Embarking On A Minimalist/Low-Waste Journey

My stack of books, some donated, some sent home and some brought here!

About a year or two ago I saw a documentary called ‘Minimalism’ ( you can find it on Netflix). I and V were already diving whole-heartedly into a less-waste lifestyle and this documentary seemed to have come at the right time. We were so positively affected by it and also elated to find out that we do not give in to consumerism easily. And for that, I am very proud of us.

The biggest bucket in consumerism is probably the obvious one too – clothes. While my partner is someone who is absolutely happy with one colour in his wardrobe and hence, less shopping; I am someone who loves colours and yet, I have never been someone who is absolutely big on shopping. Till a certain age yes, of course, but I’ve never had an overflowing wardrobe, even when I was going to an office. Yes, there were clothes that I ‘will wear someday’ but it all eventually faded on its own. And I became this person who would go with an intention to shop – pick up what you need and leave. That changed a bit when I started my low-waste journey – it involved a lot of research on the materials a brand uses and hence, I ended up window shopping if it qualifies as that.

I am a self-confessed souvenir collector, nostalgia collecter (haha), cup/mug collector (mostly gifted by others), books of course – these are my biggest buckets. But when we were moving to England, it gave me a big chance to let most of these things go. In fact, our move was so sudden that when V asked me if we’ll be able to do it – both of us realised we had nothing to take except the basic necessities like clothes and utensils. It was such a huge relief and it definitely sparked joy, because we realised we were not ‘attached’ to things, like both our families are. I did bring my fridge magnets (souvenir) and letters (nostalgia) while my books await their journey, but I let go of my collection of cups and clothes that I didn’t feel the need to carry. I donated my clothes (even rags to an animal shelter), bags, shoes, books to charities. It all made me feel less wasteful. We sold our vehicles in a jiffy, I even set up an inside garage sale of sorts for my family and friends!

Also as a rule, if there’s anything in the house that you haven’t used in a year, you can easily let it go.

While sorting through my clothes, I realised that most of them remained the same for two whole years! I did shop before coming here, yes but I needed the basics. It was such a good feeling to find out that I buy only what I need and it seemed I didn’t need a lot for at least a year or two! I question myself a lot before buying anything, it’s exhausting sometimes because I end up being indecisive.

So we moved our little worlds in a span of 15 days and cleansed ourselves, in a way.

I’ve also been dealing with eco-anxiety in general, it also applies to the move and the clothes I’m bound to buy for the winters here. But at such times, one needs to realise that it’s okay, you are trying and that is more important. I see a whole lot of videos nowadays, about going low-waste and the first thing that pops up is clothes. With much questioning around the fashion industry in general and with the pandemic in view, this seems like a good opportunity to educate ourselves on where our clothes come from.

Wanting to go low-waste or minimalist is a journey of its own, it’s an ongoing process. It will have a different experience for every individual, no two journeys are the same. It’s not about owning ten pieces of clothing for a year, it’s more about unlayering what we’ve been taught as consumers. Once that happens, embarking on this journey happens too.

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