Kiwi woman ditches new things for a year

An Auckland woman has sworn off buying new things for an entire year and is encouraging others to follow suit.

Beccy Ellen-Beavis, from Riverhead in northwest Auckland, is nine months into her mission and says making the change to minimalism hasn't been easy but they're happy and better off financially.

"I decided to have a big overhaul of our lifestyle so I could stay at home with my son and decided not to buy anything brand new for an entire year," she told Newshub.

"It puts more emphasis on what you actually buy, do you need this? Is it important to your lifestyle?"

The home for the young family of three is small, less than a 100 square metres, but has the space they need.

Nearly everything in the house is second-hand or recycled - the appliances, the shelves, the kitchen sink.

But it's not just about what's inside - even the house itself is recycled, half a home shifted from Greenlane that the family are now doing up.

"It's about having a meaningful life and stuff is not meaningful," Ms Ellen-Beavis says.

"The more we've gone through this journey, we've realised the less stuff you actually have, the more wealthy you are in a sense, because it's the things that you do rather than the things that you own."

Ms Ellen-Beavis says plenty of people will buy things and get the instant gratification from it, then put it away and forget about it.

"It doesn't bring you any joy whatsoever but things you put a process into, you hand-make, you put value and time into - they're actually meaningful and you get more joy out of those objects."

It was the driving force behind this year's Christmas holidays for the Ellen-Beavises. The family would usually put $4000 to $5000 on their VISA cards between presents and holidays - something they avoided this year.

"I made presents, I bought presents from op shops and second-hand stores, I supported some local New Zealand businesses that use recycled materials, and it was next to nothing and it was so meaningful," Ms Ellen-Beavis says.

She encourages more people to make the shift to minimalism, saying the world has become incredibly fast-paced.

"We have to learn to slow down and by slowing down, it actually means we don't have to own as much, we don't have to work as hard for these things that aren't as valuable at the end of the day."

April marks 12 months of minimalism for Ms Ellen-Beavis but it won't be the end of her journey. She plans to continue living a similar lifestyle, albeit not as "harshly" as she has been.