It is an easy way to reduce waste.
Minimalism seems like a scary word tossed around by people who can fit all of their monthly rubbish into a jam jar.
Not all of us can do that – some of us have pets! – but we can all learn a little something from the minimalist lifestyle and try to adapt our way of life to at least reduce our consumptions.
We can all learn a few things from minimalism without moving to a small flat and no furniture. We can take the basic principles of minimalism and apply them to our everyday lives to help the number of things we have in our lives.
The basic principle of minimalism is owning fewer things.
Simple as that, and in practice it is supposed to mean that as we have less items in our life, we have fewer distractions and can focus our time on events that matter to us.
It’s a belief that if you’re surrounded with less material things then you can do more with your time and your life and so become more fulfilled…in theory.
In practice it can be broken down like this: if you own less clothes then there’s less washing and ironing to do which then frees up spare time to do things you actually want to do.
“Minimalist living allows you the freedom to spend less time and money on stuff, and spend more energy on actually living.”
The last one is almost the most important. If something might not have a use anymore it can still matter to you. It is easy to become swept up and think we have to throw everything out immediately. However this can lead to missing your material items and cause us to go out and buy more which defeats the overall purpose.
And remember when throwing things out – the dump is the absolute last resort. Try to not even make it an option. If something can be reused or upcycled, then there is no reason to throw it out. And if you can find someone to cherish the item that you have no interest in anymore, then feel free to pass it on. Whether to a friend, neighbour or charity shop, if it still works then there is a home for it somewhere.
So how do we move to a minimalist lifestyle?
It isn’t as complicated as you might think. Start in one room and go around slowly, asking yourself three questions:
- Do I use this often?
- Is this the only one I own?
- Does it bring me joy?
If ‘yes’ to any of the above questions, then it can stay.
Keep in mind there is no need to throw out anything sentimental but a postcard from your cousin 10 years ago probably isn’t still pulling at the heartstrings.
It’s important to be strict but don’t put limits on yourself.
It can be especially great if you can find other uses for objects. Repurposing or upcycling old furniture can be a great way to save space and save throwing things in a landfill. There might always be a reason to keep something if it can make do as something else.
Or for instance, instead of having 10 blankets for winter why not find a good level quilt that can be filled in the winter and then taken back out in the summer.
Keeping something is just as important as throwing it out. If you can justify keeping something, then it is best to keep it. If you throw something out and then realise you need it in the future, it will only lead to more waste in having to buy another one. So if you do want to keep something or do want to buy something new, just make sure you absolutely love it.