We all dream of a beautiful house which is spacious, well-lit, and warm. And to make it more beautiful and personal, we decorate it with our skills and memories in the form of the souvenirs and artifacts. Our house becomes a reflection of our ethos, culture, and beliefs that tell a great deal about us and our journey. As we grow as a family, things keep getting added to our house. It’s a natural and gradual process and we don’t even realize when our house has turned from an aesthetic abode to a museum. Our closets and lofts reach a stage where they are ready to explode. Our kitchen and other rooms keep getting denser and we buy new storage units to accommodate all the items that we have bought.
When it comes to house organization and cleaning, I have written a great deal about de-cluttering. I just can’t complete even a single blog on good housekeeping without using my golden mantra – “De-cluttering”. In this blog, I am going a step ahead. Why reach the stage of de-cluttering? Why not buy less and buy only what is essentially required. Let’s talk about Minimalism. Let’s talk about how to live as a minimalist.
Note – Minimalism is a way of life and a personal choice. The purpose of this blog is to introduce this concept to my readers.
What is Minimalism?
Minimalism in terms of lifestyle is an art of living with less. In this a type of lifestyle, the emphasis is given on experiences and not on the possessions. The idea behind minimalism is to have only those items in your household which are absolutely required and necessary for living comfortably.
When you are living as a minimalist, you keep only those things in your house which have high emotional or utility value. You avoid hoarding unnecessarily and discard anything that distracts you or does not connect with you anymore.
A very important point about minimalist lifestyle is that a minimalist avoids buying lots of low-cost stuff from the budget stores. Instead they buy highly sustainable and durable products (may be one or two) from the established ethical stores.
The Main Points of Minimalist Lifestyle
Here are a few points that will help you understand the minimalist way of living.
- Do not hoard house-hold items – If you are a family of four, your kitchen should have pots and utensils sufficient for four people and not for ten people. As a minimalist, you do not hold items for possible future events. If there will be a requirement in future for more utensils or pots, consider taking those items on rent. This holds true not only for kitchen but for the entire house-hold.
- Buy less of single-purpose gadgets and tools – As a minimalist, you try not to buy many gadgets and tools which serve only single purpose. For example, if your family drinks both tea and coffee, it is advisable to get a machine that can make both tea or coffee. You can avoid buying a waffle-maker if you use it only once in three months. You can also check if your house really needs two sets of television, three different types of food processor, or four types of shavers or razors.
- Do not fill their closets with clothes and shoes – Minimalists do not believe in hoarding hundreds of pairs of clothes or shoes. They prefer buying three-four sets of each types of clothes and one or two pairs of shoes which is enough for living. Minimalists also believe in buying durable and sustainable products as compared to low-cost and low-quality products from the budget stores.
- Do not spend money of display/decoration items – As a minimalist, you value experiences more than the physical souvenirs. You also do not fill your display units with lots of decoration items. Instead you keep only those things that give you happiness and do not add to the visual clutter.
- Have limited entertainment and books subscriptions – When it comes to entertainment and knowledge, minimalists choose their subscriptions carefully to avoid digital clutter. They also avoid buying paperback books and storing them in the shelves. Instead, they either buy the digital version or rent the books from the library. Minimalists do keep a collection of their favorite memories or hobbies; however, they are selective about what to keep and what to discard and when.
Myths about Minimalist Lifestyle
Often minimalists are looked upon as frugal who do not like spending money on lifestyle items. They are also termed as bore as they make informed and selective decisions about entertainment and vacations. However, these are just two of the many myths people have about minimalist lifestyle.
Here are some of the things which you think minimalists do but they do not. Minimalists:
- Do not live in an empty house – It is true that minimalists keep only absolutely necessary items in their house but that does not mean they live in an empty house. They keep the required number of furniture pieces, tools, and gadgets in their house.
- Are not frugal – In fact, minimalists are quite opposite to being frugal. They buy less but they buy quality. Instead of buying six pairs of jeans from a thrift store, they will buy two pairs of jeans from an ethical store which promises durability and quality.
- Are not bore – Minimalists are selective about spending on entertainment, vacation, or hobbies. It’s not to save money but to avoid digital or information clutter in the house. They are big on experiences. Instead of watching movies or sports on television, they prefer going outside and watching live games or concerts. Having said that, being a minimalist doesn’t mean they do not have collectibles. They just retain the best of collectibles that gives them happiness.
Benefits of Minimalist Lifestyle in Household Management
So, now that we have understood a bit about minimalist lifestyle, let’s see how being a minimalist helps you in managing your house-hold better:
- It helps you save money – Being a minimalist greatly reduces your unnecessary expenses as you are no longer buying display baubles or duplicate items. You also spend less on clothes and shoes and games and entertainment consoles.
- It helps you keep your house organized – As you have less number of items around your house, your house is automatically more organized and you take less time to clean.
- It helps you with mental peace and calmness – With no physical, visual, and digital clutter around your house, your mind is calm and at peace and you do not feel overwhelmed.
Another Side of Minimalism
A minimalist lifestyle is a way of life which some people have chosen to explore. It is not mandatory to follow this idea but you can always pick up the good things and implement.
If you are planning to go minimalist, you should be prepared to see these changes in your life:
- Living with less and just the necessary things can make you nervous and anxious about future.
- People will find it difficult to understand your personality as they will not be able to connect you with your house.
Maintaining a minimalist lifestyle is not easy and requires discipline and change of habits. Therefore, instead of going for a complete changeover, take little steps at a time and see the difference. If it gives you happiness, take further steps. If it is making you anxious, stop making any further changes.
A Tip to End With…
Minimalist lifestyle is a bigger form of a de-cluttered house. If you want to see the effects of minimalism, try de-cluttering one area of your house and feel the difference.
For example, let’s follow these easy steps to de-clutter your shoe rack:
- First round – Remove all the broken shoes
- Second round – Remove some of the extra or duplicate shoes, like if you have three types of black ballet flats, see if you really need all the three pairs.
- Third round – Take out the shoes that you have not worn in a year
- Fourth round – Take out the special occasion shoes and check if you will be wearing them anytime in near future
- Fifth round – Touch or wear all the remaining shoes and check if they are still giving you happiness or if they are still comfortable.