First steps towards a happy life as a minimalist
Since I avoid paying for Hulu and Netflix services, I have been exploring more fully what YouTube has to offer. It’s interesting what you connect with when selecting your own entertainment. One community or trend that I have followed is that of tiny houses and the trends of minimalism. I was raised by minimalists and have always been quite subconsciously minimalist, but now I want to wake up to more possibilities with that.
The first step is to open your eyes to the things you consume and surround yourself with at home. I think everyone has some things that stand out as things that we seem to collect, but that we don’t take advantage of. This may motivate us to part ways with these things, simply stop collecting more or make an effort to use what we have already collected. I’ve always been a fan of the shopping needs pyramid and would love to recreate it as a piece of art to hang in my home. The base of the pyramid, similar to a food pyramid, are the healthiest options. From the bottom to the top, the buying hierarchy is: use what you have, borrow, trade, save, make, and finally buy.
These are the things that I noticed I collect that I am not getting optimal use of.
I am such a creative person. Crafting makes me feel good until my mind has created more things than I can physically support and even storing my supplies has become a mess. This year I have decided to clean my palette. Once I have completed the crafts in the queue, I will put all my creative energy into writing because it takes up little space and furthers my career.
Books are another of the usual consumptions with a new minimalist look at the beginning. I’m not THAT bad, but I’m a new mom who hasn’t had a chance to regularly read the books I’ve accumulated. Instead of using my credit card points on books as I usually do as a gift to myself, I am going to read what I have and hand over my points for cash rewards. If I’m interested in reading a book on a topic on a whim, there are plenty of free and inexpensive books offered on Google Play.
Jewelry doesn’t take up much space, but it encourages me to buy more clothes to match. Some jewelry lovers may have great pieces that go with everything, but not me! Over the years I have made a small collection and I never wear them. It’s sad. If I can’t add them to my wardrobe anymore, I’m going to donate them and combine them with the most versatile and interchangeable pieces.
With a changing body, from pregnancy to postpartum, my wardrobe has expanded and not in a good way. There are clothes left that I would never consider putting away; ripped tank tops, ugly dresses, ill-fitting pants, and leggings and sweatpants with holes. All because I anticipate more changes and also stretch and mistreat the clothes until I finish breastfeeding. When I walk into my lavish but organized closet, I try on various pieces before being satisfied with the fit, look, and quality of an outfit. To feel good in my current wardrobe, I will have to adjust the collection and cut the fat. Anything you are not absolutely sure you need to throw out will go to a Rubbermaid container in another closet for removal and evaluation in another season.
My son’s toys
After reading about Montessori methods, I understand the importance of not having too many toys so that a child can work on the concentration and skills associated with one or a few age-appropriate toys. Since then I have been distributing toys that he grows up with and even toys that are appropriate for his age at his grandparents’ house or distributed in different rooms. Being overwhelmed with toys only makes the child focus less on them and more on getting into whatever they are doing! It also contributes to a messy home and safety hazards, which is why I am much more pleased when my son has 3 age-appropriate toys in each room that I can sit down and show him how to use. It is more peaceful for all of us.
What things do you have an overabundance of? Some other examples might be makeup, tools, film, cables and remotes, canned food that never circulates, or boxes “that may come in handy.” What things are you consuming that can be cut from your budget to provide you with a savings or vacation cushion? Some of these things might include coffee and lunch bought away from home, eating out in general, and Hulu / Netflix / Cable. Maybe you buy so much of something that you DO use that you can buy it in bulk to save money and save our planet from excessive packaging waste. Exploring feasible minimalist practices can only help you, your family, and your planet. What are you waiting for?