I am by no means a minimalist – I like and have a lot of things – but I am trying to be more conscious about my relationship with “things.” These are some of the guidelines I try to follow in my life.
Have the least number of a certain thing that you can
I aspire to have the lowest number of a certain thing that I need/want. I do this by frequently taking an inventory of the things I own and always trying to whittle it down to what really matters, what I really love, what I really use and what truly brings value to my life.
I own 4 pens and 4 highlighters. If I need to use a pen, I know exactly where to find it. When I run out of ink in one pen, I know where the next one is. When I have gone through all 4, I know it is time to purchase a new set of 4.
There are certain things that I end up having a larger number of – nail polishes, for example. But I frequently go through my collection and purge myself of bottles that I no longer need or want – whether that is through donation, giving it to a friend, or throwing it out if it is not in usable condition.
+ Take stock of the “things” you have – one category at a time. For example – stationary, skin care, make up, tupperware, blankets, decorative items etc.
+ Decide on the lowest number you can own. What are the essentials? Which are your absolutely most loved products?
+ Discard, donate, recycle what no longer fits your life, until you are left with a few cherished items.
+ Consistently revisit and aim to keep editing and “streamline” your things.
Cherish each thing
This ties in with the point above. When you do this, you are left with a few select things that truly love and cherish. It brings a certain consciousness into your day to day life.
You see – when there is space for only one thing to do one job in my life – I tend to make that purchase, or acquisition very carefully. I pick something I truly want. Perhaps it is something new I want to try, or maybe it is an older, well loved classic that I always go to. Whichever it is, I choose well.
It all boils down to the concept – buy less, choose well.
For example – I have one cup that I drink coffee from. It’s my coffee cup. I also have one particular glass bottle which I drink water from. I really love these products because I picked ones I really liked. I use it every day, and when I use it, I am reminded the care I took when I chose it, and using them becomes a conscious, sacred act.
And one day when that cup is broken, or it is time for a new one – replacing it is a conscious process. I look for the perfect cup to replace the one I had. I buy just one, only what I need. And I really love it.
I own only one perfume at a time. Perhaps this sounds outrageous for some, I know a lot of people like to collect fragrances and that’s fine – I will talk about collections later in this post. But for me – one perfume at a time feels comfortable. I use it till it’s completion before I purchase another one.
For skin care – I currently own and use 2 cleanses (I double cleanse), one toner, one moisturizer, one serum, one lip balm and one facemask. I don’t own a lot of different products to do one job, and yet it still feels very luxurious when I use these things because I put a lot of thought into buying it.
I love the feeling I get when I finish a product completely. I remember when I was in my teens, I would buy every make up/skin care product that caught my eye. I could never use, appreciate or finish them all. They all remained half-used and then eventually discarded. I don’t want to be so wasteful. I want to be USE-full. I want the things I own to be of value.
I only mention these examples because if you are interested in make up and skin care – you might know that this is an area that can really pile up and get out of control.
+ Once you have whittled down the things you need, when it is time – replace each item consciously with things you truly love, so you enjoy and appreciate each moment of using it.
+ Try to use products till it’s completion
Use your best stuff
I have been guilty of living quite poorly in this moment. Instead – I wait for the day when my life is finally worth the good stuff. That day rarely comes – and even if it does, that is not where life is lived – in the rare extravagant moments. Life is lived in all these mundane in-between moments. That is where we can choose to live well. I also noticed that many of us share the mentality of believing we shouldn’t spend much money on day to day items because it is for normal every-day use, and then for a special occasion, we over spend by a LOT for a one time event. This feels counter intuitive to me.
Last year I purchased some beautiful gold-plated serving spoons for a dinner I was hosting. I adored those spoons. I used them twice in a year, for two “special occasions.”
And then I decided that my life is a special occasion. I decided that a Tuesday night dinner with my husband on the couch while we watch Dragon’s Den is a special occasion. I started using my beloved spoons. And you know what? I didn’t love them any less.
But neither did I love them more. Yet I did make that moment more beautiful to me. I chose to live well on a tuesday night on the couch, and I did.
Disclaimer: We do not need nice things to live well. Living well is an experience. You can make every moment beautiful and special, even without things. That being said – this blog post is about the fact that we do have things in this life, and it’s more about how we relate to them – more specifically, deciding to stop saving living well for a special occasion.
+ Use your most loved things, the things you saved for a special occasion.
+ Wear the beautiful lingerie, use your gold-plated serving spoons, use the good sheets.
+ Make every day a special occasion. Live well in every moment.
I am almost embarrassed to say that I am new the zero-waste concept. I suppose I have heard this term here and there, but always felt I was “safe”. I am ashamed to say that I felt like it was not “my problem.” But it is my problem. This is my home. This is my planet. And it is not okay – the way I have been living. I am guilty of pacifying myself with statements like “I’m just one person and I’m not THAT bad” – but if everyone in the world thought like this, we could do some serious damage to our beautiful planet.
I often talk about responsibility. And now I’m living it. I feel responsible. I feel responsible for this earth. We can use our spiritual practice to extend our sense of responsibility from ourselves, to our family, to our home, to our neighbourhood, to our city, to our country, and to our planet.
I’m starting small, with a few simple swaps in my day to day life.
+ Bringing my own KeepCup for take out coffee.
+ Switching out plastic bags for reusable cloth bags.
+ Switching plastic tupperware for glass and stainless steel.
+ Switching out tinfoil and cling-wrap for wax fabrics.
+ Switching my plastic toothbrush for a bamboo one.
Declutter, Donate, Recycle
My two favourite household “chores” are 1. Decluttering and 2. Reorganizing/rearranging/redecorating.
It’s kind of my jam.
Though a giant decluttering session can be therapeutic (but also exhausting) – I like to implement simple systems in place in my day to day life to make decluttering less overwhelming.
For example, junk mail goes straight into the recycling. Keep the recycling near where your junk mail comes in. In fact – cut out the middleman, and opt out of receiving junk mail in the first place.
Another example, keep a box for donation in your wardrobe so that as soon as you come across a piece of item in your wardrobe that no longer works for you, you can put it in the recycling box right away.
I also recommend that when it comes to decluttering – to work one small section at a time, rather than something huge like “my wardrobe.” Instead, begin with – one shelf, or one cupboard, or one drawer, or your t-shirts, or your dresses.
I find that doing this forces you to be even more selective about what you do decide to keep. When I do a general declutter, I tend to keep more stuff.
+ Create your day-to-day decluttering systems
+ When decluttering – work on one small area at a time.
Curate your Collections
Do you have something you love to collect? Perhaps its clothes, fragrances, records, clocks…I don’t know. For myself, I love to collect books and crystals.
+ Decide what you love to collect.
+ Allow myself to collect what you love – but aim to do it consciously. Don’t hoard items, curate your collections with care.
+ Find a beautiful and aesthetic way to display your collections in one place in your home. That way it can also be a part of your decor.
Manage your digital clutter
So much of our life now is accessed through devices, and it’s easy to forget that we can also accumulate clutter there too.
+ Periodically declutter your devices.
+ Safely store what you wish to keep on hard drives.
+ If photographs are important to you, print the ones you adore, and make an album.
+ Unsubscribe from e-mails. I unsubscribe as soon as I see an unwanted e-mail in my inbox.
I hope you found this helpful xo