While I’ve never been much of a clutter-bug, transitioning to minimalism has been a big part of my life over the past few years. While some people advocate a radical lifestyle overhaul, I’ve taken a more slow-and-steady approach to adopting simpler and more intentional living. It’s a process and it’s a journey that I will probably be on for the rest of my life.
Getting started with minimalism doesn’t have to mean throwing out all your possessions or hiring an organization specialist. You can get started easily and simply by making small changes to what and how you buy. To help you get started, here are 5 things you can stop buying today to start your minimalism journey.
Makeup used to be an area of my life where I was definitely not a minimalist. I bought new eyeshadow palettes and lipsticks for no other reason than because I thought they were pretty. What I’ve learned over the years is that nobody needs as much makeup as I used to own. It didn’t really make me that happy to have overflowing bathroom cupboards and my bank account certainly wasn’t happy with me trading hard-earned cash for a third or fourth blush that was barely different from the ones I already owned.
To start, I simply stopped buying new products and I committed to using up everything I already owned. Now, my makeup collection is small but I actually use every product I own regularly. These days, I only buy new makeup when I run out of a much-loved everyday product and those instances are few and far between.
Often we buy jewelry, scarves, hats, and purses on impulse simply because we think they’re pretty or because they look new and shiny compared to what we already own. We end up with cluttered homes and a pile of handbags at the back of the closet that we don’t even use.
Sure, every once in a while we may need a new scarf for the winter or we may treat ourselves to a special piece of jewelry for a birthday or to mark a major milestone, so I’m not saying you’ll never buy an accessory ever again, but it’s time to stop buying things like this on impulse or simply because we like the way they look in the store.
I’m going to write a whole other piece on how I transitioned to a capsule wardrobe, but the crux of the matter is this: shopping (for clothes, accessories, makeup, and anything else) should not be a hobby, a bonding experience, a form of self-care, or a reward. Don’t shop for clothes (or anything else for that matter) without a reason.
Chances are that you don’t need new clothes, so stop buying them! If there is a gap in your wardrobe, identify it clearly and decide what carefully chosen item will fill that hole. Do your research and see if you can purchase that piece second-hand or from an ethical/sustainable source.
I totally get the desire to pick up souvenirs when you travel. It’s so tempting to take something home to remember a vacation. However, so many souvenirs end up as clutter, thrown into the bottom of a drawer and never looked at again. Over my years of travelling, I’ve found that the best souvenirs are the pictures I take on my trips and the entries I write in my journal while I’m away. These are so much more valuable and sentimental than anything I’ve ever bought on a trip, and they don’t cost money or end up as clutter.
I love giving gifts, and I also love wrapping them and making them look pretty! Every Christmas I used to look forward to picking out pretty paper, until I realized how bad this is for the environment! Now I’ve become the lady who saves used gift wrap and gift bags in order to reuse them. It’s a small thing, but it’s a very easy switch to make that doesn’t require a big lifestyle shift. I also save packaging from deliveries that I can reuse and dress-up with scraps of yarn from my crochet projects and some artfully placed stamps or doodles.
These are some things you can easily stop or dramatically cut back on purchasing without having to make huge lifestyle adjustments. Probably the biggest trick here is to start thinking of shopping differently. Begin to consider shopping as a way to fill a genuine need when necessary, rather than a fun activity to do for the heck of it. Even something like trying to change your mindset can be a huge step at the start of your minimalism journey.
Think about what other purchases you can realistically cut back on in your life and make a list. Writing it down will make your stop-shopping goals, clear, practical, tangible, and actionable. Before you know it, you’ll have a whole new approach to shopping and spending money!