The Road to Minimalism: 9 Tips to Streamline Your Life
By the team at Earth Breeze
If you’ve got a knack for collecting stuff, you know better than anyone that too much clutter can quickly become a problem. In fact, research shows that visual and environmental clutter prevents us from focusing and greatly contributes to stress.
These are just a few reasons why minimalism — the art of purging your surroundings of unnecessary items and keeping only what provides true value — has become so popular in recent years.
Going minimal also has a positive impact on the environment and, as an added bonus, your wallet.
But if you fancy yourself more of a maximalist by nature, paring down to the basics may feel like a stressful, even overwhelming task. The best way to handle shifting to a more minimalistic lifestyle is to take small steps rather than giant leaps. Something as simple as switching to laundry detergent sheets or adopting the “one item in, one item out” methodology can help you reduce your personal stash of goods and lower your stress level at the same time.
9 Tips to Guide you on the Road on Minimalism
Here are a few more quick tips on how to become a minimalist and stay one for the long-term.
- When You Buy One Thing, Donate Another — The “one in, one out” strategy is a great way to ensure that you’re not needlessly contributing to a growing pile of junk in your closet. The methodology is simple. Anytime you bring home a new piece of clothing, a home décor item or book, you have to get rid of something to make room for it. See our guide to sustainable clothing brands and ethical home décor for some helpful advice.
- Design a More Versatile Wardrobe — A complete wardrobe overhaul isn’t just stressful, it’s also wasteful. Rather than switching to a whole new capsule wardrobe and replacing everything you own with something new, simply retool your existing wardrobe to make it more versatile. You need to take a good, hard look at your clothing stash and weed out the items that are tough to style or match with other items you own. When you need to buy new, opt for replacements that go with more items in your closet.
- Ditch the Plastic Packages and Bulk Goods — As tempting as it may be to load up on those 48 packs of toilet paper or eight packs of dish soap, it comes at a price. You trade the monetary savings for physical storage space and stress. Plus, buying too much of certain items often results in waste. Switch to eco-friendly laundry detergent sheets to avoid having to house those big, clunky plastic bottles that wind up in the landfill.
- Buy Zero-Waste Cleaning Supplies — In addition to switching to more eco-friendly laundry products, you can drastically reduce your strain on the planet and your waste contribution by moving to zero-waste household cleaning supplies. This way, you’re not taking up a ton of space with clunky bottles. There are a variety of new companies on the scene offering everything from dishwashing bar soap to all-purpose cleaning tablets that offer an amazing clean without the bulky, space-hogging plastic.
- Pare Down Your Collections — If you’re a collector by nature, there’s a good chance you have more than one thing you collect. The thrill of finding the rare, unique or unexpected items often transfers from one realm of collecting to another, whether it be watches, collectible figures, board games or a certain brand of vintage sweater. If collecting brings you joy, it’s totally OK to keep one or two collections alive. Just try not to get distracted by starting new ones. Remember the mantra: Just because it’s [beautiful, cool, interesting, rare, etc.] doesn’t mean I have to own it!
- Switch to Multipurpose Tools — If you’re a lover of gadgets, chances are you can make room by swapping out purpose-built tools for multipurpose ones. In no area is this more attainable than the kitchen! For example, you can swap out your bulky slow cooker, rice cooker and pressure cooker for a single all-in-one pot that saves a ton of space. You can also pare down the need for a few pots with the purchase of a single Dutch oven.
- Go in with Family or Friends — It takes a village, as they say, so why is it that we all have our own stash of pretty much everything, even things we only use once or twice per year? If you have family or friends nearby, consider sharing the cost and storage of occasional use items to help minimize the burden and open up some storage space. This is a great route to take for things such as lawn tools, woodworking tools, snowblowers, kitchen gadgets, electronics and other items you only use a few times per year.
- Invest in High–Quality Items — We’re not suggesting that you go out and swap out every cheap utensil or fast fashion tee in your closet because that’s wasteful! But the next time you need to replace something, consider going for the “buy it for life” option. This will prevent you from having to buy multiple versions of a single object over a short period of time. This is especially useful with cooking essentials such as knives, pots and pans, but it also goes for things like footwear, outerwear and tools.
- Look to the Library — The local library is a minimalist’s best friend! Not only does it provide millions of hours of entertainment for free, but it also keeps you busy without clogging up your house with unnecessary stuff. One great thing to keep in mind is that good library systems often loan out more than just books, DVDs and audiobooks. Some have “libraries of things,” such as cooking utensils, sports equipment, instruments, board games, magazines, electronics and even fine art!
Final Thoughts around the Road on Minimalism
When you commit to taking on a more minimalistic lifestyle, you’re not just committing to freeing up storage space in your home. You’re also committing to freeing up space in your mind and your heart that was cluttered up by unnecessary physical objects. Eliminating clutter means eliminating distractions, time-consuming maintenance and stress!