Minimalism 101

17 Jun 2017 - keyser

Wardrobe decluttering, efficient space, tech minimalism and more.

o Wardrobe decluttering

Throw EVERYTHING away, you can stick to certain colours or not, but don’t look at it as a punishment. DON’T throw it away if you DO use it. Decluttering is about getting rid of the unnecessary stuff, not suffering.

My Case: I threw like 70% of my wardrobe away, it all fits in a bag (about 33 items + shoes).

IMPORTANT: Don’t go shopping specifically for clothes, more on that on the conscious spending part.

o Efficient space

Extreme advice: sell your furniture and use the money for new. Try to plan and buy efficient storage space. If you already have good furniture/ you like it, it’s time to move on to how to use it to store items and how to use them. That is the key to efficient space: Spend on storage boxes and decide where to put them and where you’ll put what.

I’m gonna use my case as an example. I sold my modules and tiny desk I had since HS. I would NEVER use the desk, thought it was because I did everything in bed because I was lazy, and while it was partly true, the desk was uncomfortable as hell.

o Conscious Spending and Cutting Habits

There’s this huge misconception that minimalists are boring and don’t spend on ANYTHING. Maybe some people are indeed that way, but the minimalists I know are even hoarders in some aspects. That sounds contrasting and it is if you believe practicing minimalism is depriving yourself of what you like.

What minimalism aims at is to cut on aspects of your life that are not needed or, and this is the key part everybody seems to miss, don’t fulfill you. If collecting CDs or writing on paper (Who could I be talking about?) makes you happy or is more practical for you, or putting it plain and simple, you just like it for the hell of it, then you shouldn’t cut that out of your life, which seems obvious, but so many people miss that when they hear about minimalism. (Take a shot every time I used the word ‘Minimalism’).

Conscious spending refers to that: Buy what you like, but don’t let it become an addiction or habit. Don’t buy the same bulk of food every week if you’re throwing a lot away, don’t buy your favourite band’s new CD if you hated it just to support them. Above/before I talked about not going shopping specifically for clothes. That’s an unusual tip you’ll get from a minimalist, I admit. What I (highly) suggest is to keep lists of what you need to buy. Is it a new shirt? A phonecase? And whenever you feel like having a day out, go to the mall and buy everything in one day. This will give you A) Time to decide if you really need/want the item B) The sense of treating yourself once you do. If you go out specifically to buy something and go back home, it feels like a task. If you take a friend out for lunch, then buy a shirt and then go to the movies, not only are you cutting expenses (travel, those small useless that you find everytime you go out and feel the need to buy because they’ll “look pretty in my house!!!” etc) but it feels like a reward.

o Tech minimalism

Figure out what you want to do with it. Do you depend on it a lot? Is tech essential for your job?

What do you need? i.e. I need a really good smartphone and a good laptop. Splurge if you use it a lot, it will pay off economically in the long run. If you can’t afford to splurge, sell your old tech or whatever you have at hand but don’t use. You don’t need a dslr for instagram, sell it. You don’t need a damn tablet! Sell it (unless part of your job is doing live presentations your laptop just won’t cut it).

Example: My specs

· Samsung Galaxy Note 5 (I need the stylus and my job requires a note-centered smartphone/Need a powerhouse bc I study programming and I need to test apps).

· Not the best computer, but the best I could afford, also it was enough for the kind of design I do. 4GB ram, 500GB storage (I don’t work with files that are too heavy, also use cloud storage).

Before/After:

· Instead of having: DSLR, Tablet, Smartphone, EBook (Yes, some people still buy kindle fires), Notebook etc.

· You have: Smartphone + Notebook

§ My Case:

Before: DSLR, smartphone, notebook

After: Smartphone + notebook

What you save in space: Less physical tech, less paper if you wish to go paper free (not my case), less physical CDs (not entirely my case).

What you save in $$$: Less tech obviously, if you buy good quality you save in the long run, less paper.

o Social Media and Virtual Space 101

While social media cannot clutter your physical space, it can certainly clutter your mind. That’s why I always say the best thing you can do, whether you’re a minimalist or not, is to declutter your online space.

I could write an entire guide on this (maybe I will someday), but the basic gist of it goes as follows: Analize what accounts stress you. Social media was not made to stress you out; it is not your job to post/rt/reblog ANYTHING. Once you’ve pinpointed those accounts, delete them. Not the app, delete the actual account, get rid of it, because if not you WILL be back on it. The thought of “Having” to gather followers again, confirm your email account, etc. Will remind you why you left it in the first place and so dether you from going back into it. Delete old email accounts you don’t use anymore; why have emails that just sit there gathering the virtual dust that are subscription emails from 2009? Not worth it.

The MOST important thing, however, is not following toxic people. Delete those drama-seeking ex-classmates off Facebook, unfollow those accounts on Twitter that keep indirecting people and making you anxious. They serve no purpose.

Example: I deleted 3 old email accounts, an extra twitter account and instagram profile, got rid of facebook and unfollowed toxic people from the accounts I still have.

Virtual space, however, is not just online space. Delete old apps you don’t need, useless screenshots, those blurry concert pictures you took 6 months ago. Try to organize your appllications in a way that makes sense.

Example: I have a home screen for productivity apps (Notes, Gmail, etc.), one for networking, essentially composed of all my social media accounts which I barely use outside work anymore, and one for fun/most useful (Whatsapp, Youtube, Camera, Phone, Chrome, and a time + weather widget).

o Don’t believe the hype

Even though it’s the shortest, this is one of the most important points: minimalism won’t solve all your life’s problems. It’s not the spiritual journey everybody paints it as. It can make your life more productive and less anxiety-ridden, yes, but a healthy life is composed of more than just an organized space and cuts on your spending and social media.

o Bonus: Concrete/Specific Tips

These are just personal tips that worked for me and the type of minimalism I adopted. Hope they help!

· Don’t throw away memories. Set a box aside to save all those letters, receipts of that coffee place you remember so fondly, dumb photobooth pictures. They have emotional value and are worth more than free space.

· Get a desk with storage beneath it. Not above it, and use the wall for floating shelves. (If you’re into that style, that is. I found it the most practical).

· If by any chance you’re moving (a lot of people look and get into minimalism before moving/while doing so) try to find a flat or house with a big wardrobe built into the wall, it’s THE excellent space saver.