As a minimalist, I try (very hard) not to buy mindlessly. Every time I consider purchasing a new outfit, kitchen gadget, or makeup item, I have to think about where I’m going to store it. This is where life can get a bit tricky. My house is pretty, darn full. Every week I diligently comb through my belongings and donate a few items, but it’s not enough. I battle the dreaded clutter-monster more often than I’d like to admit. So, when I find something new that I “must have,” I’m faced with two choices: make room or get creative. Below are my shopping tips for minimalists.
Make Room For New Items
I like to buy high-quality clothing because I often wear the same thing over and over again. I need it to last, and I need to love it. It’s difficult for me to get rid of a clothing item before it falls apart, but sometimes I have to “make room” from something even better. Instead of throwing perfectly good clothing in the trash, I donate selected items every few weeks. This way I always have a little room for something new! The routine goes as follows:
1). Every few mornings, when I’m getting dressed, I scan my clothes to see if there is anything that I haven’t worn in a while. “Awhile” might mean two weeks…. so be it. No doubt I have already worn that piece of clothing dozens and dozens of times. It may even be starting to fray or discolor. I try not to dwell on any emotional attachment I may have to the material object. It’s time for it to go!
2). I place the garment in a designated bag for donations. There it lives for a few more days, giving me one last opportunity to swap it out for something else.
3). At the end of the week, I donate the selected items in the bag and bring the bag back home. The process begins all over again.
With this system, my closet remains in balance, and the clutter-monster has not been awoken from his slumber… though he’s still lurking… waiting for me to make a mistake! As soon as I do, he’ll show is ugly head and suddenly I will look around my house feeling anxious and (a little) crazy. I prefer he stay asleep.
Get Creative With Storage
Finding creative ways to store new items can allow me to squeeze a little more into my space, without disturbing the aforementioned daemon. For example, I recently wanted to purchase a few more makeup items, adding to my rather pathetic grooming kit. I couldn’t get rid of anything to “make room” because these items didn’t exist in the first place! So, I turned to the internet for helpful storage solutions.
Pinterest is a godsend for clever cabinet storage ideas. After becoming inspired, I purchased magnets and glued them to the back of my makeup cases and brushes. Then, I glued magnets to the inside of my cabinet door and voila! I could now store makeup inside the door without cluttering my cabinet’s shelves!
BONUS DIY TIP: Learn how to make a unique lamp out of copper piping!
Other Shopping Tips for Minimalists
There are some possessions that only useful on rare occasions. For these items, I prefer to borrow or rent. Below are shopping tips that I’ve used in the past for these special circumstances.
- Rent a Runway. This is an online service that allows you to rent formalwear for 5-8 days at a time. I use this when attending a wedding or a fancy party. I love it because they send me two sizes, for free, putting my mind at ease as far as the fit. Plus, I get to wear name brand dresses that I would NEVER be able to afford otherwise. Try Rent A Runway with this link & you’ll get $30 off your order (and so will I)!
- StitchFix. Subscription services are all the rage nowadays. I use StitchFix to help me purchase new clothing items that are “in fashion” – a concept that I struggle with at times. I like this service because I can set the deliveries to come every 2 months, and since it’s only a few items in each box, it’s less overwhelming than going to the mall. A few new pieces of clothing every other month? I can make room for that. Try StitchFix with this link & you’ll get a $25 gift card (and so will I)!
- Borrow. I’m not reinventing the wheel here. If I need something – such as a tool, kitchen item, outfit – that I will only use every once in a while, I don’t like to buy it. My neighbor has a rake, why do I need one to pick up leaves once or twice a season? My friend has a nail gun, so I’ll just borrow it when I need it (not often). I like my friend’s high heels, and we wear the same size… so why not borrow them for a special night out? I think our society would cut down on consumerism if we simply stopped learned to share! Just be brave and ask to borrow. Honestly, most people take it as a compliment.
- The Power of Neutral Tones. For my wardrobe, my favorite items are those that I can mix and match. I usually lean towards neutral tones for my tops and bottoms, so that I don’t have to worry about colors clashing. All I really need is two pairs of jeans, a few long sleeves and short sleeve shirts, and a few cardigans. I accessorize with color – scarfs, jewelry, headbands, etc. This allows for the most versatility with the smallest amount of items in my wardrobe. The pop of color is the focal point, allowing my outfit to seem fresh and new (even if it’s the same thing I wore a few days before).
- Tool Rental. No matter what you need, there is a business out there that rents it. A dolly? Pressure washer? Outdoor tables and chairs? Yep, there’s a business that rents it. Why do we own these occasionally useful items when all they do is awake the clutter monster? Financially it might make some sense, but it’s important to remember that empty space is precious. You only have so much of it in your home, and you need to protect it. This might mean spending a little extra money on rentals a few times a year, but it’s worth it!
Thanks for your advice about disposing of clothes you haven’t worn in a while, that should really help me out as someone who just adopted the minimalist lifestyle. I definitely relate to you when you said that you love to buy high-quality clothing, I often have a set outfit and look that I go for, so I end up using the same clothes quite a lot. I’m going to a shopping mall with my friends for the first time since the pandemic started and since then I’ve taken up minimalism as a lifestyle. It’s gonna be difficult to juggle my shopping habits and that lifestyle, but I’m sure it’ll be a fun little challenge for me.
Great article! Our company offers Amish-crafted RVIA-certified park model cabins and cottages. Energy efficient with many options available. Built on an off-grid functioning Amish farm in Kentucky. 3D tours, videos, and instant online price quotes at http://www.amishcabincompany.com
Can you share more about the house / yurt pictured in this post? I’ve very interested in more pictures and build details!
I’m actually going to do a story on it in the spring. Stay tuned!