What is a minimalist lifestyle?
Minimalist lifestyle is guided by simple living, a lifestyle where you reduce your dependence on and attachment to material possessions. The guiding principle is the satisfaction in self-sufficiency rather than wanting to accumulate objects, where ‘need’ is important but ‘want’ is not.
Minimalism in the way you live is not something you can achieve overnight. It is a process. You have to practice it as a habit to lead a simpler life.
Now, you don’t have to become an ascetic to be a minimalist. You just need to have your priorities straight at an individual level why you want to live a minimalist lifestyle? Is it to reduce the stress that your possessions cause you? Is it for frugality? Or is it because you are concerned about environmental impact?
Benefits of a Minimalist Lifestyle
Less cleaning, less stress, money saved, organized home, less attachment to material possessions, reduced distractions, more time to experience life and many more.
Habits for a minimalist lifestyle: Make life simpler & better
How to live a minimalist lifestyle? What are the habits for a simpler life?
Experiment living with less– For a few weeks, try living with the most important stuff that you use every day. Store away the rest. You will soon realize you can live with lesser things just as comfortably and that you may have actually hoarded stuff on a whim. Now you can shed the baggage by donating or selling all this extra stuff sitting in your storage.
Most of us tend to store stuff because we tell ourselves that it may come in handy ‘someday’ but we all know that rarely ever happens.
De-clutter– Evaluate your possessions to gauge which are the things you need and which is the stuff that you need to get rid of. Do this for-
- Clothes – We only wear 20-25% of our wardrobe anyway. Organize and give away the articles you haven’t worn in the last two seasons. Chances are you are not going to wear them again.
- Home décor – You don’t always need to decorate every nook and every surface. Learn from the Scandinavians. Sometimes minimalist homes are the best. They feel clean, organized and elegant.
- Furniture – Again, not every corner needs a table or a décor piece. You don’t need to put a décor table behind every sofa or an accent chair in every empty nook. Keep only the furniture that meets function in your home. Don’t look to fill your home up with no clear space left.
- Kitchen utensils – We have all heard how our grannies and even moms cooked with few utensils and still prepared better-tasting food than we can. That’s because they didn’t depend on utensils and appliances for everything. You can do the same. We don’t need these things. The more stuff you keep the more you will rely on it. Also, getting rid of unnecessary kitchen utensils will give you more storage space and a cleaner, simpler kitchen.
- Gadgets – How many phones have you changed in the past 5 years? You probably don’t remember. We are so consumed by consumerism that we buy things more for the sake of it and less because of necessity. We act like a child who wants every shiny, new toy. If you can work with one laptop and one phone, then why do you still need that new tablet? Our guess is because everyone else has one so you want one too.
- Toys – We don’t want to take away all the kids’ toys but think about it, how many toys do your children play with? Hardly 10-20% of what you bought for them. You buy them a new one; they will forget the old one. This way, we are ingraining consumerism into kids from an early age where they see things as dispensable and of no real value. Keep the toys that your child loves but don’t hoard a room full of them in your house.
Do dishes ASAP. Don’t put it off for the next day.
Clear off counter tops. Like we said before, you don’t need to place ’something’ on every surface. Instead, keep them empty. The fewer things you see the more clear your mind will be.
Sort your mail & papers regularly. You will never see these things littered around in a minimal-design home.
Create and follow easy and repetitive meal plans. This will help you worry less about what to cook and also makes shopping for groceries convenient.
Maintain a minimalist wardrobe. Keep clothes you actually wear, not the ones you wish to fit into someday or those that are only occupying space because they hold some sentimental value. Always buy quality pieces over quantity. They will last longer and occupy less space. Choose clothing pieces keeping in mind how many other items they can be matched with. Keep color palettes simpler. This way you can create more outfits out of a few pieces of clothing. Another tip is to stick with classic essentials.
Learn to re-use, instead of replacing. Find ways to re-use what you own instead of going out to shop for every little thing. Put the internet to good use and find re-use solutions for your stuff.
Make it a practice to second-guess your buying habits. Ask yourself whether you need something or are you buying it on impulse. Will you still like a particular piece of clothing or décor item or accessory one, two or five years down the line? Be picky and always keep utility in mind while shopping.
Minimalism saves money
The less you focus on material possessions the less likely you are to spend your hard-earned money on unnecessary stuff. When you make it a habit to ask yourself if what you are spending on is a practical choice or an emotional one, you will realize you don’t need to consume to be happy or to feel fulfilled. In the long run, you will not only save money but will also feel a sense of freedom and peace of mind.
Reduced environmental impact, increased self-sufficiency
Most of the stuff that we buy from the supermarket and other stores are manufactured in large factories by processes which are highly unsustainable for the environment. Natural resources consumed in this process and the pollutants released have a high environmental impact. When you consume only what you need and don’t hoard all that you want, you reduce your carbon footprint to a large extent. This way you are contributing to a greener, more sustainable planet.
It is said that you should acquire experiences, not objects to live a meaningful life. And that is the underlying concept behind simple living.
Check out this book to help you de-clutter your home and make it organized and clean.
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