Tea enthusiast Ashlynne Eaton spent a little part of her day here at Female First where we discussed life as a YouTuber, how she found simple living and what Christmas looks like for a minimalist.

Ashlynne Eaton

Ashlynne Eaton

Please tell us when and why minimalism first played a part in your life. 

About 4 years ago, I had just gotten married and my husband and I combined all of our lives and our accumulated possessions into a tiny one-bedroom apartment in Raleigh, NC. After several months of living in the space, I reached a breaking point. For months, feelings of stress, overwhelm, and anxiety had been building up within me and I couldn’t understand what the cause of it was. I just knew something needed to change, so I began looking for answers.

Just a few days later, I stumbled upon the concept of minimalism - living with less - and immediately I knew what I needed to do. It was like a light bulb went off in my head and a single word was impressed in my brain. Simplify. So space-by-space I began decluttering my life, and the immediate impact it had was incredible. As I removed the clutter from my life, I experienced this tremendous feeling of freedom and relief. My stress levels went down and I slowly began to actually enjoy living in my apartment again.

Then, what started with decluttering my possessions began to impact other areas of my life too. I just began asking the question, “How might my life be better with less?” And used that as a tool to help simplify various aspects of my life. I deleted dozens of apps from my phone, I stopped trying to be friends with everyone and instead focussed on a few close relationships, and the list goes on. Doing so brought a lot of renewed joy and intentionality to my life, so it’s a mindset and tool I’ve continued to use ever since.

At what point did you decide that it would make great online content and how did your channel come about?

I actually began creating online content when I first started decluttering. I saw it as a great way of creating accountability, as well as a fun opportunity to document the process of simplifying. I love the fact that I didn’t start making content around it when I “arrived”, because I truly believe minimalism is a journey and an evolving process for each of us and it’s cool getting to look back at old videos and see how I’ve learned and grown along the way.

Do you follow any other YouTubers for inspiration? If so, who are your go to content makers?

Absolutely! I started posting videos because I love the minimalism community on YouTube! A few of my favorite channels (many of whom I’ve become friends with) are Sarah Therese, who is a minimalist mom of 3 and basically the person I aspire to be in 5 years, Vera from Simple Happy Zen, who makes the most lovely chill and informative videos, and Meghan Livingstone, who has some amazing practical tips for mindful and intuitive living.

How many hours do you spend working on your content and what does a typical day look like in your world?

A lot more than most people expect! I put in at least a full 40-hour work week, if not more, on a consistent basis. For me, a typical work day starts around 9am. I’ll begin by outlining my goals for the day, then spend a few hours responding to emails (I get a LOT of them) and then move on to content creation. Depending on the day I might film a video, edit content, or write a combination of blog posts and captions. After between 4-6 hours of that, I’ll wrap up my day by focusing on some more long-term projects, like the decluttering course I’m putting together. Then I’ll wrap up for the day between 5-7pm. It’s a pretty loose schedule, but I like being able to be flexible and devote more of less time to various activities depending on what my goals are.

How did you personally cope with lockdown and how did you fill your time?

It definitely wasn’t easy, but I do think that years of trying to live more intentionally helped me approach it with a sense of purpose. I used the time to grow closer with my husband, Christopher, as well as to dive into some creative pursuits. I learned how to watercolor, I built several puzzles, I worked on my embroidery… I also tried not to put pressure on myself to be hyper-productive. It was an emotionally difficult time for everyone, so I gave myself a lot of grace to slow down.

What are your top tips for others who want to create videos about minimalism and simple living? 

Wherever you’re at in the process, whether you’ve been a minimalist for years or are just beginning your journey, start now. There’s an amazing group of people on YouTube wanting to live more intentionally and it’s a fun community to be a part of. Then, this is more of a general tip, but if you want to build traction and community, post consistently and interact with your followers. Build relationships with them and become friends. That makes more of a difference than you’d ever realize.

How do you handle gift giving at Christmas? Do you still buy and receive gifts, and do you have any rules around this tradition? 

Christmas, and really all of December, is actually my favorite time of year. I love the nostalgia and warmth of the season. So yes, I do still exchange presents with loved ones, although it definitely looks different than it used to. The biggest changes I’ve made are asking for and sharing wish lists, so I can give and receive useful and well-loved gifts, gifting quality over quantity (i.e. one high-quality, ethically made sweater vs. 3 fast-fashion sweaters plus 2 shirts they didn’t even need), and looking for opportunities to give more meaningful gifts (like experiences, consumables, handmade items they need, etc.). I don’t like creating specific rules, but those general principles have definitely brought more simplicity to my gift-giving.

What does a minimalist Christmas look like in your house?

As I shared, I love Christmas, so it’s the one holiday I will actually decorate for. Last week we set up our Christmas tree that’s full of a variety of hand-painted ornaments, one of our favorite Christmas traditions, ornaments we’ve bought during our travels, and a variety of sentimental ones from our childhoods. Apart from the tree, though, we have a wreath on our door, a brass reindeer and ceramic Christmas tree that live on our coffee table, and a couple of little snowmen crafts we keep in our bathroom. For us it’s the perfect balance of fully embracing the season while still keeping things fairly simple. 

From a non-decor related standpoint, we also love fully embracing hygge over the festive season. We’ll burn scented candles, snuggle up in blankets, make festive cookies, re-watch our favorite movies… That’s my favorite part of the season. It’s so cozy and I love how it brings people together. The decor is just a lovely backdrop for it.

You have recently gone full time with your channel, so what are the pros and cons of being your own boss?

I love the freedom of making my schedule and being my own boss. It’s such a cool feeling, being in control of your business and future. Plus, I love the fact that I can start work whenever I want and that I can work from anywhere in the world! The flip side of that, though, is that there is a LOT of responsibility involved with running a business. There is a huge logistical aspect to running a YouTube channel that most people never even think about. Figuring out things like how to fix website bugs, accounting, and taxes has certainly been a challenge. But I think the biggest pro of having gone full-time is that I get to wake up every day knowing I’m contributing something positive to the world, helping people to live more simply and more intentionally. That’s huge.

What is next to you?

There are a lot of exciting ideas and plans I have in the works, but I think the biggest thing is that I want to continue to serve my community and provide them with valuable content that will help them along in their journey towards a more purposeful life. To that end, I’m hoping to begin work soon on a minimalism and decluttering course that will launch in 2021.

by for www.femalefirst.co.uk
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