Friday, November 21, 2014

Fiona’s Minimalism Manifesto

My idea of a minimalist has always been a free spirit who travels the world with only six items of clothing and a fancy Apple laptop in their backpack.  I don’t know why, it’s just the image that pops into my head.

This makes me feel like a fraud when I consider myself a minimalist, but then just who decided the definition of minimalism and does it involve a certain number of possessions?  Even though I know no-one decided, I do like this description from The Minimalists (and funny that they mention the same thing I did about the stereotypical minimalist).  They say:

Minimalism is a tool that can assist you in finding freedom. Freedom from fear. Freedom from worry. Freedom from overwhelm. Freedom from guilt. Freedom from depression. Freedom from the trappings of the consumer culture we’ve built our lives around. Real freedom.

And who doesn’t want more freedom I ask you?

So I’ve decided to create my own definition of minimalism to help guide me to my own personal happiness.

Dave Ramsey has a great quote that goes ‘live like no-one else today so that you can live like no-one else tomorrow’.  I love this saying and it really makes me excited at the possibilities I have for my life.  It also keeps my encouragement up for living the way I do and having my own minimalist mindset.

I love that we are paying off our home loan much earlier than the standard 20+ years because it means we have more choices in the kind of work we do and how many hours we work.

I love that I don’t need much to make me happy.  I’m a real home-lover and relish time spent in my abode surrounded by the things I love such as books, music and creative projects.  But compared with our friends, we don’t have nearly as many expensive possessions.

My minimalism manifesto could equally be called a Simplicity Manifesto because I have such a beautiful craving for simplicity and it is actually one of my core values.

In putting together my Minimalism Simplicity Manifesto I will involve statements big and small such as:

I am intentional with what I allow into my life, whether it is an item, an obligation or a person.

I enjoy doing the laundry because I love everything I’ve worn and washed, and there is ample room to put it away when it is clean, dry and folded.

I will find magic in everything I do, because I want to live a magical life.

This is an ongoing project which I am enjoying working on!

And now for the…

100 Things Update

It’s been a bit of a slow week for decluttering.  I’ve only been doing the usual collecting and not any focused deep decluttering, but that’s ok, as long as there is something in the donation pile at the end of the week.  Here is my round-up:

7.  A cute cat collar which was a giveaway on a bag of cat biscuits.  On closer inspection it is not a breakaway collar and does not have any elastic, so I am throwing it away as I don’t think it’s safe for any cat to wear.  My girls don’t wear collars at all.

8.  A pair of quite new grey cotton ruched-leg leggings which do nothing for my skin-tone.  The grey is so light in tone that my skin looks pasty next to it, and pale legs need all the help they can get.

9.  A red sweatshirt I made which is so-so on me but will be nice on someone else.

10.  A pair of cotton palazzo style lounge-pants which are quite comfortable but the colour is on the wrong side of beige/blush.  Leg-coloured trousers anyone?

11.  Another magazine.

12. and 13.  Two tubes of good quality hair and body shampoo crème from gift sets that I don’t remember to use (plus I prefer soap) which I emptied into a ¼ full shampoo bottle and shook up to create the most luxurious shampoo which also smells divine.  A wonderful new product and getting rid of two items.  Score!


  1. Hi Fiona. I've just discovered your blog and I'm fascinated to see how you choose to simplify your life. I'm Australian and my husband and I decided to live this way in Sydney so that we could realise a dream - to live in France. We decided against the expensive big cars and the oversized houses that so many friends indulged in and only had small cars more suited to our needs and lived in our little bungalow with our two children, though it did get a little crowded when they grew up. Two years ago we were able to throw in our jobs, sell up everything and moved here to south west France. We have a very comfortable old townhouse in a beautiful medieval village, and the lifestyle we have dreamed about. While we have to live off our savings, we will be ok for many years living a simple life with lots of friends who also share the same dream, no matter where in the world they come from. Living simply is good, but having a dream makes it all so much more worthwhile.

  2. I love the idea of a simplicity manifesto, Fiona! As always, you inspire me. :)

  3. Hi Fiona,

    live like no-one else today so that you can live like no-one else tomorrow

    This is so great! As always, your lifestyle gives me something to aspire to. I'm finding that I need to add new pieces to my cluttered closet since I have seasons now that I'm not used to since moving to New York (like the winter!) but I also did donate a bag of items. Cheers to simplicity!

    Please do stop by my new site sometime:


  4. I donated four pair of shoes this week, two that were cute but had never been comfortable, one that I've had for about 6 years and have not worn once!, and a pair that just doesn't go with anything I own. I also got rid of a belt that I decided was cheap-looking, and a decorative item I was planning on painting but still (and maybe never!) haven't gotten around to doing.
    Thanks for the inspiration Fiona.

  5. Dear Fiona, I also have bought clothing items on the "wrong side of beige." It isn't good when clothing color is too close to the skin color, it then looks like you aren't wearing a top (if it's a top), and so on.

    It's easy to consider oneself as a minimalist nowadays when you compare the way the majority of people spend their money (in the U.S. anyway). I consider myself one. Like you, we are working on paying off our mortgage and carry no debt. I try not to acquire anything I don't really use, our two cars are 14 yrs. old and 9 years old (and look and run just fine!). Simplicity is great!

  6. "Simplicity" has a fresh, positive and unpretentious feel to it.

    I've been inspired by your challenge to let go of 25 things this week (or groups of things like a batch of socks that weren't being used). Lots more to do though!

    To echo what others have said -- thanks for the inspiration, Fiona.


  7. Hi Fiona
    I followed decluttering guru Flylady (Marla Cilley) for many years. One phrase from her that stuck with me is "don't keep anything that doesn't make you smile". Blessings from wendy

  8. I recycled six pieces of Corning ware baking dishes. I have far too many and so I rearranged the cooking pan cupboard and it looks bright and airy now....I love your manifesto mantra.
    My cars don't wear collars either but they are indoor cats.
    I own that same candle holder and I love how icy they look!
    My wardrobe has grown but I am content now that I have something to wear for most any occasion...except for a red carpet evet or a gala ball which are not on my current radar!

  9. I'm with you on the fleshy color going wrong. I guess I have an idea in my head too about minimalism and what I thought it meant and I didn't fit the picture I made up, but we can define it however we like, as you did. That's good to know.

  10. I love your simplicity manifesto so far.

    100 Things Update:
    9. June/July edition of a magazine that I purchased on a trip and have read
    10. half-used tube of a facial mask since I have a new favorite and simply couldn't go back
    11. white vase with small opening I rarely use
    12. turquoise vinyl tablecloth with white quatrefoil print, still in plastic with $2.99 price tag
    13, 14 and 15. three white camisoles that are worn out and recently replaced
    16. dark pink long-sleeve t-shirt weight hoodie. I primarily incorporate exercise into my daily life rather than working out in a gym, so I do not often wear work-out clothes. Also a snug fit, so cute but I never felt really comfortable.

  11. Very thought provoking post and I think your third statement in your manifesto is going to be my guide for 2015 - I will find magic in everything I do, because I want to live a magical life.

  12. I love the term simplicity in place of minimalism. Minimalism has an edge of harshness to me (although I know that true minimalists would not agree.) I have been simplifying for several years and it is an ongoing process. Forty three years of gathering things as I go through my married life takes time to dismantle. Originally, I wanted to move quickly and get rid of everything. I'm glad I didn't. In the years that I have been simplifying, I have also gained three daughters-in-law and four grandchildren. I have passed on to them some of the things which I saw as a burden, their fathers' toys, a silver set that belonged to my grandmother. And thus, my simplifying enhanced their lives and gave me much joy. I hope that more people reject the culture of consumerism and discover the peace that simplicity brings.

  13. Kerrie, thank you for your tres inspirational comment, and I'm so glad to have found your blog.

    Tracy, merci!

    Lenna, lovely to hear from you, NYC girl. Your new blog has such a cute style! Congrats on surviving - and thriving (positive thinking) - in New York City.

    Deborah, well done you. Shoes are harder than clothes for me because I 'think' I will wear them again, and your shoe size doesn't change if you gain or lose weight so they always fit. Funny about the pair you had for six years and never wore :)

    Anonymous, I know, sometimes you see someone walking along the side of the road and you think 'yikes, they don't have a top (or bottom) on' but it's just that they're wearing a nude colour that is too close. We only have one car currently (since we work together) and it is 11 years old. Toyotas go forever though (touch wood).

    Alison, I like your description of the word 'simplicity', it feels lovely. 25 things! Well done, I'd better pull my finger out this week (an unchic saying but fun).

    Wendy, I love Flylady, she does an amazing service for women (and men maybe!) around the world.

    Hostess, well done on your spacious kitchen cupboard. The candle holder is one of my favourites and is a serendipitous opshop find. In my mind it's not the size of a wardrobe per se, but that you use and love every piece, even if some are special occasion pieces that you don't wear often. I love that I have a full length black dress that I can wear to the opera if I am invited last minute!

    Stephanie, we are all hemmed in by rules aren't we, and most often those rules are in our own heads.

    Michelle, thank you! And well done on your ongoing 100 Things list. Your item 16 makes such good sense.

    Juhli, I borrowed that thought from a Tony Robbins quote: If we believe in magic, we will live a magical life. Just the word 'magical' conjures up fairy tales and princesses, which I used to love when I was little so it brings up good feelings.

    Kristien, I know what you mean, some minimalists are almost militant about their way of living and sometimes it doesn't feel very inclusive. I agree that you don't want to hurry minimising. Sounds like you are doing it just right. 'Simplicity brings peace', aah, such soothing words!

  14. What a nice post Fiona--I love your word "intentional" and to me, that's the best description of minimalism there is. And I do think minimalism means something different to each person and that it involves more than just physical items. And I think it varies in degrees over one's lifetime too. Nice take on doing laundry, too. Not too many people get Zen about laundry, ha! Have a wonderful day. You have a lovely outlook on life. :)

  15. I happened upon your blog today, and am so glad I did. I am in the process of simplifying my possessions and need some inspiration every now and again. This post did the trick :-)

  16. Hi Fiona I enjoy reading your blog and this is my first time to comment. I DE cluttered my house a few years back. But some how I feel I'm over run again with stuff. My son is soon to move and once he has taken his possessions I intend to donate throw out and sell a lot of things I dream of opening cupboards with very little in them and only keeping things I love and use. One small problem my husband is a hoarder although his take on it is that he's a collector. I have donated a floor rug at least 50 magazines and a bar mirror this week ( I couldn't wait ).

    Kind Regards

  17. Hi Fiona, I'm ever grateful for the day you found my blog, as it allowed me to find yours! I love it! I began this journey many years ago with Flylady, but you bring a new freshness to this journey for me. It is like sharing encouragement from a like-minded group of dear friends! Cheer & blessings to you


Merci for your comment. Wishing you a chic day!

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