Hit the Restart Button

Two simple tips that helped me created more room in my life

Words by Jean Ong

My life had always been full of clutter. Many of the things I owned, some still in the box, didn’t spark joy in me. I decided my life needed a reset button to bring in more of the things that are important to me. I realized that I couldn’t cram in more. I first had to make room. The follwoing tips helped me created more room in my life for the things that truly count. And the best part was, these lifestyle changes are more sustainable for the planet.

Swap the “Buy Buy Buy” Mentality to a “Buy-to-Last” Mentality

I have a “buy buy buy” mentality. I buy compulsively, especially when an item is on sale. That’s how I end up with a lot of things I don’t even use. They fill every inch of closet and storage space. I even have some packages I didn’t bother to unbox, much less use. They’re just there, forgotten in my closet. 

I decided to give up the “buy buy buy” mentality. I’m trying to give up the high that comes from bringing home something new or scoring a bargain.

I’ve adopted a new mindset to replace the old one. I’ve replaced it with a “buy-to-last” mentality. On top of style and cuteness factors, an item I purchase also needs to pass the quality, function, and craftsmanship criteria. The goal is to fill my home with things that spark joy and feels luxurious. So before I buy anything, I first ask these questions:

1. Would I buy it if it was full price? 

2. Will it last me at least three years? 

3. Do I see myself using it for the next three years?   

Adopting this buy-to-last mentality is gentle to Mother Earth. With fewer things, we send less waste to the landfill when those things reach the end of their life.  

Regularly Declutter Your Life

I lived in a beautiful home, but I’d turned it into a junkyard or warehouse. I hoarded stuff and crammed every inch of my home with items. But the thing with a cluttered life is that there’s no more space for the new or the wonderful things. When I let go of all the clutter, I made room for new things to enter, things that spark joy in me.   

I now do periodic decluttering, such as monthly clean-ups to prevent clutter from building up to a daunting task. I find the most eco-friendly way to declutter is to donate these things via Facebook Marketplace, the Buy Nothing Group on Facebook, or the Olio app. This way, I know that the things I donate are actually useful to the recipient. I also like to upcycle what I have and gift it to friends and family. For example, microwavable plastic containers get upcycled into stackable pantry organizers and freezer meat organizers. I jazz them up with sticker labels and instantly help friends organize their pantry. 

I’m glad my decluttering didn’t send more stuff to the landfill but instead helped it find new life in these people’s homes. This makes me feel like an Earth hero because I didn’t create more waste. I turned “waste” into a decluttering solution for my friends.

The two simple actions—changing my mentality and adopting a regular decluttering habit, helped me hit the restart button on my life. Embracing the minimalist life felt like a fresh start. A clean slate to begin again. It’s like January 1, even in the middle of the year.

Jean Ong

Jean Ong is the founder of Ecolover United, a movement that makes it easier for everyday folk to live sustainably and in style. She graduated college with a degree in business management and a major in marketing, she currently work as a store manager by day and an Earth Hero at night and on the weekends. She’s a keen nature lover, maybe this came from fulfilling the prophetic nature of getting her name? Her Chinese name is Lin, meaning forest or grove of trees. She believes that if it’s good for Mother Earth, it’s good for you.

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Inside Minimalism is our series of exclusive essays on simple living. Each essay is written by our team of writers who are passionate about helping you craft a simpler life. Supported by their own personal experiences, we want to inspire and encourage you to clear the path of life’s stuff, so you can get to where you really want to be.

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