Minimalism and Pets

I recently saw a comment on a blog post that made me stop in my tracks. The blog post was (of course) about minimalism. The comment was from a person who was also aspiring to a minimalist lifestyle.

Now I truly can’t remember which blog post this was, or exactly what the comment said. But I remember part of the comment, and that part was this… (not word for word)

‘I still have some things to get rid of, such as X, Y, Z and my dog.’ 

Now I don’t remember the other items. But I remember that poor dog.

As a minimalist myself, and a long time pet owner I have been in this position. I have been decluttering my home and my life, stumbling upon chewed up dog toys along the way. But never did I consider that in order to clear out the excess I would actually have to get rid of my pooch!

Of course, there are often plenty of good reasons why you may no longer be able to care for your pet. But I don’t think minimalism is one of them. If you find yourself unable to provide your pet with the things it needs – toys, food, shelter, exercise and attention, then I can completely understand.

But I don’t believe you need to be pet-free in order to be a minimalist.

Sure, pets have things. My dog has food and water bowls, a whole cupboard dedicated to his food, treats, leashes, collars and brushes. Toys, blankets and a bed of his own. Yes it can get frustrating when my clean and clear floor spends half the day littered in the toys he’s pulled out to play with, but that’s part of having a pet. My pooch brings me lots of joy, and adds lots of value to my life. Without him I wouldn’t get outdoors each day (whatever the weather) to breathe the fresh air and stretch my legs. I wouldn’t have met and started conversations with countless neighbours who have four legged friends of their own. I wouldn’t have a toasty companion to curl up at my feet and watch a film with while J works away. I wouldn’t have my ferocious little alarm telling me that the post has arrived.

My pet adds value and brings joy to my life in many ways. And yes he has things that I don’t need, but I need my dog. And I see my dog as a living, breathing creature with feelings and needs.

As they say, a dog is for life, not for Christmas.

No one will convince me that I need to kick him out in order to fit into a minimalist shaped mould.

He isn’t a holey pair of socks or a spare pair of scissors. He isn’t outdated paperwork or our 5th set of playing cards.

He’s a part of our family, and the idea of getting rid of him to help declutter my home is as bizarre as suggesting I’d have to get rid of my partner in order to declutter some more.

Perhaps the person that commented has other reasons, perhaps they have realised they don’t value their pet as they should, perhaps they plan on travelling the world with their backpack. Perhaps I have got them all wrong.

But this isn’t an attack on that person, and this isn’t a declaration that you must keep your pet no matter what.

It’s simply a post to say that minimalism comes in many shapes and sizes, and don’t ever feel pressured to ascribe to a checklist in order to fit in.

I can keep my dog, and you can keep your college sweater.

If it adds value, of course.

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Minimalist Planning: Kitchen

We’re currently sans kitchen. There is no kitchen up in here. We have no kitchen. Kitchen-less.

We ripped it out over the weekend just past, we won’t have our new one installed until the weekend after this one coming.

We’ll be without da kitch for 14 days in all.

Everything has been removed and packed into boxes or moved into our under the stairs storage – lucky I went crazy with the decluttering or I don’t know where we would have found the space for it all.

With the new kitchen, I designed it with minimalism in mind. We’re going to be having less cupboards people. Far less storage capacity.

But you know what? There will still be enough. There will still be shed loads of space. We just have to think smart and get rid of duplicates and non-essentials.

For one my baking equipment is going, I bake at most once a year and I do not enjoy it. I enjoy the end product but I fail miserably every time I attempt to home bake myself. So for the space the kit and the stockpile of ingredients takes up.. Two shelves in our old kitchen… I’ll be getting rid.

We’ve also got a few duplicate appliances, blenders, dicers etc. And duplicate utensils that need to go.

Family have gotten into the habit of buying us mugs. I hate it. They are all mismatched and different sizes and it makes me antsy. I need to curb this behaviour. Nicely.

Glassware as well. I have an uncle that brings his own glass to family events. And then leaves it here for next time. Nuh uh Mr.

Take your sh*t home please.

Food waste is a big watch out for me. We waste too much. It’s hurting our bank balance and our health. But it also feels like a massive kick in the teeth for those who go without. Major guilt trips every time I waste. Why make myself feel so bad? Just meal plan, buy what we need and avoid all those special offers, 2 for £3, buy 1 get one free. Please, consider whether you actually need it first. I’d rather lose out on a saving that have such a lax attitude to life giving sustenance.

Dinnerware, J bought plates that don’t fit in the microwave, plus they wobble when placed on a flat surface. *Face Palm*. I hate to say it but I’m doing a full replace. Clearing out all our mismatched dinnerware and investing in quality, long lasting and well made items.

Same with cutlery, we have so much cutlery. The drawers are overflowing. We’ll buy new teaspoons and J will insist on holding onto the ones we already had as well. I need to put my foot down.

I’m a firm believer in having less stuff, which means more frequent washing, but lower quantities of washing. And amen to that. I’d much rather clean for 5 minutes twice daily then 1 hour twice weekly.

Then there’s decor, I’ve invested in counter uplifts and I’m going tile free. Just white walls and our uplift, maybe a backsplash or tiled column behind the hob. But otherwise bare.

Did I also mention we only have three wall cupboards on only one wall? Leaving our other wall to embrace the window, the other wall clear with just the extractor to add interest, and the other wall.. well we knocked that down.

Image source https://qarrtsiluni.files.wordpress.com/2009/06/crowley-cupboards-bare.jpg