Author: Becci Goodall
Several years ago, I decided to switch to a minimalist lifestyle. I went from a cottage packed with a lifetime of knick-knacks to a wicker basket of mementos from my kids, a roll of paintings, and a suitcase of clothes. At the time, I made this choice for economic reasons and to focus on my art (by clearing up clutter.)
I flew cross country and settled into a shared space to write. At first, it was odd to live such a spartan existence, but once accustomed, I noticed that I was writing more than I ever had and was saving a ton of money. I also realized that I’d spent years buying temporary items that didn’t support intentional living.
I readily admit that minimalism isn’t for everyone- but if it suits you, it can make a huge personal difference in the environment. The eco-friendly minimalist lifestyle focuses on quality products that last a long time. So instead of buying ten pairs of cheap shoes a year I now focus on one or two top-quality togs that match my basic wardrobe of a few essential pieces. I also ditched the cheap laptop habit that had me going through a computer about every two years and bought a Mac that’s still going strong after five years. I stopped buying piles of books each month and purchased a slim kindle that can hold thousands of books with no wasteful consumption.
Now maybe this all sounds too sterile, but it feels exactly the opposite. When I walk into my living space all the noise and clutter of the world slows into the smooth clean lines of clarity. It feels as if I can breathe easy and live with my thoughts. Once embraced, this lifestyle reminds me that buying for the sake of buying can be detrimental to living an intentional life.
One of the most important components to living an eco-friendly minimalist lifestyle is purchasing what you need with the awareness of its usefulness and impact on the physical environment as well as your mental atmosphere.
Do I really need a chia pet trio of the three musketeers, or could I do without? Should I go with this Chuck Norris cupcake set, or should I give it a minute?
One thing that really helped me when I chose this lifestyle was to ask myself: “If I walk away from this today will I actually find myself in need of it later?”
If unsure, I put the item down and give myself permission to revisit the purchase, and almost 100% of the time I realize I’m totally cool without the extra object cluttering my space.
Another tactic I still use to keep myself from buying unnecessary stuff is to wait for the perfect item to come along. For example, when I moved into my new place, I resisted the urge to do a one-stop-shop and grab of all the furniture I needed. Instead, I took my time looking for the desk, chairs, and bed that had the functionality to fit my lifestyle. The wait was totally worth it!
If you’re interested in the eco-friendly minimalist life you can start with a 30-day challenge to donate one item per day to a resale shop. In addition to this challenge, see if you can go without buying anything other than necessities for that same month. I promise you’ll love the feeling that comes with less clutter and more clean space.