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Minimalism and Becoming a Minimalist: Jess’ Update

Author: Guest Post

Back in September guest writer Jess joined us to chat about minimalism and her plan to cut down on buying non-essentials for a whole year. As a fellow White Company and Cox and Cox addict this intrigued me and I will be following her journey with interest. Over to Jess to find out how she’s been getting on.

So I’m Jess a whole month into my year of no buying and all is going well (read: I haven’t broken the rules yet), but it has been challenging and eye-opening in equal measure.

The biggest challenge is breaking old habits – when I’m tired, bored or just fancy a pick-me-up, shopping is my go-to, so I’ve become really aware of that. I also seem to have spent the past month locked in debates with people telling me that they don’t understand why I’m doing it or they think I’ll fail (that’s super helpful, thanks!) or that I don’t need to do this – I should just relax and buy a little less rather than go cold turkey. Or my favourite: people sending me photos of what they’ve bought or trying to convince me that I need to buy something (that I really don’t). Basically, people seem more bothered than I am that I’m doing this and that’s been interesting.

What I have learned already is that I have too much stuff. Yes, I knew this but I didn’t really KNOW this if you know what I mean? I’ve been selling some of the excess in the past few weeks, and the more space I make, the better it feels. I forgot how real space feels. I also appreciate quality more – I’m wearing stuff that I actually love, that fits and feels good. My two favourite insights in the past few weeks have been 1) that despite all of my cleansers, my actual favourite cleanser is a £10 high street one, and 2) out of all my lipsticks, one of my favourite ready-in-a-rush looks is simply Vaseline with a Rimmel lip pencil. For someone with a LOT of lipsticks, this is an important (lip lined) point that will change my purchasing patterns going forwards.

So overall? The month has gone well. But I know my limits. I didn’t dare even look at the Cox and Cox sale (I’m only four weeks in so can’t get cocky) and when I went into The White Company sale I literally ran through the ground floor without looking up, got in the elevator, went to the children’s department and bought the pyjamas I wanted for my daughter for Christmas. I then told every single sales assistant about this challenge so they all knew the deal (there’s strength in numbers!). I actually felt pretty good walking out of there with just the pyjamas I went in there for… and at half the price! So all in all a success, but I feel with Christmas looming, the difficult part is just about to begin! On that note, The White Company privilege card catalogue has just come through the door. To open or not?


Image by Adam Crohill of Rebecca’s Minimalist Home Tour

A guest contribution from one of our readers.

13 thoughts on “Minimalism and Becoming a Minimalist: Jess’ Update

  1. People are bothered because what you’re doing holds a mirror to their own shopping habits/exces. It’s a good thing that they’re bothered as it means you’re making them think a little at least.

    1. Thanks Siobhan, that’s such a great point. It’s been hard as a few people have been really trying to pressure me into buying stuff! Really interesting insight into human nature.

  2. Following your last post I binned my White Company and Boden catalogues when they came in! I have also really been thinking about what matters to me, and stuff isn’t one of them. I love make up and beauty but sometimes feel I needlessly spend on them to make myself feel better. “Mindfully” shopping (or not) has led to us being able to save £500 last month alone, which is shocking when I actually type that out!! I’ve recently joined Slimming World and am on a clothes purchasing ban until I can fit into some of the things that have become a bit snug in the past few months. I have started finding that a clearer house leads to a clearer mind which as someone dealing with PND has been hugely helpful. Well done Jess! x (sorry for the long post!!)

    1. Wow, Marie Anne, your comment has made my day! I’m so pleased and amazed to hear this… £500 that’s amazing! You should feel so proud of yourself! At this rate you could have an extra holiday or two a year. I’m putting extra money into stuff like yoga or… I’m super excited about this… a chiropractor. My body is in so much pain from being so petite and spending the last three years rocking a child of some sort that a chiropractor has always been a distant luxury in my mind but I’ve decided I’m doing it with the money I save. And yes to a clearer house and a clearer mind – go us!

      1. Be careful with a chiropractor – direct pressure on neck/spine is not good and those cracks that they use to signify putting you back in alignment are nonsence and really not good for your back.

  3. I think some people will be bothered because they feel judged. Some people seem to interpret others making a change in their lives as judging them for not doing the same and thinking they are better than them.

    Nice update though! Pleased to hear it’s going well. I think more and more people are going to change their buying habits over time.

    1. Thanks Jade, I never thought about it like that but that’s great feedback. I don’t judge anyone but can appreciate that it might appear that way. I do think you’re right though, I feel we are just at the beginning of a backlash against our consumer society. It’s already becoming so much more about make do and mend, reuse, recycle, handmade etc. I expect capsule wardrobes and buying less etc will become the norm again soon as fast fashion has probably had its day.

  4. Really interested to hear updates on this! Money is tighter for me since I had children and went part time so I can’t do half the frivolous shopping that I used to and I still find it hard after 4 years! Some months I’m a bit too keen with the old online shopping and then suffer terrible guilt…. other months when I know we’re a bit skint I make a conscious effort not to buy anything we don’t NEED and it does feel good and makes me realise that all the bits I fritter money on aren’t really necessary… it’s emails from shops that always lure me in 😬 I should really just unsubscribe….

    1. Hi Sarah,

      The first thing I did was unsubscribe from newsletters followed by unfollowing all of the social media accounts that I follow from the brands that I loved most. I definitely think I’ve realised that the buzz of buying something wears off very quickly and when I really track the things that make me happy it’s never what I own. This week some of the things that made me happiest included relaxing with my dogs, dancing with my daughter, writing, coffee with a friend, reading a book and listening to the rain! I don’t think it will be an easy year by any means but I hope it changes the way I think about what I’m purchasing. So many people have asked me why I’m doing a whole year, why not just a month or two and that’s why, so I can change my purchasing decisions at a deeper level.

  5. You can do it! Really great to see this post! I work at an environmental charity called Redress, that is working to reduce the impact of fashion on the environment. Before working there I hadn’t really thought about the impact of my shopping habits. But now the more I read, the more anxious I become about the negative effects of consumerism on our planet. So one change I’ve made is to stop buying new clothes/toys and instead look for second hand solutions (where needed!).

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