How to Minimise Your Home

To do better for the planet, one of the first steps we can take is to start living a minimal lifestyle. The reason minimalism is good for the environment is that it gets us into a mindset of refusing the things we don’t need. It challenges blind consumerist behaviour. Most of us were taught the 3 ‘R’s’ of reuse, reduce, recycle but in fact, we should first refuse, reuse, reduce and as a last resort, recycle. So how exactly do we start living minimally? 

I’m a big fan of spring cleaning and tend to be cleaning different spaces around my home all year round (Chris thinks I’m mad) but there’s always a couple of drawers that I never get too. A big part of minimizing is taking account of everything you already own. When you realise exactly what you have, and the clean up involved to declutter it, hopefully, you’ll be put off from buying more stuff. 

Go Through What You Already Have

Rome wasn’t built in a day. Start with just one drawer. Pile everything out and start sorting through it. Separate what you want to keep from those items you can donate or recycle. If you’re on the fence about whether to keep something, consider having 2 drawers, 1 where you put maybe items and the other, keep empty. If you use an item from the maybe drawer, put it into the empty drawer. After 6 months, get rid of whatever is still left in the maybe drawer. It should be noted that the goal of living a minimal, eco-friendly life is not to start by getting rid of absolutely everything and start afresh with the most stylish eco-friendly home, that would be consumerist in itself. 

Clean Out Your Products

Is it only me who ends up having products I don't actually use? I buy them with good intention, thinking I may start a new routine or that they may help my skin but then they don't, so I stop using them. For example, I tried using all-natural skincare last year and the facial oil made me break out so now I have a full bottle of this oil that I don't want to use on my face. I could probably repurpose it for my cuticles. Old lipsticks and mascara tubes can be recycled as well as old nail polish bottles. Check expiry dates and recycle what you haven't used in over 6 months. When you replenish your products aim to start improving your carbon footprint, by choosing environmentally friendly packaging, cruelty-free and non-toxic products. 

Convert Paper to Digital

Do you really need all those old paper records? Scan everything to digital and save them to your cloud drive so that you free up space in your home and have fewer files collecting dust. I keep a copy of my passport, ID and marriage certificate in digital form. Recycle any papers you don’t need, remembering to shred the ones with classified information. 

You Don’t Need it

To have a clean home, marketing tells us we need to have a pantry cupboard stocked with dishwashing liquid, window cleaner, floor cleaner, mould remover, washing powder, fabric softener, toilet cleaner, tile cleaner and on and on the list goes. In truth, these are probably all very similar products packaged and advertised in different ways so that we buy more. I’m fairly new to natural cleaning but this video has helped me a lot to make a start. I recently used Baking Soda (Bicarbonate of Soda) and vinegar to clean an oven dish and it worked way better than Sunlight Soap. What I love about chemical-free cleaning is that I can also buy all the products at the zero-waste store so I’m no longer racking up plastic detergent bottles. 

Refuse

We’ve been conditioned to accept free things and always want new things. This can be a massive mindset change at first. When someone wants to give you their business card, what are you really going to with it afterwards? Ask them to input their email onto your phone instead. If you’re attending a wedding, ask to borrow a dress or a suit from a friend rather than buying a new one. At the conference you’re attending, do you really need another notebook and pen? If we stop taking all these free things, hopefully, people will eventually stop producing them. 

I hope these tips help you with your minimalist journey. Share your minimalist tips in the comments below.

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