I’ve been a minimalist most of my life without even realizing it. I have lived with a lot less than most people today. I don’t own a vehicle although I had one in the past. I have few personal possessions besides a couple of guitars and I have no need or desire to buy more. The clerk at my local computer shop gasped in horror when I said that I had used my last computer for over 11 years. (I had no choice, I had to buy, it died!). I enjoy living this sort of lifestyle because I know it reduces my footprint on the world and helps to conserve resources.
Live Your Life How You Want
While I might enjoy being a minimalist, I invite you to live your life the way you want. I’m a big advocate of personal freedom and I feel that many people try to push their lifestyle onto other people. This is the wrong approach as it just leads to anger and misunderstandings. Everyone needs to live life the way they see fit. For many people, however, they are embracing a minimalist lifestyle.
What is a Minimalist?
A minimalist is basically someone that uses as few resources as possible or doesn’t have a need for a ton of material possessions. You live with less and base your life more in experiences and not consumption. This is easier to do than you might realize. Here are a few ways.
Vehicles and Transportation
My wife and I have one car. We used to have three but now realize we can get by with just one. We save a ton of money on gasoline, insurance, and maintenance. We try to take the bus as much as possible wherever we go, especially if the trip is short. We could easily get other vehicles but have decided that we don’t want any more as the other two would sit there most of the time and that’s just a waste.
We are quite lucky to have a low-cost condo that we are paying for. We rented for many years but now have bought this place. The cost of owning a full-sized home or renting another place is simply too high.
You can do this if you are planning to buy. Tiny homes, for example, cost a whole lot less money and they have enough room for a single person or even a couple with a small baby. In most cases, you don’t need all the room of a full-sized house. This is a waste of space. A smaller home helps you save resources but gives you a comfortable place to call home. This might not be for everyone but it’s something to consider as the cost is a low lower than trying to own a home which is so out of reach for most people.
Clothes are expensive and many of us have more than we actually use. Have a look in your clothes at your clothes and pick out everything you haven’t worn in the last six months. You will be shocked at how much you have and never use. You might consider giving this away to a thrift store and reducing the amount of clothing you have. You should only buy when you absolutely need something new. No one needs 10 suits, 15 dresses, and 30 pairs of shoes, it’s a huge waste.
Evaluate Other Things You Own
You may have a huge collection of things in your homes such as dishes, DVDs, CDS, books, and other items. Evaluate all of these items and decide what you really don’t need. If you have three sets of dishes, you probably only need one. All that extra china just sits in the cupboard and never gets used. DO the same for other things you have. Take the excess to an economy shop or have a garage sale and sell it all off. If its something you never use at least a few times per year, you probably don’t need it.
Decide Before You Buy
Before you buy something, have a look at the item and decide if you really need the item or not. In many cases, you’re making a spur of the moment buying decision and the items you want may not be something you need. You should still buy things that you need but less of what you want. The things you want usually lead to spending you might not be able to afford and that can lead to problems later on.
A minimalist lifestyle may not be for everyone but if you have a concern about how much “stuff” you use then this type of life may be just the thing you’re looking for to reduce spending and to live a life that is more fulfilling emotionally and spiritually.