What is minimalism and where do I start? This is a question I receive daily. The concept of quality over quantity is not new, but it has been lost among strategic marketing tactics that leave us wanting more and more things. Americans spend an average of 2 hours a day online shopping. This search for more adds up to 30 days a year used to browse your favorite retailer and hundreds of dollars spent on things we don’t actually want or need. Imagine getting back 30 days every year. That’s a month of travel, quality family time, and catching sunsets. And that is just the amount of time spent searching and purchasing these items. It doesn’t include time spent organizing, fixing, cleaning or using these things. Here are some basic concepts to kickstart your journey into minimalism and add more value to your life.
Start with Spring cleaning. Tis the season to go through your winter wardrobe and get rid of anything you didn’t wear. The goal is to sort your things into donate, sell, trash and keep piles. Then go back through your keep pile one last time and try to remove even more. Start with your seasonal clothes and then move through different areas of the house. You should feel a sense of relief clearing the clutter and not make this a stressful life-altering event. If you love books you don’t need to agonize over how to throw away your book collection. Keep the things that provide value to your life and make you happier. The goal is to donate, sell, or trash anything you spend time organizing. You will feel relieved to stop rearranging things throughout the year and have more time to do what you love. Let’s make your 2020 spring cleaning the last spring cleaning you’ll ever need.
Digitize to minimize. Your childhood drawings, family photo albums, books, DVDs, CDs and more can be converted into digital format for safekeeping and to pass down for generations. You can convert that physical picture of your grandmother into a digital version and safely display it on a digital picture frame in your home. The same goes for all your childhood drawings, photos, books and more. I was an English major and had three floor-to-ceiling bookshelves full of my favorite novels. It took me two years to finally donate them all. I own even more books now, but they are all stored safely on my Kindle. The same goes for photographs. We removed every picture frame in our house, digitized all our photos, and now display all of our favorite memories on a digital picture frame.
You don’t have to fill every space in your home. Just because you have space doesn’t mean you need to fill it up. Becoming comfortable with an empty shelf or corner of your house is a part of minimalism. You don’t need to fill your shelves with HomeGoods trinkets that become out of date within a year. If you must, fill it with quality items that remind you of your favorite adventure or lift your spirits after a long day of work. We have a use-it-or-lose-it rule in our home. If it’s not providing value or being used at least once a month (aside from seasonal clothes) then we donate it. This includes your children and pet’s toys.
Stop buying fast fashion. Did you know that retailers have 52 seasons of clothing? They release new items every week to keep up with the latest trends and keep you coming back for more. When I buy a piece of clothing or jewelry I ask myself how long the trend will last and if the item can serve me for years to come. Knowing your favorite styles and what you actually love to wear can help you steer clear of fast fashion trends. If you have a piece of clothing collecting dust in your closet with the tags still on it’s probably because you were pulled into the fast fashion trend. You can read one of my favorite books that helped me clear my wardrobe and find my sense of style.
Leave retail therapy behind. You receive a boost of endorphins when you make a purchase, but the high of retail shopping doesn’t last long. The novelty of shopping wears off quickly and leaves you wanting more. The next few purchases keep your buzz going, but you inevitably crash. The best way to avoid retail shopping as a form of therapy is to recognize and acknowledge when you feel the sudden urge to avoid boredom or a bad day at work by browsing your favorite retailer. Keep a list of activities to do at home and in your community that don’t include shopping on your phone. When friends mention an activity you can add these to your fun activities list. You can start building your list from some of my favorite go-to’s: exploring new bike trails, hiking, visiting a local gallery, reading, journaling, volunteering, practicing yoga or shamelessly making a Tik Tok video.
The theme of minimalism settles into one of my favorite phrases: have less and do more. Having fewer things means you spend less time shopping, repairing and organizing. A simple, minimal lifestyle makes you more selective of where you place your energy, time and money. Better yet, it gives you more time to focus on doing things that truly make you happy and provide value in your life. There is no “winning” in minimalism and there is no correct way to minimize. There are some minimalists that wear the same clothes every day and others that have a collection of shoes. Every path to minimizing has its own route and all destinations look different depending on the things you value. If you have the desire to simplify, declutter, live mindfully and you take one step towards minimizing that is a step in the right direction.
Do you have a question about minimalism? Message me directly or comment below!