Minimal Living 101
It’s easy to see that minimal living is all the rage, but my husband and I never considered ourselves minimalists. It actually wasn’t until just a couple weeks ago that we had the realization that we are truly minimalists… I mean, we live full-time in our van! We don’t have a storage unit, our van cabinets are still not full, and some of them are completely empty. When you think of minimalist living, you may think:
- No plastic
- Hemp clothes
- Reusable straws
- Mesh bags
While some of those things are true, here’s what I feel encapsulates the true meaning of minimal living. It's about: Living a whole life with the earth and creation at the forefront of your mind - Reducing waste, not shopping the Target’s $1 section just because it’s $1, eating meals you’ve made from scratch with findings from your local market and thinking of where the waste you produce will end up. It doesn’t magically disappear and we are too far removed from the sad reality that we have massive areas of land filled with garbage; clothes, electronics, recyclables and plastic. Living a minimal lifestyle is - to me - being aware.
How I Got Started
Since I was 18, I have slowly evolved into this person I am now. Reducing waste, eating only from local farmers, and having a weird obsession with making sure aluminum is actually being recycled! But it didn’t start that way. I was a blind consumer for most of my life.
I moved from Alaska to Kauai, and that’s when my real love of this lifestyle began. I was sick at the nets, plastic, and random products I found on the beaches. You don’t have to make a full 180 overnight; you can work to get there. Be encouraged! Over time, I got to where I am now which I will talk about a bit more below.
Here’s How My Journey Looked
- I quickly become disinterested in stuff
- So, I tossed / recycled it all very flippantly
- Then, I learned I could make it a process vs. a purge
- I started with my “think first” mentality
- I started consuming way less and needed next to nothing
- Little did I know, I was preparing for tiny home living in a van full-time
My Favorite Minimal Living Items
- Glass jars and food storage containers
- Reusable cutlery, straws and bags
- Wooden board for breakfast in bed, charcuterie board, decor, etc
- Metal razor
- Mesh bags for buying bulk at the store
- Farmers Markets - I love them!
- Stainless steel water bottle
- Water filter (No need for plastic bottles!)
- High quality sustainable organic clothing (Lasts longer.)
- Buying in glass whenever possible
Thrifting when I need something new
How to Get Started
Ask yourself why you’re doing it and stick with that big WHY.
This could be for your wellness, you’re over clutter, or you want to be a conscious consumer. (Keep that WHY in mind everywhere you go: sales at stores, thrifting, marketplace, holidays, etc.)
Decide which room you will start downsizing, go one room at a time.
Here’s our youtube video.
Make a must keep and must go list - Then get bins and start your thrift store and donation runs. This is my favorite Minimalist Living 101 tip!
When we moved into the van, my must-keep list looked like glass jars, reusable silverware, ~7 pairs of clothes, 2 pairs of shoes and a few small decorative elements that were meaningful to me. The must-go list included random childhood stuff, sports trophies, picture frames, large kitchen devices, and the list went on.
Most people aren’t moving into a van so, they can keep a bit more than me! I didn’t want stuff in storage though so, it’s all gone and in a great new home. I’m confident.
So, What’s Your Next Move?
- Say no to STUFF. You know, the random stocking stuffers and Hallmark holiday gifts.
- Pick a room and go through it - Donate, donate, donate!
- Unsubscribe from emails to retail stores that always send you promos.
- Choose high quality products over the sketchy versions. I.e. clothes, kitchen gadgets, toys
- Pick someone to go in this with! It’s so much fun with a friend, significant other or family member.
I am so excited for you to jump into this simple and sweet lifestyle. Use these minimalist living tips that I’ve compiled over the past several years as your guide. If you have any questions, shoot them my way over on Instagram @simplholistic or in the comments below!