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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

4R of my minimalism

Becoming a minimalist is one thing... staying a minimalist is another...

I often write about the starting process... How to declutter. Why you should declutter.  What do you have to gain.

But what if once you have a minimalist, decluttered tidy home you keep on with your old habits?  Old ways of doing things? Old patterns of consumption?  Well, it wont be long before you need to redo all that time, energy and emotion costly decluttering.  Trust me... I've been to a few of those cycles!

This is why  am now using a 4R rule.  This is my adaptation of the numerous 3R, 4R, 5R rules you can find here and there... This is what works for me.  You can come up with your own...  or use as is...  it doesn't really matter as long as you have a guideline to avoid being back to square one anytime soon.

Refuse : This may actually be the harder of the 4R...  It implies learning to say NO.  No to gifts... No to handover... No to gift exchanges... It implies sharing with your friends and family your process and letting them know that you will not enjoy any random gifts of handover anymore... Now if you come from a place where refusing a gift is just rude and you very well know people won't stop giving you gifts, you can direct them towards what you would like to have.  Stuff that will not clutter you home: for example gifts certificates - these come in all sorts nowadays it could be from your favorite coffee shop, favorite restaurant, a massage or spa day, hair salon, iTunes, Amazon... you name it... anything you will enjoy that will not generate new random not desired object in your home. It could also be a consumable item:  like a bag of your favorite tea, bottle of your preferred wine, fancy food basket, quality chocolate, a plant... Now if you're into not wanting to receive anything with money value, you could ask for baby sitting time, meal prep, dog sitting, house sitting...  Use your imagination and provide people around you with a list of what you would like to get as gifts now that you are a minimalist.

Reduce: Think twice before you bring something home.  Do you really need it?   Don't you have something else that could do the same "job"?  If it's for a one time use, can you borrow? Can you rent it? If you really do not want to clutter again, you need to stop the inflow of items into your sacred space.
How much clothes, dishes, decorative items, tools, pens.. etc... do you really need?  Do you really need that one new item that you just fell in love with at the store or on TV???
Don't you have something at home that could have a double purpose and avoid you bring in a new item?  Perfect example:  I use mason jars for food storage, to drink in , as flower vase and candle holders - 1 item 4 usages... it prevents me from having to buy 4 different items!
If you're going to buy dishes because you have more than usual people coming over can't you borrow dishes from a friend or family?
If you need to fix something on your home, rent the tools... no need to buy them to store them in the garage for years before you need it again.

Reuse: Find another use for an item before you give it away, put it in the trash or recycle it...  You can use glass containers that had relish in it to organise crafts material, buttons, nails, screws, as a piggy bank, to store more food (nuts and seeds for example)... You can turn old clothes/sheets into rags for cleaning if they are to damaged to give away...  Give what you own another change, another life.

Recycle:  When all else fails, please do not trash the items...  use the recycling option of your city.  Glass, plastic, paper, cardboard are most of the time recyclable.  It's still better then ending up in the landfills.

These are the questions I ask myself before something new enters my home or leave it.  Do I really need it? Can I use something else? Do I really need to buy it or could I get away with borrowing on renting? Will I be able to use it for a long time and in many ways? It is recyclable?

It is not 100% perfect as a system because you can manage to find "reasons" or "excuses"... and it will happen... and that's OK to!  But it help in most instances...

If all else fails, you can always use that one-in-one-out rule...  You really really really need that skirt? No other one you own will do...  And you can't borrow...  Well fine but one has to go... Someone else will enjoy your older one while you enjoy the new one.  No new clutter will have been created... and there will be 2 happy people!

And please, before you dispose of something, make sure it is not recyclable... or it is not possible to give away to charity or someone you know... To avoid filling out the landfills anymore then they already are.

Thanks for reading and sharing! :-)


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