Minimalist Monday: The Very Hungry Consumer

So, you've been working on decluttering, stopped impulse buying and begun to discover the delights of being a little lighter and freer of both your possessions and commitments. 

Is this minimalist nirvana? Has it been worth all those hours of toil? Is minimalism worth pursuing? Or are you still stuck in a clutter cul-de-sac? 

I've been simplifying my life for the last 4 years and I've seen gradual improvements in my lifestyle. It's been a slow process, I can tell you. There's been a lot of doubt and angst along the way. You don't leap out of bed one morning and think, “Whoa, I'm a minimalist, isn't my life serene!” No, it's often more tempting to stay cocooned under the duvet than work at your long term goals. The very hungry consumer who has belly ache from overbuying needs a long rest before emerging renewed.

If you've ever decluttered, downsized or reduced your commitments you'll know that dealing with the entrails of your life can be, well, quite messy at times. It's difficult letting go, forming new habits and working out what you really want from life. It can take a while for the decluttering dust to settle. 

However, if you stick with simplifying you might just wake up one morning and realise that your life is beautiful. The changes might have been gradual but if you look back at where you started and compare it to now, doesn't your life look different? It's as if a fairy godmother (pint-sized, of course) has waved her magic wand and suddenly you have: 

  • More choice
  • More freedom
  • More time (for healthy activites, hobbies, learning new things or relaxation)
  • Confidence in your own values
  • More contentedness
  • A calmer mind
  • A firmer grip on your finances
  • A clearer perspective
  • Closer relationships
  • And, of course, less stuff and more space!

Isn't this what you were searching for amongst all that clutter? Did any one of those things you discarded give you that same feeling of joy as this? 

This feeling of calm and choice is the sum of your decluttering, reconfiguring and reassessing of your lifestyle. All those baby steps of reducing your stuff and reducing your commitments have resulted in this. 

This happened to me only this week and I've been simplifying for 4 years! D'oh! It's like I've suddenly gained freedom from commitments and possessions and I've only just realised it. Freeing up more time through changing my job and continuing to declutter has made a huge difference to my life during the last year. My life feels calmer, more spacious, more meaningful. It's not perfect by any means. My life's busy at times and cluttered in certain areas but it's not as busy or as cluttered as it once was and I'm content with that. I can see how far I've come and believe I can simplify further. 

I think the key to achieving a minimalist lifestyle is belief. A miracle isn't going to simplify your life; there's no magic wand or fairy godmother (sorry). It requires hard work, tough decisions and a single-minded belief that a simpler life is what you want. If you read deep into the archives of any minimalist writer on the net you'll discover that it was hard work and a gradual process for him/her/them too. 

If you want time to just be, start that project or spend unscheduled hours doing what you love, stick with the minimalism. Keep discarding, say no if you feel overcommitted and say yes to quiet moments of calm and freedom. Over time it will reward. Life will feel better. Believe in a simpler life and don't forget to notice the progress you're making. 

It's all about belief. Think of this post as a little sprinkling of pixie dust to guide you on your way whilst simplifying. With a little bit of pixie dust and some happy thoughts you'll be flying! 

Ask yourself, “How much simpler do I want my life to be this time next year?”

Were you once a very hungry consumer? How much progress have you made along the 
simplifying road? Please share. We're all behind you.



  1. I'm not sure I was ever a very hungry consumer but I did feel a very strong need a couple of years ago to simplify all areas of my life; my home, my possessions, my work, my finances. For me it coincided with moving from parenting a pre-18 year old to a post-18 year old and looking at how I wanted my 'middle years' to look and feel. I have made great inroads into my minimalism journey, I purchase very little that is not essential, we eat simply and well, I work hard during my contracted hours and don't bring work home at the end of the day, I exercise and study yoga, I read and craft more, I say 'no' more, I have a simple cleaning regime in a small house. I spend more quality hours doing more quality pursuits with the most important people to me. It is worth it, it really is.

  2. This is a very encouraging post, as is the above comment. I have been trying to decluttering and become more minimalist for years, but anyone who knows me would be amazed to hear that. I feel that 2015 is actually going to be the year though, as I want to be in that place of joy in a few years time !

  3. Yes, I definitely was. I had never learned to question consumerism growing up, though I always felt there was "something" just out of touch, that I got glimpses of in some of the things I read. It's taken 15 years to feel that the serenity has really arrived, and life always brings hiccups (that are far more easily absorbed without the ballast!), but the baseline these days is a calm, free feeling with so many advantages I'd recommend it to anyone! I hope to continue in this vein as I enter my middle years with far more idea of who I am and what I want than ever before :)
    Well done with your journey - I feel so good for you when you write about the positive effect the changes have had in your life!

  4. A very helpful post, thank you. Yes, I think I was a hungry consumer, and bought things to cheer myself up while not coping with an overwhelming job that I no longer enjoyed and just found stressful and exhausting. I ended up having to leave my job through ill health. I now no longer miss the spending, and appreciate what I do have and time and hobbies that were not possible before. I still have a long way to go on decluttering as I have a lot to go through, but most days I do a bit. Still feels a bit like a spatter gun and I wonder whether I would be better concentrating on one room or one category at a time to feel I have made more progress. Most things seem a big job, I do a bit and don't quite finish, then something else catches my eye. Any advice on how you tackled this would be very helpful. jane

    1. Brooke McAlery at Slow Your Home has a checklist called "2012 in 2012" that breaks cluttering down into small bite sized chunks by month. This helped me not feel so overwhelmed. I still refer to it each year to equalize what has snuck into my home over the course of a year. Hope this helps!

    2. Thank you Tracey, this is just what I need. This was a new blog to me, I have had a look and Brooke has created a free download monthly booklet to work through which looks really helpful and a facebook group which will give me just the sort of motivation and structure I need to get to grips with it this year. Thanks so much for this. attached a link if this would benefit others Thanks Jane


  5. I think decluttering is best done in bite sized pieces. We went all out and cleared what were the obvious things we didn't want any more and sold them at car boot sales. Now we are on a long slow gradual slope of letting things go that we might like, or even love, but that we have no real need for and are simply weighing us down. At this stage I think it is wise to go slow and then we know that once they are gone we will not be wanting them back again.

    That's partly why my blog sub-heading for this year is 'Needs not Wants', we are keeping ourselves focused.

  6. Thank you for the wonderful pixie dust Claire!
    I think I've always been a sporadic consumer. While generally frugal as a youngster & through my student years, I always tried to plan my shopping trips around work needs (new suit, boots etc), but they inevitably became spending binges, and I'd end up also getting hiking equipment, kitchen ware & all manner of 'useful' items for the house! Now, approaching middle age, I am so excited at the prospect of downsizing & living a much simpler, clutter free life. I have spent the last 2 years decluttering (again sporadically) & dramatically reducing the amount of stuff that enters my home, aiming for an overall 80% net decrease (ambitious but definitely do-able!) Some categories of items (clothing, kitchenware) are much easier to let go than others (files, books). Am I on target? Unfortunately, I wasn't organised enough to start out with a baseline inventory...but I am recording 'freed items' now & enjoying watching that list grow. I just know I'm slowly getting better each time I declutter & free myself of the unloved & unnecessary. Last year, I managed to reduce discretionary clothing spending to 11 items, so this year's target is to reduce that even further. I hope to eventually not feel the need to shop at all & simply make the most of everything I already have : )

    1. You're most welcome and your comment is so inspiring! You're doing so well :)

  7. Yes I'm feeling the urge to start looking around me and see what else can go! Great post. X

  8. Thanks for giving this beneficial information. Minimalism is a very important part of our life, If you know the real meaning of Minimalism. You can live a simple, happy and meaningful life with the help of minimalism.

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