A growing number of Millennials are taking on another M-word identity: minimalist. Like any movement, there are many degrees of minimalism, from extreme — owning only 100 items, or living completely off the grid — to manageable — using minimal home decor, or using a capsule wardrobe, or getting a minimalist tattoo. The philosophy of minimalism isn’t for everybody, but we have to admit, some of these principles are pretty on point. You don’t have to jump on the sparsely decorated minimal train to reap the benefits. Scroll on for four lessons you can learn from the minimalist movement that won’t cramp your style.
Advice from Minimalists
1. Quality Is Key: Minimalists know that when it comes to the things you need to have, quality is always better than quantity. That’s why they invest in the best version of something, rather than amassing a cluttered collection of halfway-functional items. Minimalist and personal finance blogger Cait Flanders of Blonde on a Budget says, “A lot of people think minimalists don’t like to spend money, but that’s not true. In fact, I’d say the theme for minimalists in general is to only acquire stuff that we will use often or truly value — and that’s why many are happy to spend the extra money to get something that’s high quality and will last for a long time.” So when you’re looking for a new pair of rain boots or small kitchen appliance, keep this in mind. Scope out reviews and pick up the best version you can find — it’ll save you money in the long run.
2. Less Stuff = Less Stress: The fewer things you have, the fewer things you have to worry about. That means less cleaning or washing, fewer items to store away or swap out for the season, less to insure and fewer things of value that can be lost or damaged. Before you make an impulse purchase or add yet another oversized mug or pair of booties to your pile, consider whether or not you really have the room for it in your home and your mind.
Flanders adds this tip to rest easy: “The Minimalists have a great rule for those “just in case” items you’re scared to get rid of: If you can buy it again for $20 and within 20 minutes of your home, get rid of it. I know that means you could potentially spend more money on something again one day, but I haven’t needed a single one of my “just in case” items… chances are, you won’t either.”
3. The Cost of Clutter: Have you ever torn your place apart looking for something you could have sworn you left in the cupboard, thrown your hands up and purchased a replacement product… only to find the very one you were looking for two days later in a different drawer? Clutter costs us more than we realize. Not only do we end up spending to replace things that get lost or broken in the clutter, but our time is just as valuable as our dollars. You’ll spend far less time searching for what you need if you have less stuff in the way.
4. The Best Things in Life Aren’t Things: At the end of the day, few of the things you buy will make you as happy as the laughs, experiences and adventures you share with the people who make life great. It’s a simple principle for Flanders, who says, “When you focus on what’s lacking in your life, you’ll do or buy anything to fill that void. But when you choose to appreciate what is good in your life, you will use money in ways that help sustain it.”
What tips do you take from minimalism? Share your favorites of the bare-bones trend with us on Twitter.