Balanced minimalism is on the new side of trends. When minimalism on Netflix and Marie Kondo took off across the country, we saw waves people start to turn towards minimalism. If you’re like me and love the idea, but fear losing life and personality within your home or yourself, then read on to learn how to become a balanced minimalist.
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When we think of minimalism it is usually to the extreme. White walls, a few shelves with sleek vases filled with green plants. There’s a 3 foot closet complete with versatile neutral outfits, two pairs of shoes, and not a color in sight. Yeah, it’s not all that appealing.
What I do love about minimalism is the push to rid of the things that we deem important, but could really live without. It lowers our compulsive drive to buy more and feel happy. My journey with minimalism has taught me that I love to feel free of clutter and junk that serves a very small purpose in my day-to-day life.
There are 5 main takeaways that I live by everyday to achieve a healthy balance of minimalism and living life. Extreme minimalists don’t carry around their most loved blankets or spatulas. They don’t hang on to those snowshoes used maybe every two years. They really focus on the now.
I kept thinking, but how does a person feel full and happy everyday with so little? What part of “them” gets stripped with minimalism?
Balanced minimalism promotes your individual wants while keeping in mind senseless and useless “stuff”. It’s okay to bring back those trinkets from abroad or buy yet another eco-friendly shampoo. The balance is in how much stuff you carry around in each area of your life.
This is probably redundant advice, but it really is the FIRST place to start when shifting your lifestyle. Decluttering means going through each section of your home one-by-one and opening all the drawers.
When we walk into our home it’s easy to think it needs to be covered wall to floor in things that show your personality. We then start stuffing our cupboards and drawers with items we hardly touch. Focus on each space and treat it like the center of everyone’s attention. What really matters to have in that space? What is just taking up space? Ask yourself these questions through each wall, drawer, cupboard, basket, and room.
Read more about simplifying your home here
I live in a tiny home and can’t help but buy things that will bring me joy in that season or time of life. I don’t want “minimalism” to limit me from expressing myself. For me, minimalism isn’t a competition to see how little I can live off of and barely be happy.
It is a lifestyle choice that makes me think about each area of my life and what really, truly matters.
So, when I’m in need of a new sweater, I find one that can be used multiple ways, buy it, and then get rid of similar item in my closet. Anytime I purchase something, I look for another thing or two I can get rid of. New mug? Time to donate one I use regularly. New socks? I purge all the old ones and reuse them in an alternative way or donate them.
This is truly a habit you must build. Which means you have to start somewhere, and keep practicing this new lifestyle habit until it becomes second nature. You will be surprised how easy this one is to adopt.
One of the things that you can start without even trying to become a minimalist is just buying your products from alternative stores. Think any store that isn’t a boutique, mall, department store, or online retailer. Look for second-hand shops, search through Facebook Buy/Sell groups, and hit up garage sales– be that person. It’s been a fun journey for me seeing what I can find already used and at amazing prices. Check out my favorite online consignment shop Thred Up.
If you’re a book lover, always opt for bookstores that run on donated/consigned books or your local library. I’ll admit this took me a while to truly adopt. I love a new book. However, in the last 6 months I’ve saved over 200 dollars by just changing how I get my books.
DIY products are pretty essential in a minimalist lifestyle. Finding balance in this area means only buying the products you really do use and DIY products with those. I used to think I needed all the most abstract (rarely used) ingredients to be a DIY person.
Turns out, I opt to only make products with my main essentials, and everything else I can buy or go without. Here are my key ingredients for any minimalist to have in their cupboard:
Yes! You read that right. Part of being a consumer in our world is getting cheap items at a cheap price– the cost? Buying these things over and over again. Consumers think a good deal is worth a very poorly made piece of clothing or product.
Do your future self a favor and start buying all things that are quality and meant to last.
Spend the extra $100 on something that you know you will use frequently and love and STOP buying the 70% discounted version. Likely it is coming from mass producers in another country at the cost of bad labor wages and environmental impacts.
Everything from your toothbrush to your bed sheets to stereos to household cleaning products should be upgraded. It mine cost you a lot upfront, but you likely won’t have to buy these things for a very long time. Say no to Old Navy sandals and get the quality ethically sourced ones instead. Here are my favorite brands to shop from and highly recommend:
It’s so easy to derail and lose sight of your original goals. Starting today, right your reason or goal for going minimal. What do you hope your life will look like in a few months?
Revisit and rewrite your goal every 6 months to check in with your progress and where you hope to be. When we aimlessly start new habits, they fall out of routine. Your brain needs to know the why behind a change so that it becomes a lifestyle and not just something you think about once a month.
Ready to make a drastic change like move into a smaller space or drop everything and travel abroad? Write it down, and see your life inch closer to these big dreams.
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