I would consider myself a minimalist. Maybe not the extreme kind that you’ve heard of or those families who have an outhouse in their backyard. But in comparison to some, I live a minimalist lifestyle.
I don’t like clutter. I don’t feel that I need to have the latest gadgets and kitchenware. I have no problem parting with clothes and items that hold no use for Hubby and I. I’m constantly filling bags up for the Salvation Army to pick up. Do all of thoughts and facts make me a minimalist? Not necessarily. I believe that it’s a way of life and a conscious thought process.
But the end result has been what surprised me the most! I’m much happier with much less!
1. Make changes gradually.
By nature I’m an organizer and enjoy a thorough cleaning (not the actual work, but the result of it!). My personality doesn’t tend towards hoarding and being a pack-rat. So I feel as if in this area I was given a “head start.”
Another thing that impacted my minimalism was the fact that Hubby and I moved into a 3rd floor, 1 bedroom apartment when we were married. The climb and limited space really limited what we brought into our home.
And one more thing set me over the edge. I have a best girlfriend who lives in a 2 bedroom, 900 square-foot apartment in NYC with 4 kids! If she can handle that, thrive and enjoy it, then I could too, I thought!
After visiting my NYC girlfriend I was amazed at what could be accomplished with so little. I was amazed that it didn’t take lots of things for this family to be happy! I was amazed at how well everything was handled! I. WAS. AMAZED. And I was inspired to be more minimalistic.
Make your own changes gradually:
- Choose a room and de-clutter.
- Decide to buy nothing new for ____ days/months.
- Donate kids toys and clothes if no longer needed.
- Keep a box for the Salvation Army & when it’s full, schedule for them to pick it up! (you can do it online!)
- Create a meal list & keep it simple!
- Have a cleaning schedule and stick to it!
- Don’t hoard; give to others your excess!
2. Don’t throw out everything you own.
At this point I didn’t throw out everything I owned! No, that’s a bit extreme. But my mindset changed a little.
- Did I really need another pair of flip flops to wear this summer?
- Do I really need another mixing spoon to sit with the dozen I already have?
- Is it really necessary for me to have a dozen boxes of Christmas decorations – of which I only use about half of the stuff anyway?
- Is it prudent for me to have 17 purses?
No, we didn’t throw out all of our worldly possessions; we trimmed it down a bit though. If you look around my apartment you will still see plastic bins of stuff and boxes of books. But that’s okay. It’s closer to living with less than before!
With a new baby coming in August, we would need to be making room for him, as we live in a 1 bedroom apartment. So I began sorting through our clothes, decor, shoes, purses, etc. to purge! You would be surprised how much stuff even I could have that I don’t need in a 1 bedroom apartment! I even found 4 pieces of furniture that we don’t need that can be sold at a yard sale!
3. Realize that you don’t really need a whole lot.
I’m learning that I can live with much less than I thought. Our world tells us that we need things, electronics, gadgets, clothes, etc to be happy. Marketing tactics are used to urge us to buy more. So we fill our houses with stuff – stuff that is often not used. And if thought about, we would realize that we don’t truly need all of it.
As Hubby and I prepare for baby, we are being selective in the baby gear that we request and purchase. We just don’t have room nor want to store a baby swing, a bouncy seat, a high chair, bassinet, etc.
Not only does this principle apply to baby but to other areas of life as well: When one will do, don’t buy two.
In our move towards a more organic way of living, I’m getting rid of our non-stick Calphalon pot set. (Why? The pot coatings can be toxic when heated to extreme temperatures.) We’ve been using our 3 stainless steel pots and one cast iron skillet for the past month. And you know what? It’s been totally fine! I haven’t missed the 10 extra pots! Why did I ever think I needed so many pots?
4. Understand that there’s freedom in having less.
With stuff moved out of our apartment there is now more open space! There is less for me to clean. There is more room to breathe! And best of all, there is room for baby!
The realization that you don’t need stuff to make you happy is freedom! You know ahead of time that buying another cd, movie, book, etc won’t bring joy to your life. You can be free from the bondage of buying, buying, buying!
5. Utilize services.
Hubby and I love our local library! We milk it for all it’s worth! Instead of buying books, we borrow them! Instead of buying movies, we borrow them! It’s been a great resource!
But there are other awesome resources out there too! There are ways for you to make steps toward minimalism!
- Borrow from friends the baby gear you need.
- Use sites like Ebay or Craigslist to buy what you need!
- Get Netflix instead of whole cable package.
- Utilize your local library to “rent” movies & read books!
- Don’t buy ____ right away; mull it over & think on it for a week to see if you really need it!
This minimalistic life happened gradually. It’s something that I continually work at and must keep myself in check. But I can honestly say that I’m happier now with less stuff than ever before!
Question: What if Hubby isn’t on board?
Good question! When I first began moving toward this way of life, Hubby was definitely not on board! There was some confusion to work through on our part as far as communicating. And then we had to agree on ‘rules’, but we figured it out! READ THIS POST if this is your situation!
Do you live a minimalistic lifestyle? Are making a move towards one? What has helped you most?