Minimalism, the practical way

There has been so much hype around the concept of “minimalism” lately. I’ve read blogs and have watched videos on minimalism to see what this “new-age” concept is all about and I must admit at first I was a bit skeptical, especially those who give up all aspects of consumerism. This exploration got me thinking about how those of us who are intrigued but don’t necessarily want to give up our Starbucks and Banana Republic could apply these concepts to our life. Because I completely agree with a lot of the principles of “more is less” and sometimes it’s healthy to get away from the mentality that more stuff will make us happier.

With all of the research I’ve recently done, I’ve summarized a few things I think are completely practical yet may turn you on to the minimalism lifestyle and its benefits.

1. A solid clean-out every once in a while is a good thing!

Remember moving to and from college and in the process you would go through all of your clothes, shoes and accessories to identify the items you wanted to keep? Then the rest would either be donated or sold. I still remember how liberating this feeling was of pairing down to the essentials. I mean do I really need six black v-necks¬†that all look similar? No probably not. So why wait for a big move or life transition to do this? I think it’s feasible to plan to do this at least once or twice a year. The new year has always been realistic for me as it’s the start of something new so I feel the need to clean out everything anyways and I usually have some time off work. Whatever works best for you, just make sure you’re being realistic with what you’re keeping. If you haven’t worn that fur vest in two years, probably a good idea to donate it.

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2. Get creative in the kitchen before you buy more food. 

Something I love to do (my husband thought it was a little strange at first) is eat most everything in my pantry and fridge before going to the grocery store to buy more food. Towards the end of this process, I definitely get some interesting lunch creations (rice, beans and avocados anyone?). But it forces me to be more creative with my meals and it’s extremely satisfying clearing out my fridge and pantry, yet not wasting it by throwing half-eaten items away.

3. More space = more stuff and more cleaning.

As my husband and I prepare to eventually move to Sacramento (he secured a residency position at UC Davis!), we are considering selling a majority of our furniture. We don’t want to haul everything across the country and our place will be smaller than what we currently have so it makes sense to pair down. I thought I would struggle with this but I’m extremely excited to have a smaller space and less furniture because we can start fresh but also be very intentional about items that we do buy in the future for our new place. Right now I’m not in any rush to decorate our new place because I’d rather take my time and only get items that I absolutely love and can’t live without. Also, with a smaller space means less rooms to clean. That’s a PLUS!

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Ultimately, you can apply the minimalism concept to any aspect of your life (or all of it if you’re feeling ambitious), just make sure you have the golden rule of ‘less is more” in the back of your mind.

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