The new year is about many things — resolutions, a time to start fresh. What if part of your goal for 2018 is to live more simply?
Minimalism — the practice of paring down what we live with and consume — has become a popular buzzword over the past couple of years. Advocates say it’s about freedom from excess consumerism. But how can you turn theory into practice? Try these five steps to live a more minimalist lifestyle in 2018.
Scale Back on Tech
Pinging phones, a television in every room, a watch that alerts you if you miss something on your phone … isn’t it a little much? It can definitely affect your stress levels, and there are studies that show that the blue light emitted by screens can interrupt your sleep cycle. Try limiting your tech. Do you need a television in the bedroom? In the dining room? Can you mute notifications so you aren’t alerted every time something happens on Facebook or Instagram? Or turn off your devices at a certain time each night? By scaling back or unplugging altogether, you’ll probably be surprised by how little you’re actually missing.
Edit Your Wardrobe
Do you have clothes you don’t even wear? Most of us do. Go for a fresh start in 2018 and donate or sell lightly used clothing items that you haven’t touched in a year. Not quite ready to let go? Try the clothes hanger trick. Turn around all the hangers in your closet. After each season, you’ll be able to see which items you’ve worn, and which you haven’t. Cleaning out your closet is a great way to de-clutter your life in 2018!
Another tip is to focus on quality, not quantity. Choose a couple of well-made items (that perfect cashmere sweater, those leather boots) as opposed to piles of fast, disposable fashion. It may cost more, but it also won’t fall apart after one season. Just make sure it’s something you truly love before purchasing. By finding pieces you love and wear often, you’re on your way to creating a capsule wardrobe. Having a defined “uniform” not only cuts down on your decision-making in the morning, it also cuts back on your clothing consumption. Having a few pieces you love as opposed to many you like is a true hallmark of minimalism!
Cut Back on Toys
If you have kids, chances are you aren’t lacking for toys. If your children have outgrown them or have simply lost interest, considering donating them to needy families. If your children are older, get them involved! Have them select which toys they’d like to pass on to someone who might need them more.
Instead of toys, also consider giving kids experiences. Trips to see their favorite team play or a visit to the zoo can produce more memories — and satisfaction — than the latest gadget.
Simplify Your Décor
It’s easy to feel stressed out when you’re surrounded by clutter. This is about more than just cleaning (though that helps). You’ll want to pare down your living spaces by eliminating piles of magazines or tables where stuff just collects. Vow to do a quick 10-minute pick-up of your living spaces every day, which is much less daunting than dedicating a couple of hours once a week to power-cleaning. Donate items you don’t use, and leave as many surfaces clear as possible. The bonus? Cleaning is a lot easier when you aren’t overwhelmed by knick-knacks and clutter.
Note that this doesn’t mean you have to toss your family heirlooms and leave the walls bare. Living a more minimalistic lifestyle means keeping it simple. A favorite coffee table book, for example, instead of a whole pile of them.
Think Before You Buy
If you’re looking to live a more minimalistic lifestyle in 2018, above all, be thoughtful. The hallmark of living a more minimalistic lifestyle is being aware of how much you own, and why. For most minimalists, reduced consumption means more freedom overall. Living a more minimalistic lifestyle isn’t always easy, but the end result — a simpler, less cluttered life — could make 2018 your best year yet.