I often get asked (generally by older individuals) what minimalism is and why I bother striving to live in this way and giving up on having stuff which could make me happy. The truth is although many people believe being a minimalist means owning almost nothing; sitting in an empty home, with barren walls and empty cupboard, what minimalism really means is to only own things that actually make you happy and make your life easier.
Although this may seem like a millennial fad to most, minimalism, when practiced for the right reasons, can actually benefit your life significantly. Not sure if Minimalism is right for you? Here are 5 questions to ask yourself to see if Minimalism may be a good fit for you!
1. Are you trying to get out of Debt?
Moving towards a more minimalist lifestyle can help you get out of debt in two simple ways. Firstly, you will re-evaluate the things you already own and be able to sell those items to re-home then, giving you some extra cash! Have 20 pieces of clothing which you know you will never wear again? Sold at even $10 a piece that gives you $200 to put towards reducing your debt. Secondly, moving towards a more minimalist lifestyle will also have you buying less material goods, leaving that money in your bank account and ready to use to reduce your bills.
2. Are you spending too much time cleaning?
Simply put, owning less stuff will make it much easier to keep things clean and tidy, giving you much more time to spend on more important things. Taken to the extreme, if you are currently hoarding everything you have ever owned you may be living in a space which is way too big for your actual needs. Once you have reduced your possessions you may find you can move into a smaller place and that will also save you money in your rent or mortgage, and your utility bills too!
3. Would you like to have more time in your week?
If you actually think about how much time each week is spent on researching and purchasing new items, and looking after and putting away the items we already own then most of us would be shocked. Thanks to the apple time tracking, I realised that I was spending multiple hours a week looking at online store apps even though I only made one purchase over a 6 month period. Since deleting those apps I have never regretted it and just like that I have added time to my week to do things i enjoy like sewing, baking and enjoying some fresh air during an evening walk.
4. Do you want to have financial flexibility?
Many people believe minimalism and the general idea of buying quality over quantity is reserved for the wealthy, but the truth is that often buying a quality reusable product will save you money in the long term. With the increased availability of Afterpay and similar companies, it has never been easier to buy that investment piece. Looking at one example of shaving it's easy to see how buying quality can reduce your spend overall. Being generous that the blade of a razor would last you 3 weeks, that would mean in a year of using a mid range disposable razor you are spending $66, where as in year one of using a safety razor you will only spend $46 and in the years following the cost would only be $9! That means that over a ten year period you would save $533 from one simple swap! Not only would this swap save you money, but you also only need to buy one blade pack a year meaning you will never be without a new blade and this will save you time as well!
Often these savings are an undervalued benefit of minimalism. The simple truth is that once you have accumulated all the belongings you need to feel content, your monthly outgoings will decrease significantly. Once saving a suitable nest egg you will be able to use your saved income to live a lifestyle which really brings you joy. Maybe you want to only work part time or take a job at a charity for lower pay? Maybe you want to donate to a local arts group or cause you believe in? Maybe you want to take a year off to go on your dream trip. All this is possible when we remove the need to buy that trendy item each week or focus on cheap replaceable items over investment pieces which last a lifetime.
5. Are you open to living differently then what pop culture defines?
Reducing what you have and buying less can seem easy but it does mean saying no to ‘keeping up with the Jone’s’ or not buying things just because you have seen it all over Instagram. It can be hard not to give into the peer pressure of hyper consumerism and to only buy things you need or will bring you real and lasting joy because the truth is the way most of us have been raised is that our material belongings and having this weeks trendy item will make us be more liked or deemed more successful. If you are open to going against this trend even when it can be tricky then minimalism may be for you!
Not sure where to start? Stay tuned for our next journal post!