6 - 2013

Minimalism Isn’t Hard: It’s Profitable

minimalismWhen you think of living a minimalist lifestyle, what do you think about? Do you think about Spartan rooms with maybe a mat for sitting and sleeping and nothing else? That’s now how minimalism works in the Western world.

The truth is that living a minimalist lifestyle is all about finding how to do the most with the littlest amounts possible. It’s about not letting clutter take over your life and drain your bank account. By now you’ve already learned how to do more with your money. Why not learn how to do more with your stuff?

So how do you do this? How do you go from “I need all the things” to “Nah. I’m good!”?

1. Downsize

If you haven’t used it in the last twelve months and it has no sentimental value, get rid of it. Sell it online or in a yard sale and use that money to beef up your savings account or your investment portfolio.  Be ruthless. It’s just stuff.

2. Put Away

Look at what you have left. What have you actually used within the last three months? That is what you should keep on hand. If you haven’t used it in the last three months, why is it sitting out? Put it away in an attic, a basement, a garage or—if you really want to embrace a minimalist lifestyle, get it out of the house altogether. Rent a self storage unit. It’s amazing how even in expensive places, storage spaces are affordable. Take Chicago, IL, for example. Even local storage in the Windy City is only around 50 bucks per month, depending on the size and location.

3. Move

Seriously. Move to a smaller house or an apartment. Now that you’ve gotten rid of or found a place to store the things you don’t use every day, you can probably fit your life into a much smaller space. Sell your house! You could probably use the profit to almost completely pay for a new and smaller house (or a few years in an apartment).

4. Find Other Things To Do

When you’re bored, what do you do? Do you watch TV? Do you go outside and find a pickup game of your favorite sport? Or, are you like most of us—do you head for the store? Find something else to do with your time to keep you away from the mall. Now is the time to pick up that hobby you’ve been meaning to start for years but couldn’t justify the time you needed to get good at it.

5. Be a More Discerning Shopper

When confronted with the opportunity or the urge to buy something ask yourself why you want that thing. Are you actually going to use it? Do you already own something that will provide the same basic function? Or do you just want it because it’s shiny and new?

Learn how to wait at least a week before actually making the decision to purchase something (except food—that you can buy right away). If you see something and feel the urge to buy it, walk away. If you still want to buy it in a week, go back and get it.

That’s it! See? Minimalism is easy.

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