I'll always remember how much moving to California made me a minimalist. I moved four times that first year. It was the first time I moved cross country from my home state of Texas. At the time, I told myself whatever I couldn't fit into my Explorer I wouldn't take with me. I didn't realize it then but I was preparing myself for a long journey which involved packing light. What I ended up taking with me was mostly clothes, kitchen stuff, and music. I even had a blow-up mattress that I could fold up so it would be compact. I was naturally becoming a minimalist! Now, seven years later, I've lived in a total of six places in this city! Even though I have furniture now, I've still managed to keep things to a minimum.
I was more inspired after watching the Minimalist documentary on Netflix. I wanted to minimize even more! I went through my moving bins and decided to give stuff away and donate things I hadn't used in awhile. It felt so good to let it go!
I have always admired people who could live off very little or people who could backpack travel for months. I always wondered how people were able to do such things. I lived vicariously through them and I had the desire to do it myself. I plan to mark that off on my bucket list!
I grew up in a household where things were not wasted. My mom isn't a hoarder or anything, but I will say that she doesn't believe in throwing much away. Growing up this way made me want to be frugal and practical. It made me conscious about not being wasteful. There are people out there that can use the things you aren't using. If you haven't put it to use in a year or more it could be more useful in the hands of someone else. Donating to Red Cross, Goodwill, or the Salvation Army would help clear some space. Here are a few suggestions.
If you do decide to donate, be sure to ask for a tax deduction receipt that will help you get a small deduction when you file your taxes that year.
There are also donation drop boxes where you could drop a clothing bag in the bin. You could donate your belongings not only to churches when natural disasters occur but also to shelters for homeless people. There's always someone in need. I'm not saying you have to donate everything. I'm not talking about holiday decor, your winter or summer clothes; I'm talking about things you have in boxes that you don't have a need for or garments you haven't worn in ages, old furniture, or things that are just taking up space. I know we can get tempted to keep things that remind you of something but it begins to create a clutter and the clutter can make us begin to feel somewhat suffocated in a sense by our own things! We do it all the time in the smallest of ways by keeping clothing we think we'll fit back into, but it only creates more bulk!
One reason I enjoy H&M is because they have a great recyclable program. Most people are not aware that they take 15% off your purchase when you bring three recycled items from your closet. On Earth week (third week in April) they double it to 30% off your purchase. That is a great way to get rid of old clothes and replenish them with new items without feeling guilty about it!
Being a minimalist is an interesting concept. Living in a tiny house would be incredible and you would be living off the most necessary of items! It would mean you could enjoy more of a yard or be surrounded by more nature! I know it seems like a difficult concept to some, but it's not impossible and I think it makes for more practical living. We can all find ways to minimize and make the most of the least. If we make a habit of donating, gifting, or even selling items on numerous apps available on our smart phones. Here are a few suggestions.
There's an app for everything now! Not only can we put them in the hands of someone who could really use our retired items but we can also gain a few bucks in the exchange. This is how we begin our transformation to becoming a minimalist. We can appreciate life and the people around us far more rather than our "things." If you're a collector, I don't discourage your hobby but you can also check on occasion to see how much one of your collector's items is worth. You could be sitting on a small goldmine!
Limiting your material possessions makes for a happier and lighter existence. It's also a huge benefit when packing and moving. You feel less attached to things and more attached to what truly matters... people and experiences. Most of all, you feel a sense of freedom.