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I hate to toot my own horn (lies), but I had a CRACKING news year’s resolution this year, which was not to buy anything I didn’t need. It was vague enough that I could buy new shoes if I had to replace a pairĀ but specific enough that I couldn’t really justify buying ANOTHER rosy nude lipstick.

I have also saved money. Bonus.

Decluttering is quite a thing at the mo, started by Marie Kondo (not read the book, watched two episodes of the Netflix programme). Well, not actually startedĀ but she’d definitely a driving force behind the whole thing.

I believe we’re at a turning point in humanity, where we’ve realised a lot of stuff weighs us down, rather than bringing us happiness like we thought it would.

A bit like when mobile phones first became big, and the trend was for them to become tinier and tinier until some bright spark mentioned that sending texts was a bit pointless if your phone was too small to read them.

That’s when phones decided that instead of the USP being that they’re really weeny, it would just casually phase out the need for, among other things, cameras, music players, diaries and alarm clocks.

We don’t even need a separate torch anymore.

How to declutter

I swear, I’m not going to make you chuck out all of your possessions.

You don’t even really need to tidy up, but if you do fancy scouring your whole house, here’s a post detailing how to do so veganly. Enjoy.

But if that sounds hellish, instead concentrate on not buying any other crap you don’t need.

Better still, identify the area of your life that seems to accumulate a lot of stuff. Mine is makeup, so I try not to buy any more than I need (although I did place an order for Kiko today, because I (ahem) ‘need’ a new mascara.

I’ve also developed a rather overstocked cleaning cupboard, thanks to an unhealthy addiction to Mrs. Hinch, but because obvs everything has to be vegan I’m limited to Zoflora and Astonish. I have pretty much the full range of Astonish so that’s kind of done, and though I’m still on the lookout for Mountain Air, my collection of Zofloras (Linen Fresh, Springtime, Twilight Garden – my fave, Winter Morning, and Lavender Escape) is, I think, complete.

Paper decluttering

The. Worst.

I keep all my documents in a document folder (groundbreaking, I know), my wage slips in an A5 ring binder and try not to buy notebooks.

Bullet journals used to be my thing, and I sometimes still use it if the mood strikes, but I like to doodle in it and make it pretty rather than use it properly, so it can be a bit of a ballache.

I spent AGES looking for an online solution, and ended up with Google Calendar and Google Keep – I have Google Tasks to, but I use the other two the most.

Google Keep is great for storing shopping lists, brain dumps for both my blog and the novel I’m writing and quite specific things, for example, I use it to house my Pinterest strategy (which has been in play for two days, so I’ve no idea if it works)

I handwrite all my novels (hahahaha all one of them, but there will be more), but don’t use random notebooks anymore. Well done me.

How to buy less stuff

If I knew the answer to this I’d be rich by now. All I can do is offer up a few ideas:

  • Don’t take your purse with you OR only take the money you’ll need
  • Have a savings account. Use it. Don’t touch it. You heard me.
  • Learn to use up your makeup. Listen to me, I’m wise. There is no perfect glossy lipstick formula that will stay on ALL DAY and feel comfortable.
  • Embrace cheap wine. One glass in and you won’t care anyway.
  • Don’t buy more books until you’ve read the ones you’ve already got. This one is HARD.
  • If you’re cool like me, you’ll enjoy a jigsaw puzzle once in a while. I keep all mine at my mum’s, as does my sister in law, and we all use it as a jigsaw library. It’s a great way of offloading your shite onto your parents.
  • Don’t take impromptu trips to TK Maxx. I’m still working on this one, but I promise, it never ends well for your purse or your decluttering.

Being vegan does mean you’re more limited makeup and clothing wise – if you ensure you never buy anything that was unethically produced, tested on animals or contains animal products (here’s a list of things to look out for) you’ve dramatically reduced the number of things you can buy.

You’re pretty much limited to upmarket online makeup brands, high street makeup, charity shops, and Urban Decay.

How to be happy about it

We’re programmed to want stuff. Buying crap release endorphins like nothing else.

I like to online shop, fill my basket and then leave it unbought (and then get annoyed when they send me whiny emails).

Pause before you buy anything. For at least a day. Unless it’s, for example, that night’s dinner.

You probably don’t need whatever it is, you just want it that much that you convince yourself you need it. Beware of your own convincing nature.

Try to keep your house tidy – it will make you enjoy having less stuff. Because you will enjoy not having to dust. Not dusting is one of my favourite things to do, apart from not ironing (ironing – now there’s a con if I ever saw one).

I swear, one of life’s greatest pleasures is having a mid-afternoon nap in a clean and tidy house after a walk on the beach with a cute dog that you borrowed from a nearby shelter whilst your boyfriend cooks your dinner and Poirot’s on in the background.

I know that seems like a v specific fantasy, but I promise it’s achievable. And I would know because I spend a lot of Sunday afternoons living it out (the thing most likely to change is the location of the walk).

The biggest bonus about getting on top of your new minimalist lifestyle is that if your parents turn up unannounced, you won’t a) have a major panic and b) disappoint your mother.

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