Some Easy Tips to Practice Simple Minimalist Living
By Cora Gold, Editor-in-Chief of Revivalist
Consumerism has become prominent in the last century, especially in the United States. People feel the need to buy things to have a luxurious life. However, minimalism takes the opposite approach. If you’re a minimalist, you pride yourself on surviving by only having what you need.
This lifestyle is about appreciating what you have. If you’re trying to practice minimalism, here are eight simple ways to start.
Part of a series on Minimalism:
- What Is Minimalism? A Beginner’s Guide
- The Benefits of Minimalism: Guide Examining Pros & Cons
- Minimalism and Sustainability: Their Many Shared Benefits
- Environmental Benefits of Minimalism
- What Is Eco-Minimalist Architecture?
- Minimalist Eating: How to Reduce Food Waste
8 Suggestions for Simple Minimalist Living
When starting a new lifestyle, don’t expect to transition entirely overnight. It takes time to get used to new habits and ways of living. Start slowly with your minimalist lifestyle with small rituals and build from there. It’ll get easier as you learn and adapt to the changes.
You can start by allocating a designated room in your home for your minimalist practices. It could be your bedroom, living room, bathroom or any room you desire. Here, you can test the waters by decluttering and only keeping the necessary components around.
Budgets are a sound financial practice for whatever lifestyle you choose. For minimalists, budgets are essential to ensure your money only goes toward necessities. Add up how much income you have each month and use that as the base for your expenses. The 50-30-20 rule is a popular method for many — the split puts 50% for essentials, 30% for things you want and 20% for savings.
You’ll likely find stuff you don’t need when you outline your expenses. Minor cuts to the budget add up over time. It’s wise to build up funds for emergencies, retirement and big purchases. A Bankrate survey finds 36% of Americans have more credit card debt than emergency savings. It’s hard to predict rainy days, so watch your budget.
Watching your budget is an excellent minimalist practice, but you don’t have to pinch every penny like Mr. Krabs. In fact, you should allocate money for stuff that you like. For example, you may enjoy traveling and taking vacations. Minimalism is about prioritizing life experiences.
Travel — especially to lands abroad — makes you a more well-rounded person. You may feel like a fish out of water, but that’s the point. You get to study customs and traditions in other cultures and gain a new perspective on life. When you vacation, you can still practice minimalism by only consuming what you need and leaving the land as you find it.
When it’s time to clean and organize, some people take their belongings and stuff them in drawers or cabinets. The exterior looks clean, especially for guests when they come over. Parents and in-laws can be especially harsh critics of your house’s cleanliness. Though they look neat from the outside, cabinets can still become cluttered on the inside. The Monica Geller in you can see the mess behind the doors.
One way to help areas like your kitchen is with open shelves. With open shelves, it’s harder to hide messes because all the items are in front of you. They motivate you to declutter and organize. Plus, they can make a small room feel larger, especially if you minimize the number of items on each shelf.
Open shelves are terrific for your kitchen, but you can use them for other purposes, like your library. Bookworms may have hundreds of books in their house and the open shelves keep them organized. They can also reveal your overflowing stacks of books and signal it’s time to clean up. One way to declutter your paperbacks and hardcovers is to go paperless.
Modern technology allows you to access any book you want at the touch of a button. For example, take the Kindle Fire from Amazon. This device contains 16 or 32 gigabytes of memory, storing thousands of books simultaneously. E-readers are an excellent option to keep the clutter down and the reading time high.
E-readers are convenient technological devices, but you may prefer the old-school reading style. Hardcovers and paperbacks provide a more classic and intimate connection with the literature. If you don’t want to donate all your books, set a maximum number for your collection. If there are more books you want to read, consider getting a library card.
Libraries still exist and are one of the best places to relax and learn. The best part is most libraries will give you a free card. For example, New York residents can apply online for a digital card or show up at a branch and get a physical card. When you finish reading the book, you can return it and prevent clutter from forming in your house.
When practicing minimalism, there is some crossover into sustainability. You want to possess and consume as few resources as you need, which unintentionally helps the environment. When you purchase anything — from a new pair of jeans to a sofa — think about the long run. How long will this item last? One product may be more expensive than another, but its longevity makes it more cost-effective.
One example today is the fashion industry. This sector is responsible for about 10% of carbon emissions worldwide and harms the water levels of rivers. Minimalist shopping means only purchasing the number of clothes you need and ensuring their sustainability.
Only buying what you need is a simple concept, but it can be challenging in practice. Over time, you outgrow or tire of your clothes, electronics and other personal items. Think about the last time you wore that outfit you thought was cute two years ago. Be honest with yourself and ask if you will wear it again.
If you decide you won’t wear them anymore, give your clothes a second life by donating it. Thrift stores, donation centers and other charitable organizations often accept gently used clothes. You can help someone else be a minimalist by giving them your old articles of clothing.
Finding Ways to Practice Simple Minimalist Living
Minimalism is an admirable way to live. You take the physical and mental obstacles out of the way to live your best life — one that appreciates what you have instead of wanting more. If you want to live minimally, use these eight tips to start.
About the Author
Cora Gold has a passion for writing about life, happiness and sustainability. As Editor-in-Chief of women’s lifestyle magazine Revivalist, she loves to share her insights and find inspiration from others. Follow Cora on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.