This post is going to be a little different than my usual write ups. However, this one is something you can benefit from and with this, you might actually find your direction to happiness. One of my main focus in my life that keeps me in peace with myself and something I’ve been practicing for the past year is the idea of minimalism. I wrote in my other post about why I believe experiences are better than material things and that has a lot to do with this topic. This post will be all based on the concept of minimalism — it may be lengthy.
Minimalism is a lifestyle and a mindset. You might have heard the phrases “less is more” and “create more, consume less” and that certainly rings true around the concept of minimalism. It’s a tool that can help you realize what is important, to give you freedom within yourself and from this consumerism society, and to give you clarity. There is no more need to be guilty and to worry about things that aren’t supposed to be worried about in the first place. While the concept of minimalism can be misunderstood by others, thinking that you really need to own a limited amount of items or a certain number of a particular item is NOT always the case and it really depends on each person. There should be no rules or guidelines on how this tool should be used but it should rather help a person to concentrate on a life behind materialistic values. It should help a person find happiness through creating a life and not through materials.
That’s why I chose to make a (travel) blog based on exploring places and things to do. My 18 years old self would probably never make a blog specifically on the idea of being on a self-aware journey. Instead, I would’ve probably made a beauty blog featuring the number of makeup products and other beauty products that I have collected and write reviews on them. At one point, I thought of doing that because I was at the point where I was collecting these beauty products yet I knew I wasn’t going to use every one of them. Sometimes, when you have too much things, you start to forget you owned them. It applies the same to owning so many clothes and other things.
Anyways, at one point of my life when I was 18-19 years old as well, I thought of going into beauty school while also going to college. I wanted to be a make up artist but 4 years later, I am glad I didn’t choose that path and I would’ve not enjoyed it anymore. I guess that happens when you grow older, your mind can change. I didn’t want to be around that superficiality and it would’ve exposed me to all this makeup and owning a lot of it, keeping up with makeup kits and makeup/beauty trends, etc. I believe this started out from getting my first job at 18, I spent a lot of my paychecks on buying materials because the idea of finally being able to buy something on my own excited me. I really regret that and I wish I had been more conscious of saving my hard-earned money. It then started to get insane: I was piling so many clothes on top of each other and not being able to find a specific shirt, burying my makeup and not having room to put another new item inside my drawer, I had so many nail polishes that just went neglected inside my bins, and so many of those reoccurring problems happened around me.
It seemed like too much to handle and when I moved out of my house of 11 years, I knew it was a problem because I just had around 6 huge boxes packed specifically only for my clothes. Seeing all this junk stored away and my past habits made me realize this is not how I wanted to live nor be consumed by. Now, the habits I am keeping in mind are what changed my outlook on things and realizations that my money should go towards something useful. I no longer wanted to make a collection of things. I wanted to embrace the life that is to be created. It puts me in peace with myself.
Here are ways that I try to be “minimal” that you might keep note for yourself too:
Try to concentrate on your hobbies.
Having a hobby can make you take your mind off not having to spend your time and money on materials. When I found myself getting bored back then, shopping was something fun for me and something I considered a “hobby” but it’s not really a good hobby because shopping can only be temporary happiness sometimes. Instead, find hobbies that serve you a purpose that connects with your spirit and heart. I found blogging is a great hobby and I like expressing my ideas and writing about things; it makes me feel like I’m doing something productive yet informing others with my work. I also like reading about things online on my free time and educating myself from watching YouTube videos. I also find working out is one of the best hobbies you can get into. Working out prepares you to live a healthy, fit lifestyle whether you’re going for a fitness goal or if you’re just trying to exercise for your health. I love the adrenaline of working out and the feeling of being sore yet it’s a great feeling inside afterwards because after you work out, your body releases endorphins, triggering a positive feeling and reduces your perception on stress and pain.
Quality over quantity.
I used to thinking collecting so much items made me feel whole but I noticed sometimes, these items didn’t last long and it left me disappointed. It’s better to own things that will last longer or can withstand bad circumstances because of its quality condition than to own so many items or resort to getting the same thing after another because something didn’t work for too long. I believe that owning one item with a lot of purpose to it or is built to be efficient can be worth it. I also believe “sometimes you pay for what you get”. It might seem that owning a similar brand to what you’re looking for may be cheaper but it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best choice; the pricier brand may be the better buy because of its quality.
Less is more.
The cliche phrase is back but it’s the best saying you can tell yourself. It might seem having a collection of heels and dresses with all different patterns might be exciting and that you’ll have a lot of options to pick from. But have you thought about those nude colored heels can go along with more clothes to pair up with than if it was heels with funky lines on it? The same concept can apply to anything including jewelry and your rooms in the house. You can actually get creative with the “lesser” appearance. Decorating with a lot of furniture or home decor should be carefully thought of and picked out (check out my tip below: Observe your spaces).
Buying something only when it’s necessary.
This is the best thing you can do to stop your unnecessary impulsive spendings. Think about how your money might need to go towards the vacation you’ve been dying to go to or to pay off some bills, but that money can go from simply saving. Buy things if you ran out of what you needed. If it’s not something you need, it’s good to question about what you’re truly spending on. Sometimes when I feel the need to buy something, I always question myself “Do I really need to own this? Do I really need this? What will having this do for me?”. Sometimes having a pep talk with yourself is something you might need to reassure your decision making.
When it comes to being gifted with gifts, the instinct is to have that courtesy to accept it. Therefore, I am open to having gifts but sometimes, I don’t always use them so I find a way to give it away to someone who might have a use for it.
If you want to replace your old items, try to find a way to get rid of them first then get the new items.
I find that if I’m simply sick of wearing something or if it’s too small/tight to fit now, I will not try to keep it in my closet while it’s just taking up space for nothing. I will find to get rid of it where it can be used by someone else. Online marketplaces like Mercari, Poshmark, LetGo, and even Facebook groups can be a great way to get rid of your old items while making money back for your item. This is something I resort to doing when I’m ready to let go of an item and I even do my searching there if I’m trying to find something for slightly cheaper than if you were to buy them in a store. Another thing you can do is the obvious of donating it to donation services or charities. You can also go to thrift stores (Goodwill is a popular one, check if you have one around your area) and give your items away there. Speaking of thrift stores, thrift shopping can be quite awesome because sometimes there are rare finds you might find in them. The best part is they’re super affordable but I would recommend thrift shopping if you believe you really need new clothes or if you’re particularly trying to find items that you need.
Observe your spaces.
Spring is here and that means spring cleaning. Like I mentioned above, try to get rid of things you don’t need and declutter, declutter, declutter. No need to have a repetition of items and if it’s items that are just sitting in dust but aren’t being used, declutter. Organize your wardrobe, drawers, and place them into bins with labels if it helps you to remember what particular item is placed inside there. Observe the space around where you live and see what needs to get organized and what is important to keep or not. Go through your stack of papers or mails and look through what is important or what needs to get tossed out. If you feel the need to decorate, choose time-pieces or pieces that will accentuate a clean space but don’t overdo it.
Does owning a number of things really fulfill you as a person or is the things you already have make you feel fulfilled? It should. Minimalism is being content with what you already have and focusing on the things that simply make your life useful. Reaching out for more or being upset that you feel as if you “don’t have enough” should never cross a minimal mindset. Use what you have already and treat it as if it’s something you will look forward to, time after time.
Refer to your goals and priorities.
Keeping a list of things or a calendar of what you have to get done or aspire to get done will help your mind be busy. It’s great having to chase goals and being open to having a fulfilled life. Chasing adventures or having experiences are just the few things you can rely on to create this life you want. Being able to clearly see what needs to get done and the details of your life and working out solutions around them will give you the potential towards freedom.
Minimalism involves re-evaluating and having reflections upon ourselves. It helps us focus on our decisions. It is seeing happiness, not through the superficiality or through the possessions of materials, but in the awe of life itself. It’s cherishing happy moments in life without the dwell or worries of a mess. Without over indulgence. It’s also about the need to try to avoid debt. A minimalist focuses more on the on-doing of things like hobbies, to create and to be occupied living. You start to understand your relationship with your things and not having an attachment.
If you want to learn more about this topic and how to stay consistent with this lifestyle and mindset, there are media channels you can refer to. My favorites are: Lia’s Loft is a YouTuber that covers this topic. Zoey Arielle is also a YouTuber that makes videos on this too. Reynelle is another YouTuber and likes to focus on how to handle budgets and being frugal. Madeleine Olivia is another YouTuber that promotes minimalism… there are so many awesome YouTubers who talk about this and can inform you a lot more. Definitely look them up. You can also listen to The Minimalists’ podcast too besides YouTube.