Recently I watched Minimalism : A Documentary About The Important Things, because after a month of buying less 'stuff' (and no clothes at all) I really wanted to learn a bit more about it. I'm always a bit in awe of minimalists because I don't think I have that level of discipline to live that lifestyle. I mean I'm not exactly a hoarder but I do like to own a fair amount of belongings and I think I'll always be that way, but after watching the doc I do feel inspired to change my shopping habits.
I'll admit I started watching the film with a certain amount of skepticism and I was feeling defensive. When I think of minimalism I can't help but conjure up images of bare, empty spaces and it's a concept that intrigues me because I always wonder where people keep their memories. Maybe I'm just a bit sentimental but I love having lots of photographs and favourite magazines and tickets to shows and places - I like a bit of clutter and having lots of things to look at. Tat to some but it's true that one man's trash is another man's treasure! I was expecting the film to attack me for my life choices and exude this whole 'holier than thou' vibe that would make me want to do the opposite to what they say just to piss them off (because I'm clearly a teenager trapped in a twenty-something body.) Plus it doesn't help that The Minimalists, Ryan Nicodemus and Joshua Fields Millburn, are a bit annoying ('I'm a hugger!' - no, please stop.) However to their credit whilst they express their ideas and concept passionately I never felt like I was being lectured to - they argue their points in a way that makes you want to listen to what they have to say.
It kicks off by saying how it's our human nature to buy things, as it's all about the hunt and the thrill of the chase. This really resonated with me because the moment I felt I had a problem (and what kicked off the January spending ban) was when I'd order stuff just so I could get my fix and then send it back...pathetic, I know! But it is an addiction. We are constantly after the next big thing that we're being told is going to change our lives and when you think about it, it's kinda scary how much these big corporations control us. And with the rise of social media and yes, blogging, we are under more pressure than ever before to conform with what's 'in'. I know how guilty I am of impulse buying things just because I've seen them on instagram (but then I do strongly believe that fashion has value and shouldn't be dismissed as frivolous and unimportant. That however is a whole other post!)
Saying this, I don't think my life would have more meaning with less belongings. Having about 20+ pairs of shoes isn't to fill a void in my life - it's really not that deep, I just like shoes. They do, in Marie Kondo's words, 'spark joy' and I know this is for no other reason other than the fact I've always been a shoe gal (I mean even this blog used to be called 'Josie Loves Shoes' lmao.) I think that everybody is different and some people kind of thrive within a bit of messy chaos (I know I do!) Objects aren't as meaningless as they insinuate, you can form attachments to them as well as people as long as you're sensible about it. I mean I love my Mulberry bags and they have sentimental value to me but obviously I don't love them like I do my friends!
But I was still feeling majorly guilty until the point was made that it's not consumerism in general that's the problem, but rather 'compulsive consumerism'. While I'm saying that my things make me happy, during the past year I also made a lot of impulse purchases that soon made their way onto eBay or depop. On a personal level this is no trouble for me but in the grand scheme of things it's damaging to the wider world. I want to be more aware and make more conscious choices. I think that while the big companies are to blame, we as consumers have a shared responsibility and could also compromise a little - like I don't think we should expect a t-shirt to cost the same amount as a sandwich. 'The True Cost' of fashion is a whole other debate that deserves it's own post but perhaps if we all embrace a little minimalism into our lives and 'buy less, choose well' that is one step towards a fairer world. Far easier said than done though, I know - especially as bloggers. Plus retail supports thousands of people in the UK, I mean I've worked in a shop myself. So there is also the dilemma of wanting to support businesses for that reason but it's just not right that the money isn't shared out a bit more equally.
So on the whole, I don't think I'm going to ever be one of these people who lives in a tiny shed or owns one pair of jeans (I mean Millburn took one pair of jeans with him on a 10 month trip and what I wanna know is how did he wash them, the DIRTY GIT.) I love fashion and pretty things and shopping is one of my favourite activities, but the documentary has inspired me to think about my choices more. I hope I haven't come across preachy as I know I'm not perfect. As a blogger and self-confessed shopaholic I'm as bad as the next person when it comes to buying things (my insta is evidence of that!) but I do want to be more friendly to the world. So next time I'm eyeing up yet another stripey top I'll be asking myself if it's really necessary.