Have you experienced living or working in places with a lot of clutter, like a messy house or an office with paperwork everywhere!? Most people cannot think or move around freely when they see a lot of mess. It can also get stressful, and people get more tired than usual when they return home to see dis-arrangements and junk all over the place. Aside from the mess, buying things you don’t really need can put a strain on your finances. Sometimes the latest gadgets, new furniture, fashion, or toys attract us so much that we can’t help but make the purchase - only for them to end up in our drawers or corners collecting dust after a few months (or days). And this is not to mention debt piling up due to the cost of impulse buying. The good news is, there is a solution that can help get you out of this problem, and it’s called practicing minimalism.
Most people think minimalism is white walls, large space and tucking away things out of sight. This is an example of what minimalism can mean, but it barely scratches the surface. Minimalism deals not only with tidying up our lives, but also getting rid of unused belongings completely. By practicing minimalism, you consciously decide which things are important, and which are not. If you have 1000 belongings and they all make a difference in your life, then it is alright to keep them. It’s not really a matter of how many items you own, rather, it’s how many of these items bring meaning to you and help you in your everyday life. It makes you turn a mirror to yourself and decide which of these items are an absolute necessity, and which ones are useless and replaceable. Now that you have a better understanding of what minimalism really is, let’s get into why it’s a great idea to practice minimalism, and how it relates to debt. For the purpose of this post, we discuss both material minimalism and financial minimalism.
Why Do We Need to Practice Minimalism?
1. Save time
If you are the type that dislikes cleaning, or you just don’t have the time, then minimalism is right for you. Since you will keep fewer things, cleaning up won’t be as much of a problem. Even if you have kids, once you declutter, you will end up reducing the clutter to toys they really like to play with - and that’s less stuff to organize every time they pull everything apart.
2. Better control of finances
You can get more in control of your debt with minimalism since you will become more mindful of what or what not to purchase. Buying fewer things is one of the best financial decisions you can make. (For example, do you really need to buy the latest Corelle plates, the latest iPhone, or the latest PlayStation? Probably not!).
3. Less stress
Clutter creates stress. Minimizing your items means less clutter and distraction. It will help you get a breath of fresh air each time you step into a decluttered space, and this helps you to relax more.
4. More time to do what you want
Minimalism frees up a lot of your time. If you have less stuff, you will spend less time cleaning up and more time to do other things, like spending time with your family, or getting creative.
5. Save money
Minimalism can provide an opportunity to be frugal. Since you will buy fewer things, you can instead spend your money on quality items that last longer.
6. Realize how precious you are
Your life is too important to be spent on things that don’t bring value. You don’t need to be one of the Joneses, and you might find that it’s super refreshing not to feel like you must have the same material things your neighbour is chasing. Minimalism instead gives you freedom, peace of mind and relaxation.
How to Apply Minimalism to Your Life
Minimalism can be applied whether you are single, married or with kids. Having kids in the house would be more challenging, but still, hundreds of families are able to do it, and so can you!
Here are some tips for you to apply so you can transition from clutter to clean!
1. Decide which items you need to throw.
Get rid of those things that don’t add value to your life, like old cell phones, TVs, tablets, and extra furniture. If you can’t decide, ask yourself why you cannot part with them? Then think, are those reasons important enough to justify whether the clutter should be allowed to occupy extra space in your house.
2. Discard some things right now.
You don’t have to do it right away, but at least get rid of something every week. For example, you could start with discarding three items a week. If you try to wait for the perfect time to throw these items out, you’ll find that there is never a perfect time! If you see an item that you don’t need anymore, give it up. Check your cabinets and drawers and see which items you haven’t used for a year, like clothes, books, toys, papers, shoes, and others. Discard them, give them away or sell them. <h4>
3. Let go of the idea of “someday”
If you have not used it for a while (years), then you will not use it, ever.
4. Look at your belongings and feel if they still give you the spark of joy
If you don’t feel as happy as the first time you purchased the item (like clothes you used to wear when you were still thin), then it’s time to get rid of it.
5. Imagine yourself moving into a smaller house
Ask yourself, if you were moving, which items would you want to bring along?
6. Do not buy multi-tools
It’s true that minimalism means fewer items, but these multi-tools won’t last long, and you will end up buying more. It’s better to focus on quality items that can do a single task expertly.
7. Go paperless
Get rid of papers, documents, bills that you don’t need anymore. If you don’t need the originals, scan them, and save them to your computer, cloud, or external hard drive.
8. Help your kids understand the joy from simple things
When you were a kid, you probably played without electronics and gadgets, and you were completely fine and happy. Teach your kids how to play outside, appreciate nature, play with stones, twigs, leaves, do art, watch a movie or play in your backyard. Most kids can be entertained simply watching bugs - and this proves they definitely don’t need fancy toys!
1. Minimalism can also be applied to budgets.
A minimal budget has fewer expenses, focusing on the most important. Check your expense items and determine which ones you can live without. For example, you can get rid of cable, car payments (either you pay them off or get rid of the car), internet, new clothes every month, credit card #1,# 2 and #3, gym membership, subscription boxes and junk. By minimizing your budget, you will therefore have more money to pay for items that are longer lasting and better quality. And similarly, by purchasing less material goods, you can save more money too!
2. Automate your payments.
Since the deadlines of your bills are usually the same every month, set them up for automation so you don’t have to worry about late payments.
3. Consolidate your credit cards and bank accounts.
You really don’t need a lot of accounts, right? Choose just one credit card which has the best benefits and consolidates your debts there. Then for your bank account, just choose one or two accounts to maintain, so you only have one account, one bank statement, one username, and one password, so nothing gets lost.
4. Stop shopping online.
Remember you are only focusing on things you need.
5. Wear minimal makeup.
Less is more, and most of the time girls look their best with just a little makeup. You save money by not buying cosmetics all the time, too. You can also do your own mani-pedi at home to save on salon expenses.
6. Decrease your housing costs by saving electricity, moving to a cheaper apartment, or buying a house at a lesser cost.
Rent is most people’s single biggest expense! And if your lease is up, consider moving closer to your workplace, so you spend less on transportation – or even downsizing to a cheaper rental.
That’s all for our tips on how you can implement minimalism in your life. If you are married, be sure to discuss this first with your spouse and kids, so they can understand what you are trying to do and support you. Surprising them one day with you selling the car, house, their gadgets, TV, and cable might force them to kick you out and you end up sleeping outside instead, so make sure to discuss the decision with them first! And another thing, you don’t need to rush things. Be patient, as practicing minimalism takes some time to get used to. Give yourself 1 to 2 years, for starters. If you think you will have a problem applying minimalism because of your crippling debt, call us on 1300 003 328 for a free debt assessment!