One Little Happy Thing

Quirky home decor & lifestyle blog

Category: Minimalism

Beginners Minimalism: 3 baby steps to take towards minimalism.

I’ve outlined all of the reasons you should embrace minimalism in my earlier post. Which is all fine and dandy, but when it comes to practicing minimalism it can be difficult to know where to start.

So, I’ve come up with some minimalism baby steps, small things you can do which will set you up for starting your journey towards a more minimal life. Minimalism is something I’ve only recently started developing a passion for, so these are things I’ve done recently.

Even if you’re not sure about minimalism (which I highly doubt else you wouldn’t be reading this post amirite?!) there is no harm in doing any of these three things. They are simple and small and very very easy. No excuses.

Baby steps to minimalism

1. Have a clear out.

Now, we’re not talking about parting with your most precious items here. I’m talking about getting rid of those old clothes at the back of the wardrobe, or the old shoes you haven’t worn in years but can’t bear to part with.

Collect together some of your unwanted goods and either throw them away, recycle them, donate to charity or donate to friends and family.

This will clear the decks slightly, making it easy for you to see the difference having less stuff will make. It’s like a weight off your shoulders. And this will only be from getting rid of things you actually don’t want, so it won’t be difficult work to do.

Once you’ve removed the items you know you definitely don’t want you can start considering which items you do want to keep but that you don’t need. But don’t push yourself to part with family heirlooms straight away. Work your way up to it.

Or don’t work your way up to it. Minimalism is personal, make it work for you. If you’re like me there may be some items you will never want to part with, and that’s okay. Minimalism is more about curbing your compulsive consumerism and breaking the emotional attachment you have to things, focusing more on the moment and being more mindful in your behaviour.

In other words, if you own something which genuinely brings you joy, don’t part with it. But don’t keep it for the wrong reasons, like fearing wasting money or thinking the item holds your emotions for you.

2. Don’t spend any unnecessary money for a week.

Disclaimer: This does not include money on food, bills or travel costs. These are things which are essential and can’t really be avoided, especially not to begin with.

But, you can cut down on any unnecessary spending. By this I mean buying clothes, trinkets, spending money on socializing like going to the cinema or something. Spending money which you don’t need to spend but that you want to spend.

You’ll be surprised how easy it is. You can find tonnes of free events to attend locally just through a simple google search or checking out events near you on Facebook. You could also have some friends over for a meal, just use the food you already have in the house to cook with.

It will also open your eyes to a more “make do and mend” mentality. Those jeans you love have a small tear in? No problem. Learn how to fix them rather than going out and buying a new pair. Pinterest and google have tonnes of resources for fixing rather than replacing things. And it is pretty much anything you can think of.

At the end of the week you’ll be more aware of how much money you have been spending unnecessarily, which is not only good for saving you money but also for giving you a different outlook. You don’t need tonnes of money to live the best life.

3.  Write down all the reasons you spend money.

Write yourself an extensive list of all the different reasons you spend money. This can include things like rent, bills, food and clothes shopping. And also any frivolous purchases and spending money on socializing. Write down every penny spent, don’t miss a thing.

And then for each one, write the reason why you have spent it. For your bills this is going to be obvious, you’ve spent it because you need to. But where this becomes more interesting are those frivolous spends. Like new clothes. Why did you buy those new clothes? Is it because you needed them, or just because you were feeling down and needed a boost? Or because you just plain old wanted them?

Think deeper about your shopping habits and it’ll become much clearer why you are spending money on things or occasions. By knowing the problem you have more chance of fixing it. If you find you use shopping as a way of making yourself feeling better then you know you need to find something else to get that boost.

Do this for as long as you need to before you get to the heart of where you’re consumerism comes from. I know that when I’m feeling down I’ll maybe treat myself to a lunch rather than making it at home, or I’ll buy a new DVD from my Amazon wish list just because.

It can be really eye opening this exercise.

Give these a try and let me know in the comments how you get on!

Beginners Minimalism: 5 things you need to throw out today.

Spring has sprung. The seasons are changing, it’s a time synonymous with new beginnings and new life. In other words it’s the perfect time to make a change in your life.

Over the past few months I’ve been reading a lot about minimalism. It all seems very chic, but a little bit clinical. I must admit my house has a lot of trinkets: art work on the walls, ornaments on the shelves, books absolutely everywhere.

But I do like the idea of living in a less cluttered house. Especially now we have a dog, the house would be so much easier to clean! So, it seems it may be time to start embracing minimalism.

I must admit though, the thought of throwing away some of my things, especially the books, daunts me a little bit. I do have a little bit of an emotional attachment to some of them. But I also really like seeing them, so for now I think the books will stay.

But there are so many things around the house which could go, and I bet a lot of other people out there have the same things lingering about. So, TA-DA, my list of the 5 things you need to throw away today.

beginners minimalism

1. Old magazines/newspapers/leaflets

Not sure about you, but I tend to hoard magazines to read at a later date, but then never ever read them. Where we live we receive a magazine every few months filled with ads for local companies. I like to read these as I like to keep my spending money in local pockets. But I never do actually read them.

Same with local newspapers and takeaway leaflets that come through the door. They gather in a pile either by the front door or on the coffee table. These should be the first things to go. Especially magazines you’ve already read.

If there are things in there which you are keeping the whole magazine for, take pictures of the information on your phone. That way you can keep it to hand without the clutter.

2. Unused/broken clothes hangers.

Every time I go shopping for new clothes I never refuse the offer of clothes hangers (although, has anybody else noticed they aren’t offered out as much anymore?). Hence my wardrobe now has more clothes hangers than actual clothes.

If you’re like me and have exactly the same problem then it is pretty easy to remedy, and leaves you with a surprising amount of space for more clothes in the future. I’ve also started thinking about longevity and being more eco friendly through sensible purchases. Wooden coat hangers are the way forward.

But for the time being, bag them up and throw them away! Or you could always check and see if one of your local charity shops would like them. Unless they’re pretty broken, in which case better just to throw them away.

3. Unworn clothes.

Wardrobes are one of the first places in a home where clutter manifests itself. Clothes which no longer fit, or are getting a bit grubby looking tend to stay there until you can’t squeeze anymore clothes in. Or that may just be me.

But this is a good place to start when it comes to removing clutter from the house. Take out all of your clothes and put them into 3 piles: keep, charity, bin. Obviously the keep clothes are the ones which still have life in them and are worn regularly. The charity pile is for the clothes which are still in good condition but either don’t fit or just aren’t your style anymore. Bin is for the tatty rags which haven’t been worn for years. (When I say bin you can recycle them, find a local recycling centre!).

Be tough. Don’t keep something that doesn’t fit just because you like the colour or may wear it again someday. Today is not that day. I had a dress in my wardrobe which I kept for years just because the colour was lovely. The dress is going to a charity shop and hopefully someone else will wear it.

4. Empty bottles, jars, containers etc.

Another one that me and my partner are terrible for is hoarding jam jars and empty shampoo bottles. Not because we’re lazy, but because we think they might have a use further down the line. The jam jars do generally get used as storage containers (we’re trying to move away from using so much plastic in the home) but some of the smaller ones we’ll never use.

And with empty toiletry bottles, for some reason we always fail at throwing them away. Mainly because I’m never certain if they can be recycled or not, and I hate throwing something away if it could’ve been recycled.

It’s no good though, holding onto things which essentially are trash. You could try repurposing some things, but then you’ll probably end up with a tonne of plants in glass jars which you don’t want either. It’s nice to not waste anything, but the crux of the issue is that you need to not buy so much to begin with.

5. Unnecessary trinkets.

I’m a bit of a bugger for holding onto trinkets. Shells picked up from the seaside, cute boxes from the charity shop and art I’ve bought with no plan of where to put it. All of these things are unnecessary purchases and are cluttering up our space.

Now, it’s here where you need to make a clear definition between items which bring you joy and which you don’t want to throw away because it seems like a waste. The number of items which bring you joy should be small. If everything is bringing you enjoyment then you’re not enjoying it for the right reasons.

Much like with your clothes, make piles. Keep, charity, bin. Anything which you adore should stay. Who wants to live in a barren home without the slightest hint of personality? Not me. But limit yourself in this pile for only the best of the best. Charity shop is good for old paintings. And bin those little trinkets like sea shells. Be ruthless.

Beginners Minimalism: The benefits of a minimalist life.

I’ve decided to write a mini-series about minimalism, and how we beginners can get involved in it. Now, if you’re not sure exactly what minimalism is, then let me explain. It’s about stripping back the unnecessary elements to your life, living simpler, and moving away from consumerism.

Minimalism isn’t just about not owning or buying anything. It is also about minimalizing your life: living well within your means, enjoying simpler things and being more mindful. There is a great big link between being mindful and minimal which I will explain further down.

However, before you can start your journey towards living a more minimal life, you need to understand what’s in it for you.

The benefits of minimalism

1. You will become more financially independent.

Without the unnecessary purchases, you will spend less money. It really is as simple as that. And when you spend less money, then you’re no longer obligated to earn as much money. This could mean potentially being able to quit your day job to pursue your own business dreams, or maybe even being able to drop down to part time hours.

It also means you will be able to pay off any debt you have quicker, getting you towards financial independence. Being debt free sounds pretty nice doesn’t it?

2. Your home will be easier to clean.

Without piles of clutter and junk on every surface being able to clean will be so much easier. I really hate dusting, because there are so many things which have to be moved to be able to do it, then moved back afterwards. How much easier would it be without them?!

Having less things also means having less things to clean. If you don’t have junk catching and holding onto dust then you don’t have to clean dust from it. You’ll also have less clothes to wash. This is all sounding pretty good isn’t it?

3. Your happiness will no longer rely on objects.

We can all be guilty of trying to buy our happiness. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, but it is a behaviour that shouldn’t be encouraged. When you buy something to fill the gap within in you, you’re not actually dealing with the issue, and before long it becomes a nasty cycle.

The more you buy, the less money you have, the more you worry, the less happy you are, so you buy more. And the cycle continues. Break it now.

4. You will become more aware of how much waste you produce.

Sounds like an odd after effect of getting a bit minimal, but you really will notice a difference. Your bin bags will take longer to fill because you’re not continuously buying things wrapped in more things which then need throwing away.

I find it utterly ridiculous that you can’t even buy mushrooms without then having a plastic tub and a sheet of cling film to throw away. We recently visited Ikea and came away with a few purchases (essentials only) but I was surprised by how much rubbish this small amount of purchases came with. Everything was wrapped in cardboard then wrapped again in plastic for good measure. Silly.

5. Reduce re-use recycle will become your best friend.

If the hem of your favourite pair of jeans started fraying, would you repair or throw away and buy some more? When you let minimalism into your life it stops being a question. Of course you repair! Why would you need another pair of jeans when the ones you have are salvageable.

Same goes with pretty much anything: clothes, homeware, even electronics if you’re feeling daring. Minimalism goes hand in hand with wanting to keep hold of your money, and there is no better way of doing that than make do and mend.

6. You will feel less stressed.

This is across the board on all aspects of minimalism. If you don’t have as much debt, you won’t have as much stress about money. If you don’t have a lot of clutter around, you won’t be stressed about the house being a mess.

Minimalism also stretches to your social life, self care is a high priority when dealing with minimalism and so you’ll feel less stressed for that too. No longer saying yes to everything just because you think you have to, and taking care of yourself better.

Needless to say there are so many benefits to bringing minimalism into your life. My mini series is going to look into various different aspects, such as little things you can do to start your minimalism journey, methods of minimalism, and the benefits you’ll find associated to it.

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