Tips for a Minimalist Summer – 6 Ways to Prioritize Minimalism During the Warmer Months
By Cora Gold, Editor-in-Chief of Revivalist
There’s something about summertime that makes us want to slow down — perhaps it’s the heat or the satisfaction of diving into a good book on the patio. It’s no surprise that people often prioritize minimalist lifestyles as the seasons turn. With warmer temperatures comes more time to spend outdoors, take much-needed breaks from hectic schedules and spend quality time with friends and family.
6 Ways to Prioritize a Minimalist Summer
Maybe you notice you’re happier with less, be it time, people or material objects. For many, it’s the perfect occasion to shed whatever’s weighing on them, from stress to clutter. While you may have already integrated aspects of minimalism into your summer routine, here are six ways to intentionally prioritize it during the season.
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
1. Donate Unused Belongings
As the saying goes, one person’s clutter is another’s treasure. Removing gently-used items and things you no longer need is an excellent way to live minimally this summer.
Go through your closets and drawers room by room to decide whether certain belongings are worth keeping. If it hasn’t served you in the last six months to a year, you probably don’t have much use for it anymore.
Donating goods also has mental health benefits. For instance, your brain produces serotonin, dopamine and oxytocin when you do something nice for others. These mood-boosting chemicals provide a sense of pleasure and connection through gift-giving and delivering acts of kindness.
2. Adopt a Minimalist Wardrobe
While cleaning out your closet, consider adopting a capsule summer wardrobe. A capsule wardrobe contains the essentials, saving you space and leaving you with less worry about what to wear. That’s not to say it’s easy to limit your options to a few pieces — but it will be worth it.
Consider your needs when it comes to choosing a more meticulous summer clothing collection, for example:
- Your lifestyle during the summer — beach days, gardening, eating out and hosting backyard get-togethers — requires different types of outfits.
- What you currently own and what you need to buy.
- Whether you have multipurpose items you can use.
- Your budget for new apparel.
- Whether you will incorporate accessories.
- Your desired color palette.
Summer essentials usually include tank tops, short-sleeve shirts, a button-down blouse, a summer dress, shorts, cropped pants and jeans. Other items are workout clothes, bathing suits, sandals and a cardigan or light sweater for cooler evenings.
There isn’t a right or wrong way to create a capsule summer wardrobe, and only you can decide how many items you need for the season. However, challenging yourself with a limited selection of clothing can be a good thing.
3. Enjoy Simplified Meals
While creamy, rich foods are a staple during winter hibernation, summer calls for a much lighter fare. Preparing simplified meals with fresh fruits and vegetables — maybe even from your garden — is conducive to the minimalist lifestyle.
You might crave cool, fresh foods during summer to regulate your body temperature in the scorching heat. Produce is also hydrating, guaranteeing you feel more refreshed and energized after eating.
Certain foods contain higher water content than others to boost hydration. For instance, cucumbers have a 96% water content, making them the most hydrating fruit. Lettuce, celery, tomatoes, peppers and summer squash also have a high water content from 94%-95%.
Ensure seasonal access to an array of fruits and vegetables by starting a garden at home. A garden will also reduce waste and help you save money on groceries.
4. Embrace Doing Nothing
Working constantly will eventually cause your batteries to run out. We typically lose ourselves in daily responsibilities for work or taking care of ourselves or others. Rather than give into the culture of busyness — which causes exhaustion and lower performance — you can be more thoughtful with your time.
The Dutch call it “niksen” — you might know it as “doing nothing.” Embracing idleness is not in our nature. We often feel guilty when we’re not wrapped up in activities. However, cutting back on your never-ending to-do list will allow you to do more things you enjoy.
In many ways, saying no is like setting boundaries, which may initially put friends and family off. It’ll become easier with time and you’ll find that you’re more creative, productive and energetic when you take intentional breaks for yourself.
5. Spend Time Outdoors
Is there a better time of year for outdoor living? Spending time in nature should become part of your minimalist lifestyle this summer. Whether you’re sitting poolside, walking along the beach, going on a long bike ride or gardening, being outdoors can heighten your senses and improve your mood and well-being.
In one study, researchers asked city residents to come into contact with nature three times weekly for 10 minutes or longer. They found that just 20-30 minutes outside reduced cortisol levels by 21.3% per hour, leaving participants feeling less anxious and stressed.
Otherwise, natural sunlight is an excellent source of vitamin D. You only need five to 10 minutes of sun daily for enough vitamin D to maintain calcium levels and greater bone health.
Outdoor activities also reduce time spent shopping for unnecessary items and traveling. There is much to enjoy within your community, and with a heightened sense of curiosity, you’ll find fulfillment right where you are.
6. Let Go of Emotional Baggage
Minimalism is more than letting go of your possessions. Emotional clutter will cause you just as much unnecessary stress. According to the American Psychological Association’s (APA) Stress in America 2022 report, 76% of adults say they suffer from headaches, fatigue, anxiety and depression due to overwhelming stress. About 32% claim that stress causes sleep disturbances.
Plenty is going on in the world that’ll leave you feeling overwhelmed. However, emotional clutter can entail fear and concern over things we can’t control, holding onto resentment, guilt, shame and childhood traumas. You may be unable to fix inflation, but you can relinquish grudges against a former friend or body insecurities.
Create a ritual of writing down your emotional baggage on paper and throwing it away. Replacing negativity with positive affirmations is another way to heal while letting go of your emotions frees up space in your mind for greater joy.
Minimalism is a complete mind-body experience that should lead to greater joy and satisfaction. Getting rid of excess stuff is essential, but releasing yourself from negative feelings, burdens and chores is just as important. Summer is the perfect season to let go of whatever drags you down for sunnier days ahead.
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.