Min­i­mal­ism — Less con­sump­tion, more for the envi­ron­ment

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?

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.

Reduction to the essentials creates order in chaos

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.

Preserving nature by cutting back on our material needs

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.

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