As you may already know, it is very common for people to attach much more importance to material things than they should. Minimalism helps us make room for the truly important things in life: our passions, what drives us, our family, our health, etc. But, it also helps us be more conscious of the environment as minimalism and sustainability go hand-in-hand. Living a minimalist lifestyle often brings us very close to also living a sustainable lifestyle. Let’s look at how we can take that extra step to protect our planet.
These are some practical tips to start living as a sustainable minimalist.
Change the way you buy clothes
Support the companies that are conscious about our planet, buy clothes that are made of recyclable materials, and don’t buy too much. There are numerous brands that produce fashionable and timeless clothing pieces you can wear for more than just one season. Look for eco-friendly brands like Rockay, and make sure that the clothes you buy fit into the standard of living a green and minimalist lifestyle.
Minimize your closet
Being a minimalist doesn’t mean that you don’t have a good sense of sustainable fashion, but that you adhere to basic colors that match almost every wardrobe – classic and stylish. The minimalist style will never go out of style, rest assured. Take a minimalist approach when traveling. Don’t carry too many items, but only the ones you need and that you know you will surely wear.
Make a list of things you don’t need
If you have not used them for over a year then they are most likely just taking up your space. Put unnecessary things on the list and get rid of them. How many pairs of classic jeans do you really need? Do you use all three sets of plates or just one? Take a good look at how many of the same things you have at home and how much you need them at all. Be open to giving away duplicates you don’t use.
Learn to live with less
Learning how to live with less will help you in every aspect of your life. For example, you get used to traveling with fewer things, you buy only what you need and you discover the value of things you already have. Reducing your needs is not just an economic question, but it is about learning to live only with the things that are important to you.
Switch to online payments and forget about paperwork
Many companies offer payment through an online account, while important paperwork, such as birth certificates or similar, can be scanned on your computer, and you only need to print them when you need them. Get rid of the big paper towers and your space (especially your work space) will be much tidier, while it will be easier for you to handle your bills and other paperwork. All while using less paper and saving our precious trees.
Reduce the space you are using
If your apartment or house is large and you don’t use most of the space, look for smaller ones. It is a misconception that bigger is better. Smaller apartments give a greater impression of a warm home, and you can decorate it a bit easier. Adopt a more frequent cleaning method to prevent clutter and dirt in your home.
Use the 3R rule
Recycle, reduce, reuse. Go online and put your imagination to use. Find out how you can give a new life to something you don’t use. Reuse old containers to store your things in the kitchen, your office or the bathroom. Use your old bag as a shopping bag or as storage for things in your room. There is a world of possibilities; your imagination is the limit.
Be conscious about food waste
Make your kitchen eco-friendly. Don’t buy too much food when you go to the store, as you will be throwing half away – that’s for sure. Avoid buying fruits and vegetables that are wrapped in plastic. Instead, buy them fresh, and bring an eco-bag for them to avoid using a plastic or paper bag. If you can, avoid buying products that are not in eco-friendly packaging, or at least those that are packed in too much packaging materials. Because the first thing you are going to do after buying all that food and drink is to throw away the packaging.
Control your energy and make sure it is clean
Exchange your old light bulbs for LED lights. Turn off the lights in any room you are not using at any given time. Invest in better windows so you can better regulate the temperature in your home, instead of using the air conditioning all the time. It will lower your electric bill and it is the more responsible option than AC (for yourself and the environment). An ecological house must ensure that it consumes energy sustainably. Another way to do this is by investing in solar panels or an electric car. Of course, these are large up-front costs but in the long run they will save you money and are the sustainable minimalist choice.
Read the labels of the products you buy
The label must be reliable; it shows where the product is from. You can find out if the company is following all the rules, if they have a LEED certification, if the product is non-toxic, etc. Beware of companies that label their products as eco-friendly even though that is not the case. This is called “greenwashing.” To avoid those products and companies, you can always look if those products were approved by an ecologically conscious consumer-advocacy group. Keep an eye out for companies that are part of the “1% for the Planet” group or are Certified B Corporations. Both of these certifications are given to companies who are truly giving back to the environment.
Have your own cleansing products
Having your own cleaning products has several benefits: you reuse and buy less packaging; you do not use harsh products in your household, you are thinking about the environment, and you are taking care of your savings. If you do not feel comfortable mixing your own cleaning products, make sure you buy natural products and buy it in bulk. Many companies provide bulk products that come with less packaging that you can simply replenish your smaller stock instead of buying a small dispenser every time you run out.
Eco (vegan) cosmetic products
In addition to knowing the origin and composition of creams and gels you use, there must be labels attached to them. On them, you will find if the products are eco-friendly, vegan or made without the process of animal testing. Change your skin care routine to suit your new lifestyle.
Simplify Your Life Course
Take the 13-step course to learn intentional living by focusing on what is truly important in life while getting rid of the rest.
Don’t buy, repair!
Because of mass production, it is cheaper to buy a new thing than it is to repair the one you already have. That is true for many appliances, tech gadgets, clothes and more. But, if you buy higher quality items, you will be saving your money in the long run. You will also live a more eco-friendly life. Don’t leave the unnecessary waste behind you while you go through life. Be smart, live green and be a true sustainable minimalist. Repair what you can.