When less is more. Think about a smartphone, it has many convenient functions and this single device has replaced many things that were essential back in the day. A smartphone can replace: a calculator, a pager, a watch, a camera, a computer, a landline, an answering machine and a music player. ( Whew!) That’s eight things we no longer have to purchase anymore just by owning a smartphone. Frankly, I prefer having one device that can do the job of several, it’s more convenient and in the long run, cheaper. I am a firm believer that less is more. Having more stuff means we become slaves to it, we are always buying and hoarding things we don’t really need and we have to provide care and shelter for. Having less means; I am less of a burden to the environment, I don’t waste money on things I don’t need and I also require less space. With less stuff, you get more: more use, more value and more enjoyment from the stuff you do have. There are a few tricks that will ease you into minimalism.
Start with your wardrobe: Buy less clothes but buy high quality pieces that fit well and can be dressed up or down as needed. You don’t need enough clothes to fill a walk-in closet. I once saw an ad for a mix and match line of work wear and they used seven items to make twenty different outfits! When something becomes worn, you can up-cycle it or replace it. The key to keeping an efficient wardrobe is that if you buy something new, then something has to go. That way you keep it mean and lean. Don’t hold on to things for sentimental value, if you haven’t worn it in a year, then it shouldn’t be there.
Personal Care: Try to find products that multi-task. Pure Shea butter is a real workhorse. It can replace petroleum jelly but better! It’s good at fighting dryness in difficult areas like knees, elbows and feet. It is an amazing hand moisturiser! After doing dishes, rub some on to keep hands soft. At night, a thin layer on your freshly cleansed face before bed, will give you deeply moisturised skin the next morning, without annoying your pores. It can replace lip balm and leave-in conditioner. One product can replace six! Don’t get me started on coconut oil! An extreme minimalist can even use baking soda to brush their teeth, as a body scrub, deodorant, indigestion treatment and a household cleaner.
Home Decor: Minimalism is an interior design style that can be so extreme it looks austere, but extends to the average home as well. Carry the less is more principle to your living environment. A cluttered environment is a safety hazard and it’s harder to keep clean. The less ‘stuff’ you have, the more you use the things you already own and the better you can manage and organise them. It is ok to appreciate the craftsmanship of things you see when browsing, that doesn’t mean you have to take it home. I love object d’art but there are none of those things in my living space. Rather, focus on the colour scheme in your home and use neutral, minimalist, multi tasking pieces to furnish. Try to display the things you use so you can see them and remember to use them. The trick with minimalism is you can’t buy flimsy and poorly made items. It doesn’t have to be the most expensive either, just buy sturdy and well-made items. You are going to use these items well, so they should be able to withstand the wear and tear.
There is no set formula to living a more minimal lifestyle but there are a few things you can do to begin. Try a deep declutter and be ruthless. If you can’t remember the last time you used or wore something, you don’t need it and someone else could probably make better use of it. Sell or give things away if you must. Manufacturing things requires resources of the Earth, so we have a responsibility to use the items we have to the fullest. If you can’t do it, then pass it on to someone who will. When you have pared your belongings down, then become more aware of adding new stuff. Be mindful before you bring it home, ask yourself; ‘ Do I need this or do I just want it?’. If it’s a want, leave it behind, if it is a need, try to get something that you can use in other ways, so you can get the most value possible from the item. Your purse and the planet will thank you!