Downsizing: Environmentalism’s Next Frontier Green Living and Minimalism Go Hand in Hand

Striving to live more minimally has a lot of great benefits: it can help with organization, improve finances, and — probably the most important of all — it can be eco-friendly. As explained by experts at Life Storage, “minimalism started as a style of art known for removing unnecessary elements to allow the important elements to stand out. Minimalism as a life philosophy does the same. By getting rid of the things that matter little in life, we are left with the things that matter most.” Furthermore, it’s a lifestyle that positively affects our environment, considering that minimalism often focuses on reducing, reusing, and other small day-to-day actions that help the environment. Minimalism is definitely worth considering if you’re looking to de-stress and declutter your life.   

Doing the Downsize

downsizingYou might be officially sold on the idea of living a more minimalist lifestyle; however, it can be overwhelming figuring out where to start downsizing. Your home is a great place to start making changes as it’s likely the most cluttered area of your life. If your goal is to marry eco-friendliness and minimalism, it’s important to narrow down the essentials and find recyclable solutions for the items you no longer need. Hosting a yard sale is one way to downsize and give your extra items a new home, and whatever isn’t sold can be donated to a thrift store.

After the initial downsize, cutting down on shopping habits is crucial. This means skipping those tempting sales and working with what you already have. Training yourself to say “no” more is a valuable skill beyond minimalism but can also stop the cycle of excessive purchases and thus clutter.  

Finding Functional Furniture   

Furniture is an easy way to maintain minimalism inside your home. Filling in those open, empty spaces of your house doesn’t require a lot. Typically, the main necessities a person needs are a bed, a table, and a place to sit. With these key pieces, investing in quality rather than quantity will prolong their use and reduce how often you need to replace them.

Furthermore, certain items have more eco-friendly options these days. For example, you can order a mattress online and have it delivered compact in a box to your door, reducing the time, money, and gas spent. Because mattresses-in-a-box come collapsed, that means more can be transported at a time, helping to save overall emissions while contributing to a simpler life. Some of these mattresses, such as Leesa mattresses, don’t even require sheets, “Leesa mattress was created with clean design in mind. The single-piece cover is a soft-to-the-touch lycra/poly blend that is so soft we’ve had people actually say they prefer not to put sheets or a mattress cover on it.” This means one less thing to wash, dry, and replace.

A quality table and chair set will also get you through several decades with the right kind of love and care. If you have the time, scouring yard sales and thrift stores is an affordable, eco-friendly way to find your next set of quality dining room furniture. Even if you buy new, keeping quality in mind is important to ensure the longevity of your purchase and keep true to that minimalist lifestyle.

For the other aspects of decor in your house, you don’t have to sacrifice coziness or style in the name of minimalism. Finding pieces that are stylish and also multifunctional is key. An ottoman that can also act as storage for blankets and pillows is a perfect example. You could also invest in a bed frame that has built-in drawers at the bottom for clothing and other essentials instead of buying a dresser. These multifunctional pieces are not only eco-friendly but are useful if you’re living in a smaller space.

Declutter, Declutter, Declutter

Building and maintaining a smaller wardrobe is another aspect of minimalism you should try implementing. Clothing requires a rather absurd amount of water and other resources to make. Narrowing your wardrobe down to the staples and donating the rest can help declutter your closet and reduce the amount of loads of laundry you’ll need to do each week, saving water and time.

Another area of your house that can be minimalized is your office or study. Of course, not everyone has the space for a personal office, but anywhere in your house you find yourself working can benefit from some minimalist efforts. Decluttering is great for improving productivity.

As experts at Workflow Max explain, “it’s hard to work productively when you’re surrounded by mess. Efficient people work in minimalist environments.” Going paperless is one way to clean up your work area and reduce the impact on the environment. Opt out of the paper bills and magazines you receive each month and go digital. It’ll keep your desk clear, and with a good spring cleaning, you’ll be able to keep better track of those important documents and stay well organized.

Whenever you decide to start, it’s important to keep in mind that shifting to a minimalist lifestyle doesn’t have to be done overnight. It’s a significant change, and trying to take it on all at once can be overwhelming. Working one room at time can put less stress on you while still working towards that eco-friendly minimalism you’re striving to achieve. Keep in mind the overall goal of minimalism and you’re sure to be successful. Good luck.