Minimalist Living means breaking your everyday down to the basics. No need to uproot your life and move out to a log cabin out in the woods. Every one of us can bring a little minimalism into our lives – all day and every day, starting right now.
Freedom, simplicity and easygoingness in our daily lives – three things we all find ourselves wishing for at some point or another. Yet, in today’s modern world, this desired degree of simplicity and ease often alludes us: Consumption, material possession und personal achievement appear to be the more prevalent values of the day.
A strictly minimalist lifestyle sounds to many like an off-the-grid life fueled by sacrifice. Well, here’s some good news: As surprising as it may sound, you can indeed actively participate in everyday modern life while at the same time employing minimalist strategies granting you a greater deal of freedom. Our tips for minimalist living are aimed at helping you on your way to making small but pivotal changes to regular routines and habits, ones which will make your life all the more simpler and easier – and also a bit happier.
Minimalist Living: Walk once in a while.
As comfortable and convenient as taking your car may be, just leave it at home and don’t take the train to work every once in a while. Choose one day out of the week (stick to it!) and walk to each and every one of your destinations – whether that be a commute to work, a trip to the grocery store or meeting up with friends. Why? Going by foot prevents you from getting wound up while stuck in rush-hour traffic and avoids the subway rush at peak travel hours. The walk to and from work gives you time to concentrate on yourself. Plus, there’s no gas or electricity required: The only energy you’ll need to burn is your own. It doesn’t get any more minimalist than that.
Ask yourself: Do I really need this?
That’s not as trivial a question as it seems. We’re all guilty of buying things we don’t really need merely because they’re cheap, readily available or happen to be in style. However, as “Fight Club” character Tyler Durden once said: The things you own ending up owning you – precisely because we worry about them, we bother and concern ourselves with our possessions. If you want to live a simpler life, stop buying stuff you don’t need.
Cook for yourself with fresh ingredients
Processed and semi-processed foods are anything but minimalist: They’re packed full of additives. “Real” food doesn’t need any of those. Try cooking for yourself: With fresh, simple and local ingredients from your area, with time and at your leisure. It’s better for you as well as the planet – and not to mention: There’s nothing like a home-cooked meal to lift your spirits. The same goes for minimalist living.
Minimalist Living with less meat
With cheap prices at discount grocers it’s easy to forget that meat is a luxury. Here the same thing goes: Less is more when you buy quality products. Cracking down on your own meat consumption saves money, hassle and opens you’re your eyes to new perspectives. And doesn’t knowing that no animal had to die for you put your mind at ease? There’s a reason why a lot of well-known minimalists are also vegetarians or vegans.
Grow your own food
You too can cultivate your own homegrown herbs or vegetables right there on your window sill or even on the smallest of balconies. Your payout is a range of additive-free ingredients neither wrapped in plastic nor shipped halfway around the world – you get to eat whatever’s in season. Even if it’s only sprouts or a couple of tomatoes, growing your own food is rewarding and leaves you with a feeling of joy.
Check out our Photo Gallery on the top 10 Sustainable Consumption Practices here.
Get out of the city and experience a minimalist lifestyle
Escape the hustle and bustle of the city and switch up your weekly routine by spending a weekend outside – without the excess of a luxury hotel: At the lake, in the mountains, rent a cabin or bring your tent far away from the city. The tranquility, simplicity and proximity to nature won’t just do you some good but is also (as long as you’re not tooling around in an SUV) more sustainable than shopping or hitting the clubs for a night on the town. Get out and explore for yourself what a real minimalist lifestyle can be.
Minimalist living: Drink more tap water
Having an endless source of the one and only beverage essential to survival at an arm’s reach at home, anybody still persisting in grabbing bottled water on the go only has themselves to blame. Call it quits with overpriced bottled drinks and drink tap water – it saves money and makes your life a little simpler.
Switch off once in a while
The TV’s on in the background, the dryer is running, you’re recharging your phone with all the lights in the house on – shut the whole operation down once in a while. Actively reducing your electricity use will automatically take you towards living a more minimalist lifestyle. It will also make you happier – once you receive your utilities bill if not immediately.
Repair things yourself
Minimalist living doesn’t only entail making do with fewer possessions. It also means extending the lifespan of the things you have. Try your hand at making repairs yourself the next time something stops working. This is often much simpler than you’d think. At the same time, you’ll learn to appreciate everyday household objects as well as your own abilities.
Clean out your closet
There’s more than a good chance you’ll find old clothes that you haven’t worn in ages and probably never will. You don’t need to begin by emptying your closet in heaps like some “seasoned” minimalists. However, radically clearing out your closet (without immediately filling it back up) can prove quite satisfying. One more step on your journey to simpler living: The less you have hanging in your closet, the less time you need to spend agonizing over what you want to wear in the morning – and the more time you have to spend on more important things in life.
Read more on mindfulness vs. materialism here: Do I Even Need This?
Buy package-free goods
Less packaging means less (unnecessary) waste. This also means less time spent on unpackaging, disposal etc. This doesn’t work anywhere and anytime, but the farmer’s market or your local grocer (with your own reusable bags) is a good place to start. Once you’ve stumbled upon a plastic-free store – currently gaining in popularity – you’re golden.
Inform yourself about Minimalist Living
Online, you’ll find hundreds of blogs, inspirational books, movies and projects dealing with the topic of minimalism on the internet. One of our favorite minimalism blogs is The Minimalists. There you’ll find loads of helpful info, tips and inspiration on living the minimalist lifestyle.
Take time for yourself
Minimalist living also means not always chasing after entertainment and company at the drop of a hat. Carve some time out of your day for yourself, for things that you actually enjoy. Do yoga, go for a walk or just do nothing. Everybody finds calm and relaxation in their own personal way. Important is not how, but whether and how often you can find some time for yourself. If all else fails, plan set times for yourself. One or two hours a week all to yourself can’t be too out of reach.
Continue exploring minimalism and related topics such as Everyday Mindfulness:
- 4 Immediate Small Steps toward Increased Sustainability
- Minimalism: 3 Methods for Beginners
- Maintaining Minimalism
This article was translated from German by Evan Binford. You can view the original here.