The media conscious amongst us may have noticed the sea change in public mood towards increased, well, consciousness. In record numbers, people are embracing environmentalism, veganism, mindfulness, and as you may have noticed, minimalism.
While you might have a passing concern for your carbon footprint as you jet off to Australia or Canada, and while you may be open to a plant-based diet some of the time, it’s minimalism that it going to be your new best friend as a soon-to-be expat. Here we take a look at minimalism, what it can do for you, and how it’s more than just a craze for the affluent.
Minimalism, like a lot of the new consciousness movement, can trace its roots to the desire to return to the simple, to times before money and consumerism ran the world. Part Buddhist in the emphasis that possessions won’t make you happy, part East Asian in the desire for clean lines and aesthetics (Steve Jobs was famously a minimalist and deeply influenced by the East), and part environmental in its rejection of excessive consumption, minimalism requires an audit of your values, to look behind possessions to what is really important. It becomes a question of understanding the reasons behind your purchases. What is it within you that means you need the latest phone, the latest trainers, or three pairs of the same jeans? Examining your values starts with questions like this, and honest reflection may lead to fewer things, and greater self-awareness.
That, of course, is the philosophy, but at the other end of the spectrum are the practical considerations. Before your move away, ask questions; do I really need three pairs of jeans? Do I really wear them all? A truly honest look at your wearing habits will help pare down your wardrobe a lot. The likelihood is that you will wear one or two favourite outfits, and not many others. One approach is to put an item away for 2-3 months, and if you don’t feel the desire to get it out again in that time, then it’s probably time to bid it farewell.
It doesn’t only apply to clothing of course, and it doesn’t have to mean losing out. Everything can be sold online if you need to recoup travel money, and sometimes something like a trip abroad, or even emigrating for good, can be a perfect opportunity to re-examine these aspects of your life, and start a new chapter. If you plan to reinvent yourself, then the perfect place to start is with a true period of self-reflection. Start with what is important to you, and if those values that you uncover don’t necessitate adding 20 pairs of shoes to the international removals baggage, or following the latest fashion trends, then you may just be on the right path!