INSIDE: What does it mean to live a minimalist lifestyle and is it even possible. Here’s the benefits and some tips so you can decide for yourself.
I feel like I want to be a Minimalist right now :) I know it’s a lot easier said than done, but in theory it sounds awesome! Fewer things to worry about, less clutter in the house, less maintenance costs, less less less!
I’ve been thinking about this for over a week now since the Frugal Bachelor started hitting on it. And then even MORE when he linked over to The 100 Things Challenge by the Minimalist King himself – Leo @ Zen Habits. Damn that really got me thinking….what the hell am I doing collecting all this stuff?! Do I even *use* half of it? (answer: no)
Before I get into it all though, here’s a great explanation of what minimalism is by ecollo:
“When the term minimalism is used, it often refers to art that is stripped down so it only includes the bare necessities. That same principle applies to the minimalist lifestyle. The idea is to de-clutter the area around you and to avoid accumulating more by simply not buying things you don’t need.”
YES! I like, I like! Now, anyone who knows me in REAL LIFE would probably tell you that I represent the opposite of minimalism ;) I have frames & art all over my walls, drawers stuffed with trinkets, collections of things I can’t give up, boxes of 8th grade notes, etc etc…in fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if people mistaken our place for an antique store! Or at least a thrift store. haha…So yeah, this would def. be a challenge for me. But like I said, in theory I’m all about it!
Minimalist Lifestyle = Fewer Things On Mind
As I get older, I’m realizing that the more stuff I have the more stuff I have to WORRY about. I really hate that. I could honestly say that I love 75% of the items I own, but I’m starting to wonder if it’s worth the mental price tag. I mean, how could I appreciate what I really own when I’m in front of the TV or laptop all the time anyways? I dunno…
The other side of me asks me what the hell I’m talking about ;) I LOVE all the artwork and pictures watching over us as we roam the halls. They scream LIFE, HAPPINESS, CREATIVITY – so what’s bad about that? Nothing I don’t think, as long as I keep and appreciate *those* belongings and instead rid myself of the other junk lying around. I guess that’s the first step here – dividing your stuff up into things you absolutely enjoy, and then all others under it. No real gray areas – either you love it or it’s “so-so” and it’s taking up space. (there’s probably a 3rd category of things you *need* like tools and such too, but not sure where that fits in with this lifestyle)
Minimalist Lifestyle = Less Clutter
If the brain power wasn’t enough, the physical part is. Every day we go through our front door, see 1,000+ things instantly, and then brush most of it away to concentrate on the items needed that very second. And that’s just the first level! If you have 2 more (like we do), the same thing occurs every time you walk through. It’s not the end of the world, but I bet your brain would feel a lot better seeing LESS stuff around the house. Or I guess less UNNECESSARY stuff as we have already determined (or at least I did with the art everywhere – if those aren’t important to you they go right into YOUR so-so bin).
And guess what? The fewer things you own the less maintenance/upkeep you have to shell out money on! No more fixing unimportant (to you) gadgets, toys, collections, etc etc. I’m telling you, if you could pull it off I bet you’d be a lot happier :)
And having less clutter around the house is just the first half of it all. If you can clean things out, and STICK to it, the desire to buy more and more stuff would diminish along with it. After all, if you keep buying things they’ll go right back on the shelves and drawers that you just worked so hard to freshen up, right? That means less money going out the door, and a fatter savings account. Or at least a house full of *must haves* if you subscribe to the “buy something – throw something else out” rule.
Buy Something – Throw Something Out
If you/I can pull this whole minimalist lifestyle off, I think this is a rule that would help us stay on track. Say, for example, you DO get all your belongings down to 500 (or whatever # you choose) and you want to pick up a new such & such. You have to then ask your self – “Will I enjoy, or need, this item more than any other of my 500 things?” If that answer is Yes, then go for it! And then sell/donate the item you want to replace it with. Simple :) If you were Mr/Mrs. Perfect of course.
So what do you take from all of this? Well, it all depends on how happy or not you are with your lifestyle. For me, I could use the de-cluttering. I don’t think I could get my life down to only 100 items or a liter bottle full (seriously, that’s hardcore), BUT I could certainly cut it in half. Perhaps a 1,000 items challenge? I dunno…I just find this whole minimalism stuff incredibly inspiring.
Killer resources and apps:
- Best Budget Templates & Spreadsheets (FREE)— The best free budget templates from around the community! Including the ones I use :)
- Personal Capital* (FREE) — A great app to track your investments and net worth. You can see an in-depth review we did here from a millionaire who checks it daily 😂
- You Need a Budget (YNAB)* (FREE TRIAL, then $14.99/mo or $98.99/year) — One of the BEST budgeting methods in the space, with new users saving $600 on avg their first two months, and more than $6,000 over their first year! Check out my friend Vic’s review of YNAB here that went on to completely change his finances 💪
- Digit (FREE 6 mo. Trial, then $5/mo) — This is one of my favorite apps for automatically saving money, and I even came on board as an advisor I believed in them so much! You can see my full review on Digit here.
- Acorns* ($3-$5/mo) – Similar to Digit, this app helps you automatically INVEST money by rounding up all your transactions to the nearest dollar and then investing it right away for you. My full review of Acorns can be found here.
- Honey (FREE) — By far my favorite coupon service out there! Click the Honey button any time you're about to buy something online, and BOOM - any discounts it finds will be automatically applied at checkout. You can see my write up on them here.
- Credit Karma* (FREE) — An easy way to check and monitor your credit score AND report! See my full review of these guys here.
- My Favorite Blogs + Books < -- Click here to see all my other recommendations!