Have you experienced living or working in places with a lot of clutter, like a messy house or an office table with heaps of papers here and there? Most people cannot think or move around freely when they see a lot of mess. It can also get stressful and people get more tired than usual when they return home and see disarrangements and junks all over the place.
Aside from the mess, buying things we don’t really need put a strain on your financials. Sometimes the latest gadgets, new furniture, fashion or toys attract us so much that we can’t help but purchase, only for these to end up in our drawers or corners rotting away after a few months (or days), not to mention debt piling up because of impulse buying.
There is a solution that can help us get out of this problem, and it’s called practicing minimalism. For most people, minimalism is white walls, large space and tucking away things out of sight. These are true, but it barely scratches the surface.
Minimalism deals with not only tucking away things but throwing away and getting rid of belongings completely. This is when you decide which things are important, and which are not. If you have 1000 belongings and they all make a difference in your life, then it is alright to keep them.
It’s not really a matter of how many items you own, it’s how many of these items bring meaning to you and help you in your everyday life. It makes you turn a mirror to yourself and decide which of these items are an absolute necessity for you to survive and which ones are useless and replaceable.
Now that you got to understand what minimalism really is, let’s go the WHYs on why we have to practice minimalism and how it relates to debt. For the purpose of this post, we will both discuss both material minimalism and financial minimalism.
Why Do We Need to Practice Minimalism?
1. Save time
If you are the type that dislike cleaning or you just don’t have the time then minimalism is right for you. Since you will keep fewer things, cleaning up won’t be much of a problem. Even if you have kids, you will just end up with toys they really like to play with and that’s less clutter to organize.
2. Better control of finances
You can get more in control of your debt as well since you would be more in control of what or not to purchase. Buying fewer things is one of the best financial decisions you could make. (For example, do you really need to buy the latest Corelle plates, the latest iPhone or Samsung, or the latest PlayStation?)
3. Less stress
As what we have mentioned above, clutter creates stress. Minimizing your items means less clutter and distraction. It will help you get a breath of fresh air and helps you relax more.
4. More time to do what you want
It frees up a lot of your time. If you have less stuff to clean and organize, you will spend less time clearing up and you will have more time to do other things, like bonding with your kids or getting creative.
5. Save money
It can provide an opportunity to be frugal. Since you will buy fewer things, you can instead spend your money on things that last longer.
6. Realize how precious you are
Your life is too important to be spent on things that don’t give value. You don’t need to be one of the Joneses, you don’t need to have the same material things your neighbor is chasing. Minimalism instead gives you freedom, peace of mind and relaxation.
How to Apply Minimalism to Your Life
Minimalism can be applied whether you are single, married or with kids. Having kids in the house would be more challenging, but still, hundreds of families were able to do it, so can you! Here are some tips for you to apply so you can transition from clutter to clean:
1. Decide which ones you need to throw.
Remember, those are things that don’t have value to you, like old cell phones, TVs, tablets, extra furniture. If you can’t decide, ask yourself why you cannot part with your things, then think if those reasons are important enough for those things to occupy extra space in your house.
2. Discard some things right now.
You don’t have to do them right away, but at least get rid of some of them every week, like three items a week. If you try to wait for the perfect time to throw them out, there is rarely a perfect time! If you see a thing that you don’t need anymore, give them up.
Check your cabinets and drawers and see which items you haven’t used for a year, like clothes, books, toys, papers, shoes, and others. Discard them, give them away or sell.
3. Let go of the idea of “someday”.
If you have not used it for a while (for years), then you will not use it, ever.
4. Look at your belongings and feel if they still give you the spark of joy.
If you don’t feel happy like on the first time you purchased them (like clothes you used to wear when you were still thin), then it’s time to get rid of it.
5. Imagine yourself moving to a smaller house.
Ask yourself, if you are moving, which ones would I bring?
6. Do not buy multi-tools.
Its true that minimalism means fewer items but these multi-tools won’t last long and you will end up buying more. It’s better to focus on quality items that can do a single task expertly.
7. Go paperless.
Get rid of papers, documents, bills that you don’t need anymore. If you don’t need the originals, scan them and save them to your computer, cloud or external hard drive.
8. Help your kids understand the joy from simple things.
When you were a kid, you probably played without using any gadget, and you were completely fine and happy. Teach them how to play outside, appreciate nature, play with stones, twigs, leaves, do art, or watch a movie in your backyard.
1. Minimalism can also be applied to budgets.
A minimal budget has fewer line items, focusing on the most important.
Check your expense items and determine which ones you can live without. For example, you can get rid of cable, car payments (either you pay them off or get rid of the car), internet, new clothes every month, credit card #1,# 2 and #3, gym membership, subscription boxes and junks. You will now have enough budget to pay for items that are longer lasting and better quality.
And similar with reduced material goods, you can receive the same benefits with the minimal budget as well.
Related: How to Create Zero Based Budgets
2. Automate your payments.
Since the deadlines of your bills are usually the same every month, set them up for automation so you don’t have to worry every month about late payments.
3. Consolidate your credit cards and bank accounts.
You really don’t need a lot of accounts right? Choose just one credit card which has the best benefits and consolidates your debts there. Then for your bank account just choose one or two accounts to maintain, so you only have one account to keep an eye of, one bank statement, one username, and password, so nothing gets lost.
4. Stop shopping online.
Remember you are only focusing on things you need.
5. Wear minimal makeup.
Less is more, and most of the time girls look their best with just a little makeup. You save money in return too. You can also do your own mani-pedi to save you salon expenses.
6. Decrease your housing costs by saving electricity, moving to a cheaper apartment or buying a house at a lesser cost.
If you are thinking whether to rent or buy a house, click here. You can also move closer to your workplace so you spend less on transportation.
So there are some of our tips on how you can implement minimalism into your life. If you are married, be sure to discuss this first with your spouse and kids so they understand what you are trying to do, and support you. Surprising them one day with you selling the car, house, their gadgets, TV, and cable might force them to kick you out and you end up sleeping outside instead, so make sure to discuss first!
And another thing, you don’t need to rush things. Be patient, as practicing minimalism take some time to get used to. Give yourself 1 to 2 years, for starters.
If you think you will have a problem applying minimalism because of your crippling debt, why not call the numbers below for a free debt assessment? Or just leave us a message!