1. Smaller house. Smaller mortgage. Smaller ecological footprint.
I talk about this in a post Why a Small Home is a Sustainable Solution. My husband and I live in a 700 sq ft condo. Now that we are settled in, we have lots of space and have hosted plenty of dinners which was one of our primary goals. We wanted more time to spend with people inside and outside the home which is why we opted to get a smaller place. A small home means lower energy bills and overall less maintenance on our side which to me is a win-win.
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2. Smaller wardrobe. More quality. Less impulse purchases.
In my 20’s I used to have a walk-in closet. Today, after experimenting with Project333 and using Cladwell to track my clothing usage. (I’m a data geek!) I have significantly cut down my wardrobe and I certainly don’t feel pressured to buy fast fashion. Sometimes, it’s a waiting game to find the right piece at the right price that will last me awhile.
3. Simplified diet. Simplified meal planning. Simplified grocery shopping.
4. More time. More conscious living. Better impact.
It’s crazy that we sometimes don’t associate our spending with our impact on the planet. After all, it’s our consumption that is using the Earth’s resources. It’s our spending that requires us to work certain hours. They say it takes very little to meet our basic needs, but it is expensive to show off.
5. Less shopping. Less clutter. Less space needed.
I used to go on random shopping trips because I had time to fill. I know people make fun of the Target runs, but that was me for many years. Buying items had no use for just because it looked cute or was on sale. Today, I rarely step inside a mall or go shopping online. I stopped using retail as therapy. Don’t get me wrong, I still browse online, but the urge to spend my time at the mall isn’t so strong after I spent so much time decluttering and selling stuff online. It was a process and something I don’t want to keep doing.
6. Reduced distractions. More focused living.
We live in the most advanced age and we are more distracted than ever. Isn’t that a crazy irony? Along with minimizing my stuff, I’ve also started to minimize where I get information and my digital distractions. Believe it or not, my first act was to bring in an analog clock into the bedroom so that I wouldn’t need to bring in my phone as an alarm. It has worked wonders because I am not automatically checking my phone first thing in the morning.
7. Simplified beauty routine. Less exposure to chemicals. Best face forward.
At one point in my decluttering phase, I emptied out two large boxes of lotions, sprays, makeup, etc. from our very small bathroom. I can’t even fathom how we had so much stuff in that bathroom, but there was two of everything, a wash for that, a wash for this, all containing chemicals I couldn’t pronounce and lathering them on to my skin. Today, that routine has changed a lot. I stick with the basic, a DIY sugar face scrub, bar soaps and Plaine shampoo/conditioner and Plaine wash/moisturizer that both my husband and I can use. I just feel better knowing that I am not putting a lot of chemicals on my largest organ.
8. Less stuff. Less cleaning. More time doing.
This is all of our dream. To clean less. To maintain less. To actually spend time using the stuff we are cleaning. The great irony is that we can only clean less when we have less stuff so really decluttering and making use of items multiple ways is the way to go. We have to look at objects as multi-functional and reuse them as much as we can. Best part sometimes when you sell and get rid of stuff, you can earn some money back to pay off debt or put towards savings.
9. Less wants. Less spending. Less time need to work.
For many of us, we live in abundance and in turn we want more, desire more, desire the next upgrade. The thing though is that there is always something new around the corner being sold to us. We can succumb to that cycle, shedding the last item we purchase for the next new thing or we can walk pass it. Appreciate what’s out there, but don’t feel compelled to buy it and risk inundating yourself with stuff and risk losing money and hurting the environment even further.
10. More time outdoors. More movement. Healthier body.
I never really realized how much I enjoyed walking in the outdoors until we trained for our trek on the Inca Trail. We had opted to do the 4 day hike to Machu Picchu during Peru’s winter so the weeks leading up to that, we did multiple hikes in NJ just to get a feel for it. Of course our Inca Trail experience was unlike anything we’d ever experience. Since then, I’ve loved just waking around the neighborhood, finding trails and breathing in fresh, free air. This is now how I like to spend my weekends now which is very inexpensive and so much healthier in the end.
11. Less choices. More mental capacity. Better focus.
Many studies have proven that choices actually paralyze many of us into doing something or making a decision. They call this The Paradox of Choice. We become overwhelmed with the many things we have to think about. Choices sometimes means that we are constantly searching for the next best thing even when we already have something that is good enough. By reducing options, you free up mental energy.
“We earn more, spend more, but spend less time with each other. Time spent dealing with a choice is time taken away from being a good friend, a good spouse, a good parent...”
12. Less stuff. More borrowing. More community.
When I first heard of frugal living, the first thought that came to my mind was being cheap, but after reading loads of books on waste and sustainability, frugal living is really about community. Instead of going out to do something on your own or buy something only for your needs, it’s about reaching out to your community and asking for help or asking to borrow resources, time, objects which ultimately saves time, money and resources in the end.
13. More money. More freedom. Liberation from the grind.
One of the biggest things that people fail to see and for those that espouse minimalism fail to communicate is the relationship with time, money and stuff. When you start adopting a more minimalist approach to life and not necessarily the white walls, 5 t-shirts aesthetics, but the finding value in what’s already there, we can see how much freedom minimalism can bring us. For many people, they are probably already following a minimalist lifestyle, but just don’t label it and that is OK. Do what you need to do to liberate yourself from the grind and get back to what matters.
14. Less comparison. Freedom from personas. More time for yourself.
I had read this quote somewhere “get rid of the books that you are keeping around just to impress people.” And then I looked at my bookshelf and found I had been moving some of these books from apartment to apartment for exactly that reason. Would I ever re-read any of these books ever again? To be honest, probably not. In a similar vein, we do this with our clothing. Keeping things for our imaginary life when we are most likely to be in our activewear running errands. Of course, it’s nice to have beautiful things, but we also have to be practical with the lifestyle that we lead.
15. Less worry. More happiness. Healthier outlook.
What’s the one thing most people worry about? Money. Money to pay for healthcare, childcare, food, rent, mortgage, and other basics, but what do most people do every weekend, shop for things they don’t need to fill up a home that’s too big. More doesn’t always result in a better life. In fact, studies show that there is a threshold of income that people can make to make them happy. After that point, more money doesn’t bring more happiness. Of course, there’s also studies that show money can bring happiness, only if used in the right away and the best way to is use money to buy you time. Here’s 5 Ways to Buy Happiness from Money.
16. Less searching. More time enjoying.
How many times have we been there? Spending minutes or even hours looking for something in the boxes and closets of stuff that we have. Plenty most likely. I wonder if we truly quantify all of the time we use to look for stuff, how much that adds up to? Who are we neglecting, what are we missing out on? Every purchase we make carries with it the question: How will this purchase affect how I use my time?
17. Less stuff. Less wasted resources. More money. More time to enjoy.
In the end, personal finance, sustainability, waste, minimalism and happiness are all interrelated. It may not seem like it from the onset, but if you care about your wallet, you have to care about the environment, you have to care about your health, you have to care about the time that you have on this Earth to ensure none of it is wasted.