“Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” ~William Morris
So, after climbing the corporate ladder, and realizing the view from the top is just the same, you’ve decided to downscale. But you have no idea where to begin.
The first step to a more minimalist life is to get rid of things you don’t need. But growing up in a consumer society has fooled you into believing that certain items are essential. Many aren’t. And soon, you’ll be able to tell that for yourself.
Here’s a basic guide to get you thinking about what’s a need and what’s an extra:
- How many cars do you really need? Many families get by with just one car. By living closer to where you work, or with careful planning, you can too. Sharing a ride will also let you spend more time with people you enjoy.
- Could you do without a microwave? An electric can opener or mixer? There’s no doubt that these items are convenient, but they aren’t a required tool for good cooking. An oven cooks food a bit slower, but it tastes much better. Manual mixers and can openers are cheaper and more reliable.
- How often do you use that T.V in the basement? Television is such a time waster. Life is short, it’s a shame to spend it in front of a screen when there is so much to explore, learn, and do.
- Why so many shoes, shirts, pants, and jackets? Buy quality clothes that last, timeless pieces that won’t go out of style, and colors that can be matched and paired easily. With this advice, you’ll need less clothes to stay current. Plus, you’ll save countless hours choosing an outfit for work.
- Do you need a small library in the guest room? Share your books, its as easy as donating them to the local library. You can still read them as often as you like (mostly). And you’ll find tons more that might strike your interest.
- Can you go paperless? Start paying bills online, the wave of the future is just as safe as paying through snail mail. Plus, its quicker and easier than finding an envelope, buying postage, and handwriting your monthly payments.
- What entertainment do you really need? All you really need to be happy can be done in the great outdoors: go for a walk, talk with a neighbor, throw a picnic, find a breathtaking view, count the stars, the possibilities are endless. You can get rid of so much stuff in this category, It’ll force you to be more creative.
These are some questions to get you thinking in the right mindset. Minimalism is about less stuff, less spending, and less doing to make room for the good stuff. By owning less stuff, and taking this first step, you’ll be on your way to a more complete, more satisfying life.
The editor of Ethical Living, and pursuer of relatively interesting information, Simon has a Masters Degree in Creative Writing and Journalism from the University of Wales, and is a photo-journalist and writer whose written and photographic work has been represented by the AFP news agency and appeared in newspapers across Europe and Asia.