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Start the Year with Minimalism

Less is More - Start the Year with Minimalism | SOLFCU Financial TipsThe last few years have shown a lot of buzz around minimalism and why adopting it has so many positive aspects. It’s quite a personal journey because while one person’s minimalism seems rational to them, it may seem radical and intimidating to another. This is due to different financial situations, different perspectives on what is necessary and varying family values. There is truly no wrong way to practice minimalism, it’s personal and requires a bit of learning about yourself and your family’s true needs. No one model will be a blanket for all people, so the basics can help.

Here we have ways you can consider minimalism in your life and where it makes sense.

The Dreaded Declutter

Another buzzword, decluttering your stuff is what usually holds people back from minimalism. We tend to assign memories and emotions to things, the favorite jacket of a loved one, the ceramic ballerina hippo your sweet aunt gave you, or you may just feel guilt for not valuing all that you have. These are all valid points but the thing to remember is you end up with all these things dragging you down, requiring your effort to keep them tidy and organized, in some tucked away space of your home or maybe overflowing into what could be well used space. The effort of decluttering unused items will allow space to cultivate what your family really needs, rather than hanging on to sentimental and unnecessary stuff.

Put Down the Dust Rag

Dust loves things. It loves all your vases, picture frames, statues, faux flowers, table tops and lamps. The more things you have, the more cleaning you will have to do to keep them from looking yucky and dusty. The easiest way to stop having to clean so much? Have less stuff to clean. Works like a charm.

Take Back Your Time

Think about how much time your things take away from you. Your belongings had to be cultivated, situated in your home, regularly cleaned, picked up, organized, maintained, removed and purchased. The things we own demand time from us that many of us would rather spend doing anything else.

One of the problems you can run into when you reduce your items is you may have donators remorse. Getting rid of a something that had actual use and you didn’t realize it until it was gone, and you end up spending money to replace it.

Obviously, minimalism will have drawbacks like this where it backfires into your spending, so trying to be as aware as possible of what you can declutter will help. Talk to your spouse or significant other about the items on the chopping block and make rational, non-emotional decisions.

Being Consciously Frugal

Here is another double edge on the minimalism sword, frugality can be a problem. Sales are extremely tempting, and if you are trying to save money through minimalism then a sale can really throw you and your budget off course. It may seem like being frugal comes with the territory and it certainly does. The idea of minimalism is to really think about each purchase and if whatever you are buying will serve you and the life you are cultivating. But when a shiny sale comes along that has super affordable prices on things you love, you can end up throwing the logic out the window because “you’ve earned it”.

When a sale is really tempting you, try to remember the reasons you chose minimalism. Is it environmental waste? Setting a good example for your children? Trying to save for a big goal? Cleaning less? Trying to destress your life? Maybe it’s a little bit of all of these reasons, but the idea is to stop and think, what is my goal, why am I doing this, and will these sale items just be decluttered in the long run?

Goals Don’t Make Themselves Happen

Having the goal of saving, reducing and example setting is wonderful, but you have to take action to make action. Going for minimalism can be daunting but take it one small area of your home at a time. You don’t even have to do a whole room, maybe just a small closet to start, or a particularly cluttered corner.

Make the rules for yourself that you know you can keep. A rule that works for many is no off-list purchases unless you think about it for at least 24 hours. That does not include things you know you need (toilet paper) that you forgot to put on the list, we’re talking about impulse purchases such as a new lipstick or shoes.

Many times, you come back from the store having decided to think about the item you wanted to purchase, only to realize that you have something similar, or don’t really want it anyway.

Even if you choose one thing, such as keeping your clothes and clothing purchases to a minimum rather than everything in your life, it will still benefit you and your family. Whatever your reasons for working on having less, it’s a noble cause and worth striving for.

However, you choose to minimize, remember that Solidarity is always here for you with our Shared ATM & Branching network with credit unions all over the state and worldwide.
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