Getting rid of stuff isn’t something I have to do, it’s something I get to do. I enthusiastically practice healthy habits for living a minimalist lifestyle. Lucky for me, we’re gearing up for a yard sale! I welcome this opportunity to once again sort through our possessions and make decisions whether to keep, sell, toss, re-purpose, or donate them.
Minimalist living is like healthy living. There’s no end game or point at which you can declare you’re finished. Living a more minimalist lifestyle requires near constant effort. Without practicing the right habits, you will find your home cluttered again, just like how weight creeps up on us if we slack off on working out and eating healthy.
Since I started minimizing my possessions at the start of 2015, I have identified what I find are the most helpful habits for keeping things minimal. So without further ado, these are my healthy habits for living a minimalist lifestyle.
1. Just Say “No, thank you.”
Just because something is offered to you does not mean you have to accept it. Whomever said that’s rude is wrong, in my opinion. What I think is rude is passing on your possessions to someone else so that you don’t have the guilt or burden of getting rid of them yourself. If someone offers you their old furniture, collectibles, whatever, you have every right to say, “No, thank you.” Family members recently received two very nice vacuums from a casino. They offered us one, to which we said, “No, thank you.” We already have one quality vacuum and live in a ranch. Who needs two vacuums?
2. Be Realistic
You may have every serving piece imaginable for a Victorian high tea, but how often do you have such an event? We often imagine how we may use things one day, but I stand by the golden rule that if you don’t use something at least once a year, you can do without it. This rule helped me add two glass beverage pitchers to the yard sale pile. I had four. I could imagine having a lovely brunch where I’d use all four for water, bloody marys, orange juice, and cranberry juice. But realistically speaking, two is enough. And if I want to have that many beverages, I can serve from the juice bottles. This isn’t a bed and breakfast.
3. Pause & Imagine Potential Purchases In Your Day To Day Life
This is one of those rare moments where I encourage you to NOT live in the moment. Living in the moment when it comes to shopping leads to impulse buying and buyer’s remorse. Just last week I went to one of those designer bargain shops where I found a cute little hooded burgundy (my favorite color) shirt that had a beautiful sun and moon image and said “Live by the sun, love by the moon.” I tried it on and it fit and I decided to get it. At the last moment, though, I put it back. That’s because I imagined the shirt in my closet at home and me actually wearing it. Yes, the image and words were those I embrace, but the truth is, I rarely wear shirts that say things or have designs. It’s just not me or my style. So I put it back.
4. Don’t Buy Anything You Can’t Use Or Wear Today
Twice this past week I put incredible bargains back on the racks thanks to this rule. One was a designer dress that originally retailed for close to $200. I loved it and could imagine all the places I might wear it. There was just one problem. It fit, but not well. I figured for $40.00 it would be totally worth it. Although I’m certain I will lose weight, I’ve been down this road before and I need to be honest with myself. Clothes have literally gone out of style waiting for me to fit into them. I put the dress back and got one I can wear right now. My day will come. For now I’d just be out $40 and have yet another piece of clothing I can’t wear.
The other bargain was a two-piece pale yellow skirt suit on clearance that would be perfect for next spring. Well, at least I think it will. Who knows for sure. But I didn’t know what size to buy. I didn’t want to buy the size I am now, because hopefully it will be too big come spring. But I have no idea how much weight I might lose. Too many unknowns and what ifs…
If you can’t use or wear it today, don’t buy it. Things change and even plans with the best intentions don’t always pan out. Save your money.
5. Play The 30-Day Minimalism Game At Least Once A Year
#MinsGame was created by The Minimalists. I play every January. On the first of the month you get rid of one thing, on the second, two things, three things on the 3rd, etc. until you get rid of 31 things on the 31st. By the end of January you will have gotten rid of 496 things! No matter how many times I play and how hard it is by the end of the month, there’s always enough stuff to play again the following year. That’s because throughout the course of a year we obtain more stuff, our tastes change, things get worn out or stop fitting, get upgraded or replaced, or we realize we didn’t use that thing or wear that top we thought we would. This is why minimalism is ongoing.
6. Think Quality Over Quantity
I am slowly creating a capsule wardrobe of higher quality pieces I will wear more often, while weeding out low quality pieces I don’t wear often and that don’t last long. I’ve done this with my accessories and make-up, too. The first time I played #MinsGame I tossed over twenty bottles of nail polish. Some were over ten years old and most of them cost only a dollar. I have learned over the years that quality nail polish is worth the price tag. I have two colors and a quality base and top coat and it’s all I need.
The same goes for shoes. I know people get great satisfaction from shoe collections, but if a pair hurts your feet or are tattered, you’re not going to wear them. So why keep them? Imagine a tidied closet of shoes and clothes of high quality that you feel great in. It can be yours.
7. Mark It Up
Everyone loves a bargain. But a lot of bargain shopping often results in disappointing purchases because we allowed ourselves to be wooed by the price tag. Ask yourself when shopping if you would buy the item at a higher price. If you wouldn’t buy it if it was more expensive, chances are you probably don’t like or need it enough to buy it now. A bargain isn’t a bargain when you’re spending money on something you don’t need or won’t use.
8. Remember, You Are Under No Obligation
You are under no obligation to keep anything that you buy, is gifted, or given to you. I repeat, YOU ARE UNDER NO OBLIGATION. Your space belongs to you and you are welcome to change your mind, have different tastes, and live your life and keep your home the way you want. Unfortunately people don’t often buy things for us they think we’d like – they buy things they like for us. Just remember, it’s your home so you get to decide what stays and what goes.
So that’s it! Those are my top healthy habits for living a minimalist lifestyle. They help me save money, space, time, and stress. I truly believe that a happier life is a simpler life. And managing our “stuff” is a big part of living more simply.
What are some of your habits for keeping things under control and living more minimally? I’d love to hear from you.