Before minimalism became a hype, I was already a very minimalist person. I’ve always been very selective when it comes to people and things. I would prefer to have one true friend to ten fake ones. Or having one good pair of shoes I feel comfortable with to accumulating a bunch of shoes I will barely ever wear.
I remember the day when I told my boyfriend that I was going to quit my day job. I was so tired of working just to pay the bills; I wanted to have free time to work on my creative projects. It was then that I decided to cut down on some expenses, like my gym membership for example.
Now I work out in my living room, and to be honest, working out at home brings me more satisfaction than going to the gym. I can save time since I don’t have to commute to the gym, and I can even exercise in my underwear if I want to.
Another thing I quit for good was buying alcohol. Wine is no longer part of my grocery list. Unless someone brings a bottle for a special occasion, I rarely have alcohol at home. And instead of going out for drinks on Friday night, I travel to a nearby city for a weekend, or go out for a walk in nature.
However, I must confess there are certain things I am not giving up.
While sometimes having less is more, minimalism is not about going extreme and cutting down on everything. It’s about having the stuff that is right for you. So here are some of the things I do not minimize on:
- Coffee. Working from home can make you feel isolated. In order to increase my productivity and reduce stress, I often try to change my working space. I write in the living room, in the bedroom, and sometimes even in the laundry room. But for my sanity, I go out two or three times a week and work from a coffee shop. I really enjoy writing and working from a nice and cozy café. Besides, I can use the money I save on other things (like clothes and alcohol) to buy my Americano.
- NETFLIX. My golden rule when it comes to keeping or cutting is asking myself two questions. Does it add value to my life? And does it make me happy? Well Netflix totally adds value to my life. There are dozens of documentaries I have watched that have changed my life for the better. My boyfriend and I enjoy watching documentaries and TV series together once or twice a week. This helps us relax after a long work day.
- Food. Buying quality food is very important for me. I’d rather spend money on ‘expensive food’ than on fancy kitchen appliances, for example. I like having plenty of fruit and vegetables in the kitchen. I try to use my money wisely so I can buy plenty of nourishing food.
- Flowers. While some might argue that buying flowers is a waste of money, having flowers in my house adds a vibe of happiness to my space. I buy flowers two or three times a month, and try to make them last as long as possible by watering and taking care of them.
When it comes to minimalism, it’s better to create your own rules. The other day, I was talking to a friend who considers herself a minimalist. While she was telling me about how proud she was of owning very few things, she also happened to be carrying a shopping bag with two brand new lipsticks inside. This is what I mean by creating your own rules. She can minimize everything, except maybe her lipstick. For some of us, makeup isn’t necessary and we can do without it. But for others, it can help with their self confidence, or maybe it’s simply a part of who they are.
That is why telling you to get rid of ‘X’ thing won’t help much, since we all have different needs.
The key to a happy minimalist lifestyle is to do it your own way. Respecting your own needs and keeping the things you truly love. @jessaraus13 (Click to Tweet!)
Jessica Araus is a language teacher, entrepreneur, and writer at www.jessicaaraus.com. Her love to motivate others started in a classroom setting back in Mexico, her homeland. After moving abroad, she started her own online clothing shop, which promotes handmade traditional Mexican clothes. She is driven by her desire to inspire others to live a better lifestyle. She believes that by changing certain beliefs and taking the necessary action, we can live the life of our dreams.
Image courtesy of Gaelle Marcel.