10 WAYS MINIMALISM CHANGED MY LIFE

It has been maybe a year and a half that I have been embarking on this whole 'minimalism' thing. Luckily, I have pretty much documented my whole minimalism journey on my YouTube channel, through my minimalism series (which you can watch here). You have seen me declutter my entire wardrobe, all of my makeup, my toiletries, my entire life, in my move towards a minimalist lifestyle.

I let go of a huge majority of my stuff, saved up and went travelling with just a backpack and my bike. This feeling of abandoning all I knew and owned was so powerful in finding myself and becoming a stronger, more aware and better person. I have become more grateful, organised, thoughtful, self-aware, confident, careful, dedicated and the list goes on. This transformation and growth makes me want to shout about minimalism from the rooftops, and encourage anyone who's interested to try and incorporate it into their lives, in whatever way works for them. 

So I've put together a list of the 10 ways in which minimalism has changed my life...

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1. GOODBYE SHOPAHOLIC

So the first and one of the most important things, is that I am no longer a shopaholic. You may have seen this video, where I share my past as a shopping addict. I used to spend all of my money on clothes, shoes and bags, and was totally obsessed with fashion. I equated all of my value to my outside appearance, and that ended up being where I spent most of my energy, time and money. Looking back, it frustrates me how much time and money I wasted shopping. 

It is huge for me that I no longer have that yearning to go to the shops and drown my sorrows in buying an item clothing (that I definitely don't need), and thinking that the way I express myself outwardly is the most important thing.

2. SAVED MONEY

Letting go of my shopaholic tendencies, has inevitably led to me saving a lot of money. I have for the first time in my life, literally, been able to save. I have never been able to save, because all the money I ever earned, would immediately be spent on my wish list of things I wanted. Now I can save money for my future, things that will last and investments. 

3. Less time getting ready

As I mentioned, I used to be very obsessed with clothes and my outward appearance. I used to rarely leave the house without blow-drying and straightening my hair, putting on a full face of makeup, and spending ages trying to work out what I was going to wear. Nowadays I wear minimal makeup maybe two or three times a week (if that), and I spend the rest of the time make-up free. I only wash my hair once or twice a week, I no longer straighten it and it usually lives in a bun. I also don't have to worry about the clothes that I am wearing as I have such a downsized wardrobe and I now know what clothes I own. I know a lot of this is due to me working from home, which is a huge benefit, but I can't explain to you the huge mental shift that has happened for me. I no longer spend so much time worrying about how I look, and have found greater confidence in my own skin. 

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4. less anxiety

What's surprising is minimalism has hugely improved my mental health. I have been able to spend more time looking inwards and trying to figure out the problems that I have and working on them. I therefore spend a lot less time feeling crap about myself. When I was younger I spent a lot of time feeling awful about the way I looked, my personality, not having enough friends. Letting go of so much had brought about a new confidence in myself, my appearance and my body. I truly believe this is because I am no longer wasting so much time on things that have no value; shallow things that are only gratifying in the moment. My feelings are no longer masked by makeup, clothes, food, alcohol or other things I have had an unhealthy relationship with. I instead use my time working on my relationships, my work and myself. This has inevitably led to a much happier Maddie :)

5. tidy home

I used to be known for having the most chaotic bedroom. And no wonder, as I had so many clothes! It was virtually impossible for me to keep up with and keep tidy. Every time I got ready, a storm would be left in the aftermath. Now, my bedroom stays tidy and everything has its place. And this is largely down to the fact that I have so much less stuff, which makes tidying so much easier. 

6. less waste

If you buy less, you aren't creating as much waste, its as simple as that. I don't buy as much anymore, I care a lot about my consumption of plastic and my impact on the planet. A huge part of minimalism that was attractive to me was the environmental side of it. I wanted to reduce my carbon footprint, get out of the consumerism bubble and explore a more mindful way of living that created less waste.

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7. more time

I have so much more time now to do the things that I want to do. I used to find that a lot of my time was wasted doing things that wound me up, activities I didn't want to be doing, or actions that would end up making me feel rubbish. I was wasting hours cleaning my messy bedroom, worrying about money, browsing the internet for clothes I couldn't afford, watching mindless reality TV shows and feeling down about myself. I have since repurposed that time to new opportunities and experiences, investing time in my future and being more productive each day.

8. being more organised

This ties into what I mentioned earlier about being tidier, as having less stuff makes it so much easier to stay organised and tidy. But on another level I have become so much more organised in my day to day life. I now make daily lists and actually get my to-dos done on time. I recently got a bullet journal which actually changed my life (no exaggeration). If we think of what minimalism means, to simplify your life, it makes sense that a huge benefit from it is becoming a whole lot more organised as a result of this simplification.

9. travelling light

We travelled to SE Asia and Canada last summer, being away for around 4 months in total. Alex and I each carried a 40L backpack and a bike box, and that's it. I would never in a million years have been able to do that years ago. I used to carry the biggest possible suitcase on the airplane, stuffing it full with a load of different outfits, shoes and unnecessary items I'd never end up wearing or using. Now I just pack what I need and what will get me by for the time that I am away. It makes travelling so much easier and less stressful to only carry a backpack with the things you need.

10. self growth

Probably the most powerful way in which minimalism has changed my life is the fact that I have been able to focus on my self-growth and pursue my dreams. If you said to me five years ago, when I had an eating disorder, was binge drinking, dealing with social anxiety, feeling rubbish about myself and not having any clue about what I was going to do in the future, that I would be doing YouTube, sharing my life online, living with my boyfriend in Brighton after travelling the world, I would never have believed you.

The most incredible thing about minimalism is the fact that it has enabled me to let go of all these preconceived ideas about what I should be doing, or what other people expect me to do, and instead focus on me and what I want to do. The simplification of things in my life and the simplification of my outlook on life has given me space to do what I wanted. Truly, honestly and authentically. Not because of the pressures of others or society. It has enabled me to actually make my dreams become a reality, rather than looking forwards and hoping for it to happen one day. I have created this life that I am living right now that I am happy with, by pursuing it and focussing on it every single day, and I truly believe that minimalism has played a huge huge part in that.