Every time the seasons change, I like to take a look at my habits, and decide if there’s anyway to streamline them, to minimize them, or to reduce my consumption.
Can I reduce my expenses in any way? Can I stop consuming something that I’ve always thought is necessary, and what do I really, truly need to add to my home this fall to make life a little bit easier to live?
I find these reflective questions to be an excellent way to intentionally and mindfully reduce the volume of stuff in my home.
As a minimalist in a 400 square foot house, I feel that it’s important to continually try to minimize and remove clutter from my house. I’m always trying to weed out the stuff that I don’t need, keep only the functional or beautiful items, and find new homes for the stuff that no longer needs to be a part of my life.
Here are a few ways I’m going to keep my minimalist philosophy in play this fall.
With fall, comes the urge to decorate. Halloween and Thanksgiving are just around the corner, and the crispness of the fall air makes me want to put up new art, and invest in a few decorations. This fall, I’m going to try to only purchase compostable or recyclable decorations. There are a few ways I’m going to achieve this:
For the last few years I’ve dressed up for Halloween. This year, I’m not sure if I’m going to. I’m not really crazy about the idea of a bunch of useless costumes taking up space in my closet. I could donate them, but odds are they’d end up in a landfill eventually, so it might be easiest to just abstain. Better for the wallet too!
Do you plan on dressing up?
Whenever the seasons change, I get the urge to shop. To combat this, I make sure to dig out all of my winter gear that has been packed away for the summer. I wash it all and make sure it’s ready to be used, so I can make a mental inventory of what I already have. No need to buy duplicates.
Before I pack away my summer stuff, my dresses, my sandals, my patio furniture and camping gear, I make go through everything. I try to pick out stuff that I didn’t use, that no longer fits, or that doesn’t make sense to keep, and I try to get rid of it. What’s the sense in packing stuff away if it has no benefit to me?
Fall is one of my favourite seasons. The trees change, the warm sweaters and gloves come out, and the wonderful smell of wood smoke permeates the air. It’s also a great chance to take a look at some of your habits of consumption and trim them down to help save money, clutter and environmental impact.
I’ve been working really hard in the evenings and on weekends for the past year to generate extra income to pay off my debt. It’s worked!
I’m now only two months from having the entire $38,000 eradicated (I had the same amount as Michelle). Now that I’ve pretty much got my debt in the bag, I’ve resolved to make a little more time for myself and spend less time side hustling and writing.
Since I’ve had a bit of extra free time in the evenings and on weekends, I’ve been on a huge minimalizing kick.
I’ve let things pile up around here, and without the time to address it, it has been driving me crazy.
The problem is, once I start cleaning and eradicating clutter, I sometimes get carried away and before I know it, half of my house is torn apart, and I’ve been so busy flitting from one project to the next that I haven’t been able to actually get rid of anything. Maybe it’s the millennial in me, but when I’m at home, sometimes I have a hard time concentrating on just one project, and completing it, before moving on to the next thing that catches my eye.
So, I’ve adopted the “One thing a day” rule. With this rule, I still get to indulge in my minimalism kick, but I don’t get overwhelmed by it all. I pick one thing, and tackle that. Once I’m done, I’m done. It could be anything, from a project as small as organizing the medicine cabinet to some more significant.
Yesterday, was the weekend, so I picked a fairly significant project, one that has been nagging at me for over a year. My entertainment unit was where I chucked all of my electronic crap when I first moved in, and it’s remained a snarled tangle of cords and CDs ever since.
Even though the door was closed and I couldn’t see it, I knew it was there, that mess. It mocked me, and I longed to do something about it, but never had the time. Last night, I picked it as my one project. I removed everything, eliminated about 50% of the contents, and put it all back in an orderly fashion. I made it function as a storage space that actually served a day-to-day purpose.
Tackling one thing per day helps keep things in perspective, and you move towards your goals without getting burned out or losing interest.
You won’t avoid it, because it’s not a huge project, it’s just one thing – it’s easy, and depending on the size of the project, could take as little a five minutes.
The “one thing per day” doesn’t just pertain to minimalism. This strategy can be applied to all sorts of ongoing projects or interests you want to take on. Whether it’s exercising, learning a language, paying off debt, or just plain getting stuff done that you’ve been putting off, resolving to tackle one project – any project – per day can be a great way to get a ton of stuff accomplished, while never feeling overwhelmed, frustrated or exhausted.
Since I’ve started using this “one thing per day” rule, I’ve been able to accomplish all sorts of stuff. I’ve started running regularly again, I’ve managed to keep my house clean without letting the dishes or laundry pile up, and I’ve organized and gotten rid of bags upon bags of stuff that had been cluttering up my life.
Honestly, it’s felt great, and I’m really happy that I’ve had the time to be able to do it.
What is the point of minimalism? Is it to be able to live with 100 items or less? To be nomadic and able to live anywhere, in any city, without having to deal with the hassle of movers?
Are you only a minimalist if you can fit everything you need into your car? Or if your house has more than 50% bare wall space?
Minimalism doesn’t have rules, but it does have a purpose. The purpose of minimalism is to live with less. By living with less, we free ourselves from the shackles of consumerism, and free up our time, money, and emotional capital for focusing on the things that really matter.
Minimalism is not decluttering. Yes, decluttering is a part of being a minimalist, but the idea of decluttering is to get rid of things that build up in your home. Minimalism is not having things build up in the first place.
To completely remove the habits and mechanisms that lead to clutter, so that you can spend less time managing your stuff, cleaning it, moving it around, and more time simply being, and enjoying life.
Personally, I firmly believe that having less stuff leads to a more balanced life. The more stuff you have, the more money you must spend maintaining it all. The more stuff you have, the more space you need to store it all. More money means more time spent working, and less time spent enjoying life, dedicating time to hobbies, etc.
Having more stuff also means having less time. More stuff means spending time cleaning it, arranging it, moving it around, and working to afford it. Having less stuff allows for more time to be spent on experiences, whether it’s time with family, time at a pub, or time working on a hobby.
Finding a good balance in life can be tough, with so many things to pull you in every direction. Between work, maintaining good relationships, money management, and taking care of myself, I barely have any time left over. I’m more than happy to remove acquiring and maintaining physical items from that list.
Finally, minimalism contributes to a well balanced life because it helps mental well being.
Being a minimalist doesn’t just mean you have less stuff, it means you want less stuff. It doesn’t have to mean that you don’t ever want to acquire newer or better items to make your life easier. It just means that, for the most part, buying stuff isn’t very high up on your priority list.
For me, being a minimalist has helped my mental well being a great deal. I used to place a lot of value on brands, and would spend a lot of time plotted how best to acquire clothing and other things.
Now, I don’t spend nearly as much time obsessing over material items, and instead spend my time more productively, doing the things that I actually enjoy. It’s a huge weight off my shoulders, to not always be thinking about all of the stuff I’d like to buy, if only I had the money.
That’s not to say I never want to buy anything, I do. I’d like a new computer, a new DSLR camera, and a new wardrobe. But these things don’t consume me, and I’m perfectly happy to use what I have until it’s no longer serviceable. I don’t spend much time browsing the internet, or allowing my lust for these things to cloud my thoughts.
Minimalism isn’t measured by how many things you own, how many paintings are on your wall, or how much you spend per year on material items. It’s a mind frame of less is more. It helps lead to a balanced life, where things like family, experiences, and health are valued above status, new cars, and large homes.