Having less usually means, wasting less.🚮
If we have more space to see everything in our fridge, usually less food will go bad.
If we don’t buy a lot of clothes in the first place, we don’t have to worry as much about discarding bags and bags of clothes every year.
If we don’t have a massive home then we don’t have to worry about heating or cooling so much space with better forms of energy.⚡️
We could just make an entire blog post dedicated to listing these minimalist scenarios...but we wouldn’t put you through such torture.
There are a lot of benefits to minimalism including less stress, less expenses, less clutter, less of a footprint, and thus more room for the important stuff.
But most of us haven’t grown up this way. Most of us have grown up in a very material, the-more-stuff-we-own-the-better-off-we-are world. This being the case, we could change a lot of our spending habits but would still be left with a lot of clutter.
Therefore, we need to minimize. And luckily, there are decluttering 🦸🏼♀️pros out there who have created some great resources already.
Before we get into the specifics of any type of change, the best place to start is with looking around and asking ourselves what needs to be changed. Ask ourselves what we haven’t been using, what we don’t need, and what we don’t even want. This is the first step in becoming more intentional.
One of two things may happen. Wait no, one of three things may happen. Okay, so a lot could happen.
But when we look around and see something that seems suspect, we may know for sure this thing adds value, we may know for sure it doens’t add value, or we have a feeling it doesn’t add value...but we start to justify keeping it anyways.😰
From here it’s up to you to decide what to keep and what to get rid of. Typically we can feel what is right for us. And a lot of times, the things we are holding onto aren’t actually in the stuff, but rather in the idea of the stuff...or even in our memories. 💭
When we start getting rid of our things, it’s usually scary. But it gets better the more we do it. The trick is starting small and building momentum.
And for that, try...
The 30 day minimalism game from The Minimalists
This is a great way for those who want to start small and quickly build momentum to catapult themselves into a more deliberate lifestyle. Josh and Ryan from The Minimalists have hundreds of essays as well as podcast episodes on minimalism and living a life with intention.
The 30 day minimalism game starts at the first of every month, which is cool because you are participating with quite the global community.🌏
On day one, you get rid of just one thing. On day two you get rid of two things. By day 30 you get rid of 30 things! Then you could start over the next month, or keep going from 30 if you have so much stuff!
Take a trip!
A great way to feel and experience what we truly need is to take a trip and see what it’s like! The next time you go on a trip, try packing only the essentials. If you want to keep yourself from overpacking, try just bringing one carry on sized bag with you.🧳
This will lead to us exercising our intentionality muscle because we only have room for the most intentional things. This also makes us choose the things that truly add value to our lives. Rather than packing six shirts with two of them being great and four being so-so, we will be packing maybe two shirts that we absolutely love!
Maybe some of us would pack more shirts than two, but you get the picture right? Traveling light forces us to bring only the things we love, because that is all we have room for!👕 This is a great way to shape the things around us in our lives.
Of course, once we get back from our trip we may afford to have more things than just what fits in a backpack...say like a couch or a bed. But realizing how little we actually need can be liberating.
Host a packing party like The Minimalists
📦I wasn’t going to mention this one in an effort to prevent this whole article from being a The Minimalists article, but the packing party idea is just so fun. Plus, it’s kind of like living out of a backpack while still at home.
Over time you will unpack stuff and it will come back to a relatively normal looking amount: much more than what could fit in a backpack. But the kicker is, there will still be a lot still boxed up...never to be used.
That’s a very effective way to determine what we should get rid of. If we haven’t even unboxed it in a month and haven’t missed it, we probably should get rid of it.
There are tons of resources out there for decluttering and living a more intentional and meaningful life.🙏🏼 From people like The Minimalists, to Marie Kondo, we have options!
And at the end of the day, it really boils down to one thing: intentionality. When we begin to question how we’ve been living for so long simply out of habit, when we question whether or not we are living a life that is meaningful and worthwhile, that is when change will happen.
That change will not only help the planet by consuming more consciously, it will help us become healthier mentally and physically. And we’ll live more fulfilled lives knowing we are living up to our values.
Written by Aaron Burr
A writer dedicated to working solely with companies on a mission to help the earth and people on it.