Minimalist Living: 7 Ways You Can Make Your Life Instantly Better by Decluttering
Unfortunately, shopping at that flash sale will only provide temporary happiness (but you probably already knew that)
Shop around, acquire and accumulate. It’s the kind of lather, rinse, repeat routine most people gladly subscribe to.
We digress, however: if you shop a lot, know that it isn’t your fault.
We live in a world where ads are right in our faces almost every minute of our lives—in fact the only place we escape them is in our sleep. It’s the ad you scroll past on your newsfeed. It’s the sea of billboards staring back at you while you’re stuck along EDSA. It’s the jingle that comes on the radio. It’s the newsletter in your email. The real culprit, however, is subliminal marketing. And we all fall prey to it. Want to know how to sell ice to an Eskimo? Don’t let him know you’re selling him ice.
When you see those same billboards on EDSA, for example, your brain knows to put your defenses up. You know to digest this information with caution since the end goal of these brands is to get you to buy their stuff. But when your defenses are down, that’s when you’re susceptible to influence. An Instagram influencer posts a photo of her new favorite pair of headphones. You like her taste and trust her judgment. You’re convinced you must purchase the same pair…and you think it was all your idea.
“Advertising has polluted and infiltrated culture,” says economist and sociologist Juliet Schor. “It’s in our movies, it’s in our television shows, it’s in our books, it’s in our doctors’ offices, it’s in the taxi cabs, it’s in the bar sitting next to you, the person who you think you’re just having an idle chat with could have been placed there by an alcohol company.”
It’s a world so highly saturated with media, noise and options; it’s easy to forget that scaling back happens to be one of those options too. Indeed, it isn’t your fault you are exposed to so much stimuli telling you to shop, buy now, get now, it’s your last chance, but you do have the power to dial down the noise and allow yourself to find happiness. And no, it can’t be found in a shopping mall, but in a change in lifestyle.
Here, we take key points from the Netflix documentary Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things and round them up in an easy-to-follow list. Scroll through to see how you can start living a better life by decluttering:
#1: Reevaluate your current set of belongings with this checklist in mind:
Does this possession serve a purpose?
Does this possession bring me joy?
Does this add value to your life?
Everything has to be justified. If not, be willing to let go. This is the first step in living more deliberately with less.
#2: Consider this checklist whenever something catches your eye and you’re about ready to whip out your wallet:
Do you need it?
Do you already own something similar?
Are you interested in it because you have a specific occasion in mind?
Are you interested in it because it’s on sale?
Let it go if the answer to the last three questions is a yes. It pays to remember that “shopping as you go” aka shopping with a single occasion in mind is one way to wind up with a congested wardrobe filled with forgotten items.
#3: Give your “impulse buy weak spot” extra attention.
Confront yourself about what you can’t say no to: is it skincare? Is it fast fashion? Begin by making a list separating essentials from extras and then work out a budget for these necessities.
#4: Challenge yourself with Project 333
#5: Unplug once in a while
Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things makes mention of a Nokia study that says an average person checks his/her phone 150 times a day. “Because you can do anything you want, you can potentially do everything you want. But to do everything you want, you have to sacrifice the things that really are important,” says Patrick Rhone, author of Enough. “When it comes to the overwhelm, the easiest way to solve that is to turn it off. Really, just turn it off.”
Unsubscribe from mailing lists that alert you regarding new products, flash sales and brand updates. Remove shopping apps from your mobile. Go on a social media detox from time to time (it does wonders for productivity.)
#6: Train your mind with meditation.
Decluttering the mind is just as important.
#7: Use the KonMari Method to declutter your home and workspace.
Marie Kondo, organizing consultant and author of Spark Joy and The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, teaches clients and readers the art of cleaning up your home once…and never needing to do it again.
Watch Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things on Netflix today.