram photo of a girl in a gorgeous dress, and yes you can’t help but compare .However now I take a minute to take myself away from that feeling and remember what matters to me. £500 on that gorgeous dress so I can wear it and Instagram it too, or £500 travelling and making new memories? The choice is easy.

Nowadays, I feel that my life is more perfect even though I have less. And that’s the beauty of living without pressures.

  1. Work

This topic leads on from the above, as really these days we all feel so ‘pressured’ to do well at work and in the office, we lose sight of what really matters to us.

I have found it important to bear one phrase in mind when it comes to work.

‘If it is causing you distress or to be unhappy, it’s not worth it’

There are too many people in their early twenties, clinging on to jobs that make them miserable because they think there’s no other option. Don’t get yourself stuck in a rut so early on in life.

I love my job, and I think that this helps me feel positive on a daily basis. You should love your job too.

If we are spending eight or more hours a day doing something that makes us miserable or stressed, we are causing damage to our wellbeing. Put in the extra effort now to be where you want to be, and you will see an impact on your life and wellbeing almost instantly.

Do a job you love to go to everyday.
Do a job you love to go to everyday.
  1. Relationships

Take ten minutes to have a good look at the people in your life. Then do these simple things to minimise the influence of negative people around you.

  1. Go through your social media feeds, and remove anyone you are keeping there ‘because you think you should’. Life is too short for this.
  2. Categorise the people in your life into three areas. The good, the bad and the neutral. Spend most of your time with the good and build on meaningful relationships with these. The bad, don’t dwell on them, and don’t focus your energies on thinking about them.

We spend far too much time worrying about what others think to focus on what we are thinking. Care less to experience more.

Let me know if you make any of these changes and the impact they have on you. Start putting yourself first today!

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