I’ve been spending a fair amount of time with groups of minimalists lately— on Facebook! (Yes- I think it’s kinda lame too… but stay with me..!) So- if you’ve ever been in an active Facebook group before, you’ll see that people are very open to chatting about all that’s on their mind about the topic. I recently learned a few interesting things about minimalism in these groups I wanted to share here-
Minimalism means so many different things to different people. Here are some of the different aspects people focus on for their journey to be more “minimal”:
- Minimalist decor- homes as bare as possible, yet still stylish.
- Minimalists on a budget- buying as little things as you can to get by.
- Physical clutter minimalists- getting rid of everything that doesn’t serve you well right now.
- Minimalists for the environment- trying to make your “footprint” on our earth as small as possible
- Mental minimalists- only filling your life with things that bring you joy!
I’m sure there are a few more aspects I’ve missed, but someone recently commented that this minimalism craze can feel like a competition. Some get caught up thinking that if they get rid of enough stuff that they will feel peace and joy. I believe minimalism is gaining such popularity because we’re trying to counter-balance a strong societal push to accumulate more stuff! If we stop and think, we know that having more “stuff” doesn’t equal happiness… but neither does having less!
Minimalism is all about making room for the things we value. No one has room for everything, so we need to intentionally limit things we don’t find valuable to make room for more important stuff! This applies to our time, our mental energy and our property.
Here are a few things I’ve noticed help our family stay more minimal:
1. Don’t Let to Society Tell You What You Do or Don’t Need:
- Maybe starting your kids in preschool or sports at young ages isn’t all that necessary to you
- Maybe the toys (or clothes or _____) your kids really enjoy aren’t nice to look at
- Maybe you don’t mind the small size of car/home/etc you have
- Maybe your family doesn’t value class photos or whatever it is that seems like such a “must have”.
Just remember that in every budget, whether it’s massive or teensy… when you make a purchase- you are choosing that over something else. Hopefully, we are learning to make purchases that align with things that are important to us! I do place value in not stressing over things I can’t change. So, when we mess up on a purchase, we can choose to let it go!
2. When Purchasing New Things:
Before purchasing a new item, think of all the similar items you currently own. Do you currently have something that fills that need? If yes, you’re probably better off stopping right there. But if not, why are you replacing the item? Make a more educated purchase this time!
For example: our socks don’t match up, so we hold on to the mismatched clutter and then eventually throw them out. Next time you’re buying socks- buy the exact same ones you currently have, or buy a big batch that will match each-other! Take a mental note to ensure that you keep buying the same type when you inevitably need to replace them. Bonus tip– (affiliate links used in this post!) black socks are the way to go- especially for kids! They all match each other and don’t show the wear as much!
Another example: Tupperware. I’ve really enjoyed having a good, quality glass set that I can add to as needed. All the lids fit each-other, it doesn’t get stains or marks, and it can heat up without the worry of carcinogens. I’ve had this set for six years and I LOVE it. These make great gifts too!
3. Take a Shopping Break
My husband and I have enjoy doing a No-Spend November ever since our newly-wed days. We don’t purchase anything from Nov 1st-Thanksgiving and it really changes our perspective. We enjoy seeing that what we have IS enough (and SEVERAL more big reasons)… Anyway I’ve posted tons on that already here & here… The point: if you intentionally take a longer shopping break than usual, you’ll skip on a few purchases you really don’t need and it helps you realize you can enjoy life with less.
4. Make a Specific Goal.
If an all-out No-Spend Month is more than you’re interested in doing, here are some other cool minimalism goals I love:
- Eliminate recreational shopping for a year. Skip going shopping for fun or when you’re bored (that includes browsing in person and online). See what happens!
- Take out 30 bags in 30 days! Donate or trash them!
- Take a look at all the people you keep in touch with. Lovingly take some action on unhealthy relationships.
- Tackle all the paper in your home and figure out a good system to keep it under control. Here’s the one that works well for me!
- Go through your closet. Get rid of anything you haven’t worn in a year. Notice what it is about your favorite items that keeps you going back. Let that guide you when you shop for clothes.
- Start a HABIT of thrift-store donating. Have one or two collection spots in your home that you are always filling as soon as you know your family no longer values that item. Having these spots in a handy location helps you immediately take care of clutter! I have one in our laundry room and another in our master closet. Schedule a monthly drop-off in your calendar if needed!
- For every new item you bring into your home, one must go! I heard about that family that did that when I was in college and it really impressed me. The family recognized that they were happy just as they were, and so they could spread what they have to others and lived very simply!
- Read an awesome book on minimalism:
- Figure out your “why” for you would like to be more minimal. What is something that you want to be able to do, but feel held back?
What do you think about minimalism?
Do you think it’s all it’s cracked up to be? What have you tried? What’s your biggest hang-up? I love chatting about it all! (Obviously, right?) Morgan has a post about practicing minimalism around the Holidays— ’tis the season- check it out!