Six Ways To Simplify Your 2020.

*This is a collaborative post*

Life can be busy.

Life can be cluttered.

Life can be difficult.

And sometimes life can just be really really sucky….technical term there. 

I don’t remember signing up for some of this stress y’know? Agreeing to sign my life away and working full time I don’t think so?? I don’t know why I was never crowned Princess of Genovia at sixteen years old or just get to live my life as a Persian Goddess laying in the sun eating a golden platter of baklava everyday and not putting on an ounce of weight? *patiently waiting*. 

I turn 25 in just under three weeks and according to social pressures I should probably have settled into my own home, a career, a long term relationship and maybe even thought about children and the future by this time too. I can safely tell you aged 24 and 11 months I have achieved a grand total of ZERO of those things. I can easily get myself worked up over these things and whether I’m behind schedule on a schedule I didn’t even know I had. When it dawned on me recently that the only person who would actually be bothered about what I do, whether I’m happy or unhappy, in a career I love and want to work 24/7, mother of the year or childless is only ever going to be me. I need to let this weird, mental idea that I must complete all of these life changing milestones by my 30th birthday or otherwise that’ll be game over. 

Sometimes, it’s very easy to think life is taking over and there is simply not enough time for anything. There are always things to do, places to go, things to buy, things to consume and generally things to think about before you know it life itself can easily become unorganized, cluttered and super stressful. In 2020, I’m going to be making a promise to myself to help simplify my life? Removing what I don’t need, freeing up my own time, clearing my head and being able to set time for just pure conscious relaxation. Before I know it, it will be Christmas and the whole year will have flown by without you realizing what just happened.  

Here are 6 ways to simplify little life things and decisions in 2020 so that you can make the time for yourself, new experiences, self-improvement and give yourself a break in general. 

  1. Switch Off the electronics!

That’s right! I hate to admit it but I probably spend a lot of time watching boxsets on Netflix, endless videos on Youtube and procrastinating on yet another silly Buzzfeed quiz. We have become a nation of Netflix bingers, staying up until 2 am because we simply can’t wait to see what will happen in our latest favorite TV show. I’m guilty of binge watching new series in a matter of hours or days; time is irrelevant when it came to watching You Series Two. I spent a lot of my spare time in 2019 to settling into good books and managed to smash through my target of 30+! Rather than pressurizing myself into not watching the telly or gorging on my favourite Youtubers new video when it became live I tried to dedicate my time carefully. I learnt to select my TV shows carefully, watch them slowly (you don’t have to complete a series in one night) and use TV as a treat rather than your default evening plan. I’m going to try to use my time a bit more constructively for creative projects like reading and writing. If you don’t fancy being creative, work on a skill that could push your career further or reach some personal goals like getting fit by working out or hitting the gym. 

  1. Pay Off Your Debt

If you make any financial decision this year it should include paying off your debt first and foremost. Debt lingers in our subconscious, it affects us even when we don’t realize it and it makes us feel trapped. This year, put all your extra earnings into paying your debt off and by all means stop buying things you can’t afford. Whether you have credit card debt, student loan debt or car debt this year is the year you should proactively try and remove that debt. Clearing debt feels incredible, liberating and can clear your mind. Being debt-free simplifies your life allowing you to start planning how you will create wealth which is positive and exciting. 

  1. Go Minimal

I’ve taken a lot of advice from Marie Kondo and learnt how to part with things that I don’t actually want, need or just don’t spark joy. I can apply this to anything not just home things but my clothes, makeup and accessories too. Clearing your house of any old junk you don’t need is a great start but also think about things that don’t serve you. If your home is full of small trinkets and useless items, try to get rid of them and minimalize your home. We’re not saying you should get rid of everything you own or your fancy hotel quality tablecloths from Richard Haworth but you can get rid of that old yoga mat that is collecting dust in the corner. This year, try buying less, using less and hoarding less. Decluttering your home and limiting your consumerism can actually relieve a lot of stress in your life, plus your bank balance will also thank you.  I don’t know about you but I find decluttering so therapeutic, sure when you’re surrounded by all of your possessions and clothes you regret deciding to sort your wardrobe out more than anything but once it’s done you feel so much better, clearer and relaxed. 

  1. Be Positive

Okaaaaay, so I know this is SO much easier said than done but being in a continuous state of negativity is not serving you or your loved ones. 2020 is a new decade, a fresh start and you will be amazed at what you can achieve in 10 years if you put your mind to it. However, negativity can consume us and our time as we spend hours thinking about what people said to us or what we said to other people. The constant drama in our lives drains us of energy and time. This year, consciously try not to dwell on the negatives. Objectively look at the issue and decide whether it’s really worth the time thinking about and becoming negative over. Nine times out of ten you will find yourself forgetting all about it and refocusing on the important things like your relaxing, your career, love life, social life, and self-improvement. As cut throat as it may sound maybe see this fresh start as a good chance to cut out those negative entities that are weighing you down. If work is constantly leaving you stressed, you deserve SO much more than that, maybe it’s high time to invest in yourself and your mental state and find a role that makes you feel good. If your friends leave you feeling unhappy and a bit rubbish, as much as you like them and regard them as a friend, you also deserve SO much more than that too. Friends are supposed to be your support network, to build each other up when you’re feeling down not to make you feel like you’re in a constant whirlpool of sadness. Find your tribe that make life worth living and you’ll soon notice your lust for life reappearing.  

  1. Plan Your Year

So many people blindly walk through life allowing their environment to determine where they end up. This is a huge issue because if you don’t know where you are going how will you know if you will be happy where you end up? You won’t!  Instead, this year, make a plan. Spend the afternoon figuring out what you want to achieve this year, why you want to achieve it and what you need to do to get there. You can cover all of life’s categories including love, social life, family, parenting, health, career, education, money, spirituality and so on. Once you have your plan, create all the mini-tasks and goals that lead up to your plan becoming a success. Having these goals keeps you focused throughout your year, removes silly doubts about yourself and where you are going. At the end of the year, if you have stayed focused on your plan, it’s likely you will be far happier where you are in life. 

I’m not going to stand here and preach to you about planning every second of your life and nor am I planner for that matter either. Whether they’re big or small having things to look forward to certainly changes your outlook. I’ve started to plan one thing per month, something that’s a bit different or I haven’t done before, to look forward to. I can quite easily get myself into a sad little pity puddle and anyone else who knows what they’re like know that they can be difficult to get out of! So by having all these things lined up is giving me hope and a little light for each month that I’ve already got something to look forward to say six months down the line.

  1. Say “NO’

Remember when Elton John said ‘sorry seems to be the hardest word’? Well sorry Elton, you’re very wrong. No, can actually be, one of the hardest words to muster. It’s little and probably super simple for many but being able to stand up for yourself, stand up for your beliefs and put yourself first is one of the most gratifying feelings. So many of us are always so eager to please everyone around us and we find ourselves saying “yes” to lots of things we don’t need or want. Saying “No” is liberating as it stops us from cluttering our lives with jobs, events, and tasks we don’t want to do. You don’t have to go out every weekend and drink yourself silly only to wake up to a hangover during your precious weekend off work. You don’t always have to stay at the office late trying so hard to impress your boss which is never recognized or appreciated. Start saying “no” more often and you will find your life becoming slightly less cluttered and more focused on doing things that positively add to your life.

The Devil Wears Primark…Once. (And Then Returns It)

If you go to a fast food restaurant you can get a meal of a burger, fries and a drink for about a fiver on average. Will that meal fill you up and curb those hunger pangs? Yes. Will it be delicious? Yeaaaaaah probably…I mean I’m 24 going on 25 and yet to have a bad McDonalds (other fast food chains are available but I’m a McDonalds gal thru and thru) Will it be nutritious? Debatable. If it what’s you can afford and what you fancy; having it every once in a while won’t do you any harm.

Now if you think about the flip side to this, if you were to dine out somewhere else, having a near identical meal (handmade burger, triple cooked chips, fancy soft drink… can ya picture the type of gastropub I mean), somewhere that sourced local produce, paid the farmers, the cleaners, the waiting staff, the chefs all properly and fairly. Somewhere that considered the food miles that occurred to make that single plate of food and the overall environmental impact of each dish. Would it taste the same as a fast food option? Absolutely not.  Would it cost as little as £5? Also a hard no.

When it comes to food and what we’re consuming, we’re all pretty much aware of where our food comes from or what things we should be eating.  We know that if we had the money and the budget, ideally, we should be purchasing fresh, organic produce. It’s easy for me to preach that behind a computer screen, knowing that not everyone can afford that lifestyle; I certainly can’t! We’re raised to think about our ethical footprint when it comes to the food we consume but why in this current climate is it taking us so long to consider our fashion footprint and how to become a conscious consumer of clothes?

Up until quite recently, I was really naive to what fast fashion and being a conscious consumer really meant. To me I’d hear the phrase ‘conscious consumer’ and think of someone dressed head to toe in hessian sacks and singing kumbaya. I had my head stuck in the sand when I’d shop ’til I dropped; , contently filling my basket with all the latest garms. Within the last 18 months, you see these phrases more frequently used in the press and in informative documentaries all about what goes on behind the scenes, teaching the audience to be more mindful; and how to put their most conscientious, ethical (but still bang on trend) foot forward.

If the term fast fashion is completely new to you, let me bring you up to speed a bit.  Within the last few decades, the way in which consumers shop for clothes has changed massively. With an influx of more and more fashion retailers adorning each and every high street and each corner of the internet; it’s easy to see why low cost, fast fashion retailers really took off. They take the styles and designs seen from top, high end fashion houses, reproducing them quickly for a lower cost (and quality) for the consumer. This then in turn gives the customer the ability to get on board with the identical trend for a fraction of the price.

So what does this have to do with being ethical and how does it negatively impact the planet? So these practices often rely on offshore manufacturing processes where labour is so much cheaper; paying low wages and not taking into account if there are adequate health and safety practices in place. Not only is it not ethical for humanitarian reasons. For other human beings to pay the price for some cheap garments but by the time your outfit gets to store it’s got more air miles on it than the average gap year student.

Becoming a conscious consumer isn’t dressing head to toe in hessian sacks and singing Kumbaya.

To maintain the cheap price of these fast fashion items, often the materials used are of a cheaper, lower quality so they don’t last as long and then get thrown away after a small handful of uses.

Now, I completely understand that the price of clothes is something of a sticking point. Not everyone can afford to buy high quality clothing. Not everyone can physically access shops that stock items like these. I realise there is an amount of privilege that comes with being able to afford to shop this way. I don’t want to offend or isolate anybody with what I’ve written here, I’d be deeply troubled with myself if that was the case. I just wanted to share some ways that even if you can’t quit your fast fashion habits, or you can’t find clothes to fit you from other stores, how you may benefit from some of these simple solutions.

  • Search on Depop/Ebay/Facebook Marketplace.

There are numerous different apps and sites like this. Whether you’re looking at it as a simple way to make some extra dosh or even peruse the shelves of other online wardrobes. It’s an ideal way to find a new outfit on the cheap, whether you’re looking for something from a high street brand, something a bit off the cuff or a designer label; apps like this have got you covered. It can be a bit of a hassle going through the to-ing and fro-ing with individual sellers but the good majority of the time the individual sellers are good. With most corners of the internet you’ll find those types of people trying their luck, to get a vintage, one of a kind item for about 34 pence with postage and packaging chucked in too as if you’re doing them the favour! Nah.

  • Shop Second Hand or in Charity Shops. 

One of my all time favourite pastimes is spending time browsing in different charity shops. Not only will you feel good for getting a top notch bargain but you’ll also get that warm, fuzzy feeling inside knowing the money you’ve spent in store is being put to a good use. Compared to buying in a high street, conventional shop, it might be harder to find the exact thing you’re after but you might come home with something even better or even something designer. Ask the staff if you’re looking for something in particular they might see something come in and keep it aside for you or let you know when they’re restocking days are. Some charity shops aren’t the most accessible to everyone from not stocking a wider range of sizes, being quite small and narrow which isn’t ideal if you’re wheelchair bound. I recently was invited to the Julia’s House new superstore in Poole, Dorset to have a nose around click the link here to have a read of what I thought (and what I purchased!)

  • Browse vintage stores. 

If I had all the money in the world I’d love to be able to spend a fortune in vintage or antique stores. Preferably with someone just a few paces behind me with a big bag picking up everything I scream ‘OMG WANT THIS’ at. I like that the clothes (books and home bits too) have more character to them and you definitely won’t see someone wearing the exact same outfit at an event. If shops like this are a bit few and far between near you online sites like eBay or Antiques Trails Maps are great to search for a particular piece.

clothes

  • Host a Clothes Swap.

If you’re like me and have a wardrobe that’s pretty much busting at the seams, get all your friends together, invite them over for a night in of nibbles, drinks and tell them to bring all their unwanted clothes. One (wo)man’s trash is another (wo)man’s treasure and all that jazz? You never know, that top you’ve been eyeing up that your mate wore before, they might be planning to get rid of it and it’s your ideal time to swoop in. OR similarly, if you want to be tooootally extra and definitely end up in The Good Place; organise something like this on a much grander scale. Find somewhere locally, village hall, school hall or something and do it for charity. Inspire your local community to come along with all of their unwanted wears and feel like a mini Gok Wan with all the sustainable clothes swapping going on around you.

  • Make your own. 

To some, this might sound utterly AWFUL and the sheer thought of trying to make your own clothes is as tempting as heading out the door wearing a bin bag and empty cheese & onion crisp packets as shoes. If this sounds like something you’d be genuinely interested in doing or at least trying out there are hundreds and hundreds of of guides, templates and kits to get you started on these types of things. They’re available online on sites like Etsy, in haberdashery shops or places like Hobbycraft. Or just simply hang onto that mini sewing kit that comes in your cracker at Christmas, spend some time with your nan and learn how to re-sew on a button or how to make something that’s slightly worn look like you bought it that way.

  • Try to shop as trans-seasonably as you can.

It seems like fashion these days cover literally eventuality you could possibly imagine. Once upon a time people bought clothes to wear until they either physically grew out of them or to the point they were beyond repair. These items would be turned into handmedowns or sometimes even used as old cleaning rags. I know I’ve been in the position if I’ve got a party or an event coming up rather than raiding my own wardrobe and wearing that little black dress I’ve worn for the umpteenth time it is far more tempting to hop onto my laptop and check out what dress I can find online for a tenner with next day delivery thrown in you say??? Count me in! Rather than buying something that’ll be in style here and now, perhaps consider something that’ll last a lot longer over the years and you’ll be comfortable to wear it for a multitude of different occasions.

  • Shop smarter.

Emma Watson is endorsing the 30-wear promise which is the ethos that before purchasing an item you need to consider if you’ll wear it 30+ times. This is something that I’m trying to consider when I shop for clothes more often. My personality and style can be quite spontaneous and often I’d pick out items on a whim that I think looks cool at the time and then take it home and sit on my bed staring at this garish crop top covered in Furbies and I’ll catch myself and think ‘….What was I THINKING?!’. So next if you’re like me and considering trying this new shopping stance too, next time you buy something new, think about whether you genuinely will wear it more than just the once and then after that it’ll just sit in the back of your wardrobe until the dreaded annual wardrobe-clearing-out task.

 

clothes pins

  • Create a capsule wardrobe.

I religiously watched Gok’s Fashion Fix when I was in my teens, not only because it seemed like it was the only thing on telly at the weekends when I was avoiding doing my homework but also because I found it fascinating watching this guy on tv completely transform a rather regular piece of clothing with such ease. His outfit would be pitted against the designer equivalent and nearly always his would win. Probably wouldn’t make ideal viewing really would it if everyone actually voted to say the Prada one was far, far nicer than his safety pin improved number though, would it? My point being is that not only would Gok teach regular folk from up and down the UK how to jazz up a plain outfit but he’d teach something also vitally important; body confidence and how to create the perfect capsule wardrobe. Learning how to create different, fabulous looks from the same few items of clothes, jazzing them up for some occasions, dressing them down for others.

  • Quality not quantity.

I know, that statement kinda stinks of privilege. Personally, I can’t afford to shop high end and often you can get several outfits for the same price as one singular fashion item in a pricier store. I’ve bought numerous items basic items from high street shops for just a couple of pounds and then I whinge and moan when they fall apart just a few wears later. Rather than buying five £5 basic t-shirts would it have been more cost effective if I bought one £25 t-shirt that didn’t fade and

  • Shop Sustainable Brands

A lot of high street retailers often seem to be cashing in on the whole sustainable. Call me a cynic, but if you want to make an impact and actually be an ethical trader don’t limit that to just a few shelves out of a bustling shop full. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a start, a step in the right direction but surely it’s no more or less ethical. I’ve noticed more lately that there is a real uprising of ethical traders and brands coming through with gorgeous pieces of clothing.

Know The Origin

Doc Cotton

House Of Sunny

Beulah London

Ninety Percent

Sometimes, what you need to consider is that if you’re paying a lower cost for an item, someone, somewhere else is picking up the rest of the tab for that. When you shop locally with an independent retailer. You are supporting a person, you’re supporting a family, a household with income. You might be helping a Mother pay her mortgage, a Father help to pay for his child to go for extra curricular lessons or just helping a person chase their dream and afford to actually live. When you buy from a big fast fashion retailer you are only lining the pockets of the fat cats at the top.