5 ways to get started on minimalism
26 July 2016
Though capsule wardrobes and paring down your possessions to a target number seem like a boast-worthy goal, minimalism is not just narrowed down to that.
Minimalism is a tool to rid yourself of life’s excess in favour of focusing on what’s important.
Long before minimalism became a dismissible fad, we experienced the feeling of being bogged down by stuff whenever we had to move between cities. Whether it was a long-term move, a weekend trip, or just trying to pick out an outfit – the idea of stuff just got in the way. It wasn’t too long before we scoured online sources for a bit of DIY self-help on minimalism.
Make it your own
While minimalism for some people may mean only living off with a certain number of possessions, cutting down on impulse purchases, paring kitchen equipment its bare essential.
There is no right way to be a minimalist. Everyone has their own lifestyles, be it a career person living it up in a studio apartment in the CBD, a young suburban family, or a digital nomad, minimalism should mould and benefit to your needs. So first’s thing’s first, set your own definition of minimalism and your purpose of embracing minimalism.
Some people swear by the much raved about Marie Kondo method – hanging on only to items that “bring joy”. The problem we have with this application, is our more practical side and what ifs, where we’ve actually found ourselves regretting donating that denim jacket, or sentimental item.
Again, it comes down to preference and options: keeping a digital collection of your sentimental items, and hanging on only to a few key pieces. But we’d say be ruthless when it comes to things such as a cupboard-full of food containers and 10 black t-shirts. So again, it all comes back to addressing your own needs and making minimalism work for you, not against you.
Another tip we came across a while back was to place all your clothing into a bag or storage box and to retrieve items as and when you need them. After a three-month period, whatever that is left in the bag or box needs to be donated. A drastic method, but there is some truth in the saying if you haven’t worn it in the past year, you most likely won’t be wearing it this year.
Go slow and monitor
Getting started on minimalism does not require an overnight drastic change. Rash decisions, throwing out things at random can have a harmful after-effect and may lead you to replace the thrown out or donated items almost immediately. Having said that, if at some point in the night you have this nagging feeling to clear out the trinkets around your living room, do it.
Learn to let go
Rather contradictory, for the hoarders at heart, letting go of possessions can be a rather difficult and nearly an impossible process. Revisit the reason why you’re doing this in the first place, your purpose in getting started on minimalism.
Whether it’s to start afresh, aiming to feel less bogged down by stuff, or trying to let go of an old collection. Take some time to reflect. Keep a journal if you need to jot down your thoughts on why you’re hanging on to that pair of shoes with a broken heel or a pair of jeans that is two sizes too small for you.
Invest in quality
One expensive well-tailored suit, or a well-structured leather bag will go a long way instead of accumulating several cheaper versions that would have amounted into the same price as a single high quality item. The same applies for household items and fashion buys.
A “one in, two out” rule might be handy for the compulsive shopper. Regardless if you’re buying a new set of glassware, or a new set of speakers, ask yourself if the new purchase is worth swapping out for two items in the same category.