Minimalist Living: How to Declutter Your Life
If you're reading this blog, chances are you're interested in decluttering and embarking on the journey of a more minimalist lifestyle. Perhaps this is your first eager, bright-eyed foray into the world of minimalism and you're looking for some simple tips to get started, or perhaps you've managed to heave yourself back on the wagon after yet another failed attempt and are now desperate for some inspiration. No matter what your circumstances, minimalists at the Scrubba Wash Bag are here to help with all the tips, tricks and motivation you need to set your minimalist goals and stick to them!
What is Minimalism?
It wouldn't be a blog about minimalism unless we started with the basics.
Minimalism, like most other "-ism" movements, has unfairly become an object of ridicule and, sometimes, outright scorn, dismissed as a hippy fad unlikely to stand the test of time. Although these arguments may encourage you to firmly turn your back on minimalism (or run screaming for the hills, if you're prone to theatrics), it's worth noting that many people harbour these opinions under the misguided assumption that a major life change is fundamental to minimalism.
When we dig a little deeper it becomes clear that, despite what you may have heard, minimalism simply isn't about living out of a cardboard box or isolating yourself from life's little pleasures or even immediately downsizing your 4 bedroom bungalow to a pint-sized cabin. Rather, the minimalist movement simply seeks to recognise the excesses of daily life and prune them back to a more manageable level. In this sense, minimalism is not about denying ourselves, but rather about eliminating the extravagances we don't even want so we have more time and resources to focus on the things that really matter.
Although some people do feel empowered by stripping right back and although certain images (like the one below, recently showcased on the tinyhouseblog Instagram account) perfectly fit society's stereotypical idea of minimalism, it doesn't mean these are the only examples of minimalist living. So before you resign yourself to grabbing your toolkit and sanding down the edges of your life, remember that you are allowed to exercise minimalism to a minimal degree.
The great thing about minimalism is that it's totally flexible and exists on a sliding scale from "simple decluttering" to "living off the land", meaning you can either go all out and immediately sell your home for a spacious tent, or you can carry on as usual, simply recognising the hedonistic lifestyles promoted by today's aggressive advertising industries and working to keep this consumerist messaging from exerting too much influence in your day to day life.
If you keep the mantra less is more in mind, you can't go too far wrong.
What are the Benefits of Minimalism?
Here at the Scrubba Wash Bag, our speciality is minimalist travel. That's why our product range consists of only the most practical, multifunctional innovations especially designed to minimise waste, maximise experience, and ultimately give everyone the opportunity to cut down and travel carry on only.
Our clean, light and free travel philosophy is no secret, but we've so far been less outspoken about our conviction that the benefits of packing light apply just as much to travel as they do to life in general. Indeed, it's not by coincidence that we're increasingly turning our attention to innovative products that, like the Scrubba Weightless Wallet and Scrubba Air Sleeve, streamline not just travel, but also the daily routines and activities that unite us all.
The Scrubba Wash Bag's ultimate goal is to help people get back to basics and we'll never stop celebrating this resolve because we've experienced its benefits firsthand. We've listed just a few of those benefits below:
Enjoy More Space
Today's world is so fast-paced and erratic that it's easy to become overwhelmed, smothered by the claustrophobic weight of gadgets and accessories that we were convinced we needed but never got the chance to use since they inevitably became redundant after only a couple of months anyway.
Decluttering helps us to reclaim the space too often controlled by this mess, from spare parts and junk items to broken tech and that old Nokia 3310 that no longer works but that we're keeping buried in our sock drawer for ... sentimental reasons, I guess?
Focus on the Things that Matter
Minimalism is about taking possession of your life, not about living through your possessions.
As soon as you make a pledge to cut back and live with less, you free up the time ordinarily spent shopping or attempting to keep up to date with the latest fleeting trends. Cutting back means you get to embrace what you have, focus on the simple things that bring you joy, and use your free time to explore the hobbies and meet the people that make you smile.
The most obvious advantage about resisting the materialistic call of advertisers all over the globe is the increasing numbers you'll see on your bank balance. Quite simply, the less you allow yourself to wander into the endless loop of consumerism, the more you'll likely be able to wander into the bank without the clammy hand of shopper's guilt crawling up from the depths of your soul and pulverising your gut in its steely fist.
If you're gradually working towards a life of minimalism that involves foraging for mushrooms and harvesting rain water, this particular point may not be of great appeal. For those of us who are simply looking to declutter and gain a deeper understanding of the tenaciousness of consumerism, however, the additional funds can help us lead a more liberated life supplemented by cooking classes, global travel, a new degree, or any other pursuit that brings us meaning and perspective.
Give it a shot! You'll likely find that the joy you gain from your hobbies is longer lasting and much more tangible than the pleasure bestowed by the latest gadget that, come to think of it, barely even offers increased functionality from the earlier model.
The more you buy, the more you discard, the more waste you create. Even if you take pains to dispose of items in the most environmentally-friendly method possible, your efforts are unlikely to be as effective as simply reducing your output to begin with.
The more possessions we own, the more we tend to stress about keeping them safe and dealing with any losses or breakages that do occur. We're all likely familiar with the keys-phone-wallet pat down that occurs, without fail, before leaving the house every morning, not to mention the incessant fingering of the passport and almost manic checking of the boarding passes when we're heading though airport security. While we can't do anything about the necessities, we can tune out the anxious background buzz by cutting out those excess possessions that cause us more stress than pleasure.
How to Become a Minimalist
Many of us hang on to items that are partially broken or of questionable quality, convinced that we need to at least keep them as a "back-up" to "get our money's worth". This tends to result in us buying way more items than we discard, leading to duplicates, a trail of spare bits and pieces that, deep down, we must know we're never going to find a use for, and outdated tech that has long since become redundant for anything more than transitory appearances in zany films about bygone trends and forgotten pop culture. This is exactly the sort of attitude that minimalism seeks to combat.
If you think minimalist living might be for you and you're eager to give it a shot, there are a couple of ridiculously easy steps you can take to start walking the path of minimalism.
Here are some tips to help get you motivated:
Set Yourself a Goal
If you're actively attempting to cultivate a minimalist life, it stands to reason that something in your current routine has prompted the decision, whether it be constant stress about a bank balance that continues to plummet with alarming haste, or crippling frustration over a cluttered living room that's hardly distinguishable from the ruins of a thousand-year-old homestead. In order to achieve a positive change and gain a greater sense of fulfilment, you should consider taking a moment to recognise the problem that requires action so you can take meaningful steps towards solving it. It's difficult, if not impossible, to measure success without clearly defined criteria, so try to regularly reflect upon or even write down your goals and progress to avoid feeling like you've wasted your time.
Having a goal means nothing unless it's achievable. As much as you might want to, you're just not going to go from contented consumer knocking back crystal glass after crystal glass of champagne (the good stuff) from the balcony of your country estate, to living out of a tattered bag in a day. No matter how much you want to cut back or where on the "minimalist" scale you want to fall, taking baby steps and recognising your progress will help you get where you want to be. Consider choosing just one category, from minimalist furniture to a minimalist wardrobe, to explore at the beginning. This should enable you to both devise a strategy that suits you and avoid the setbacks that might cause you to lose faith in the project altogether.
Box Up Duplicates
The easiest way to start decluttering your home is to box up any duplicate items that spend most of their time gathering dust on shelves or tables that are already groaning under the weight of innumerable household objects of questionable purpose. Box up anything you feel you don't use or that conspicuously occupies a space you're trying to clear, then place the box out of sight for a short period of time. If, after this time has elapsed, you haven't missed any of the items and can't even remember what they were or why you owned them in the first place, discard or donate them.
If you're one of those people who works well under pressure or thrives on overcoming challenges, you'll be delighted to know that a minimalist lifestyle promises to add plenty of fuel to your competitive fire. Setting yourself small challenges is a fantastic way to combat boredom and measure your progress, thus keeping you focused and driven. Not sure where to start? Why not challenge yourself to donate a certain number of your possessions to charity every month, or to cut your wardrobe down to only 30 or 40 items, or to travel carry on only on your next trip, or even to spend under a certain value on your weekly grocery shop? You can even get your friends and family involved to up the stakes. From food, to fashion, to furniture, there are so many areas you can declutter with zeal thanks to the fire of a little friendly competition, so there's no reason not to get started today!
Choose Quality Over Quantity
You're probably thoroughly sick of this advice, but sorry, it's an undisputed fact that we just can't fail to mention! Buying a small number of quality items that get the job done is far preferable to putting your faith in cheap accessories that are often composed of flimsy materials that pose a threat to the environment. Thinking carefully about the products you invest in and turning your attention to ethically produced and multifunctional gear that serves a clear purpose and doesn't require frequent replacement is, quite simply, the best way to reduce waste.
Here at the Scrubba Wash Bag, we're only too conscious of how easy it is to become buried beneath an ocean of rubbish you never end up using. That's why we demand the highest quality from all our products and utilise only the best materials and manufacturing methods. Our quality control enables the Scrubba range to stand the test of time, all while remaining adaptable for maximum functionality both at home and abroad.
As much as we cherish clever innovation, we also believe that it's the simple solutions that are the most effective at solving unique problems. Our 100% upcycled Scrubba Weightless Wallet, for instance, takes minimalism to a whole new level by offering a back to basics product that, quite simply, does exactly what it says - no irritating bells or whistles attached!
The Scrubba Weightless Wallet weighs only 7g and is 100% upcycled from excess Scrubba Wash Bag material
Minimalist Living: The Bottom Line
Life is meant to be experienced, not passively projected through the screens that surround us on a daily basis. It might sound intimidating, but there are really only a few overarching ideas you need to keep mind. So whether you're interested in trading your commercialised lifestyle for complete simplicity, implementing some tips to help you comfortably live with less, or simply decluttering your environment for heightened organisation and reduced stress, these tiny tips are bound to set you on course for success - all without causing too much disruption to your daily routine.
Go ahead and start living clean, light and free, no compromises!