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Minimalism And Sustainability

Minimalism is something you can do to improve your life; but the ripple effects improve our surroundings. By cutting down on consumerism, you’re not just helping your wallet or your closet; you’re helping the planet.

minimalism sustainability

Here are 4 ways to use minimalism to become even more environmentally responsible:

1. Try A Bamboo Toothbrush

I’ve recently made the switch to bamboo toothbrushes and I love it. Plastic toothbrushes don’t ever break down – and they are creating quite a problem for landfills. It’s estimated that 50 million pounds of plastic toothbrushes enter landfills every year! Bamboo is a compostable material, so by making the switch, you’ll be saving the landfills a few extra toothbrushes every year.

2. Minimize Packaging

minimalism sustainabilityThough it’s common to use reusable grocery bags now, did you know that you can also purchase reusable produce bags? I bought two mesh produce bags, which has allowed me to do a large part of my grocery shopping plastic-free. If you aren’t ready to take the plunge yet, try just taking a look at the plastic that you do use. Is it necessary to put onions, garlic, or lemons into a plastic bag?

3. Buy Second Hand

I recently watched a documentary called The True Cost. I was not aware, prior to this documentary, of the impact that our clothing has on the environment. Becoming a minimalist vastly reduces the amount of clothing that I purchase, but after watching this documentary, I decided to start purchasing as many of my clothes second hand as possible. This documentary shows not only the working conditions of sweatshops, but it really shows the impact that fast fashion has on our planet. So many clothes are being made, bought, and discarded at alarmingly rapid rates. By combining minimalism and buying second hand, I do as much as I can to help the planet in terms of clothing waste.

minimalism sustainability

4. Consider What You Have Before Buying Something

I recently wanted to switch from using a hairbrush every day to a wooden comb. I searched for wooden combs for months before finding the perfect one. I was so excited to become more sustainable by using a wooden hair tool instead of a plastic brush that I’ve had for three years. But right before I checked out, I realized that this would not be a more sustainable choice at all.

My plastic hairbrush still worked just fine. There was nothing wrong with it, and the only reason I wanted to switch was for my own convenience (and what I thought was sustainability). Luckily I realized this before checking out, and have now decided to use my plastic hair brush until I no longer can. At that point, I’ll check out with that wooden brush. Sustainability is about creating less waste – not about buying something new because it’s more eco-friendly.

minimalism sustainability

These tips have helped me become more sustainable on my minimalist journey over the last two years. Minimalism in itself is a wonderful way to be more eco-friendly, but I love learning more about how we can help the Earth even further.

Your Turn!

  • Which tip will you try?
  • What are your favorite tips for environmental sustainability?

 

 

 

Minimalism and Internet: How To Minimize Your Internet Use

Minimalism can apply to so many aspects of your life, but minimizing your internet use can have one of the biggest impacts of all. When I applied minimalism to my internet use, I discovered so much more free time to work on what is really important to me.

It can be difficult to get off the internet sometimes, especially if you use it for work, or have an addiction to social media ( it’s estimated that 75% of millennials feel addicted to social media).  So, how do you quit using the internet so much? Here are five tips to cut down your internet usage:

minimalism internet

1. Install a Blocker

There are apps that you can install into Safari or Chrome to block sites of your choosing when you turn the app on. When I started to cut down on my internet use, I installed an app called Strict Workflow. Sites such as Facebook, Youtube, Pinterest, Tumblr and Reddit are all blocked. This is really helpful if you work online and need some time to focus.

2. Put Your Phone Away

It’s polite to put your phone away when you’re spending time with a friend. If I’m out with a friend, I’ll leave my phone in my bag, or my pocket. To cut down on your internet use, do the same when you’re focused on a task on your own. If I’m reading a book, I’ll move my phone to somewhere I can’t see it. Out of sight, out of mind.

3. Disable Notifications

minimalism internetMy life changed when I turned off all notifications on my phone. I no longer get any notifications – no Facebook notifications, no Instagram notifications, not even notifications of my incoming text messages. Because I’m no longer getting that distracting noise coming from my phone, I am more able to focus fully on what I’m doing at the moment. My friends know that if they really need to get ahold of me, they can call; otherwise, they know that I may not respond to messages for hours.

4. Try an Internet Fast

An internet fast is where you don’t go online for a certain amount of time. You can simply do a 15 minute internet fast at the same time every day, where you go for a walk or get a coffee with a coworker, or you can check out for longer periods of time. I try to schedule at least two weeks a year where I am not online. I’ll go camping in a remote area for a week (without my laptop) for some quality family time, then later in the year I’ll go to a yoga retreat (preferably in a remote area without wifi). This helps me rejuvenate my mind, and when I come back to the internet, I come back focused, determined, and ready to work.

minimalism internet

5. Cut Your Wifi

If you work in an office and would really like to cut down on internet use at home, consider going without wifi. This will save you money and make it a lot harder to spend your free time scrolling. When you aren’t capable of getting online, you’ll be able to find much more productive and fun things to do.

I hope these five steps to cutting down on your internet use help you to spend your precious free time more wisely. Minimizing my internet use has led to so much more happiness in my own life – I have more time to read, write, and do the things I love.

Your Turn!

  • Which tip will you try to cut down your internet use?

What I’ve Learned After 2 Years As A Minimalist

Two years of minimalism has brought with it more lessons that I could have imagined. I’ve not only learned a ton in regards to the collection of physical items, I’ve also started to focus on other aspects of minimalism that may be a bit unexpected. Here are the lessons I’ve learned after two years as a minimalist:

Lessons After Two Years of Minimalism1.You Don’t Miss The Stuff

While I was decluttering, I second guessed 20% of the things I got rid of. I knew they were things that I didn’t love but didn’t need; I still thought that maybe someday I would miss them. Two years in, I haven’t missed anything yet, and I actually can’t even remember most of the things that I got rid of.

2. You’ll Start to Question Your Habits

Though I hardly buy clothes anymore, of course there still comes a time when I need to replace something in my wardrobe. Before minimalism, I would have simply headed to my nearest Target or shopping mall and got what I needed from the most convenient big box store. Now, I think more about the items that I buy. I strongly believe that every dollar I spend is a vote for what I believe in, and I don’t spend many dollars, so I want to make them count. I now try to buy my clothes second hand if possible, and if that isn’t possible, I opt for sustainable and fair trade clothing.

3. You’ll Start To Spend Your Time Differently

What I've Learned After Two Years of MinimalismPre-minimalism, I spent quite a bit of time at my local Target and shopping mall. After adopting the minimalist lifestyle, I gained all of that time back. At first I started to use my time doing things like hiking and reading books from the library. Then I decided to quit my job to travel the world. Minimalism allowed me the space to truly think about what I wanted out of my life, and the resources to create that ideal life.

4. Quality over Quantity Will Filter Into Other Areas of Your Life

Though I had more free time after becoming minimalist, I also decided that it was time to take back control of my schedule. I became much more intentional with the way I spent time. I no longer attended events just because I was invited to them. I spent more time with friends who truly lifted me up and inspired me, and much less time with friends who just wanted someone to go to happy hour with. I didn’t feel guilty anymore if I decided to read a good book instead of going to an event.

5. You May Become Even Richer

Once I decided to start traveling, I created a little website to keep track of my adventures. I spent my time writing and working on my photography, which has turned into a beautiful scrapbook, and even a small income over the last year. I have started to earn money from doing things I love, which I would have never thought possible before.

I’ve learned so much as a minimalist; these five lessons brought even more value to minimalism in my life. Minimalism has changed the way I live, and I could not be happier with the results.

Your Turn!

  • Do you consider yourself a minimalist?
  • What has minimalism taught you?

 

 

 

 

Minimalist Mindset: How To Declutter Your Schedule

Two years ago, my life was a mess. I was working full time, studying, and trying to keep up an active social life in between my family time and time with my partner. I was a dedicated schedule keeper, constantly carrying around my full sized planner in my bag. It was exhausting and I knew that something had to change.

Then I found minimalism. Minimalism changed not only the amount of stuff I own, it changed how I spent my time. Over the past two years, I’ve gone from that jam-packed schedule, to a clear and open calendar, spending most days how I wish. I just took a few steps to get from there to here:

How To Declutter Your Schedule Free Time

1. Clarify Your Priorities

The first step in figuring out how to clear your schedule is to clarify what is most important in your life. To me, family, time in nature, down time for things like reading, hiking, etc, were my top priorities. When I looked at my schedule, it was filled with tasks like happy hour, networking events, and weekends stuffed with housework. Once I decided to make a change, I stopped going to all of those events, halved my wardrobe (no more days spent doing laundry!), and all of a sudden had free time to do things like go for day-long hikes or spend the day at my parents house.

2. Learn How To Say No

There is still only so much time in the day. We must acknowledge that although there are so many things we can do, we don’t have to do all of them. Learning how to say no to the things that aren’t a priority was difficult to me at first. Eventually I created a massive goal (save money to travel the world), which made my priorities much more clear and made it much easier to say no to happy hour or events that didn’t help me get to this goal.

3. Reignite Your Passions

How To Declutter Your Life Calendar Once I had all of this free time, I had to figure out what I really loved and wanted to spend my time doing. I had gotten rid of the tasks that were stopping me from doing what I loved – but I didn’t know what that was. After 27 years of being uber busy with school, work, family, a social life, I had no idea what my true passions were. It wasn’t until I had the free time to try new things (I got a camera, started a website, checked out books from the library), that I found out what I really loved. I love photography. I love learning about websites and writing. Now that I have time, I can do these things, when I want to.

4. Find Something Deeper

The thought of world travel was really exciting to me at first. Once I actually started doing it, I found that it was much more fulfilling when I could share my experiences. I started writing about what I had learned, and how minimalism changed my life and led me to follow my dreams that I’d pushed so far away. I now live my life happy and fulfilled, knowing that I create something regularly to enhance the lives of others.

How To Declutter Your Schedule

Decluttering my schedule was just one of the many benefits of minimalism for me. Minimalism has completely enhanced my life for the better, leading me to where I am now – traveling the world and living a happy, fulfilled life.

Your Turn!

  • What do you want to take out of your schedule?
  • What would you like to spend more of your time doing?

What To Do If Your Partner Doesn’t Want to Be Minimalist

When I first went minimalist, I was living with a partner who could not have been farther from minimalism. He was not too keen on my plan to get rid of most of our stuff and live in a clear, clutter free space. He wanted to hold on to his things, because his stuff was associated with his memories. So, what is one to do when they are minimizing but their partner is not into it?

What to Do If Your Partner Doesn't Want to Be A Minimalist

1.Start With Yourself

I knew that being a minimalist would help me. I wanted to minimize my belongings to create more focus on what really matters in life – relationships, spending time how I desire, and making my life easier. Focusing on his hoarding tendencies would not help any of those outcomes that I desired. Focusing on my own minimalism journey made my life and my daily routines easier, and it did what I wanted – it helped my relationship by creating more time for me to enjoy my partner.

2. Be Patient and Understanding

Trying to understand my partner’s point of view in this matter helped immensely. He wanted to keep his stuff because they meant something to him – he associated memories with these items. He wasn’t ready to let them go, and he made it clear that he may never be. Accepting that your partner may not ever be ready to let items go is a helpful step in continuing your own journey.

3. 50% Minimalism is better than 0%

What to Do If Your Partner Doesn't Want to be MinimalistIf your partner is not willing to try out any part of minimalism, remember that 50% minimalist is still better than 0%. By focusing on myself and my own minimalist journey, I was able to clear out areas of my house that were causing me stress. I cleared out my bathroom cabinet, which made it much easier to get ready in the morning. I cleared out the kitchen, putting the extra appliances in the garage – my partner didn’t want to get rid of them, so this was a middle ground for us. My own minimalism journey led me to a much calmer lifestyle and an easier morning and evening routine.

 

4. Focus on the End Goal

I wanted to try out minimalism to get more time, and I wanted to have more time to spend with my partner. By decluttering my own stuff, I did reclaim a lot of time – and this did help my relationship. My life was more streamlined – it was easier to get dressed in the morning since I didn’t have to sort through clothes I didn’t wear, or sort through makeup that I didn’t use. This created a healthier and more enjoyable start to my day, which set the foundation for an enjoyable rest of my day.

What to Do If Your Partner Doesn't Want to Be A Minimalist

Though my partner wasn’t as enthusiastic about minimalism as I am, I still reaped so many benefits of going minimalist on my own. My workspace was decluttered, my bathroom was decluttered, my half of the closet was decluttered. I was able to clear my mind and focus on how minimalism could improve my life – and it worked. There are so many ways to cope with a partner who doesn’t want to try minimalism.

Your Turn!

  • What does your partner think about going minimalist?
  • Which of these techniques would you try?
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