Practical minimalism is something that I actively practice. I am pursuing a minimalist lifestyle with an open mind and the realization that there is no “One size fits all of minimalism.”
There are no “RULES” for minimalism.
Don’t let anyone sell you that idea. Because if they do sell you that idea, they are usually trying to sell you something. Funny huh?
For example: “You cannot be a true minimalist unless you get rid of ALL of your old clothes…… And purchase OUR brand new capsule wardrobe.” That’s just a sneaky marketing technique.
Minimalism isn’t about buying a bunch of expensive stuff- it’s about removing excess stuff and junk from your life. And whatever that “extra stuff” is, is going to be different for each family.
I wish there was a minimalism inventory list of one spoon per household, two chairs, three t-shirts, etc. etc. Because that would simplify things a whole lot.
But each family has their own lifestyle and that changes your version of minimalism drastically!!!
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What is practical minimalism?
Practical minimalism should be something that makes your life easier, freer, simpler, and more joyful. Because if it’s not going to help you, why are you doing it? There’s always an initial bit of stress as you take the first bag/box of stuff out of your house. There’s the anxiety of, will I ever wish I had that snow-cone machine ever again?
P.S. I am not picking on any of you who own a snow-cone machine and use it with regularity. Maybe I am if you only use it once a year….. 😉
I still have a lot of things in my house. Some of my closets you would open and KNOW that I’m a minimalist, others you would open and wonder where the pack rat came from.
Example: My linen closet is stuffed full of blankets and pillows, because I want people to know that can come stay the weekend at my house and I’ll have somewhere for them to sleep. But if you go in my kitchen, you’ll find empty drawers and cupboards.
I adapt practical minimalism to fit my life. Sometimes I have to have a heart-to-heart with myself to remind me that often times I hold on to things just because I want to hold on to them. I don’t actually need or want it. You see, I AM the pack rat.
I have a tendency to collect things and store them never to be used.
That’s why minimalism is SOOO good for me. It makes me reevaluate my priorities and helps me keep from adding to the crazy of my life.
Less stuff= less stress for me. And so I have to be harsh on myself in some areas and MAKE myself get rid of things. But I also need to have the realistic view that I need to be prepared for our lifestyle.
Lifestyle choices that affect the way you apply practical minimalism:
1. Working/Stay At Home Mom:
If my kids spend all day at day care or school, I’m not going to need as many “activities” or toys for them. So if you’re a working mom than you may be able to simplify how much stuff you have to pick up at the end of the day by getting rid of the majority of it.
For those of you who are stay-at-home moms, you know your own routine.
You know if your kids read tons of books or play trains. You should keep the stuff that fits with your routine and that is used on a regular basis. I’ve finally finished cutting back on our toys. We now have “sets” of toys. Things that go together and are used a lot. Because I’m home all day with the kids I need to have some constructive things for them to play and make.
Let me tell you a strange secret. The less toys I have out, the more creative and content my kids are. If they have the set of blocks and a couple trucks to drive, they’ll let me cook dinner without hanging on my legs.
If I set out all the toys I have, my boys come into the kitchen and empty all the dishes onto the kitchen floor. It’s as though they are overwhelmed with their toy choices, so they move on to something different.
Whereas if they just have the block set out, they’ll sit there and build houses, barns, tunnels, airplanes, you name it!
2. Outdoor Life:
- Does your family spend a lot of time outdoors or in the country?
- Do you live in a mild climate?
- What are your winters like?
How you answer those questions will change what you need in your home. If you mainly live in the city and in a mild climate, you’re not going to need rain gear, snow gear, rubber boots, or work boots.
However, if you live somewhere cold, you better hang on to that big coat.
My family spends a lot of time outdoors. That means my boys’ closet and mine needs to hold appropriate clothing, especially for Oregon winters. Rain gear and snowsuits along with warm coats, mittens, and hats add quite a bit to our closets but we couldn’t make do without them!
Do you have a lot of company at your house? If you do you may want to keep a couple extra blankets and towels on hand.
If company is as rare as a blue cat than you probably don’t need all that stuff taking up space.
With company coming, it affects the amount of furniture, dishes, and linens you have. Plan for the way you want your home to be.
The way you eat food in your home affects your type of minimalism.
If you eat out all the time or get takeout on a regular basis, you probably don’t need near as many appliances or dishes as someone who makes all their food from scratch.
I personally would like to get rid of everything in my kitchen- mainly because I hate doing dishes. But that probably isn’t a good plan since 95% of our meals are cooked at home.
You might be a meal prepper, or a crock pot person; you might need enjoy baking, or making 15 minute meals.
The type of cooking you do will change what tools you need in the kitchen!
Decide what works for you and your family.
5. Home Projects/Hobbies:
There are all types of home projects you might like to do.
- etc etc!
Certain hobbies require specific tools!
Maybe you are a BIG DIY-er. You thrive on making everything yourself. You know that that requires more tools and supplies than the average household, so you should plan accordingly.
I have to be very careful in this area because I am that person that thinks they can “make that for way cheaper” or “how fun to say I made that myself.”
You know what I’m talking about. We all know someone like that. Except that someone is me. I’ll end up buying all the supplies to make one little thing and it will have cost me 5x the money and then I’m left with all the leftover supplies!!!
With that in mind, I’m trying to curb some of my DIY’s.
It’s not easy folks.
If you are someone who is blessed with a crafty bone in your body, you’ll probably like to have some crafting supplies in your home for your creative outlet.
Maybe you have a creative biz so you need to keep your supplies for that. Know yourself, and know your limits. Do you ACTUALLY use your craft supplies? Because I happen to have a Hobby Lobby obsession and it’s easy for me to think I’m the best crafter in the world when I shop there. 😂
I have had to be completely honest and realize that I lack the crafty gene. I tried. Golly did I try. But it just isn’t what I’m into. I had shelves and boxes of craft things. I made things with it- once or twice. It just is not something I’m crazy about- I wish I were. So, because crafting doesn’t fit my lifestyle and what I want to spend my time on, I got rid of the majority of my craft supplies.
And I can now use my office for other things than storage space!
7. Clothing Choices:
Your lifestyle affects your closet. If you work in a very professional environment you may require some suits. Some people may work in a casual environment and can use their everyday clothes to work in.
Some of us fall into the opposite end of the spectrum.
I’m looking at you, you ranchers and farmers.
I have my sets of “gross” clothes for working outside in the garden and with animals. It’s way easier to have a couple pairs of nasty jeans and t-shirts than to try and keep your other clothes nice when you’re covered in dirt and cow crap. That stuff stains. 😜
My oldest is still a fan of mud, dirt, and grass stains. I want him to be able to play and have fun without worrying if “mom will be mad about his clothes.” (Let’s be real: we’ve all met a parent like that.)
So even the kids have separate “play” clothes. For our lifestyle, it makes it less stressful for me and the kids.
Would you choose to apply practical minimalism?
The bottom line is this: Don’t feel trapped by minimalism. That defeats the purpose. Minimalism is supposed to be a freeing endeavor so if you are feeling stuck with your minimalistic choices- change them!!
Get rid of the unnecessary and embrace what IS necessary for your lifestyle.