Over the last year and a half, I’ve done a lot of research on minimalism — and I have to confess I’ve become entirely fascinated by it.
At first, I listened to hours upon hours of podcasts about it (thanks to “The Minimalist” and “The Simple Show”); I read books like Marie Kondo’s The Magical Art of Tidying Up; and I even went and saw the live premiere of “Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things.”
Finally, after hearing so many stories of how minimalism has changed other people’s lives, I was ready to jump in feet-first and try it myself.
My journey began last January after reading The Magical Art of Tidying Up over Christmas break. The biggest takeaway for me was to declutter all at once and per category — for example, taking your clothes out of every closet and putting them all in one place, instead of decluttering per space or per closet you have. This allows you to really see how many items of clothing you own and not just organize for the space you have — such as fitting clothes into your available closet space.
This was super helpful for me and went against everything I’ve ever learned about organizing for the space you live in. Marie also recommends not buying organizational containers until after you’ve decluttered your whole space, because you will most likely only need a third of what you buy — or, at least, that’s the hope ;)
Another key takeaway for me was how she recommends doing all of your decluttering in one day, or two at the most. The goal with this advice is that you get the satisfaction of decluttering more quickly, with the results of what it feels like to live with less, and you will be more mindful of what you bring into your house moving forward. I can genuinely say that she is right and that I am more mindful now of what I bring in.
Lastly, I thought it would be fun to share some of the practical ways that I have implemented minimalism in my life — and maybe you’ll realize you’ve implemented “slow living” rituals into your life without even realizing it!
1. Toss the mail
I throw away any shopping magazines I get immediately while checking the mail, especially those with coupons so I don’t get distracted with sales and get sucked into consumerism, since that is a weakness of mine. They don’t come in my apartment with me, since once they are in my possession, the temptation to shop sets in.
2. Never buy on sale
When I do need to purchase something or replace an item in my life, I love what Josh Melbourne from the Minimalist podcast says: “I never buy items on sale. Full price items make me really commit to my purchase.” There is a lot of truth to that statement. I like this idea, but personally I tend to wait for an item I really like and see if it goes on sale. Then I not only really thought about the purchase, but I also saved money — a win-win in my books :)
3. Email Subscriptions
The email tool “unroll.me” has been a game changer for my email subscriptions. You login and have one place to unsubscribe from all your email subscriptions; it also puts all the ones you still want to receive into one email and sends you your “roll” once a day, either during the morning, afternoon, or evening, depending on when you set your preferences and prefer to read your email. This has been an amazing tool for me to stop receiving tons of emails, and helps me live out minimalism in my inbox as much as in my closets :)
4. New pockets of time
As I have mentioned before, discovering these new pockets of time and space has freed me up to do new things, like start my business as a Noonday Collection Ambassador and become a blogger. Being a Noonday Collection Ambassador has opened my eyes to sustainable fashion, fair trade and how purchasing through artisan made products is really changing lives. I've been able to give an hour after work a day to my business, and this has given me so much purpose. I have loved this extra pocket of time that I have found that really is breaking the cycle of poverty and connecting women for good. Who knows what you will do to make the world a better place in living with less!
5. Shopping ethically
This goes well with number four but, as my eyes were opened as a Noonday Collection Ambassador, my eyes have also been opened to the ways business can change the world. When we give someone a job with fair trade standards, we are giving them a sustainable way to provide for their family through their skills with dignity. When I find a hole in my closet, like needing to replace a black T-shirt, I now view it as an opportunity to either replace it with an ethically made item or by shopping second hand. To get you started, a few of my favorite ethical fashion companies are Everlane, Slumlove Sweater Company, People Tree, Brass Clothing, Elegantees, and so many other amazing options mentioned here.
One misconception with minimalism is that you live in an apartment or home with only 100 items or so but what I’ve learned is it’s not about the amount of items you own but living with intention. And often, living with less helps you live with intention. And as you read above, it has impacted me in ways more than just owning less. I’d love to hear ways you have implemented living more meaningful lives with less in the comments and be on the lookout for part 2 in a few days!