Monday, 23 October 2017

The Minimalism Fraud / Mark Eder

Today I've been looking around the Internet for interesting posts on Minimalism (again) and I noticed something, that really upset me. Although it didn't surprise me. After the LOHAS lifestyle, the minimalism lifestyle is the "new" thing to do. The "less is more" and "what you have should be of superior quality" thing. But it still involves buying new stuff. Which is not minimalist. At least not the way I understand it. But as I've said before, I am not really a minimalist that way. 

If you put all your files on a digital surface (books, music...) but keep buying and buying - that is not minimalism. It just doesn't show consumerism that much. 

If you have less furniture in a huge house - that's still consumerism. Especially if you throw everything out, that you owned before to refurnish with the new style. Nobody needs a huge house. Huge (empty) houses are a waste of space and energy. And a luxury item. A status symbol. Especially if they are empty. 

If you completely change the contents of your wardrobe to match that new style, if you buy new minimalist beauty products - that's still consumerism. 

When IKEA suddenly offers bicycles to be more "minimalist and eco" and H&M  group open their third line (H&M, COS, Arket) with the two latter aiming at conscious and minimalist consumers (but still consumers), then that indicates, that there is a new target group of consumers. They certainly don't do it because they want to inspire thrift and prudence.

We are stepping into the consumerism trap again. 

What I also find annoying is the "in your face" attitude a lot of self-proclaimed minimalists (one should never call oneself a minimalist, really...) when they show on their blog (where you can also buy their latest book on the topic and where lots of adds are popping up) how minimalist they live - in the 5 bedrooms house. With an extra sports rooms and an extra toys room. And a huge car. Gosh, that's all "stuff"!!! It shows again, that minimalism is only for well off people. Honestly, I don't have words for the disgust I feel towards this whole consumerism and minimalism-fraud. Everything around me seems to be about "buy-buy-buy". 

*rant off* ;)

I didn't make this up, I found this on a google picture search:
find the mistake
Interesting reads:

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

The Gift of Death - George Monbiot

Christmas is approaching quicker than we all think. Before you go shopping for "stuff" for you beloved - read this article and think about it again.

Friday, 6 October 2017

Some thoughts on my "Make and Mend" Challenge

Maybe you have heard of Jen Gale's or know of similar pages. She's inspired me to my year Make and Mend Challenge and only today I've stumbled about a comment with a question on the "no new clothes for a year" group. The comment was

"I am 9 months in and loving it. I am starting to think about when the 12 months is up and what I will do then. Part of me says splurge but that doesn't feel right or likely. What have other members done? [...]"

I suddenly remembered, I had similar feelings when I started my own Make and Mend Challenge in 2016 and it was a sort of spiteful "you are not being nice to yourself now and pull through and when your are through you can go and indulge in shopping because you earned it and you deserve it anyway ". Funny enough, this is exactly how consumerism works. It manipulates us on a very emotional level. Because shopping really still isn't a hobby and it has nothing to do with being kind to yourself. It is just a feeling instilled in us by very clever advertising. 

Now, while I went on the Make and Mend challenge we also were challenged financially by the fact that we had decided to take nearly a year parental time and live on about 50-60% of our normal monthly income. So as it happened, I was not only very busy with tending to two small children (that said, we were all 4 of us together those 10 months!) but even when I was very very very tempted, it wasn't really possible and that was a good thing. (as I had explained in a post before, overconsumption is only possible if you have the means to do so... or decide to go into debts...)
With the time passing I noticed a distinctive change in my attitude (very much like the one in the comment above). When before I would buy something because it was cute and I could, now I look at everything very carefully and would ask myself "do I really need this?" and "don't I have something at home that serves the same purpose?". It just got much more unlikely to just go on a mindless shopping splurge. I mean, why go shopping if you already know you don't need anything and you don't really want anything you don't need...?!

I also got to know my taste in clothes a lot better and I am much more careful to only buy things that fit now. And are of an acceptable quality for the price asked. Which means a lot of the time even if I try something  on, I don't buy it.

I've actually come to a point where I don't really enjoy shopping, because I don't do it for its own sake but for a purpose - and I really don't enjoy it much to look for a pair of jeans these days, because I just don't find any, that fit me. Which also means that any time in the next 6 months I will probably have to sew a pair. But I am trying my best to mend the 2 pairs I have and that fit me well. I am even thinking about not replacing them and starting to wear more skirts. i have a few lovely skirts and dresses. Only the moths have eaten all of my woolly tights... (which is a sign I didn't wear them much, shame on me!)

I am in my second year of make and mend now and I am growing used to this attitude of "non-shopping". I still own more than enough clothes, and nothing new has really entered my wardrobe. I am starting to mend more, I am also repurposing items (like one really really cool t-shirt that just doesn't fit me.. and probably never did...). I also notice ill fit more (which is something the sewing for the 18th century caused) and I get really annoyed about uncomfortable clothes not (which might also be a sign of getting older...).

I sometimes look back and think - wow, how much time I wasted on just going shopping - all those hours... I could have read a book, I could have painted, I could have played the piano, I could have gone for a lovely walk or a run, I could have learned something new, I could have done something that is more according to the idea of mindfulness.

But then again - I had to go through this, to learn about myself and to learn how in then end this whole shopping and fashion and accessoires and home decor stuff is just empty and leaves you with more emptiness. Which is very ironical really, because it is the opposite of what adversiting is suggesting.

So, to come back to the question from that group. If you have gone though a year on not shopping at all, I think you do deserve a treat. But does it have to be a shopping splurge? Maybe you have a rough idea how much money you saved because you omitted regular shopping trips. You could visit a friend who lives further away. Or you could go on a mini holiday. Or you could treat yourself to a book. Or a membership in the public library. Or cook a nice meal for friends. Or maybe all through that year you have eyed up one particular item... a coat? A pair of shoes or boots? A necklace? A hat? Decide on one item and get it and enjoy it.

The make and mend challenge is a challenge. Which means, it is also over after some time. And that is a good thing. As I said in the post on the challenge, it is not about chastising ourselves for the rest of our lives. It is about going from one extreme to the other extreme for a limited amount of time, to eventually find the middle way (to quote buddha).