Minimalist living. You might have heard it before. From the Minimalists to Marie Kondo, minimalism has gained traction in popular culture. But do you know that this lifestyle is also a springboard to going zero waste?
Be a minimalist. It’s simpler if you pair it with a zero waste lifestyle.
Minimalism (minimalist living) is the new freedom.
By shifting to a minimalist lifestyle, you are slowly freed from societal perceptions. What perceptions, you ask? Society in and of itself seems to dictate members to act a certain way, look a certain way or do things this way and that. Particularly, we live in a highly capitalist world where people are encouraged to buy more and more to show a high standard of living. Average households are full of stuff, most of which cause a lot of stressful clutter.
Cleaning a cluttered household can lead to a lot of stress and less time with family, friends or oneself. It could drive many to frustration. Worse, it could accelerate into a hoarding problem wherein people cannot let go of their things and leave family and friends to suffer. But there is a better way to live, if you dare choose it.
Be a minimalist. And go zero waste. Live more simply.
This minimalist movement promotes an individual to live with less.One needs to change the focal point of one’s life. Not stuff, but memories. Appreciate even the littlest things life has to offer. That is why it goes hand in hand with zero waste lifestyle. Both lifestyles advocate the discipline of the person to lessen expenses and focus more on saving, acquire less furniture, and keep a healthy lifestyle (i.e. walking or biking instead of driving a car). Here are some of the key principles that coincides between these two environment-friendly disciplines.
Core Principles of Minimalist Living and Zero Waste Lifestyle
- Refuse – Take a moment to pause and do not easily indulge yourself into purchasing things that are fancy, but you won’t be able to use later on. Always assess if you need these things, if you can use it for a long time and the purposes it can serve you.
Use these questions to guide your decision-making:
- Do you need it? (Emphasis on REALLY NEED IT.)
- Will you use it more than once a week?
- Does it serve more than one purpose?
- Is it unique?
- Will it enrich your life?
If the answer to any of those questions is NO, then don’t get that item. Never give in to your wants, if it can’t be justified by a present or future essential purpose in your life.
- Reduce – Let go of things that you don’t need in your life. Declutter. Take a week or more to assess the things you have. If you found yourself with excess stuff, you may donate it or give it to someone you know might need it. Freeing yourself from these things can help you to become stress-free. Use the same questions above to guide your decision-making while you clutter. Or you can go with the Kondo method of “What gives you joy?”
- Repair – Now that you’ve narrowed down your items to what you actually need in your life, always ensure that these are well-maintained to keep it in great shape. If these are neglected, you’ll end up in a vicious cycle of purchasing and damaging. This is a clear sign that you are not consuming less.
- Upcycle – Use your creative juices to turn some of your belongings into another item. As an example, instead of purchasing an organizer for the cables of your devices, make use of toilet paper rolls or shoe boxes. Plastic bottles can be a good substitute for plant pots. With your imagination, you can recreate items on your own. in return, This DIY attitude helps you to spend less and save environment all at once.
- Unsubscribe from newsletters – Especially from e-commerce companies. Exposure to such companies can tempt you into buying things that you might not even need. If you’ll unsubscribe yourself from such alluring sites, you’ll help in lessening plastic packaging, reducing production of paper receipt, and even decrease the gas consumed into transporting the items to your destination.
- Purchase high quality products – Admit it or not, we’re all a fan of cheap products that has a short lifespan. Instead of resorting to cheap items with its quality that is most likely compromised, always opt for high quality items even if it can be quite expensive. These products are definitely made from superb materials that ensures longevity. Live by the principle of “Buy It Once, Use it For a Lifetime”.
It takes a lot of practice and discipline to become a minimalist and live a zero-waste lifestyle. Always ask yourself, what should be enough for me? Practice decluttering instead of cluttering, and choose to dispose items that you know as “something you might need later on”.
Living a simple, free of clutter life would not only help save the environment, but should also guide you to have clearer and sharper mind. You will be more focused on the goals you’d like to achieve. At the same, you live a life that sustains the life of the planet as well. Ultimately, you need to focus your life on the things that matter most, including taking care of our only home.