Socks, towels, candles, bicycle tires, flower pots, hand blenders, side tables, empty pens, nail polish remover, and the napkin from the restaurant at the hotel on that vacation eight years ago. What do these things have in common? They consume resources. Making them, disposing of them and, to some extent, using them cost energy and raw materials. If you think you could get by with a smaller number of material things, you’re on the same wavelength as minimalism. But what exactly does it mean to reduce consumption to a minimum? What are the advantages and disadvantages? We’ll give you the answers and show you how to gain more financial freedom and sustainability by minimizing in the right places.
What is minimalism?
The definition of minimalism would appeal to minimalists, because it is so beautifully simple: less is more. What art, fashion and architecture have known for a long time, also describes a way of life since the early 2000s. It starts with the question: What do I actually need to be happy? Everything that goes beyond that seems superfluous. That which has become dispensable should go. It distracts from the essential and takes its place. So we start to clean out. In the home, in consumer behavior and even in one’s relationships. This requires a sometimes radical and lasting break with one’s environment and habits. In return, one promises oneself greater personal freedom and more order in everyday life.
What are the advantages?
On average, every German owns 10,000 items. These accumulate in the home, demanding space and care. Sorting them out brings order to the chaos. You would have more space if not only the old exercise books from elementary school disappeared, but also the box in which you stored them.
A tidy room also creates order in your mind. Less clutter in your field of vision occupies your attention. You can think clearer thoughts. You may discover treasures in yourself and your environment that have escaped you in the previous clutter. Reducing your focus to a smaller circle of things, people and activities also gives you more time.
One particularly popular benefit is saving money. When you permanently cut yourself off from expensive consumer goods and hobbies, it shows up in your bank balance. Conscious renunciation makes you more financially independent.
Saving resources is valuable not only for you, but for everyone. If we reduce our material needs, less has to be produced at the expense of nature.
What are the disadvantages?
Changing your lifestyle is difficult. Changes that are meant to last require time, planning and perseverance. Beloved items are not something you just throw away, especially if there are memories attached to them. Disposing of them can be costly and, depending on how they are disposed of, can cause environmental damage.
If you decide to change your possessions and habits, you are not alone in making this decision. Your partner and children are affected when you sell your car. Your parents are affected when you change jobs. And your friends are affected when you cancel your subscription to a streaming service. Social pressure also comes from society. Living minimalist goes against the mainstream of our culture, which is designed for consumption. You can expect resistance, or at least raised eyebrows, from your neighbors.
How can you integrate minimalism into your life?
The decision to consume less is something everyone has to weigh up for themselves. It should fit you and your circumstances. Leaving civilization and moving into a cave is not mandatory. There are first steps to a reduced and thus more conscious use of resources. Here are five starter tips:
1. question your needs
Take a moment and ask yourself the question: What do I need to live a fulfilled life? Maybe you can think of a few things right away. The rest is up for scrutiny. Ask family and friends for their opinions. On the Internet, you can find stories of people who have asked themselves the same question. They can tell you about their experiences living more minimally.
2. do a self-experiment
Ride your bike to work. For once, skip the plastic-wrapped sandwich from the vending machine. Wear the same t‑shirt two days in a row. There’s a lot you can try without much effort. See how it feels. If you don’t experience withdrawal symptoms right away, you can always increase.
3. inspect your possessions
What’s catching cobwebs in your home? Many items we have sitting around the house we don’t need every day. Some we never need. You could look in closets, drawers, basements, attics and see what you can’t spare. Grab a friend or throw a whole “decluttering party”. You’ll be amazed at what you find and won’t miss in the future.
4. buy quality, not quantity
Everything has its expiration date. If you need to buy something new, it is worth spending more money than less. You don’t have to keep replacing a quality product. Of course, used stuff is worth a look. Especially if they are in good condition or refurbished. By the way, quality before quantity does not only apply to objects. Experiences like a vacation also fall into this category.
5. invest simply and sustainably in your future
Two big goals of minimalist living are financial freedom and conservation of resources. With Wattify, you can focus on just that. Transparent indirect crowdinvesting in renewable energy projects await you. All based on a climate-neutral blockchain. Design and investment model — reduced to the essentials. And while your money is being invested for return and sustainability, you get more time for yourself.