Maintaining Minimalism

At this point, I have achieved minimalism as much as I intend to. While I still have a few stashes that I am working through (mostly soap and tea), I have decluttered everything in my home, some things multiple times. I’ve downsized as much as I plan to, purged all the junk drawers, and have begun seeing the fruit of all the work I’ve put in! I only own clothes that fit *perfectly* and are multi-purpose, I know exactly where everything is and should be, and I have a plan to use what little excess I still have. Now comes the next step in the process: maintaining minimalism, and further pursuing simplicity. Today I’m focusing on the former, and the rest of the week I’ll focus on the latter.

The thing with maintaining minimalism is that it means there is less to do. You’ve already done most of the “doing” as you decluttered! While purging clutter and reassessing wants and needs is something that will be done repeatedly throughout life, once you’ve started really feeling the benefits of minimalism, it is unlikely you will ever have to do as much to get there again. You are past the days of tidying checklists and full garbage bags to donate or dispose of. It’s time to begin embracing what you did all this for, and maintaining the status quo.*

Now is when your schedule actually starts to free up. You get a breath of fresh air. All your clothes fit, all your dishes are beautiful, all your possessions have meaning, and…

everything in the Target dollar section would fit perfect in that empty space on your bookshelf.

This is when you begin to deconstruct the ways that materialism and consumerism have impacted your life, and grown habits in you that you may not want to keep if your goal is to maintain a minimal home. The most obvious is likely going to be your shopping habits. Sure, it’s fun to stop by the store on your way home, but what are you really doing there? Is there something you actually want or need going in, or is it just for fun? Chances are, you’ve simply gotten used to shopping as part of your daily or weekly routine, and as exciting as it is to bring home and reveal your latest find, if it is without purpose you’ll likely end up just adding to the piles of clutter you fought so hard to get rid of.

This isn’t to take a dump on shopping. My favorite fluffy socks to date were $1 from Bullseye’s Playground at Target, and I love going thrifting every now and then. The problem is when shopping shows up as a mindless pastime instead of a trip with an end goal in mind. How many cute little things have you brought home, just for them to be forgotten on a shelf within a week or two? How many adorable statement pieces have you found that just don’t fit into the clothes you already have? Before you stop by the store, think about what you actually and want and need, what will enhance your life, and stay focused on that to avoid getting sidetracked with clutter-y items.

Other ways that are more subtle may include routines that have extra products in them that you don’t really benefit from. My go-to example is skincare. There are so many products on the market, especially for women, and it’s easy to fall into the trap that we need one of each product offered or our skin is done for. I’m acne prone, so I’m extremely diligent with my skincare routine, and I have found that consistency with a few products yields far better results than constantly searching for a holy grail product. Every day, twice a day, I use a cleanser, toner, and moisturizer. I exfoliate twice a week and remove makeup with a reusable cloth. That’s it. No need for gimmicky anti-aging products or a dozen different face masks. Tailor your routine to your needs, but don’t feel like you have to buy every product that might have a chance at working well for you.

The most important part of maintaining minimalism is becoming aware of the materialism and consumerism in your habits, and limiting the things entering your home so you don’t have to worry about purging it all later. Buy a few reusable grocery bags and keep them in your car, instead of bringing home disposable bags each week. Use up what you have left of a consumable before you go get one that might be “better” or “nicer.” Find some “empty the fridge” recipes to use up produce scraps before they go bad, and shop your fridge and pantry before going to the store and potentially buying duplicates. Focus on what you have instead of what you don’t, and learn how to maximize what you have instead of just consuming more.

*If you’re still in the decluttering phase, it does get better! Keep going! This week’s posts will still be helpful as you continue to declutter and move forward.

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