When you hear the word minimalism what do you think of? I used to think of hippies, beards, and living in a teeny tiny apartment where the bathroom is pretty much in the kitchen. I’ve been doing some more research into this idea of becoming a minimalist and I’ve been learning that minimalism is so much more than following a specific set of rules or becoming a tree-hugging enthusiast. Minimalism is about living free—living free from debt, clutter, and excess.
We have so much stuff, and by “we” I mean my husband and me. You can be the judge of yourself. We have cupboards full of food, but every week we continue to buy groceries. I have a closet full of clothes, like many women do, but I still find myself online shopping and browsing the mall for the next good thing. As someone who has a love of reading I buy lots of books, but hardly ever sit down and actually read one. I can’t be the only notepad hoarder in the world, right? That person who buys notepad after notepad and never fills a single one?
I’ve come to realize how much excess I have, how cluttered my house is, and how much I desire to live with less and save more money. Maybe this is why minimalism became so appealing to me so quickly.
Minimalism isn’t just some fad for rich people to feel better about their excessive spending, it’s a total life-changing experience that you get to be in charge of. I never plan to give up my car, live off the grid, or willingly choose to live with 100 things or less—but I am making decisions that are helping me to live more like a minimalist.
Around this time of year most people start making New Year’s Resolutions. We all have that innate desire to improve ourselves, so why not spend this year trying to live more like a minimalist? I’ve come up with some easy baby steps to start doing just that.
4 Easy Ways to Start Living More Like A Minimalist
Clean out your closet
I started by getting rid of things I haven’t worn in six months or more. I donated those clothes and immediately felt invigorated. They were donated a little over a month ago and I haven’t missed them at all. I feel like I have more to wear because I love every single item in my closet. I don’t spend as much time deciding what to wear because it is easy to put together outfits when you genuinely want to wear every item you have.
Use a library instead of purchasing books.
I love to annotate in the books I buy, but I realized I don’t need to do that with every single book. A couple weeks ago I found my closest city library, got myself a library card, and have been reading through multiple books every single week. I get a rush going into the library. There are so many options and all of them are free to borrow for 21 days.
Do a no-spend month.
We are all still recovering from the massive amounts of money we spend during the holiday season, so why not use this month to do a no-spend month. What is a no-spend month? It’s a month where you decide to not spend any money unless it is absolutely necessary. Toliet paper is a necessity, food for your family is a necessity, but your fountain drink stop every day is not, and neither is that top from your favorite retailer—even if it is forty percent off. You’ll be surprised just how much money you can save by only buying necessities. At the end of the month you can use the money you saved to pay off a debt or put into an emergency fund.
Get rid of duplicates.
Do you have eight mixing bowls that you fumble with every time you go to bake a cake? Why not get rid of all but one? If you’re too scared to do something so dramatic, just tone it down to something that works for you. Get rid of half your mixing bowls and I dare say that the next time you need a mixing bowl you won’t miss shuffling through the excess Tupperware to find your favorite one. The same goes for everything else, do you have five different bedspreads? Now is the time to get rid of the ones you’ve never used.
You can probably tell by now that it’s not that hard to get started. So why not try it? Minimalism is a freeing journey. It’s exciting to live differently than other people do and to move beyond the materialism that plagues our society and choose to live with only what you need. Minimalism can be as dramatic or simple as you’d like. As for me, I’ll be the girl with the forty-hanger closet driving her mini SUV around town.