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Welcome to today’s 20 Questions Minimalist Style! You may [or may not know] that the minimalist lifestyle is all around the world, but it is! Ruth is proof of it, and I’m excited to share her minimalism story with you!
Minimalism is a lifestyle people everywhere are working towards, and today, we have our first overseas participant! [As always] I am excited to be able to help share her journey! I have a feeling you are going to love Ruth!
Ruth currently resides in England; however, she was not raised there. Most people find minimalism while moving to a new home, but is that Ruth’s case?
You will have to read the responses below to get an idea of how incredible her life is!
20 Questions Minimalist Style: Ruth
1. Tell me about yourself. Who are you? What do you do?
My name is Ruth. I’m a Mexican, living in England since 2004. I live in this beautiful country, as my husband is British and we both decided to stay for a period of time which has lasted 12 years and counting.
We don’t have children nor do we have any pets, but we do have plenty of non-blood related nephews. Whichever child wants to adopt me as an aunty – I’m in!
I’m an accountant by trade and a cook and artisan by heart, and because I like to follow my heart I work as a cook.
2. What are you passionate about, Ruth?
Food, wine and metal smith jewelry making.
3. What was your life like before you became a minimalist?
I was born into a minimalist, frugal family. Both my parents were but for different reasons.
My mum embraced simplicity and my dad for money saving. Then my mum died when I was seven and later on I was raised by my stepmother who could never be a minimalist, so I suppose I sort of lost my path.
Many years later I met my hoarder husband, he was living in my city in Mexico at that time, we married and I brought a lot of things from Mexico like books, home decor, etc. Living in a small house was challenging.
We used to spend a lot of time cleaning the house and the tidying was endless, never mind the things we stored for “just in case” situations. Not to mention his collections from childhood, teens years etc.
4. How did you discover minimalism?
I rediscovered minimalism again when we decided to renovate our 90m2 (about 969 sq ft) about 2 years ago. We made an open-plan downstairs living space, as I don’t like cramped spaces.
We have big windows to get as much daylight as is possible in this country – especially in winter. I wanted it to be minimal.
The garage was converted into a man-cave for my husband and because we don’t have a loft, we ended up with little space for storage forcing us to get rid of things.
On an emotional level, I got tired of the rat race within which we lived. I felt that society was dictating the way I HAD to live, how many things I HAD to own, in order to “be happy” and not feeling I was missing out.
5. Did you start shifting your life towards a minimalist lifestyle immediately or was a hesitation?
I’m not a very “attached-to-things” person but my husband is. For me is very easy to get rid of most things, but as I share my life, I can’t make all decisions by myself .
Every time I mentioned the “minimalist” word, my husband started being reluctant and having an excuse to not to practice it. Occasionally we ended up having big arguments, so I had to back off, after all – it was my journey, not his.
However after a while, he started seeing and appreciating the benefits of it, especially financially. [I have to mention he got rid of some of his childhood collections!]
I’m very proud of him for this huge achievement even if it was just because he didn’t have the space in his man cave.
6. How did you begin the transition to a minimalist lifestyle?
When we did our house renovation, we had to put everything in boxes and hire storage for them. When we moved back in, I unpacked only the things I thought we were going to use, the rest was sold or contributed to charity shops.
From that moment we both adopted the idea of buying just the things we needed (of course my husband has failed with his personal things, but he makes an effort, so maybe one day….who knows). But before buying things for the house we think about it a lot.
7. What does being minimalist mean to you?
Freedom in all senses. Spiritual, mental and physical.
8. Where are you currently with your minimalist journey?
In terms of material things I’m doing really well. In the last six months, for clothing I’ve just bought a pajama bottom and that’s it. Right now, I’m looking for a cardigan, but I haven’t found it yet.
When I’m shopping, my mindset now is that if I don’t fall in love with it immediately, I don’t buy it. It’s like choosing a partner, has to be the right one. Also I’m being more socially and environmentally responsible when buying my products.
9. Where do you hope to be in the next 6 months with your journey?
I’d like to declutter my studio things, like materials to make jewelry among other crafts supplies. I don’t intend to leave my hobbies, but I could manage with less stuff.
10. Ruth, how minimalism changed your life?
Minimalism has given me another perspective on life, living in a rich and very consumerist country it’s possible to have a simple and fulfilling life with less and making the most of your resources without feeling deprived or left behind.
11. What things have you changed in your life since becoming a minimalist? Examples: becoming a vegetarian, less waste, using no plastic, etc.
I started not long ago to be more aware of the plastic waste we produce at home. I’m more conscious when buying my food since it’s my biggest consumption.
Unfortunately, a lot of food in UK supermarkets come with packaging that can’t be recycled so I’ve been putting a lot of effort on making the most suitable options for us. Still a long way to go, but I’m positive about keeping these changes for good.
My husband and I decided to reduce our meat intake, dairy products and eggs. We are not eliminating them completely from our diet, but I’m more inclined towards a plant based diet.
I don’t intend to become vegetarian or vegan, but right now I’ve been experimenting with vegan recipes.
12. What is the biggest obstacle you have faced? How are/did you overcoming / overcome it?
My biggest obstacle is my husband (lol, actually I’m not joking). We are two very, very different people, so we always work hard to find our balance. We both have to compromise.
For example, as part of my reduce-waste journey, I don’t use plastic bags for shopping and he knows it. The other day I asked him to buy some fruit from a farm shop which is on his way to home.
That day I was experimenting to make snacks for him, instead of buying them in order to reduce packaging . He brought the fruit home in a plastic bag and I went ballistic.
I almost made the news headlines “Man murdered by his minimalist wife for bringing a plastic bag to home”. I accept that it was very irrational of me, my passion went over the top, and I apologized.
13. Explain your current wardrobe. Are you following a specific capsule wardrobe project? If not, what guidelines do you use [if any]? What color palette would we see? How many items do you have in your wardrobe?
I don’t have a specific wardrobe. I’m just using the same clothes that I’ve had for last few years. I’ve never bought a lot of clothes anyway, not even when I worked in a clothing store and I had a good discount, my limited space didn’t allow me.
My only rule is: when a new purchase goes in, something goes out!
14. Who is/are your favorite Minimalist Blogger?
Joshua Becker – www.becomingminimalist.com
15. What is/are your favorite book(s) on minimalism?
I haven’t read any yet.
16. What is/are your favorite part of your day?
Always has been and always will be dinner time with my husband.
17. What is the last thing you let go of?
My dad’s guitar and my mum’s sewing machine.
18. What is one thing you wish you could let go of but haven’t yet?
My juice maker that I no longer use.
19. What is the number one benefit you have received due to becoming minimalist?
Peace of mind.
20. If you could give advice to someone who wants to star their minimalist journey, what would you say?
Start small. One-step-at-a time. Make small changes to habits so as to not to shock the system, it’ll help it become long term.
I love hearing all that Ruth had to share! Didn’t you? Do you have more questions or any comments for Ruth? Please leave them below in the comments!
Be sure to check out the entire 20 Questions Minimalist Style series!