Showing posts from 2021

How do Minimalists Spend Money?

Experienced minimalists have a strong grip on how much stuff is the right amount to have in their lives. There comes a point when there's not a lot to shop for anymore... So how do seasoned minimalists spend money?  I can't speak for every other minimalist but I will share where my money goes. Of course, without huge purchases to worry about, a good chunk of my money goes into savings. I have better-than-average retirement accounts through work, so I don't really bother much with additional investing. Any money that doesn't go into a savings account goes toward making life better and more joyful. I use my disposable income to cook and eat better foods, wear better clothes, and buy back my free time. I've elaborated on each spending category below, and hope this post inspires you to make your own life better. A Healthier Pantry When my husband and I were saving for a house a few years ago, we cut back everywhere we could, including on the grocery budget. We weren'

Confronting Sunk Cost Fallacy

One of the biggest obstacles to starting in on minimalism is sunk cost--not wanting to get rid of something solely because we've spent money on it, even if it's something we don't like. Sunk cost fallacy is the financial equivalent to emotional sentimentality, and can hold new minimalists back from discarding the right items. How can I identify sunk cost fallacy? The phenomenon of sunk cost fallacy is a set of behaviors where we keep trudging along with an object long past its use or our interest in it, and we do so only because it cost us money. It's a trap where we artificially attach ourselves to items just because we had to pay for them. A good example is when you move to a new apartment or house and you take along the same box of assorted phone chargers, power adapters for other devices, etc., over and over again with each move. Those items cost money to buy, cost money to replace, and prompt a lot of "what if I need them one day?" questions. But in the e

Digital Decluttering Part 2: Old Accounts and Saved Passwords

With my social media presence reduced as part of my digital decluttering effort, I decided that old accounts and saved passwords would be the next leg of this journey. This has turned out to be a fairly time-consuming project, but it is one that can be worked on whenever a few minutes present themselves. Cleaning up online presence overall has a lot of benefits, from not needing to remember and store to many passwords to reducing the likelihood of becoming the victim of a data breach. And of course from the minimalist perspective, less stuff to worry about means more time for the important things. I'll take a different tack from my usual style and list this post out in steps so it's easier to follow along at home. Step 1: Sign up for a new (second) password manager I know I essentially said that less is more in the intro paragraph, but using multiple password managers is only a temporary step. I started off with all of my accounts saved in Google Password Manager and chose Bitw

Minimalism is a process

Minimalism makes room in our lives for more of the parts of life that matter: hobbies, relationships, experiences. But minimalism isn't something to ultimately achieve and then stop as though it's complete. There is no contest to see who does minimalism the best (at least, there never should be). There are as many versions of minimalism as there are practitioners or followers. And because minimalism is so variable and personal, I can't stress this enough: Minimalism is a process . It's an ongoing, mindful, and honest effort to remove clutter from life. It can silence the constant and seemingly inescapable piercing whistle of anxiety or the static buzz of feeling overworked. For my fellow Millennials and my Xennial and Zoomer compatriots, putting an end to anxiety and exhaustion is something we all chase but don't necessarily know how to achieve. Even achieving anything requires maintenance to uphold the achievement. But with minimalism, I never want the thought of

Processing Sentimental Items

Birthdays. Holidays. Gifts from loved ones abound. Some gifts are long-lasting, physical items like clothing and accessories, books and other media, and trinkets. Others are short-lived but enjoyable consumables like dinner-dates and bottles of wine. Some sentimental items are left to us whether we wanted them or not--whether the items are gifts or just the possessions of someone who is no longer with us. It's the long-lasting gifts and other people's left-behind posessions that can present the most challenge in our efforts to declutter. There are a few facets of gifts and other sentimental items that can make parting with them difficult. In the case of the gift-giver still being alive and in contact, not wanting to part with an item might come from a place of guilt or feeling that the giver could be hurt if they knew you discarded an item they gave to you. In the case of the gift-giver having passed away, not wanting to part with an item might come from a place of needing to h

The Dreaded Junk Drawer: A Mess That Always Comes Back

Some time ago, I wrote about how my discarding and decluttering habits helped me empty my junk drawer. Well, it's a couple of years later now and the chaos slowly crept back. This time, I'm going to tackle it once and for all... but with a different end goal in mind What is a junk drawer? For anyone who doesn't know what a junk drawer is, it's a pretty ubiquitous phenomenon across American homes. My parents, my husband's parents, tons of our friends' parents all had junk drawers... and we do, too. The junk drawer varies from home to home, but generally it's a potpourri of seemingly useful objects all mingling together in a useless and chaotic way. For my parents, the junk drawer was where rubber bands, paper clips, one-off nails and screws, screwdrivers without a matching set, and other small tools ended up. In other junk drawers I've seen, there have been souvenir spoons, thimbles, tiny dollar store sewing kits... all sorts of things. The worst part abo

Books on Minimalism & Mindfulness: Part 1

I try to revisit a couple of books on minimalism every year. Rereading a book or two, or all of them, in this category will generally help me renew my purpose. I haven't reviewed a book since grad school, which I left in 2016 to advance my career in IT. Having had this blog for over a year now (despite not posting for a while after changing jobs) I feel it's time to finally actually review some of the books that helped me become the minimalist I am today. Review 1: New Minimalism: Decluttering and Design for Sustainable, Intentional Living ISBN: 978-1-63217-132-0 Authors: Cary Telander Fortin & Kyle Louise Quilici I'll be honest and say I don't remember when I bought this book, only that I bought it with the intention of using it to help me design my house around minimalist tendencies. Rereading it this year, it felt more suited to those new to minimalism. It's absolutely great for helping you find a jumping-off point from which you can dive into minimalism. It

Declutter, Donate, Sell: What's Your Time Worth?

Sometimes it can be hard to determine whether an item should be kept, donated, or sold. During your decluttering efforts, you might form a "Maybe" pile of items you think you might want to keep, but would donate or sell if they don't fit you (like clothes) or don't fit your space (like furniture). Donating items takes little time--simply box or bag up items and drop them off at a donation center. Selling items to recupe some money, however, can take valuable time and effort best spent on something more important. I want to keep this post short, sweet, and to the point for those who try to sell items after decluttering. Ask yourself: What is your time worth? It might help to reframe the attempted sale of items in terms of how much your time is worth, whether to yourself or your employer. Then weigh the cost in time of selling those items against how much you can get back for them. This is a very cold and transactional view of items, but that's kind of the point. Y

Where to Start before You Start

It seems that in the first few months of every year since I embarked on a minimalist path that I pick up a book or two on minimalism that got or kept me going. I give the books another read-through and reflect on how far I've come. So far this year, I've only picked up one to re-read, and I found that it was much more geared toward me as a budding minimalist and not as an established minimalist. All the same, it still proved to have some value in getting me to reflect on why I became a minimalist in the first place. It reminded me of how I felt before I committed to minimalism--I knew I had too much stuff. I had unclear visions for myself except for one: I wanted to be a less stressed person, and to become that person I would need space to relax. That space at the time was filled with clutterful stuff. My time spent reflecting, and talking to friends about minimalism, gave me the motivation to come back here and put together a loose guided prompt for people new to minimalism wh

Mental Health and Minimalism

 No doubt, 2020 was a rough year for so many of us the world over. Lockdown, isolation, and quarantine brought to the forefront just how important mental health, self-care, and mental health awareness are. I have struggled with anxiety disorders and monopolar depression my entire life, and lockdown only served to make them worse. As everything in the world became less personable and more distant, I did what I've done best my whole life and have looked inward. Except I decided to use the depths of my depression in a positive way, by letting my inner critic become an outward one to pare down my belongings.  Lockdown early on meant that decluttering efforts were not necessarily effective. Boxes full of unwanted items piled up as businesses deemed non-essential, such as thrift stores and charity shops, had to close. By the time the first round of lockdowns lightened and businesses could open back up, I damn near had a pallet's worth of gently-loved clothing, home goods that no long