10 Super Easy Tips & Hacks to become a Minimalist in one week*
*What does being a Minimalist mean? It has varying degrees of practice and values to different people, but I believe that individually, we can start at any time and follow this life-long journey, like saving money, exercising, or anything that takes mindful daily practice and discipline. Disclosure: I am a practicing minimalist, an apprentice, and I'm not yet where I'd like to be so I'm sharing with you as I'm learning what works for me thus far.
Minimalist Lifestyle: Practicing having the minimum of things in all aspects of our lives to achieve a more meaningful and mindful lifestyle.
- Buy only things that we need and only for the right reasons. When we purchased something, share at least two items with other people who need them more than we do.
- Keep only things that we need and get rid of the rest which means less time to clean, organized, stored, and revisit later to repeat the cycle.
Benefits: Money and time saved from not buying and maintaining things we don't need will empower us to pay off student loans, credit cards and save for homes, retirement, and do things that we find more satisfying like traveling, cooking, reading etc. In my opinions, our attachment to material goods weigh us down instead of liberating us.
I'm sharing two "Stupid Easy" Minimalist Starter Checklists for us to start at anytime. The 557 Challenge and the Maintenance Hacks are super chill ways to start, give yourself a week to check off items on both lists, if you don't, no big deal, check it off the following weeks and repeat. The most important take-away here is to live with this mindset and make it a part of your value systems.
557 Minimalist Made Stupid Easy Tips & Challenge
It is really stupid easy to do and we can repeat it weekly. Here's the deal: Get rid of 5 items in each of the 5 categories in 7 days, ending next Sunday by 5pm! Who's with me? Sign up here for accountability!
- junk drawer
- personal care drawer
- sock/undies drawer
- under the kitchen/bathroom sinks
Repeat Weekly. Pro-Tips: Keep a box/bag in each area to purge as the week progresses.Bonus Point for buying nothing besides grocery, gas & basic necessity
5 Minimalist Stupid Easy Maintenance Hacks:
1. Get electronic bills & bank statements and download them into digital folders for your records.
- With Cyber attacks on the rise, keeping your records for backup is a good idea.
- Some banks only archive your statements for free for a number of years and will charge for copies for any kind of inquiries. Chase Bank wanted to charge me for statements that went back to 2011.
- No papers to sort, file or shred! Reclaim your home space
- Anyone in your family could easily access this if something happens to you. Not being morbid, just pragmatic.
2. Gift of time: Let people know that you prefer their time and request instead of physical gifts from them that you prefer spending time together at dinners, movies, theaters, museums, park, hike, bike, picnics, potluck, you get the idea. Outdoors activities and public venues are easier on the pocket books and you are only one Google away to finding free entertainments in your area. Our local library offers free sewing machine check outs so you can learn or teach someone how to sew, or rent a classics to watch this weekend.
- Everyone wins on saving money, space, time to maintain the physical gifts
- Everyone gets to choose the outings that fits their budget and strengthen their relationship instead of feeling obligated to buy more stuff that nobody needs
- There is nothing to store, frame, dust and you'll have the good memories
3. Buying and Giving Away Ratio: There are times when we must buy something like work clothes, get rid of 2 items for every 1 you buy.
- Everyone wins because you maintain a sleek wardrobe and someone else who couldn't afford to buy a professional looking outfit to go to an interview now can do that and increase their chance of landing a job.
- Not stuffing your closet so full that you can't find that blouse you're looking for. Instead, have a seasonal wardrobe of pieces that are in good working order that you still love to wear.
- Better yet on your budget, sell or consign the clothes you don't wear and put it towards your top 3 saving goals
4. Home office system: Sort oldest files, scan and shred. Newer files should be digital and categorized by types, year, month e.g. Family/Business, Utilities, 2016, October.
- Set a timer for 20 minutes daily
- Keep a shredder handy at your home or office workspace
- Keep a recycling bin nearby
- Camscanner app is highly recommended on your phone to scan receipts/documents when not in your office
- No more lost documents
- Important documents are shareable with other family members such as will, trust, insurance, birth certificates, ect.
5. Keep shredder, give-away, recycling bins or bags handy in each room that you're most likely do the purging.
Pro-tips: Keep bag or box for clothes to be given away in the bedrooms, one in the bathrooms and kitchen to be give away and recycling, and a shredder in home office.
- This is a habit building technique and a constant reminder to keep things you own to a minimum
- Having an accessible container will increase the likelihood of you getting rid of items you no longer need
Also, check out this post on archiving photos and kids artworks, a toughie for me!
About Photos and Kids artwork: I've written about archiving the kids' artwork, scanning "physical" photo albums and categorize digital files, see this article, and I'm still going through the sorting phase of the photos that didn't make it into the albums. It will take a while to do it myself but the option of sending them out to scan is not viable because for the albums, I would have to peel them out of the adhesive pages, label them, sending them off and hope to get them all back. Be patient with your progress as long as there is a plan and keep track of your progress on a sheet of paper
- Sorting: Shoe boxes are perfect for sorting for the years, the groups, the persons. I use index cards to separate the categories within each box, example, 1984, family, Chi.
- Label: Record year, group, person
- Scan: scan to digital album with the same categories of year, group, person. Add a seasonal event if necessary e.g. 1984, family, wedding.
So, enough with me rambling on. I'd sure like to hear from you and invite you to join our Facebook Group so we can grow together. Send me a request here and I'll add you right away! Chi firstname.lastname@example.org
- how do you practice minimalism?
- what questions do you have?
- why are you interested in practicing minimalism?
If you have some tips that work well, please share them with us!