Although minimalism has become relatively trendy throughout decade, it has a lot of meaningful applications beyond it’s visual aesthetics and freedom from materialism. Participating in minimalism doesn’t require you to be all or nothing. You don’t have to throw away all your worldly or sentimental possessions to practice minimalism. You can customize the suggested rules to fit your lifestyle and bring the most simplicity to your day to day without being inconvenient.
Now my apartment has an average amount of clutter as you would see in most homes. Where minimalism has helped me most is in the kitchen and in my closet. After moving across the country three years ago, I grossly underestimated the amount of items I had accumulated over a couple of years. I didn’t need 3 skillets, I don’t need 20 pairs of shoes. Having to put all of my belongings into boxes was a turning point for me and I realized something had to change. After several blog posts and youtube videos, here are 3 rules/mindsets that I found most practical:
One in, one out
If I’m buying a new pair of shoes I have to throw away, donate, or sell an old pair. Same goes with a new shirt, a new coffee mug, backpack, etc. This prevents my cupboards and drawers from overflowing. I try my best to have one thing serve one purpose. So for the example of shoes, I don’t only have one pair of shoes. Shoes have many purposes. Some are for hiking, for the gym, dressing up, winter, and chacos. I try my best to have one pair for every purpose. Although I customize this rule to fit my lifestyle. I have two pairs of dress shoes, one black and one brown. I have two pairs of winter boots because winters in Montana last 9 months. I certainly don’t need 4 pairs of Nikes to go running.
The 90/90 Rule
Have you used this item in 90 days? Do you plan to use it in the next 90 days? These are the two questions you ask yourself when using this rule. If the answer is no to both of them, you get rid of the item. Examples such as that barbecue grill, waffle maker, baseball bat, bass guitar collecting dust for years. Most people I know have an obnoxious unstackable amount of tupper ware. After a year of observing myself I realize I only use 6 or 7 food containers, so I gave the rest to Goodwill. Now there are many exceptions to this. When I approach things in my junk drawer or storage closet, I’ve changed my thought process from “just in case” to “this is for when”. Things like Elmer’s glue, sandpaper, and mason jars definitely serve a purpose, but keeping them around just in case is unnecessary clutter. Even though I haven’t used my tent in that time, this is for when I inevitably go camping. Sometimes it’s hard to get rid of an old snowboard or bicycle. And if keeping it as an ornament brings you joy then by all means keep it around. My approach to minimalism is to do what works best for you and your needs.
Simplifying my wardrobe
I have modified the idea of a uniform when it comes to minimalism. Steve Jobs is one of the more famous users of this idea. By wearing the same style of clothes every day, his mind is able to focus on more important decisions than just picking an outfit. I personally would not enjoy wearing the exact same thing every day. I do appreciate the simplicity and the lack of clutter in my closet that this mentality offers me. For my purposes, I have removed all of my graphic and colorful T shirts. I have 15 well fitted, comfortable, tri-blend, plain, mute toned t-shirts that match well with my jeans.
Although it is nice to be complimented on an intricate T shirt, I found it annoying when someone pointed out that I had worn the same shirt recently even though it was a week ago. An advantage of plain, muted toned T shirts is that they are subtle and you can get away with wearing the same color multiple times a week. It may seem frivolous, but frivolous or not I don’t have to worry about it anymore. I don’t have time to get into jackets and dress clothes but going from 50+ t shirts to 15 is a relief that is hard to explain.
With these simple practices, it has helped me appreciate the quality and value of the items in my house. I have also become more intentional with my future purchases and less stressed with clutter. Of course these “rules” are more complicated than what I have written about today. If this short article piqued your curiosity, I encourage you to look further into these rules and see how it could benefit your life.