What Items Are Worth Investing In When Moving Often?

Over the last two weeks, I have started to pack for a big house move. It’s different this time for several reasons, one being that the house we are leaving is the place we have stayed the longest as a couple. Therefore, we’ve gathered a little bit more than usual over the last three years.

Note – I have nearly packed all my possessions and the rooms still look pretty full, which shows the dynamic of my relationship with stuff vs. my husbands!

One thing, which has made me think, is what has made me keep the possessions I have decided to hold on to. With all the minimising, and living with less, how have some goods retained their longevity when it comes to need and use?

We are really fortunate to have and cherish all the below. This is why I think it makes all of it even more valuable from a personal perspective.

Below is a collection of the items I have kept, repeatedly purchased or invested in over time. They will follow me around for years. I would love to hear about what ‘things’ you have that you will treasure forever or have invested in over the years. What would you class as your ‘keepers’?

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A quality, capsule wardrobe

Find your personal style, buy good quality over quantity, and consider the impact of trend, fashion or impulse buying on the planet, on people and on animals.

I have a set series of items in colours, cuts and styles that I know suit my body shape and frame. They can easily be mixed and matched, and it makes getting ready in the morning much easier.

If you don’t know what your style is, find you keep buying clothes you end up hating months later, or experience a regular wardrobe rotation, use this guide here to define it.

When I buy clothes I buy for good, not to fit in with the new seasons must-have trend.

A good coat, gloves and hat

Following on from the above, nothing can bring an outfit together more in the winter than a quality coat, pair of faux-leather gloves and a hat.

If you invest in a winter coat you should have something that can last you for a decade. Dry clean it each year, and store in a dry place ready for the colder season to come around again.

Want to mix it up, buy two or three and rotate them over a long period of time, rather than one ‘on-trend’ throwaway jacket a year.

Well-made candles

I light a candle almost daily. I use them as part of my bedtime routine, when I am soaking in the bath and when I am entertaining over Winter.

Locally made candles are my go-to when I buy for myself, however many of my bigger candles tend to be gorgeous gifts and last for months.

Cruelty-free, good quality, face creams, room sprays and bath oils

Spend a little more on your face when you are younger, and you’ll have to spend a whole lot less as you get older. Unless you are happy aging gracefully and naturally, which is brilliant.

Personally, I like to invest in good quality serums and creams to keep my skin clear, moisturised and feeling soft. My favourites are The Ordinary Range for face serums. Nuxe dry oil spray, and Dr Hauschka Soothing Cleanser.

For room sprays, a scent can quickly calm and sooth, especially Lavender pillow spray.

For bathing, I am a huge fan of the Neal’s Yard bath oil range.

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Plants

When my husband first started coming home with plant after plant I was a little apprehensive. Now however, we have over 15 houseplants and a little vegetable garden. Watering, spritzing and tending to them daily is so calming. Plants can be quite expensive if you struggle to keep them alive, so I would advise you buy one at a time and make sure you can tend to and care for them before buying another.

Art (ish)

We don’t have masterpieces to rival the Louvre in our little home, but what we do have is priceless to us.

A painting of our favourite bay by my talented mother-in-law. A print of York, the city we have called home for five years from our brother. A wedding present from our Best Man.

All the little photos, hand painted prints from our travels and commissioned pieces hang on our walls and not only tell a story themselves, but are filled with memories on where they have come from.

Bedding

You can never underestimate the power of high quality bedding. Years ago we moved from cheap and cheerful Ikea duvets to a set we got when we were gifted as a wedding present, and it marked the point of no return!

Sleep is so important, and I personally love my Sunday mornings reading in bed with a coffee. If you are able to, invest in a quality duvet of at least 400-thread count in a breathable fabric.

Books

Something I buy regularly, and will always treasure.

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Dinnerware and Tableware

We are fortunate to have a gorgeous collection of dinnerware that has been passed down from various strands of the family in different patterns of blue toile.

This inspired my love of collecting old but beautiful strands of other table and glassware.

They don’t all match, they certainly are not part of a wider collection, but they evoke a lot of memories, and together all their differences come together and make it just…work.

Tech

It’s a given, but we have quite a bit of technology around our house. Both working in digital, and one of us being incredibly creative (clue: not me) means that we have a small selection of cameras, laptops, drawing tablets.

Without them, we wouldn’t be able to do what we both love to do (write, design and work in data) as easily.

Simple, but sentimental, jewellery

I may not have a large jewellery collection, in fact it’s really quite small, but each and every item means something important to me.

Nearly every item I have kept for a long time was gifted to me by someone special, passed down or handmade for me.

Now I wear jewellery sparingly, but meaningfully. If I perhaps suited the layered rings and necklaces look it may be a different story!

 

Minimalist Insider: Living with someone who loves stuff

For the last four years, I have shared several different apartments, houses and rooms with someone who doesn’t live minimally. Not too long ago I received a lovely email from a blog reader asking if I could share some tips and lessons from living with someone who doesn’t practice a minimalist way of life.

I emailed her back with some advice, but also thought this could be something that others are interested in.

So here it goes, my take on living minimally with a partner / child / roommate who does not:

I live as a minimalist. I have removed the clutter and distractions from my day to day life. My rooms are filled with items which enrich my life but don’t give off a bad energy take time to clean, rearrange or take up space. I don’t spend money on materialistic goods for the home, but only the furnishings I need.

However I also share this space with my husband, a non-minimalist, who loves his material goodies and has a particular fondness for antique chests, coins, fossils and other intriguing collectables. He is also a collector of hobbies and therefore switches between pro-squash player, chess champion and keen whittler each week.

So how do we share a space?

We realise that in order to be happy we need to be able to fill our life with what is important to us.

Writing, photography, having time to myself and working digitally is important to me. Oh and getting my caffeine fix!

Tennis, other various hobbies, collecting things, gaming, films, eating good food, graphic design and being creative are important to him.

Together we both love our cats, reading, spending time with loved ones and travelling.

Grey and White Living Room

So our shared space and ways of experiencing and living life reflects all of the above. We have a minimalist-ish home. The bookshelves are still filled with reams of books, there’s a cabinet of curious items in the study, and there’s the odd Star Wars toy or Xbox game dotted about. However we both have agreed to not spend money on materialistic home items as our shared passion is travelling.

Therefore, by living with less we can see and experience a whole lot more.

The bits I would personally view as clutter, we have found inventive and decorate ways to store them which please us both. Chests for memories and sentimental items, cabinets for quirky curious collectables, and shelves for games and books.

There’s no set formula for living with someone who isn’t a minimalist. You need to ensure you can compromise and above all else you prioritise their happiness and uniqueness over the need for white space.

We work with a principle that if either of us think something in the home is:

  • Functional
  • Sentimental
  • Enriching our life

It stays, end of discussion.

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However below are some top tips for people who might be looking for a bit of advice for living with someone who isn’t a minimalist:

  1. Appreciate why they are not a minimalist, and ask them to do the same with you. If you love and respect them, and vice versa, you will be able to find a natural way to cohabit to meet both your needs.
  2. Use unique storage solutions to keep the sentimental and collectable items in the home. They are still there, they can still be on show, but they have a home and a place.
  3. Agree on how you both want to spend your money and ensure what you spend it on enriches your own lives and fulfils your priorities. So if you don’t want to spend £100 on new cushions to match the colour scheme, voice it, but appreciate that your partner might want to. You need to find even ground.
  4. Have a joint big declutter, and see how you can both work together to build a minimal but functional home.
  5. Appreciate what matters. Think about what you will remember when you are older, and then talk between you about what your dreams and priorities are.

 

Insider: A Look Inside My ‘Minimalist’ Home

Often when people visit my home, they are a little taken aback by the décor and detail in each room. If you haven’t met anyone who has subscribed to a minimalist lifestyle before, you’d probably think that they live with the bare necessities and not much more.

For me, living minimally isn’t about ruthlessly counting the number of items I have in my home. I don’t subscribe to living with three t-shirts, one plate and one cup like a lot of people do. It might work well for them and if it does that’s great, but it wouldn’t work for me.

Instead, I live with what I see as necessary. In order for an item to remain in my house it has to be either:

  • Functional
  • Something that enriches my life
  • Sentimental (to a point)

I could easily move about my home and explain why I have each and every item. So yes, you can expect to find candles around the rooms. Not for decorative clutter, but because candles help me to unwind after a long hard day. I like to light them all, put on classical music and unwind with a book.

I have photos on the walls and in frames, because I love seeing friends and family members across my home. Making memories and spending time with loved ones is one of my top priorities in life, and seeing these reminders of good times each day makes me realise what I need to focus my time on.

If something isn’t useful, or if I feel a room is getting a little too busy, I do reassess my situation.

Around three times a year I take a box and put everything in one room into it (aside from the big pieces of furniture) and if I think about it within a month, I take it out and put it back.

If I don’t think of it, I donate it to charity or sell it online.

Additionally, my home has a colour theme, so this helps ensure everything within it can move from one room to another. Great for reducing waste.

Pink and Grey Minimal Bedroom

Does your home need decluttering? Are you accumulating so many things which just line your shelves collecting dust?

Perhaps you could firstly choose one room and box every non-functional item up. Hide it away for a month, and only take out things you miss or need.

Everything else, donate to charity or sell.

Then start theming your home using this post here.

Lastly, going forward, only buy with purpose. Do you really need that 10th scatter cushion? Think of how that £25 could be spent instead. On a meal out, on a day trip with friends.

Make more memories, invest in less stuff, and see if you become happier and live a more meaningful life.

Inside my Minimalist Home:

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Theming Your Home: Minimising Your House For Clutter Free Living

I have moved house six times in the last five years. From Nottingham to Scotland, Belgium to Scarborough, and then finally settling in York.

One of the most valuable things that I have learned which has made each of these moves as painless and fuss free as possible is that if you theme your whole house, organising, unpacking and arranging your new home comes naturally.

If you choose to centre your home on a few key elements and colours that you love, it becomes incredibly easy to rearrange rooms, move furnishings between spaces and easily adapt to the new spaces which you are given.

Even if you don’t move regularly, a themed home allows you to move items as needed from room to room, thus minimising the need for waste. You don’t need to buy new cushions for the spare room, as you can easily borrow from another space. You don’t need to worry about lampshades suddenly not matching when you redecorate, or the need for new curtains.

By theming your home, you reduce the need to buy, therefore saving you time and money to spend on experiences and moments which you will remember. New curtains as the room has been decorated, or a weekend camping with the family?

Now I am not saying you need to live in a house without character, without colour and without personality. You can theme your home using any palette you like, as long as you can move items between spaces easily. Think complementing colours, timeless rather than trend setting furniture, and neutrals for accessories which can live anywhere.

As you theme your home, you also tend to have less clutter. You don’t need to buy bedding in every shade to match each room and end up with enough to service a small hotel. As your rooms also look more ‘matching and together’, you also notice the noise from the excess much more.

One of the biggest misconceptions people have when it comes to minimising your home is that you need to remove everything from your surfaces and walls. They see it as having no photos on the fireplace, no books on the shelves. This isn’t the case.

A home which has been minimised can contain any number of items. They just need to be either:

  • Functional
  • Sentimental
  • Has a purpose

So you certainly don’t need 12 towels in a household of two. But you might want the vase full of flowers on the coffee table, because for you, it has a purpose. It brightens up that room.

My home is themed with a simple colour palette. And my rooms are filled with the things that matter to me.

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It makes moving things between spaces so easy. It also means I have less waste from things in the home as anything can go anywhere.

How to start theming your home

  • Start simple, find three things you love in each room, and use these as the basis for your theme.

Take the living room for example. It might be a painting, the sofa and your vintage footstool. What do they have in common, can you begin to start theming everything you purchase for that room around these items?

  • It takes time to properly theme your home, so don’t worry about doing it overnight. It’s taken me five years and I am almost there.
  • Choose a colour palette, and try to keep major items within this so that they have flexibility around the home.
  • Take an hour to reduce the clutter which is already taking up some of your space.

Then when you’re done, sit back and relax and enjoy your new fuss-free, limited waste environment.

Tomorrow – Tackle Your Junk Drawer

30 days minimalism