I would be shocked if you haven't heard of the term "minimalist", the new lifestyle currently trending. Some people are for it, many are not. I used to think it was just about getting rid of all your stuff, to declutter the home, but it's more than that. When you declutter your space, reside in a moderate size square foot home and live within your means, you not only have less to clean, have lower bills to pay, but we also become more aware of what is going on around us. The Minimalist confirmed what I've been trying to tell myself over the last few months.
We are in a day and age where we are made to think that having more stuff in our homes, in our fridge or the newest model iPhone means that we hold a higher status amongst our peers, that we are happy. Truth is though, none of these things matter. Physical objects shouldn't dictate our happiness, but we let them. Like this documentary states, we get trapped in the mindset of "I hope I can one day be making 150k a year so I can afford X". There was a woman on this documentary who was diagnosed with MS and what she said really related to me. It was right at my time of diagnosis where I officially changed my mind set, greener living, healthier eating, exercising more and living with less and I promised I would do my best to continue down this path. But it shouldn't take a diagnosis or stressful event in our lives to realize we need to take care of ourselves.
I have never been Black Friday shopping because people turn into consumer monsters. Shoving, fighting, yelling, just to get an item that you probably wouldn't have purchased any other time of the year. It's not worth it, I don't need an item that bad! Yeah you can get great deals on items, but that just proves how high products are marked up for retail.
All stores are interested in is money and profit so that's exactly what their marketing is aimed at. Making you feel like you can't live without something so you go and buy it, use it a few times then it sits on a shelf or cupboard for years. I know because I used to be that way. Well no more, I have been going through a lot of our belongings and seeing what we can sell or donate. With the more stuff you own, the easiest option when you're done with it is to just throw it in the garbage, but landfills are overflowing and there are items that could easily be used for many years to come, we need to waste less.
Which brings me to my next point with clothing. Just the other day, we bought a new platform style bed which meant we lost the extra clothing storage underneath that we used to have, throwing us into a panic about where things will now go. I looked in our very small closet and thought, we need more space, but why? We already have all our clothes spread out in every closet of the house (and that's no lie). During this documentary they mentioned Project 333, a way in which you go through your closet and find out what 33 items you'd be able to live off of for 3 months. To me, this is genius and everyone should try! No more are the days where there's a clearance sale at Forever 21 and we go and "stock up" on 6 new maxi dresses because they're cheap so we "might as well, we won't get a better deal anywhere else". Chances are (if you're like me) you already have 5 more maxi dresses at home which get circulated and barely worn and sometimes forgotten. Fast Fashion needs to stop, it's an addiction. It's wasteful for the environment because these clothes are not made with quality in mind and when you buy that $5 T-shirt think of all the factors in making clothes and how much actually goes to the poor men and women making them in a sweat shop. Buy high quality more expensive items that will last much longer and can be mixed and matched to be worn with other clothes. Why own 3 pairs of the same style of shirts just so you don't have to do laundry as often?
I would rather be rich in travel, experiences, memories and relationships than in possessions and I have finally learnt this. I write this as I am waiting for someone to come and purchase some kitchenware I posted online that's been collecting dust for a while. If you think there is no way you could become a minimalist, here are a few tips on how to transition on step at a time that I have implemented :
|| Travel Light : I started doing this when Air Canada started charging $25+ for every bag you check in. You don't need 4 pairs of shorts for a week long vacation, I usually pack for half the time I'm staying and use clothes more than once!
|| Throw It Out : Not everything you don't need! Just things that have holes in it, or is damaged and you won't be able to fix even though you keep it on the chance that "you will make time to repair it". Remember to check if it's something that can be recycled first !
|| Rid Your Space Of Double Items : Why do we need 4 sets of table settings (plates, bowls, cups), Keep enough for the number of people you would entertain at a time. We had two toasters, why? Who the hell knows, donate one! This can be the same for hair appliances (yes ladies, we are all guilty of owning at least two hair curlers or straighteners).
|| Buy Quality over Quantity : I used to be the woman who was proud to say I could buy 6 items for the same price that my fiancé purchases 1! Sounds like a bargainer but in reality I was being sucked in, buying fast fashion over quality, needless to say his stuff lasts a lot longer than mine! This goes for any aspect of life, buy something that will last throughout the years and can still be donated for more years to come! Whether its furniture, toys or clothes.
|| Keep Your Pantry To A Minimum : Of course have enough food so your family doesn't go hungry, but when you see a sale on chips or junk that's "buy 4 for the price of 2" Don't do it. So many times people see a sale and think "i might as well buy this because I will use it eventually" and then sure enough it gets forgotten in the pantry till it's past expiration. Not only does this waste your money but it takes up space.
|| Watch Documentaries or Read : Watch The Minimalists, see that it's not just about getting rid of stuff, there's more to it.
There are trends popping up all the time and not everyone will be on board with the idea. However, this is one that as I come to understand it more and more, it really is a healthy and sustainable lifestyle, not only for my mental and physical health but for the environment too! It gives you more time with the ones you love without the stress of everything around you! What are some ways you're improving your lifestyle? Let me know in the comments below!