Minimalism is a very popular trend as of recently and mainly it’s for the aesthetics. Many resources claim that by living a ‘simple’ life you will be happier and more fulfilled. Essentially, your life will not be cluttered by arbitrary material possessions and you can live a better life, or so they say. 

Minimalism was actually established as an art movement after World War II in the last 1960’s and early 1970’s. Since then, the concept of minimalism has evolved. Now, when we think of minimalism, we often think of an aesthetically pleasing house with little to no signs of actual everyday life.

white staircase with pink background

Minimalism = KonMari Method 

One extremely popular method of minimalism, particularly for the aesthetics, is the Marie Kondo method. She has a special on Netflix called Tidying up with Marie Kondo that I definitely recommend watching! If you are unfamiliar with Marie Kondo, my money is on your life being a cluttered mess. Kidding! Marie Kondo came up with a decluttering system called the KonMari method which is as follows:

  1. Discarding by category comes first. …
  2. Break a category into subcategories as necessary. …
  3. Keep only those things that spark joy. …
  4. After you’ve finished discarding, organize your space thoroughly and completely. …
  5. Do it all in one go.

I myself am a huge fan of the KonMari method and practice it about once a season. For me, using this method to declutter does actually help declutter my mind and feel more at ease with what I own and my ability to fully utilize what I own. We all have clothes or other items that we hold onto for no reason because we know we will never wear or use it again. Why? 

Marie Kondo emphasizes the importance of keeping things that ‘spark joy.’ For me, the extra clothes and clutter really do not bring me joy, so I use her method to make sure I only keep what I really need and love. That ‘sparks joy’ method is within reason, however. My pens don’t bring me much joy, but I need them. I don’t need 100 of them however, so it is important to adapt this method to your needs.

Minimalist Game 

The Minimalist Game is another method to decluttering your life, especially popular on TikTok right now. The Minimalist Game involves decluttering a number of things that corresponds with the number day of the month. So on the 15th, you’d be getting rid of 15 things. 

pile of assorted-color products

This is a great method for people who have a hard time tackling huge projects at once. If the thought of decluttering all in one go terrifies you, this is the method for you. 

Decluttering Efficiently 

When decluttering and attempting a more minimalist lifestyle, it is important to remember that the established point of minimalism is to live a simple life. Some may even argue that living minimally is related to being as environmentally friendly as possible. Therefore, when decluttering it is very important to make sure that you are not creating waste by getting rid of your belongings. 

Three great ways to efficiently get rid of your belongings are to

  1. Donate. Check your area for donation centers, shelters, temporary housing, and schools that will accept your items. Keep in mind that different organizations accept different items, so make sure you’re familiar with them before you head over to donate.
  2. Recycle. Make use of your recycling bin at home, and if you have things that won’t be accepted, many grocery and retail stores accept items that can’t be recycled from home, such as plastic bags. Check out this Planet Home article on places you can take your recycling.
  3. Repurpose.  The things you don’t use anymore could be repurposed into something else. Example could be anything from turning your old paper towel rolls into cable organizers, or using an old tub to plant herbs in. Swap parties are another great (and fun) option for repurposing, as we all know, one person’s trash could be another’s treasure.

Having less things, by default, means that you have a smaller environmental impact. Each and every one of the material possessions you own required resources and energy to create it. Then, think about how it came to be in your possession. This is why it can be greatly beneficial to minimize your purchasing and only purchase the things you really need. I recommend buying less things overall, but especially when it comes to clothes and accessories! I totally understand wanting a broad wardrobe that would allow you to wear a different outfit every day of the year, but there’s really no need to do that. 

Many people already have a plethora of belongings before they decide to become minimalist. If you were to throw out an entire house full of belongings, you’d be negating the positive environmental impact of being minimalist. Once you’ve established what to do with the items you already own by donating, upcycling or selling them, it is important to really reflect on the things you bring into your possession after that. If you go through a constant cycle of buying and then decluttering, you are not effectively being a minimalist or helping lessen your environmental impact. 

Emotional and Mental Impact

There are many claims that a minimalistic lifestyle will lead to an overall happier life. I think it is important to emphasize that becoming a minimalist will not cure depression, anxiety, etc. Minimalism has the power to lessen your emotional and mental burden by default because you do not have as many things weighing you down, but it will not be the cure to every problem in your life. 

woman spreading arms near body of water

Beyond material possessions, it is also very possible and much recommended by me to practice minimalism with your personal schedule and the stress that you put on yourself to accomplish things like chores, errands and plans with friends. I have had a very difficult time with this as I find it very hard to rest, but practicing minimalism with my schedule and the amount of things I do in a day has really helped me mentally and physically. I am much less stressed and better enjoy the things I do, rather than being overwhelmed and pulled into a thousand directions at once. 

Impact > Aesthetics 

Although being minimalistic can be very aesthetically pleasing, it is important to do efficient research when getting rid of any belongings or purchasing new belongings. Even if you only go clothing shopping once a year, if you purchase from an unethical and harmful company, that kind of defeats the purpose. If you go grocery shopping at a very plastic heavy grocery store when you live right next to a farmer’s market, you’re not being as environmentally effective as you could be.

Impact comes before aesthetics so please make sure to do your research about how environmentally effective your lifestyle really is. 

Call To Action 

I have found minimalism to be a very beneficial change for me and my lifestyle. I definitely recommend giving it a try. Not only do you have the opportunity to lessen your carbon footprint, but you can also save money, energy and stress!