The truth is if you want to become more minimalist you are going to have to change things. I changed 5 habits to become more minimal. Decluttering will help you become more minimalist, but it won’t help you stay minimal.
Keeping your home clutter free isn’t as easy as it seems. Unless you never shop for anything for the rest of your life, and that is completely unrealistic. There will always be things that we need to replace as time goes on, but these habits can help. Replacing old habits that may have added to your clutter with new habits that avoid clutter will help you to stay clutter free and more minimal.
No more TV for me! Before we cut the cable connection I never realized how many advertisements are on a typical show. I know I wasn’t that swayed by the ads, but my kids sure were. Now that my kids don’t see the ads for new toys they are never asking for anything. It really stands out to me when I go to someone’s house with regular cable. My children will start asking for toys they didn’t know existed before. This really illustrates how powerful ads are and how they influence our spending habits. It is shocking how many ads we are seeing in 30 minutes of watching TV. “An average American TV show is 22 minutes long which allows for 8 minutes of commercials per half hour or 16 minutes of commercials per hour.” Peter Kai
I was so worried when we first got rid of cable that I was going to be so bored and have nothing to do, but it turns out I was able to fill the time easily. We enjoy Netflix and Disney Plus completely ad free.
I personally stopped looking through magazines. I never had a subscription, but I would look at them when I came across one. Most magazines are 50% ads and the fashion magazines have an even larger percentage of ads. Even if you don’t buy exactly what you see in these magazines just the photos alone will probably make you feel like getting new clothes or a new car.
These magazines have way more influence than we think they do. After flipping through a fashion magazine for a few minutes I start thinking about my clothes and what needs to be updated. If I can avoid this influence I am much happier with what I have. Of course it is great to get inspired, but if you watch or read something and feel bad about your life afterwards you should think about the influence it might have over you.
When we started decluttering I decided to stop shopping altogether. I only bought something if I really needed it! What I found was really surprising. It was really difficult to stop shopping. Shopping was a habit, sometimes I would shop without even thinking. I had to reprogram my brain. Shopping was always a treat for me. It was my escape from reality. Just the act of going out and looking through the stores was nice. Even if I didn’t buy anything, I was treating myself by shopping. Fact is just being in a store you are more likely to buy something. If you aren’t in a store it is impossible to be tempted.
I reset my shopping habit by staying away from stores when I didn’t really need something. Once my shopping habit was replaced by other things I like to do, for instance painting and drawing, I no longer felt I needed to shop for entertainment.
Be Aware of What You Have
When I have to buy something I like to be aware of what I already own. If I am shopping for clothes I will take a photo of the clothes I already have, this way I am reminded of what is in my closet. I like to shop my home first. Go through your home to see what you might be able to use or repurpose. It can cut down on buying new items. Just because we are minimalist does not mean that we don’t shop. We still have to buy things. I just like to be aware of the items I am bringing into my home.
Avoid Too Much Social Media
I love social media, but there is a point when it becomes too much. Have you ever found yourself scrolling on Instagram and you don’t even know what you are looking at? It reminds me of when I was a kid flipping the channels on the TV. The SCROLL HOLE, mindlessly scrolling. This happens all of the time. I realized I would start to want things that I would see on Instagram, things that I didn’t need. Now I limit how many times a day I use social media and I try to only check certain accounts that I love.
On the iphone you can set a limit on certain apps. I have set a 20 minute limit on my Instagram to ensure I am not wasting my whole life scrolling through the Instagram feed.
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Find Something New To Enjoy
Before decluttering and finding “less” my typical day ended by sitting on the couch and watching TV. Usually I would be scrolling through Instagram and having desert. There is nothing wrong with this, but after I started reading more about minimalism and intentional living I started to wonder if my time could be better spent.
For years I have thought about what I would do when my kids go back to school. That is when I realized my time spent in front of the TV could probably be used in a more productive way.
It is important to find something you enjoy to take up your new found time. If you don’t find something new you are more likely to fall back into the old habits (AKA shopping or whatever your clutter collecting habit was). There are so many things to do; read more, work out, make healthy food, organize your home, go for a walk, get an extra job, learn a new skill, plan a vacation, go on a vacation, start a youtube channel. The possibilities are endless! I personally redid this blog, started a YouTube channel, joined the gym, started reading again, organized my home, and started working on my art.
These are the habits I changed that have really made an impact on my life. Change can be hard, but I have found even the tiniest change can snowball into huge changes. I started really slow, decluttering only a few things. Start with the easiest change you can think of and go from there.
I hope some of these tips are helpful. Comment below with some good minimalist habit suggestions.
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