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Less Stuff, More Value

Using minimalism as a tool to manage my life more simply and intentionally

Open plan minimalism
Photography by Tiina Ilmavirta

Minimalism is much more than just a simple home interior. It extends to many different areas and practices—even to relationships. I’m not really sure when minimalism became a part of my lifestyle. I think that in some ways it has always been a part of me, but these days it has become clearer. Minimalism is actually a continuous process that develops over time.

The basic idea of a minimal lifestyle is to avoid buying things that you don’t really need. Minimalists buy new possessions carefully, always asking themselves whether or not they need something. And if something new is acquired, then it makes sense for it to be long-lasting, to obtain something of high-quality. Of course, high-quality doesn’t always mean expensive. The cost of something can go well beyond the price tag.

Another thing that plays a big role in minimalism is decluttering—letting go of the things you no longer need or value. If you haven’t used a particular possession for years, you’re probably never going to use it again. Our storage areas accumulate all sorts of stuff over time, so it’s a good idea to look through their contents regularly and identify anything that’s simply taking up unnecessary space, leaving only that which is necessary.

Organizing Is Different to Reduction

Although careful cleaning is rewarding, reduction takes it to a whole new level. Unnecessary goods can be sold, recycled, or donated very easily. I’m constantly looking to reduce what I own. I actually enjoy it much more than I buying new things. Acquiring new stuff has started to be more and more distressing for me. Reduction, on the other hand, has become very easy for me.

I always look to buy less and invest in quality, because I’m less likely to buy temporary or disposable items. It’s far more satisfying to invest in sustainability and high-quality, than to pay for something you’ll discard in short order. Minimalists don’t avoid buying new things, we just avoid excess.

No Impulse Purchases

Even though my own spending habits have changed radically in recent years, my family and I do still have the stuff here. There are four people in this house, two growing little boys, so there is a requirement for many kinds of things. Even if the life span of children’s clothes and goods may be relatively short, I can also make choices that serve the best possible time. I don’t buy because it was ‘cheap’ or because it was ‘so nice’ for the kids. I avoid cheap toys because my kids will lose interest in them very quickly, and all that results in is more crap in the home—and more to dispose of.

Timeless, Durable and Functional

I always choose the most timeless clothes for my wardrobe. It doesn’t bother me if I use the same dress at many different events for many years. I just feel great about how well some clothes lasts, and how they continue to fit my style for years. I think we should be wearing clothes until they reach the end of their life cycle—until they are no longer wearable.

Focusing on the Essentials and Eliminating the Rest

Demanding relationships, stressful finances, or a full calendar. These are a few things that minimalists try to avoid. I have actually been heavily burdened in these areas, because they have overwhelmed me. I even decided to end one of my friendships because it brought me nothing but negativity and disappointments again and again. It was really liberating to let go. In monetary matters, I strive to keep everything clear and limit the number of extra expenses. I avoid taking loans and spending beyond my means. I keep my calendar very clear too. I always want to have enough time for projects, plans, and creating, and I don’t make promises that I can’t keep. That’s why I often decline many events and choose only those I think I’ll really enjoy and find value in.

Minimalism Is Not for Everyone

Some are collectors, minimalists are reducers. Some people consider a minimalist home to look pale, stark, and cold, but for myself it gives much more satisfaction than a richly decorated space. In my own home, having a clean and clutter-free space is very calming. I can relax and concentrate better in an environment where there are very few distractions. Less noise, less stuff, and less irritation.

The minimal key is to get rid of everything that doesn’t bring value to our lives, and make room for the things that do.

Focus more on the essentials. Everyone can implement minimalism in their own way, through a variety of styles and habits that works for them. This is my way.

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