To be minimal — that’s become the battle cry of many. The immediate understanding you would have of a minimal lifestyle is needing less of anything. Consequently, you will also have fewer expenses.
But surprisingly, this lifestyle has become a consumerist fad. People started buying furniture that is ‘Scandinavian inspired.’ People started renovating, getting rid of things that looked too elaborate, too complex. Minimalism, they said, is a movement in design and aesthetics.
Well, we can’t all get ourselves new homes, new things, new everything just to be ‘minimal.’ But we do need a lot of shedding from our too weighed-down lives. If we can’t be aesthetic minimalists, then let’s be practical minimalists.
Make money from your junk
Before you throw out those drawers full of forgotten knickknacks, sort through it. For sure, you would find your old watches and old cellphones. Those watches that simply stopped because they ran out of battery, sell them. See also if you have vintage watches that collectors would grab even if they need to be repaired.
Similarly, look through those old phones. Most issues we’ve had with old models were the LCDs that gave up after we dropped them once too many. Have the screens repaired or changed, and sell them. Those cell phones before the advent of smartphones had been quite sturdy and didn’t have too many distractions.
Do you have a stamp collection and money collection from your childhood? Look up groups of collectors who would pay higher than the usual junk dealers. Put them up online. The same goes for anything that looks vintage. Do you still own a working Walkman? How about a battery-operated radio? These things can sell a lot now.
Baby stuff is also sellable as people don’t wish to spend a lot on new items that would be used for only a few months to a year.
Pare down your library
This would be the biggest heartbreak for book lovers. Well, you don’t have to do this. You can keep your books, but be practical. How many books do you reread? Those books you keep. The rest you can sell, but not many people might value your books as much as you do. Make your sacrifice more meaningful by donating it to literacy organizations or a library for poor children.
If you have hardbound first editions, signed books, or rare books. Look for online bidding sites for these kinds of books. Don’t sell to second-hand bookstores that buy books per kilo or per box. Most of them don’t care what authors or titles you have.
Reflect on your furniture
Scandinavian aesthetics or not, there had been a reason why you have that many sofas and chairs. Do you like having large parties? If you get rid of all your sofas, where would your visitors sit in the future?
Think which of your furniture doesn’t have a purpose in your life. Maybe you’ve been keeping that old display case your mother got when she was collecting snow globes, but you are now just using for your forgotten junk (i.e. old certificates, free toys that come with meals, etc.). If you have nothing better to do with it, then sell it. If it had been your mom’s, check an antique dealer if it’s worth something.
Repaint instead of buying new things
Minimalism can be a trick to the eye. Colors, patterns, and textures are all visually stimulating. So if you want to make your room look minimal, try to have just one or two colors. Have the rest in black and white. The bulky antique furniture you’ve inherited, for example, can simply be painted white. Or if you have white walls, you can paint them black to have a contrast and get that Scandi feels.
You can change the smaller items around your home — for vases and containers, go for transparent ones — but keep your old furniture. You can also change your curtains and rugs. See if you could repurpose your old ones into artsy crafts and use them as your highlight pieces. Maybe you could turn them into braided mats or table runners.
Following the minimalist lifestyle should follow the original reason why people wanted to go minimal. That’s to have fewer distractions, fewer worries, be able to dedicate time, and focus on the more important things in life. It’s ironic then that this lifestyle has become the focus of its followers. Instead of going with this bandwagon, go with what a truly minimalist lifestyle is — sharing your excesses, and treasuring what you already have.