The Minimalist Initiative
Recently, I’ve been having a deep desire to adopt a minimalist lifestyle. There’s just something so appealing about the decor, the capsule wardrobe, and the idea that the less “things” I have, the more money I will save and the more fulfilling my life will be.
On the other hand, a minimalist lifestyle can seem daunting.
How much stuff do I really need to get rid of?
What about my current freedom to spend as I please?
What will it be like to adapt to living on less?
Growing up, my family didn’t have a lot of money and with that I acquired what is called a “lack mentality”. I started working at the age of 14 to make my own money but usually found myself spending it as soon as it came in. I’ve never been a great saver because of this lack mentality. The minute I had it, I would buy something that I THOUGHT I needed to survive or something that I thought would make me “better” in some way. Unfortunately, this has not been an easy habit to kick. Although I am able to save much better than I did before and have paid down a lot of debt, I can’t get past the idea that I could be saving a lot more. Plus, how nice to completely live by the notion that “the best things in life are free”?
By now, we have all heard of minimalist decor. Scandinavian design is basically based off of the premise. But until recently, I had never actually dug into the core of minimalism; which it to value what really matters most in this life (which, for the record, is not things).
My first step to this minimalist lifestyle was cleaning out my closet. As a blogger and a lover of shopping in general, I’m a buyer. I buy A LOT of clothes. So a couple of weeks ago, I did a major clean up and committed to a few rules of thumb when it came to buying new items for my closet. You can read up on that here (insert closet organization blog post).
Next up on the minimalist lifestyle overhaul was food and waste. For starters, I cleaned out our refrigerator and cabinets. I threw away anything that had gone bad and wrote it down as something to consider the next time we went food shopping. If it wasn’t bad, I made a commitment to using and consuming it in the next month. To keep up this new minimalist lifestyle and not let our food supply get out of hand again, my husband and I needed to make some guidelines for ourselves:
Never grocery shop on an empty stomach;
Make a plan before we go;
Make a list before we go;
STICK TO THE LIST;
While making said list, consider if we have bought that item before only to let it rot in the fridge. If we did, don’t buy it.
In addition to wasting less food and only buying what you need, a part of a minimalist lifestyle is creating minimal waste. That means bringing your own bags to the grocery store (both large bags and the smaller produce bags), using reusable Zip Lock baggies instead of disposable, buying reusable coffee cups (hot and cold) to have your favorite barista fill, making your own almond or cashew milk and storing it in mason jars….you get the idea.
The final <> part of minimalism, is to examine your surroundings. I went room by room and collected any books, knick knacks and cleared any clutter. If I didn’t have a space or purpose for the item, I either put it in a donation pile, a garbage pile, or in a box to keep for 6 months. At the end of the 6 months, I’ll decide whether to use it, put it in the garbage or donate it.
For me, clutter gathers in 3 areas:
The kitchen counter;
The office desk; and
The entry table.
Knowing this, I am extra cautious with these areas and making sure I have a space for each of the items that normally accumulate there (typically bills and other assorted items).
The final step (and the best step) to minimalism is in the way you live.
Spend less money on things and more money on experiences.
Stop over committing yourself and leave more space in your calendar and on your to do list. Your time is precious.
Tend to your mind like a garden. Meditate, do yoga.
Start a gratitude practice.
Practice the 1 in, 1 out rule.
Single task instead of multi-task.
Switch to Paperless Billing.
One day a week, turn off notifications on your phone.
Have more game nights and dinner parties.
Sit on the couch, have a cup of tea, and read a book.