Downsizing tips from an eco-essentialist

The trinity of downsizing:

SellDonateTrash

Most of the stuff we buy throughout the years will either end up sold, donated or trashed.

It’s sad, but it’s also inevitable.

That’s one of the main reasons why I became a minimalist in for first place.

When I look at the number of things I owned throughout my life, I can’t help but feel guilty..

Guilty because most of it went out the window at one point or another, guilty because there definitely are people who can’t afford half the stuff we buy carelessly

Guilty because consumerism is so ingrained in our modern societies that we hardly question our spending habits.

Minimalism allowed me to shift my mindset completely, so the least I can do is simplify the process by sharing some of my tips with those looking to live mindfully and sustainably.

“But what do I do with all the stuff I own ? It’s already been made, bought and used (for most part)?”

That’s the type of question I usually get.

The answer is quite simple:

Sell: if you need the money and want your most valuable things to have a second life

Donate: if you don’t need the money and want your things to be repurposed and help people in need (Charity, NGOs, Homeless Shelters..)

Trash: everything that can’t be repurposed, sold or recycled. It’s unfortunate but don’t beat yourself up too much, it happens to the best of us.

Where to go from here?

Here’s a short list of things you can turn to if you want to minimize further. Some of these tips hint at frugalism as well.

  • Avoid eating out and getting take outs. Take out foods are usually less healthy and way more expensive than home cooked meals. Learning how and what to cook is a useful skill for a better life, health wise and financially as well
  • Stop “treating yourself” when you can’t even pay off your debt and loans. Focus on the things that truly matter to you, and things that could have a lasting effect. Perhaps you could treat yourself to some cooking or baking classes, that way you won’t have to overspend every time you crave something. Same goes with most skills (yoga, fitness, cooking, handywork..)
  • Stop seeking instant gratification. Instant gratification is one of our era’s worst nightmares. It’s responsible for depression, anxiety, people feeling lost, so on and so forth. Refraining from social media use is one of the best things you could do to heal from this disease, news fasts* are also very effective in that regard
  • Avoid fast fashion AT ALL COSTS. I know it’s convenient and cheap, but what comes easy never lasts. Also, it’s highly destructive to both nature and the humans behind it (btw click on the link if you’re not familiar with this industry, the video’s super dope and it’s only 8 mins long)
  • One grocery trip twice a month should be enough. Meal planning (and prepping) helps a lot as it decreases overspending, and waste, of course
  • Shopping online is better as it allows you to browse similar products to the ones you’re looking for, and find the ones that best fit your needs 
  • Go organic as much as you can. Health is important and bad health is extremely costly !
  • Go for one time purchases. For example, start using linen napkins instead of paper towels
  • This one’s quite personal and something I’m working towards but I always try to favor cash instead of credit/debit cards
  • Minimize unnecessary subscriptions – cloud storage, streaming services, music services, apps, gym, website memberships, meal delivery, monthly installments.. I’m sure we all have subscriptions we hardly ever use

Beside all this, digital minimalism is also something you could look further into:

  • Delete all the apps you don’t use regularly
  • Sift through and delete all the unread/undesired emails in your mailbox. Here’s the real cost of your full mailbox
  • Unsubscribe from all the lists that keep sending you updates, offers and newsletters that you hardly ever read. It may not seem like it but most of that stuff is costly in mental energy (c.f. decision fatigue), carbon emissions and anxiety
  • Organize your photos in folders and delete all copies and similar photos
  • Disable unnecessary notifications, especially the ones on social media. I personally only kept incoming calls and text message, as those are the ones I use the most with my family and friends

Reach out to me or leave me a comment if you have any specific questions, I’m always happy to help 🙂

*A news fast implies opting out of watching the news on TV, listening the radio, reading newspapers, or following the news on social media and other internet outlets.

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