Leading a minimal lifestyle can be rewarding. Simplifying and stripping back certain areas of your life can help you on your way to leading a more minimal lifestyle. Embarking on the path to become a minimalist doesn't necessarily mean selling all your stuff, running away to a cabin in the mountains, and living without technology: Minimalism is different for everybody.
Some folks like to follow a minimal beauty routine, some prefer to have fewer belongings, and other people like to channel the minimalist fashion trend. There's no wrong or right answer and you can take minimalism as far as you want. It could be a journey on which you start out small and then you suddenly find other areas of your life are falling into the minimalist way of thinking.
Vlogger, vegan, and self-confessed minimalist Jenny Mustard talked about how she became a minimalist in a recent video. Ms. Mustard explained the concept of minimalism and says, "I would say that minimalism is all about simplifying your life, no matter in what way that might be." After describing a few ways to lead a more minimal life, she later elaborates, "There are not really any rules when it comes to minimalism, so anyone can call themselves a minimalist. You don't have to like, join a group, or follow a leader, or read any sort of texts, or whatever." So here are some ways to simplify your existence and lead a more minimal life.
1. Stop Hoarding
Will you really wear that little black dress again? The one which you’ve worn too many times to count and it’s becoming threadbare? Or how about that sequin top which you found at a thrift store, but you’ve never worn because it’s a little too big? Are you really going to regularly use that donut maker which you’ve only used once in three years? Spend a day (or a weekend, depending on how much stuff you have accumulated) going through every single item that you own and asking yourself honestly: how many times you’ve used it, how often you plan on using it in the future, and how it benefits your life. If it’s something you’ve barely used, an item you can’t envisage using in the near future, or something that doesn’t serve a purpose, it could be time to donate it to a loved one or a charity.
2. Only Buy Things You Need
Now you’ve gotten rid of all of your unnecessary belongings you’d been hanging onto for nostalgic purposes, or because you thought you’d use them in the distant future, you need to ensure that you’re not going to repeat your old patterns and end up with a dragon-worthy pile of stuff again. To do this you need to stop impulse buying and become a conscious shopper. In her recent video Mustard said, “Society is telling us over and over and over again, that we should spend money on things to fill that empty feeling. Here’s what I try to do instead, is that I try to fill that emptiness with being productive and creative, instead of being just consuming.” She explains what to do when you’re shopping, which include steps such as asking yourself, “Do I really need this?” and, “Would I buy this if it cost me 3 times as much?” If you’re struggling with shopping and you want to lead a more minimal lifestyle, check out Jenny’s video above for some handy tips and advice.
3. Recreate Your Workspace
Take a look at your desk or workspace with a critical eye. Imagine this is someone else’s space and you’re analyzing exactly why the user might need each item within it. Would someone who works on a computer most of the day really need a pot of colored pencils? Is it too distracting for an artist to have their iPad in plain view? Would this person really benefit from storing their indie fashion magazines underneath their desk or are they just doing it to look edgy? Get rid of anything that distracts you from working or items you simply don’t need lying around your workspace – here’s looking at you Treasure Troll.
4. Organize Everything By Its Usage
Kathryn of the Do It On A Dime blog and YouTube channel discussed cheap organizing tips. In her video, she said, "It's helpful for me not to think of organization as storage, but as a system." Kathryn warned viewers against, what she likes to call, "Just in case organizing" she said, "Make sure you're not falling victim to 'just in case organizing.' True organizing is things that you are using, you know you're gonna' use, and you have a time frame to use it. 'Just in case organizing' is putting things away in storage because you might need it later. One of my favorite things to do is say out loud, 'Why are you keeping this item?'" If you follow Kathryn's tips for ensuring your storage is organized by how often you use your items, you're sure to have less belongings and therefore, a much more simple way of living.
5. Embrace The Digital World
Do you really need hard copies of photos from your childhood or recent birthday parties? Although it’s great to showcase your favorite pictures on your walls, you really don’t need all of your photography to be printed. It’s easy nowadays to make backups of your backups, so there’s no need to worry about losing your precious memories, unless you’ve not taken the time to store them correctly. Allocate one small box for all of your most treasured keepsakes, photos, and memories and help the rest to live on in a digital after life.
6. Borrow Instead Of Buy
Of course, I adore books as much as the next bookworm, but I find myself (probably like many others out there) with a bookshelf full of books which I haven’t read in years. Instead of buying a physical book, you can see if a book is your cup of tea first, by loaning it from the library. If you liked it, buy an eBook or an audio version of the book and if you really loved it – for instance, you envisage yourself reading it multiple times in your life and loaning it to friends and family – buy a hard copy.
On a similar note, you can also loan your favorite fashions. Companies such as Rent The Runway allow you to rent garments and accessories, so you can always flaunt the latest fashions, but you won’t end up with a cluttered wardrobe. They even offer an ingenious Unlimited Membership which costs $139 per month; you get three items, can keep them as long as you want, and you can exchange any or all of them for new pieces whenever you please. IMO this is a minimalist’s dream, especially one who travels frequently.
Gals getting hitched may want to hire their gown, instead of forking out for perhaps the most expensive dress they shall ever wear in their lives, considering they only get worn once. Sites such as Borrowing Magnolia allow brides to buy or rent second hand wedding dresses. Ladies tying the knot can even try dresses on for size before they make a decision; with prices starting at a mere $40 to try a gown on in their own home.
Whichever route you go down, ensure you're not just minimalizing for the sake of it and enjoy leading a more peaceful and simplistic life!