That we live in a consumerist world is nothing new. More than ever people are spending money that they don’t have and buying stuff they don’t need. So here’s why I’m choosing a minimalist lifestyle… and I think you should too!
Choosing a minimalist lifestyle is more than just de-cluttering your life and getting rid of things you never use. It’s a complete shift in your mindset from always having the urge to buy more, to learning to live with less.
How many times have you bought a new t-shirt or a pair of shoes and a few days later (if not a few hours later!) you already regret having bought it. Guilty as charged.
Realizing that buying STUFF does not bring more value into your life is the first step towards minimalism. STUFF only clutters your house and most likely your mind.
Moving abroad with a one-way ticket and packing my whole life into a few suitcases showed me how little I actually need. De-cluttering before we left felt SO good! After bringing a couple bags of clothing to the Salvation Army, clothing I hadn’t worn in years, I promised myself to not buy any new clothes for a while.
Living a minimalist lifestyle and clarifying what is most important to me in life is helping me realize where I want to spend my time, energy and money. It’s bringing more balance into my life and overall positive-vibes.
As a minimalist I’m thinking twice about anything I buy. Do I really need it and will I still like it in a month or a year from now?
Of course we made a trip to IKEA to buy the essentials for our new apartment here in Switzerland. But no house plants, extra furniture, or candles made it into the cart. It feels so great to only buy what you really need!
Embracing a minimalist mindset doesn’t happen overnight. It happens slowly overtime until one day you wake up and realize that you are putting greater value in experiences instead of material things.
Check out my 7 tips for living a minimalist lifestyle and embracing a life of less:
1. Think Before You Buy
One of the biggest components of a minimalist lifesyle is giving adequate thought to the things you buy or bring into your home.
Before you scoop up the knitted grey scarf you see for sale at your local boutique, stop to ask yourself why you feel the impulse to buy it.
Do you need a scarf to keep warm for winter? Did you pick it up because you saw the red sticker with a 50% discount? Is the discount reason enough to buy it?
Ask yourself these hard, not so fun questions before you add more stuff — and potentially more chaos — to your life.
2. Quality Over Quantity
Let me be clear that being a minimalist doesn’t mean being frugal. It doesn’t mean avoiding material posessions, it just means avoiding excess.
So instead of buying 40 cheap shirts buy 10 with the same budget. They will last longer because they are higher quality and you won’t have to keep buying them every 3 months.
Same goes for everyday household items. I don’t mind investing a little bit more in a decent vacuum or kitchen appliance if it’s going to work for a long time. Avoiding cheap gadgets and household items will help you save money because you won’t have to replace it every few months. This also creates less waste which is better for the environment. That’s a win win situation.
You can apply the quality over quantity rule of minimalism to all aspects of your life – from friendships to hobbies and social events.
3. Time To Declutter
Get rid of anything you haven’t worn in the last year. That standup paddleboard or mountain bike that you bought during an impulse splurge but now never use. Sell it. Those books stashed away in cardboard boxes that you’ll ‘probably’ never read again. Donate them.
Find one to two things that you want to get rid of and make it happen. Remember, it’s a marathon and not a sprint, but start today. Find one thing as soon as you finish reading this article.
Minimalism is about downsizing in order to enjoy what you do have that much more!
4. Learn To Reuse
Living like a minimalist means re-using instead of throwing stuff out and buying new. For example, you can re-use clean yogurt containers or jars as tupperware for leftovers.
You could also repurpose shoeboxes for storage instead of buying plastic bins. Same goes with plastic bags from grocery shopping. Use them in your garbage cans around the house instead of buying garbage bags.
Don’t just mindlessly throw old things out. Think about how they could serve a purpose and you might just save a few dollars along the way!
5. Focus On The Moment
By embracing minimalism, owning less and simplifying, we create time and space to become more mindful. Allowing us to be present in the moment. De-cluttering your mind helps you focus on what is important in life, your relationship, your family, your self-care.
6. Remember Your Objective
Why do I want to live a minimalist lifestyle? Why do I want to own fewer things? Are they suffocating me? Do I want more freedom to move around to different places with greater ease? Do I want to be more mindful?
Remembering your objective will help you when you’re sorting through things at home. For example, before moving abroad I decided to sell my mountain bike because I wasn’t going to be using it for a long time. (Plus, I was working on saving money for my move abroad!)
But if I was wanting to gain clarity of mind through getting outside and being active, then a mountain bike could help me appreciate experiences over material things.
There are a lot of reasons to own less, and when you know your specific reasons, it makes the process much easier!
7. Material Things Are Temporary Forms Of Joy
Minimalist living means learning to detach yourself from what you own. It’s completely fine to treasure your favourite book or feel serious appreciation for your coffee machine (I love myAeroPress!), as long as you realize that these things are temporary sources of joy.
Material stuff you own doesn’t fuel your happiness.
You know what does?
Experiences and relationships.
So go declutter, then get out there and live!