If you're like me you have a bad habit of hoarding foodstuffs and never finishing them. Months go buy, and somehow your pantry and refrigerator get more and more cluttered with stuff you buy but never eat, because you lost interest there is always something more novel to eat instead.Put the brakes on that behavior. Declutter your foodstuffs with this one easy trick.Only eat your existing foodstuffs and don't eat out or buy anything new until they're gone. If you don't have an appetite for all the crap you bought, this is also a great way to lose weight, because all you have to do is wait until you're hungry enough that anything looks appetizing. optimum condimentum fames. 2 birds, 1 stone. You'll also learn a lesson about mindful shopping and thinking twice before buying something wasteful -- a lesson that doesn't sink in as deeply if you merely throw something away.
Have a set time to review your finances yourself and with your spouse. You need to review and reevaluate whether what you’re doing is working. You need to make changes as your life changes. I like to review my money weekly so there’s less to go over at each meeting, but you can decide what works for you – monthly or quarterly may fit with your life better depending on where you are financially. The point is to not set it and forget it. Your finances need to be reviewed periodically.
Don’t overcrowd your beds and couches with throw pillows. Maybe one or two for decoration, maybe none, definitely not twelve. Same goes for blankets – have a few available for movie nights or guests, but keep it reasonable.
After you finally finish that first big declutter and you’ve gone on a no spend challenge of whatever length, you can be kind of scared to ever buy anything again. What if I make a bad purchase? What if, even after all your careful thought and research, you end up buying something that just doesn’t work in your home or your wardrobe? What I’ve recently realized is that in minimalist living, there has to be freedom to make mistakes. For instance, I recently went through another phase of awkward pregnancy and postpartum body. As a result, I needed to give away a lot of maternity clothes and other items that just didn’t fit properly anymore, or were completely worn out after years of use. I knew I needed to buy new clothes because with baby messes (hello, spit up and breast milk central), I was going through my wardrobe faster than I could wash them. I love having a minimal, capsule wardrobe, but in five days, I was out of clean clothes. The alternative to not buying new clothes was walking around naked – not an option. But still I hesitated. After some soul searching, I realized I was scared to death of buying the wrong thing, something that didn’t fit properly or that I didn’t love. Something I would eventually need to declutter. Fear was holding me back from buying something I actually needed. Not good. I needed to accept that part of building a new wardrobe would be shopping with care and intention, yes, but part of it is also trying different things. If a certain piece of clothing didn’t work, it didn’t work. I could always gift it to a friend, return it, or donate it to the thrift store. When you’re first starting out, you may need to lean hard to the side of not buying anything new. You’re recalibrating your buying habits. But eventually, you will need to find a healthy balance and overcome your fear of making a bad purchase. It’s how we learn what we love and what we don’t, what works for our needs, and what doesn’t.
“There are no mistakes, only lessons.” -Ruth Soukup
Pursue making money doing something that fulfills you. Whether that’s in the career you’re in now or something else, find a way to be aligned with your work and make money doing it. Sometimes, this is easier said than done, but you can start by taking little steps to move you toward the ultimate goals of feeling fulfilled by how you make money. One example would be to spend time figuring out what you want to do with your life by shadowing people in other professions. Whatever it takes, you spend too much time working to do something that doesn’t fulfill you. Next step:
If you feel stuck and don’t know what to do, I highly recommend starting a blog. A blog can be a great way to write about something you care about and make money. This is what I did – I started my blog while I was practicing law. This led to me quitting my job as an attorney to pursue a career as a financial planner. All this from a little blog I started on a whim. Next steps:
I read this book a few months ago, and I was simultaneously overjoyed and appalled. Why couldn’t this book have been around at the beginning of my minimalist journey?! In the book, author Erica Layne explained minimalist living better in the first few chapters than I have ever heard anyone explain it before. What was so different about this book and this author? She unpacked the importance of values and how you can use them to make decisions about pretty much anything in your life, from what physical stuff you keep in your house, to what job you should have, to what should be on your calendar. It’s not an understatement to stay her book was life-changing (you can find it HERE). Since determining my top three values (simplicity, freedom, and meaningful work, if you’re curious), I’ve changed things in my business and in our homeschool to better align with those values. I’m starting to consider our finances and if how we spend our money aligns with those values. They also help me determine what’s clutter and what’s not clutter. You can find a list of values to choose from in her book.
Every action has a consequence, but you can be blind to the potential outcomes if you approach decision-making in a narrow-minded way. Sharpen you strategic skills so you have a good grasp of the real trade-offs you’re making when you choose one thing over another.
Many prominent minimalists talk about buying quality things, and often, the way that message comes across is that quality is always expensive. But that’s not necessarily true. For instance, I’ve owned this pair of dressy-ish Crocs flats (as dressy as I’m going to get in this season of life, anyway) for more than two years now and they are still going strong. They were under $15. They can be washed off easily. They are comfortable and perfect for life with kids. The same is true for furniture. We have a few thrifted items, along with mainly IKEA chairs and couches because they are pretty durable and the covers can be replaced if necessary. With little kids, that last feature is pretty essential. So much depends on the wear and tear the item will take, along with judging whether or not the more expensive item will wear out just as quickly as the less expensive item. Take the couch, for example. I could spend 2-3 times on a couch but it wouldn’t necessarily last any longer (my boys are ROUGH on these things – there is jumping off couch arms every day all day). I figure I might as well save a thousand dollars and buy a “quality to me” IKEA Ektorp. We’ve also found it easy to find second-hand Ektorp couches and replaced covers, too. Bottom line? Do your research. Read reviews. Buy used quality items, if possible. Then, just make a decision (and remember to not be afraid to make mistakes).