10 Tips To Becoming a Minimalist
As I mentioned in a prior blog post "Minimalism: How Getting Rid Of Quantity Has Made Room For Quality Of Life", my family and I have began to adopt to the minimalist lifestyle for many reasons. These reasons include getting rid of clutter and messes, have more money to do the things we want, and overall live a better quality of life. Below are a few tips to achieving this.
1. Live A Clutter Free Life
Clutter has always made me very anxious. There's something about having things out and all over the place that makes me honestly go crazy. I can't think well, I am easily overwhelmed, I don't feel accomplished, I feel clastrophobic, and the list goes on. The truth is, that I had so much junk that I never trully felt happy with how my home looked or it's function. I have been working really hard to declutter my home the past few months and can really see and feel the difference.
2. Do One Load of Laundry A Day
Laundry in my house, and in many family homes, is never ending. Trust me I totally get it, and there is never a time when I have absolutely nothing to wash. I use to leave my laundry to wash about once a week, and even sometimes once every other week, but quickly learned that this was not the best idea. The laundry would pile up and then I would try to knock it all out in one day, which was impossible, and would end up with a ton of unfolded laundry in baskets, which would later turn into piles in the room and would make it hard to find clothes. Well let's just say I learned my lesson and no longer do that anymore. Instead, I commit to washing, folding, and putting away at least one load a day. This makes it much more manageable and helps keep the house tidy and organized.
3. Purge Regularly
About every three months I go through all of our closets and get rid of anything that does not fit, is not in good condition or we no longer like. I then reorganize our closets and drawers and from there try to figure out what we really need. I also take turns purging different areas of our home every few months. This includes cabinets, pantry closet, junk drawers, even my make up bag.
4. Simple Functional Furniture
We recently purchased new furniture for our small home because our old furniture was, well old. We had it for quite a few years and were all falling apart and looking pretty bad. When we started our shopping I wanted to make sure to keep it simple but also multi functional. We started with our bedroom where we decided not to go for the long short dresser and instead buy two tall chest dressers to save on square footage space. The bed frame also serves as storage as it has two large drawers at the end of the bed which serves for holding all of my beauty products, hats, etc.. This keeps the room de-cluttered and everything has a space (not all a mess on top of the dressers like it used to be). Now for the living room, we have visitors quite often but do not have room for a guest room. Therefore, we purchased a sectional that pulls out and turns into a queen size bed. A section of the sectional also lifts up and has a large storage area where we keep everything a guest may need (pillows, blankets, towels, etc.) and the ottoman also has a storage compartment where we keep the fleece blankets. I love it because we also pull out the couch and cuddle up with the fleece blankets when watching movies as a family.
5. Buy Only What You Need
I still love to shop, but now when I shop I ask myself these questions. Do i need it? Do I already have something like it? How often will I use it? Do I have room for it? I do this right before checking out and honestly it really works! I always end up leaving at least one thing behind.
6. Shop Quality Items That Will Cost More Now But Will Last Much Longer
Now, you may think this is contradicting, however, minimalism is not about removing everything from your life and buying dirt cheap things to save money. Instead, it's about having less items and removing what you don't need. Although I am a bargain shopper, I do understand that purchasing a higher quality item now will save me in the long run because I am not having to replace it so often. When deciding if to purchase a more expensive, higher quality item, I ask myself how often will I use it. I then divide the price by the number of days and decide from there. For example, if I purchase an item at $100, and know I will use it at least twice a week (104 times a year), I divide $100 by 104 and that equals less than $1 per usage day. That to me is very much worth it and so I am more opt to purchase the higher cost item, rather than purchasing a lower quality item at $25, and having to replace it a few times because the quality does not hold.
7. Give Experiences Instead of Toys
My children have been very blessed with a large circle of loved ones and have an entire playroom full of toys thanks to them. Therefore, I really try to avoid purchasing toys throughout the year, including the holidays, and instead focus on giving them experiences. If you think about it, you purchase a new toy, they get excited, use it for the day and then end up piled up in a corner of the room and they are complaining the next day that they are bored. Come on we all now this is true. So instead of giving in on a new toy, use the money instead to give them experiences, lessons and memories that will last a life time.
8. Simplify Wardrobe
I have been working on building a new wardrobe for myself that I actually love and use. With that being said, I really try to focus on items that are versatile and can be used several different ways. I also try to avoid purchasing multiples, such as 10 pair of jeans that all look a like. Taking an inventory of my closet often, and then figuring out what I really need, has helped me with that. I am also doing this with the boys as well, which has actually been a lot harder to stop myself from purchasing for them than I thought.
Don't be afraid to be an outfit repeater. I am not afraid to be an outfit repeater and reuse my clothes very often. I try to change up the look a little bit to make it look and feel different and this has really helped me.
In regards to organization, when the seasons change, I store all of our clothes from the prior season in bins, and put them away in a storage area and take out all of the current seasonal clothes and items. This allows me to save space, and it is easier to organize myself and declutter.
9. Do Things For Yourself
We save a lot of many by doing a lot of things ourselves rather than paying someone to do it. Except for a very rare occasion, I do my own pedicures and learned how to straightened and curl my hair myself. I also have my mom dye my hair from products we pick up at Sally's. My husband is also all about doing things himself as well, and so we end up saving a lot of money by removing what would otherwise be monthly expenses. When creating a budget, think of every single thing you spend money on. I am positive you will find quite a bit of expenses that you could easily remove from your budget if you just did it yourself.
10. Eat Simple
You can "eat simple" by purchasing groceries weekly and only purchasing items on sale. This would require you to be open to trying other brands as well as planning meals around items that are on sale. We also do not eat out often. In fact, for the most part, we only ever really go to restaurants during special occasions. We use to spend about $300 a week between coffees, and lunches, and fast food and going out to dinner every weekend and trust me, it really adds up. Try keeping track of every penny you spend in food for an entire week, I promise it will be a huge eye opener for you.