When I decided that I wanted to become more minimal I had no idea how life changing it would be. I thought I would declutter a few items and everything would go back to normal. Today I am sharing 10 minimalist practices that are life changing. In the process of becoming more minimal my house changed, but so did the way I think about everything.
10 Minimalist Practices That Are Life Changing
Here are 10 ways that my life changed while becoming more minimalist. These are in no particular order, but are all equally important.
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My Purse / What I Carry
Before I started decluttering my home and life I use to carry a large purse. Not only was my purse large it was very heavy. The bag alone without anything in it was heavy! I have always been a bag lover. It was normal for me to have 10 or more purses, none of them were very expensive, but I loved bags.
When I started to declutter I finally came to my purse. We all tend to think we need just in case emergency items in our purses. What if I need to brush my hair? Or What if I need an antibacterial wipe? I came to the conclusion that most of these just in case items that I was carrying around with me everyday were never used.
I decided to do an experiment where I took out everything I didn’t need daily and put it in a bag and store it in my car. This way if I needed something most likely I would have my car with me. Knowing I could run back to the car to get the emergency item was a good feeling (for a while).
Really all I needed in my purse was my; wallet, keys, phone, a pen, chapstick (or one lip thing), and a hair thing. Of course if I am out for the day in the summer I might add some sunblock to my purse, but mostly I stuck to those few items. I put all the other random items in a bag and stuck that in my car.
Interesting things Happened!
It turned out I never needed any of the items I removed from my bag. I actually forgot I even stored that bag in my car LOL. The emergency item bag was found a year later never touched ha ha.
My shoulders and back felt better than they ever have. By lightening the load I was carrying everywhere my shoulders were in way better condition. After a few years of carrying a very small crossbody bag I decided to switch to a small backpack purse so my hands could be free and the weight is distributed more evenly. I love this brand for super light weight bags that stay very organized.
I go through my bag regularly to make sure I don’t have any receipts that need to be filed, and to make sure there aren’t any unnecessary items collecting in my bag. Finally I donated all of my big heavy purses because I know that I will never use them again. I can’t imagine going back!
I love a clear surface! When you clear a counter it immediately looks clean and organized. When I started to declutter I had to analyze what was really needed on our counters, tables, and landings. Questions like, why do I have that decorative fish sculpture? and do I really need to have 2 toasters?
Some decor is great and can make your home feel cozy and beautiful, but sometimes it can get in the way and make everything look cluttered. When I started to declutter I cleared my kitchen counters completely. I removed all appliances and all decor to see how it looked. At first my mom came over and commented that it looked terrible like we didn’t have anything, but I decided to keep it clear for a while. Sometimes we have to get use to seeing less. Eventually I added a few appliances that we use several times a day, like our hot water kettle and our toaster. Overall I kept the counters empty and eventually everyone came to love the clean clear surfaces.
It can take some time to get use to seeing less because we are so use to seeing clutter. Whenever items are left on the sink, my husband now says it looks messy and there is no where to make food. Now we can all appreciate a clear surface!
When you are doing a lot of decluttering the last thing you want to do is more decluttering. The second I started to declutter I realized I was going to stop shopping. I have never been big on shopping, but I was guilty of picking up a few things here and there that were probably never needed. There were times when I was out buying something needed and would see a sale or a cute shirt for one of my boys and think, why not?
The problem with this (why not) mentality is I ended up with too much. So instead of having the exact amount of shirts my boys actually wear I would have 5 or more extra that they rarely wore. Every extra item that we have is something we have to deal with. So even if they aren’t wearing it I still have to store it and make it fit in their drawer. This is when I ask myself why am I storing something that isn’t being used? At this point you realize you are minimalist LOL, you only want to keep the items you are actually using.
With less shopping I could focus on more saving. With becoming minimal came this thought that we are exchanging time for money. Yes of course we have to work and make money to live and a lot of people really love what they do for a living. But I couldn’t help thinking that the more we save on the things we don’t need to be buying the more money we will have for fun experiences.
Experiences add to your life and make you who you are while things don’t. The more we save the less we have to work and the more fun we can have.
One In One Out
One very easy way to stay clutter free is the one in one out policy. This means every time you decide to bring something new into your home you have to get rid of something similar. You could get rid of anything, but I like to choose something similar that way you are keeping each area clutter free.
To take this a step further you could use the only replace rule. Currently I am trying to only replace items. I am not stockpiling and I am not buying for the future. As an item is worn out or as my kids grow out of something that is when I go out and replace it. There are several reasons why this is a good idea. First you are not filling your house with things for the future, this way you can focus on the now. Second you are replacing the item with something that will work in that current moment. You know it will fit and work now. Lastly you are only buying what you truly need and not being wasteful.
With decluttering I decided that I wanted to be more eco friendly. Becoming eco friendly is not easy and can take some time. We are all use to using easy solutions for everything. For instance paper towels are much easier than using cloth towels, but also super wasteful. When we started down this minimalism rabbit hole I found a lot of information about being eco friendly.
I decided that I would make some small slow changes to become more eco friendly with time. Immediately I hid our paper towels and we only used them for emergencies, like paint spills or when we were working with oil. After all of those paper towels were used up I switched to bamboo paper towels that we rarely use. I would guess I buy a roll of paper towels once every 6 months.
Other changes we made over the last 3 years have been to stop buying and drinking water from plastic bottles. We no longer buy soda and I always go for a glass bottle over a plastic one. When grocery shopping I bring my own reusable bags and my own produce bags, this way we aren’t using any plastic. Anytime we are shopping I always try to buy the fruit and veggies that are not in plastic wrap and I try to go for glass jars over plastic. We also stopped using plastic straws, I bought some reusable straws for at home and when I am out I just say no to a straw.
I buy all of my cleaning supplies from Grove Collaborative, getting the concentrate that I mix myself and put in a glass spray bottle. Their products work great and they are very eco friendly, non toxic, and affordable. If you would like to try them out Click HERE to get a 5-piece gift set with your first purchase.
We are not zero waste and all of the changes we have made are very small steps towards being more eco friendly.
Since becoming more minimal I simplified my food and started paying attention to what I eat. I try to choose fruit and vegetables over everything else. This may sound crazy to some people, but I eat the same thing for breakfast and lunch everyday. By eating the same thing it is one less thing I have to think about and decide upon. I also know what I like and have found a healthy option that I don’t mind eating day after day.
Dinner will vary day to day, but we probably eat about 7 different meals on repeat. This isn’t because we aren’t adventurous with food, it’s just a way to simplify our lives. We don’t need as many ingredients and it makes shopping easier too.
More Family Time
Now that we have decluttered everything I feel there is more time for our family. As the mom I always felt like I spent half of my day putting away toys and cleaning up. Now that there is less stuff to deal with there is more time.
With minimalism I have also analyzed how I spend my time. Do I want to watch TV or read a book? This is a real question and there isn’t a right or wrong answer. The thing is there is only so much time in the day and we have to think about how we are spending that time. My husband likes to watch TV at night to relax and I like to be more creative, for instance writing this blog. Before I found minimalism I never thought about how I was spending my time. Now I just think about time a little more than I use to.
Doing More or Doing Nothing
After finding minimalism and simple living I know it is ok to do a lot or do nothing at all. Before I learned about simple living I felt like everyday had to be jam packed with things to do. If I didn’t accomplish a lot in one day that was a bad thing.
Now I plan out what I would like to accomplish in a day and give myself a break if for some reason I can’t get it all done. It is ok to relax during the day. If your home isn’t sparkling clean that is OK! Sometimes trying to be productive all the time can wear you out and cause stress. Life is about having fun and joy and if you can’t find those things maybe something has to change.
Less Screen Time
Recently I realized I want to be away from screens more often. A few weeks ago I started a screen free Sundays experiment. The rules are; don’t go on the computer at all, don’t go on your phone unless you are calling someone or texting. Don’t watch TV and don’t go on my tablet unless I am reading a book on the tablet.
The first Sunday went great, I followed all my rules and had a screen free day. I was able to paint my whole kitchen and we played at the park. Next Sunday I realized I posted a piece of furniture on FB market place so I had to check that a few times, but other than that it was great.
After three screen free Sundays I realized I wasn’t missing anything by staying off the internet. Every Monday I would log into everything and see that I missed nothing. All the instagram posts were still there, all my emails were there waiting for me. The best part is I can feel completely free from checking things and focus on my family and friends.
With these 10 minimalist practices that are live changing I can’t imagine going back to my old habits. I can probably list 1000 things that have changed for the better since decluttering and becoming more minimal. If you are interested in finding out the benefits of minimalism start slow and steady and over time you will see how much can change.
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