We live in a society and culture that thrives on splurging, over consumption, and lifestyle inflation. We just don’t know when to stop and don’t have the filter to know when we have enough. This can be in many aspects: food, shopping, and just living in general. One lifestyle that’s envied by many but practised by few is the minimalist lifestyle. Those who are known as minimalist work with the bare minimum, and can live off of very little. They aren’t phased by the latest gadgets and fashions, and they’re not attached to so many “things”. It’s easier to become a minimalist than you think:
- Declutter: Step one to moving towards a minimalist lifestyle is to declutter. Get rid of things you don’t want or don’t use. There’s no reason to keep it. If you haven’t used it in the past 2-3 months, that should be the first thing to go. If you have no emotional attachment to it, discard it. Be very aware when you find yourself being “attached” to so many things. Be realistic and watch your inventory decrease.
- Downsize: A lot of people have more space than is necessary, either in their house, or even in their car. If you have a large home, and only occupy half of the space usually, look for a home that allows you enough room for what you need on a regular basis. If you have an SUV and you’re the only one in it most of the time, find a smaller car.
- Streamline: We spend a lot of time on a lot of unnecessary busy work. Make processes more efficient. Find a store where you can do one-stop shopping. Make your errands more efficient by finding places in the same general area. Set up filters for your e-mail inbox. If you have chores in your house, come up with a way that can get the chores done in a quality way, but doesn’t consume a lot of time.
- Go paperless: Paper can cause for a lot of clutter, and minimalists don’t like clutter. Make the change from paper statements to statements available online or via e-mail. Pay your bills online to save on postage. Try to do applications online to save yourself paper and ink from your printer. You can even invest in an electronic fax machine, where you scan documents to send it to others, and receive faxes to your e-mail inbox.
- Get organized: In a minimalist’s house, everything has a place. There are no random piles of things. Organization is key. If your closet is a mess, you can buy closet organizers that can include cubbies, shoe racks and boxes, hooks for belts and accessories, and two poles for double the amount of space to hang clothes. If mail clutter affects you, get small mailboxes for each member of the house. There’s organization options for just about everything including DVDs, CDs, video games, kitchen cabinets, even computer cords.
These are the first steps to becoming a minimalist. It’s not an easy transition, but with time, you’ll realize that you can live on a lot less than you thought. Take the time to think about what you absolutely cannot live without, and consider donating or discarding the rest.