Minimalism is a movement with a huge following these days. And I don’t know a single person who is responding with ‘no thanks, I’ll keep all the stuff I never use that’s taking up all my space that I don’t love, and buy more of it while I’m at it’. That’s right – it’s a movement for a reason. It just makes good sense.
Although, for some people [ myself often included ] it can make intimidating sense. It’s a pretty big step to move from moderate consumerism to getting rid of all your possessions. So I’ve read about minimalism, and listened to minimalists, and decided that, like almost every value – minimalism belongs on a spectrum. And a happy medium exists.
If you are considering making some minimalist moves, in the hopes to clear your clutter, clear your mind, or clean up your budgeting, check out some simple ones here:
Get rid of stuff you don’t need
Defining ‘need’ can be difficult and there are a few different ways to think about it.
When you look at it, hold it, use it, think about it – does it make you insanely happy? And does it continue to give you the feel goods? Minimalism is about questioning the short term pleasure we get from things, and hanging onto just the items that continue to bring value to your life.
How does this save you money? Ask yourself if you love each object [ before or after purchase ] and if you don’t love it don’t buy it. If you don’t love it and already own it, someone else may want it. If it truly has value – try selling it.
Have you used it in the last 6 months / year [ choose a time frame that makes sense to you ]? There are a wack of emotions behind why we keep the things we keep. Things that remind us of people we loved, or of a time when we were happy, or of the future we hope to have … But sometimes we get very tied up in all that stuff, and all those emotions, and we forget to focus on where we are going. If you’re not using it, you likely don’t need it, and as you free up space [ in your home, in your mind, and in your heart ] you will likely find that space to be more valuable than the item you held onto so long.
How can this save you money? It’s normal for people to make emotional decisions about money. That doesn’t mean it’s helpful. Clearing physical space around you [ almost magically ] helps you to clear space in your mind that you can use to be thoughtful about the purchases you make, and ensure that you make purchases that matter [ and stop making purchases you regret ].
Do you have two [ or more ] of them? Have you ever gotten really excited with a new purchase, come home, put it away and recognize then that you already had one the exact same? Minimalism is the opposite of clutter which can get in the way of seeing what we have. It was a mistake, you didn’t need two. You can return the new one – but wouldn’t it have been lovely to have known that from the get go?
How does this save you money? Have you ever succumbed to the buy one get one half off sale? If you only needed one to begin with, you still don’t need a second one [ EVEN IF IT’S HALF PRICE ]. Half price is still more than you needed to or intended to spend. Also – getting a handle on what you own gives you a much clearer perspective on what you need
Is it necessary?
There are plenty of gadgets out there to do all the little things for you but I promise there is no way that all of them are required to conveniently or comfortably complete the task. At one point in time, very little was necessary to live a happy, simple life. There are a lot of cultural / generational / technological factors making us believe that we have to have the latest, greatest ___ [ fill in the blank ] ___, and even more emotions that feed into impulse buying, and our beliefs about what we need. But the reality is, at the end of the day, there is very little that we truly require, and teaching ourselves how to abstain from the excess can help us appreciate the everyday goodness we sometimes miss out on.
How can this save you money? The next time you pick up a gadget and say ‘how cool!’ ask yourself if you need it. Before you knew it existed, did you wish for one? Is it ok to just put it back on the shelf, and let it be cool in someone else’s home, not yours? Can you teach yourself a set of values, or a mantra, to use when you’re confronted with purchases that keep most of your money in your pocket, and most of the clutter in the store?
It seems like becoming more minimalist is actually less about stuff, and more about us. How we feel, what we believe, what we prefer, how we grew up, and whether or not we are able to change our perceptions, our values, and habits.
If you’ve found a way to make that shift, I’d love to hear about it. Hit Follow to tag along on our journey, and leave a Comment to let me know how you succeeded [ or failed ] chasing your minimalist dreams.