Why Younger Generations are Challenging Themselves to Live Better with Less
From commercials that convince us that we need their latest product to online retailers that make fueling the fire of consumerism as easy as a click of a mouse, it can be hard to decipher our wants versus our needs.
But as our world becomes more complex, the need for simplicity grows stronger. Movements are the product of what has come before it, and minimalism is no exception. Financial turmoils, environmental concerns and high levels of personal debt have younger generations rejecting the notion that more material possessions equals greater happiness, and are instead seeking out select pieces that will truly add value to their lives. It’s a conscious movement toward a simpler lifestyle, and it’s growing. We want to be less stressed, more satisfied and have more freedom.
The push to bring that minimalist mindset into our homes has never been more prominent. Rather than overwhelm ourselves obsessing about achieving the magazine-worthy home of our dreams, the focus has shifted to buying only the items we need. And it’s true: when we start with the essentials, the rest becomes gravy.
The Golden Rules for Embracing a Minimalist Lifestyle
1. Choose a room to declutter first. Avoid overwhelming yourself by trying to declutter your home all at once; tackle clutter one room at a time to see results faster and stay motivated.
2. Purge your junk drawer. We all have a drawer overflowing with items that might come in handy someday, but more than likely never do. Take back that coveted storage space by banishing its contents to the bin.
3. Stick to a system. Whether cleaning out your closet or braving the mountain of boxes in the basement, divide what you intend to keep, donate and throw away into separate piles to help you stay focused while you clean.
4. Reduce paper clutter. Electronic bills are a fantastic alternative to traditional mail. For files you do need to keep long-term, organize your filing cabinet so that they’re easy to find.
5. Count as you go. Mentally unwind by keeping count of how much you’re giving or throwing away as you declutter — you’ll be surprised by how much you had but didn’t use.
6. Wait 30 days before buying something new. Quell impulse buying by giving yourself a 30 day consideration period to decide if you really love something. If it still speaks to you after a month, you’ll know it’s a worthy investment.
7. Adopt a “buy one, give two” rule. Just bought something new for your wardrobe? Great! Keep clutter at bay by giving away two older items to offset the addition.
8. Try a capsule closet. Take a page out of blogger Courtney Carver’s book and keep your closet curated with a small number of essential items of clothing that won’t ever go out of fashion.
9. Spend money on experiences, not possessions. There’s nothing more priceless than making new memories with friends and family.
10. Remember quality over quantity. At the crux of minimalism is this golden rule: it’s not about how much you have, but rather, having pieces that speak to you and that you truly need.
Up for a Challenge? Try Project 333
How much do we really need in our closets? According to author and Be More with Less blogger Courtney Carver, the magic number of items is 33. Carver is the brains behind Project 333, a minimalist fashion challenge that encourages participants to dress using only 33 items —including clothing, accessories and shoes — for three months. The challenge is simple: start by taking inventory of your closet and deciding on your 33 must-have pieces, then box up the rest and relish in the freedom of a simplified wardrobe. The goal of this challenge is to give less thought to what you’re wearing, so that you can give greater attention to more important things.
Need some minimalist motivation? For the film fanatics, watch Tidying Up — a Netflix special by the legendary Marie Kondo; for the avid reader, purchase The Year of Less by Cait Flanders — a wall street journal best-seller; and for the tech-enthusiasts, download Cladwell — a mobile app that’s meant to make getting dressed easier each and every day.