Things I’ve Discovered When Taking A Minimalist Approach

I’ve been trying to reduce the amount of stuff I have at home by taking on a minimalist approach. Here are some things I’ve discovered along the way

1. Saying “thank you but no.” Its ok to say no when someone offers you something. This was probably the hardest thing I had to do because I’m all about saving money when purchasing things that I don’t really want but need, so saying yes is easy. However the problem starts when people expect you to say yes and end up dumping their junk on you. Only say yes if you really want the item. Even if it means saying “yes I’ll take the big kitchen knife but I don’t need the entire set.”

2. Following on from number 1, this can also include people asking to use your space for storage. My partner and I have somehow ended up with big items from friends/family to ‘store for a short period of time.’ So far we have a portable air con, a portable heater, an 8 seater outdoor setting, a wardrobe and other smaller items. I wish I had just said no because those items cause me so much anxiety every time I look at them (side note: yes, I am working on getting their owners to pick them up).

3. It’s ok to have a few items that you indulge in. Mine are books, dvds and cds. No matter what, I’ll very rarely get rid of these things and consistently add to my collections. What I can do though is to store them out of the way and make sure that other items don’t start adding up.

4. Now when I go shopping, I actually think about what I need. Do I need another lip gloss or can I use one of the four I already have at home? Do I need a new brush or do I just want a new one? There are times when I get anxious out shopping because I feel like I need to spend/buy something but in reality I don’t and that feeling passes pretty quickly. The flip side to this is that buying in bulk can save you money in the long run. There are a pair of jeans from Cotton On that I love and are $30 so they’re already cheap. But Cotton On recently had a 40% off sale so the jeans ended up being around $18. I go through them quite quickly so I ended up buying 4 more pairs. I ended up saving almost $50 for jeans that I would have eventually bought anyway.

5. I ask myself “Do I have space for this?” If the answer is no, then I don’t bring it home. Think about what you already have and whether you have space for another item. If you don’t, think about what you want to give up in order to fit in the new item – it’s called the one in-one out policy.

6. Other people can get a bit uppity about your decision to cut down your spending, as if it’s a direct response to them. That’s ok. Sometimes when you change your lifestyle it forces other people to think about their own. If they feel like you’re making a judgement on them, that’s ok even if it isn’t true. Their feelings are valid. But its in no way your fault or your responsibility.

7. Its very easy to get jealous of other people’s new possessions but its important to remember why you’re reducing yours. Always remember your end game. It will be different from everyone else’s but its still a decision you set out to make. I want to reduce my possessions because I don’t want to be defined by the things I own/have. I want to simplify my life and live well within my means. I want to have fewer possessions but better quality ones. I want to replace items as I need, not buy new ones before the old ones expire.

8. Splurging once in a while isn’t going to ruin everything. Besides, it helps keep things in perspective and helps you appreciate them even more. I’ve stopped drinking during week nights and it makes that glass of wine on the weekend all the more enjoyable because its not an everyday occurrence.

For the most part, my impulse purchases have greatly reduced. When I’m out in Kmart, Target or Priceline (my weaknesses) I end up putting back more than half the things I pick up before I get to the checkout because I think about my end game. I think about whether it’s going to add value to my life, whether I really need it and whether I have the space for it.

What are your tips and tricks for getting rid of things?

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