Maintaining Minimalism

Photo: Utopia / Binford (LEFT); CC0 Public Domain / Pixabay - Coyot (TOP RIGHT); CC0 Public Domain / Unsplash - Sarah Dorweiler (BOTTOM RIGHT)

Minimalism is a movement posed in stark opposition to mindless consumerism and materialism. A minimalist lifestyle can free you from the weight of countless material possessions, clutter and disorganization and guide you on your journey towards sustainable and mindful consumption.

Adopting minimalist practices in your everyday life means taking up a lifestyle of conscious relinquishment in order to make space for the essentials. Making do with fewer possessions also means that you have less to keep track of and keep organized, and that’s less you need to worry about. This leaves you with more space, more time, and more money. Becoming minimalist simplifies your life and teaches you how to consume less and enjoy it. And that can make you happier.

Be sure to check out collection of 12 Practical Tips for Minimalist Living: Make your Life easier.

Minimalism: Make the Switch Sustainably

Becoming minimalist less is more chair table
Making the switch to a minimalist lifestyle doesn’t only involve making room. (Photo: CCo Public Domain / Unsplash - Bench Accounting)

Asking yourself the minimalist clutter-clearing question “Do I Even Need This?” was the first step. Although it is indeed a significant part of it, clearing your house of unnecessary possessions doesn’t automatically sum up to a minimalist lifestyle. Taking this first step towards minimalism can and should be done sustainably – and that means taking the time and effort to try to ensure you’re giving your possessions a chance at a second life through sustainable reuse.

Here we’re going to focus on how best to get rid of the things you no longer need. First off: Don’t just throw it all in the dumpster. That pair of gently-used jeans you don’t wear anymore or that old coffee maker don’t necessarily need to trucked off to a landfill the second you decide your minimalist household can do without them.

Sustainable everyday consumption on your agenda? Go green and save green with 10 Everyday Green Living Ideas: Sustainability on a Shoestring Budget.

How to Give your Goods a Second Life

Maintaining minimalism flea market sustainable reuse
Flea markets are a great way to give to extend the life of the items you don’t have a use for anymore. (Photo: Utopia)

Flea markets are a weekly occurrence in a good deal of U.S. cities. This is a great way to promote the sustainable continued (re)use of gently-used items otherwise bound for the trash. In addition to giving your possessions a second chance, it also gives you the chance to make a couple of quick bucks. If there’s no flea market in your area, you can try your luck selling things on popular seller sites such as eBay, posting an ad in the local listings or taking today’s much more common route of listing your items directly on Facebook’s local sales portal.

If selling things is too much trouble, then you can donate or give away your stuff. Check your area for charitable thrift stores and secondhand shops where you can donate your items while also supporting worthy social causes. Some of these organizations will even come and pick up all of your donations at once. And depending on the quantity you donate, it’s also possible to get a tax credit for your material donations to local charities.

Many churches and community centers in the United States also regularly hold rummage sales primarily consisting of local donations from folks just like yourself. Even if you’re not directly involved in any of these local institutions, donating your gently-used goods is a great way to support the local community.

The Next Challenge: Maintaining this Minimalist State

Minimalist living repair tools
Use what you have: Sometimes this means mending and making repairs. (Photo: Pixabay.de/cc0/coyot)

One essential tip: Make everything as visible as possible. From clothes to food to books – keeping eye on the things you have will serve as a constant reminder of what you do and don’t need, thus helping to limit unnecessary purchases and keep these organized and tidy.

Before you buy something new: borrow, exchange, or repair. Check if your neighbor has a drill you can borrow. In exchange, you can lend your lawn mower. Borrow your grandma’s sewing kit instead of ordering a new one on Amazon. Mend a small hole in a t-shirt yourself; if something needs more attention, taking it to a tailor is often easier and cheaper than replacing it by buying something new. The same idea works for shoes or watches, too.

Create a Minimalist Closet

Minimalist wardrobe closet clearing tips
Practicality is key when designing a minimalist wardrobe. Survey your closet and sort out the keepers. (Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Unsplash - Sarah Dorweiler )

Another advanced method in minimalism is adopting a minimalist wardrobe. Creating your own minimalist wardrobe helps you say goodbye to those closet-clearing searches for the perfect outfit in the morning and significantly simplifies sustainable shopping. The idea behind this minimalist measure is filling your closet with a few easily combinable basics you can mix and match. They should be clothes that you enjoy wearing.

This will help you distance yourself from the fashion industry’s pressure to forever update your wardrobe. It will also save you time and money as well as promote a bit of sustainability along the way.

One final tip: Keep up your minimalistic lifestyle by keeping yourself from collecting unnecessary new items: For each new thing you purchase, sort out something you think you could go without. This way, you avoid exactly the sort of accumulation of possessions you set out to control. This is especially easy to apply to your minimalist wardrobe, books, or decorative items.

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