Category Archives: Minimalism

To frugality and beyond.

There’s nothing like an interstate move for ridding oneself of pesky savings. My accounts were mercilessly savaged over the past month, and while many of the expenses were unavoidable (like relocating my stuff and paying for motels until I could find a flat-share), I’ve also been guilty of swanning about in “holiday” mode, dropping cash thoughtlessly on meals out and expensive drinking sessions. But the time has come to get real: with no incoming cash flow I have adjust my spending habits or face the unthinkable: returning to the land of suspicious moles and cashed-up bogans with my tail between my legs.

With a Coles and a fruit & veg market within walking distance of the flat, I’ve got no excuse for spending more than $5-10 on meals. Reducing my alcohol intake will also help me get leaner and fitter, which is another one of my goals. I’ve also taken to carrying around my own water bottle everywhere I go, which saves me around $5 every time I leave the house (yes, I drink a LOT of water. My body needs something other than caffeine to dilute the alcohol).

And while I’m still relatively new to the art of living with less, I’ve learned that minimalism and frugality are total BFF’s. Saving money on essentials is great, but not buying non-essentials is better (not only for your finances but also the environment; it’s not all about you, k?).

Unsurprisingly, the blogosphere has been a massive source of inspiration on my journey toward a more frugal existence. And while I’ve benefited from the advice of others who’ve embarked on a similar journey, I’ve had to remind myself that just like minimalism, frugality means different things to everybody. Priorities differ. My definition of a “non-essential” item is not going to be the same as another person’s, so comparing my own spending habits to theirs is counter-productive. Was it frugal to spend $50 last week on terrarium supplies, when that money could have gone towards a more comfortable retirement? Not if that was my immediate goal (and without any children to finance my increasing number of eccentricities, it probably should be).

Nonetheless, if my most pressing desire was to personalise my living space with something that brings me joy, should investing in an object that fulfils that goal be considered wasteful?  And if I were able to procure that object at a fraction of the cost of buying it ready-made from a store, would that not in fact be an act of frugality?

Or to put it another way; if buying pretty shit on a budget is how you roll then I say own it, bishes. Just don’t pay retail.

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Terrarium #2. Just two miniature toadstools and a plastic deer away from perfection.

A fresh start.

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Greetings from my new abode, a tiny apartment in delightfully drizzling Melbourne! A couple of months ago the bf and I decided we’d endured all the wallet-raping and scorching sunshine of the west coast we could handle, so we resigned from our jobs, boxed up our possessions, and drove to Victoria.

I’ve moved suburbs several times over the past couple of years, but moving states is a radically different experience. The number one cost we needed to consider was the transportation of our stuff. The bf is a minimalist by nature and all he needed to send over were his motorbike and a box of tools, but I had a full house of belongings to relocate. I chose to have everything sent by truck, and as I was going to be charged per cubic metre, I had to be ruthless in deciding what to keep and what to toss.

I think pretty much everyone except hard-core minimalists have a “BLOODY HELL… HOW ON EARTH DID I ACCUMULATE THIS MUCH CRAP?” type epiphany when they prepare for a move. I experienced mine when I unearthed a 30 piece cocktail set and several Sylvanian Families jigsaw puzzles intended for 5-10 year olds. In spite of my regular culling efforts, I had to admit it – I was still hoarding.

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Cute as hell but ultimately pointless for me to own.

There’s nothing like the prospect of forking out cash to cart unwanted clutter across the country to make you look at your possessions with fresh eyes. Adopting the minimalist mantra of keeping nothing that is either useful or beautiful, I started the cull of a lifetime. Starting with the items that were the most obviously impractical to send over, I sold the couch, dining set and entertainment unit. My fridge, washing machine and mattress are all new, and as the shipping cost was lower than the replacement cost, I kept them. I also kept my vintage furniture; a mid-century teak coffee table I scored for $100 on Gumtree and two antique Chinese side tables.

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The foam and plastic-wrapped extent of my mistrust of removalists.

Moving onto the smaller items, I sold a few pieces on eBay (the vintage puzzles actually netted me a neat little sum), gifted a whole heap to family and friends, and donated the rest. What remained was about roughly half, enough to fit comfortably into twenty medium plastic crates.

Everything went into storage as soon as it arrived in Melbourne, and as we’re currently looking for work and renting our own rooms on a fortnightly basis, I’m not sure when we’ll be able to bail it out. But that’s ok, because right now I have everything I need; an air mattress to sleep on, a suitcase full of clothes and makeup, and access to a fully equipped kitchen. No doubt my nesting instinct will kick in soon, but in the meantime it’s been pretty awesome to discover I can do without so many of my things.

The allure of minimalism.

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The bf and I moved house over the weekend. No matter how organised you are, moving is always horrific and this time around we weren’t organised at all. Because it was a break lease, we needed to hold off getting another place until new tenants were found. As I’ve previously mentioned, the unit is a shizhole so it took weeks to find someone in a desperate enough situation to put in an application. They wanted to move in within the week, so we only had a few days to secure a new rental and vacate. We were able to find a place at the last minute, but on Monday morning my ex-property manager informed me that the applicant had pulled out an hour before they were due to sign the lease. So in spite of our best efforts, we’ll be paying two rents until another applicant is found.

The icing on the cake? I’ve now got the flu and am pretty much bedridden. But I’m staying positive. The bf is bringing all my meals to me, and I’ve effortlessly acquired a delightful set of dreadlocks I may decide to keep. Plus, the new house is light and bright and modern and has loads more storage. It’s also bare, as I just don’t have the energy to unpack all my lovely house porn. So in-keeping with the clutter-free state of my home, I’ve pulled together a few shots of modern minimalist spaces that tempt me to forgoe unpacking altogether and attempt the single-childless-petless-scandinavian-textile-designer vibe for a while. Just don’t ask me where I’ll keep my keys.

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