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Own Less, Live More

Educational Resources for Minimalists, Both Aspiring and Experienced


Explore our complete collection of articles on minimalism, the minimalist lifestyle, digital minimalism, and how to create passive income. Get inspired and empowered to live your best life with our library of articles on a variety of topics related to the minimalist life written by a team of writers from all over the world. Check back often for updates and new featured articles.

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  • Jessica Duncan - Freelance Writer - Canada

Updated: Sep 18, 2021

Can Minimalism Be The Road To A Sustainable Future?

The minimalist movement first took the world by storm with the sudden popularity of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by author and minimalist extraordinaire Marie Kondo. This global phenomenon, entitled the KonMari Method, resulted in a flurry of decluttering items that did not “spark joy”. Kondo emphasizes that, through decluttering, we can provide a more peaceful living space derived from the dust-collectors so many of us hold on to “just in case”. This method preaches bringing items into your home that are either necessary or invoke an emotional attachment in order to reduce the messiness of our lives AND the planet.

The KonMari method is hardly the first of it’s kind to take on the endless consumption of humanity. The 30-Day Minimalism Game by Joshua Fields Milburn and Ryan Nicodemus, AKA The Minimalists, is a challenge for folks to reduce their clutter over a 30 day period (on the first day of the month you get rid of one item, on the second, two items, and so on). This method, similar to the KonMari method, aims not only to streamline our daily lives, but to force us to consider our future consumption habits.

The Buy Nothing New Month Challenge is another that forces us to consider our endless consumption habits and reconnect with items we already own. Then of course, there’s the zero waste movement, the tiny house movement, and more.

Each of these lifestyles is a direct backlash to consumerism under capitalism, which wants us to always buy more, more, more, in order to increase the profits of major corporations and line the pockets of the 1% with more wealth than most people dream of. This lifestyle is primarily spearheaded by Millennials in response to the intense consumerism of the Baby Boomers and Gen X which have forced Millennials to value experiences over things, since most of us can’t afford things anyways.

The benefits of minimalism on the individual are well documented; people report a clearer mind, chores taking up less down time, and more disposable income to invest in experiences. But what about the environment? Minimalism might just be the cure for that too.

Our Climate Change Disaster

For decades now scientists have been warning us that the impending ruin of global warming will wreck our planet. Though the Western world has committed to trying to reduce our carbon footprint, invest in clean energy, and recycle - these initiatives are not on track to save us from a climate breakdown before it’s too late (for example, though most of the western world has proactive recycling goals of products being 100%recyclable by 2030, that initiative is far from being realized. According to a 2018 study, over 91% of plastic in the world isn’t recycled). Minimalism, on the other hand, does not work to recycle or reuse products, but aims on creating and consuming less products

period. This has a range of benefits.

Less Stuff, Less Carbon

The less stuff we consume as a society, the less stuff we produce. As the goal of

minimalism is to buy less - less furniture, clothing, decor, etc. - the CO2 emissions

coming from the apparel and household industries would dramatically reduce from where they currently are. For reference, according to stats from the United NationsEnvironment Programme, it takes 3781 litres of water to make a single pair of jeans. That equals about 33,4 kilograms of carbon emissions. If that’s a single pair of jeans, consider the cost of everything in our wardrobes, our households. The fashion industryalone uses enough water to meet the consumption needs of over 5 million peopleyearly. By intentionally buying less items, the demand for these items goes down. Whenthe demand goes down, so does the product of all these items, resulting not only in less stuff but drastically reducing the carbon it takes to create these items from start to finish.

Less Stuff, Less Waste

Not only does minimalism reduce what we produce, it curbs our ever growing landfills. With less demand and an emphasis on sustainable shopping (valuing quantity over quality) people will create less trash. According to stats from the U.S. EnvironmentalProtection Agency, the average North American individual generates over 4 pounds oftrash every day and about 1.5 tons of solid waste per year. Americans in particular generate over 200 million tons of garbage per year, enough to fill a baseball stadium from top to bottom twice a day. By wasting less, we prevent landfills from filling up or from garbage from Western countries being shipped to the Global South to pollute their air, water, and bodies from poor work conditions in which they dispose (burn, bury, etc.) or live amongst our trash.

Less Stuff, More Donations

An additional benefit to minimalism is that it serves others without creating more waste. By emphasising the need to declutter and refine our lives, people are getting rid of their excess of stuff. Minimalism not only advocates for a simpler lifestyle but for donating (not disposing) of the items you wish to remove. By donating items, these products can stay in circulation as a part of the clothing/household/entertainment/etc. economy instead of a landfill; this provides items to people who need them and as well as keeps money flowing from hand to hand in our own communities. It’s a win-win for the environment and our fellow neighbours running their second-hand shop.

Overall, it’s clear that minimalism not only encourages a simple and healthier lifestyle for the individual, but can create change for the health of our planet. Currently, studies suggest that if everyone on the planet consumed as much as the average North American, four Earths would be needed to sustain them. We need to change our consumption habits, especially here in the West, if we stand any chance at changing our climate change and its disastrous effects. You only need to look at the wildfires currently ravaging BC to know that we don’t have time to waste

#Minimalism #MinimalistLiving #MarieKondo #TheMinimalists #GoingGreen #BuyNothingNewMonthChallenge #LessStuffLessWaste #SimplySimpleOrg


  • Olivia - Freelance Writer - Nigeria

Updated: Sep 18, 2021

Let me begin with a personal story of mine. For most of my life, I wasn’t very good with money. I made it and I spent it. The money came in and went out. According to a BDO Canada Affordability report of 2019, the majority of Canadians (53%) confirmed they were living pay check to pay check, 25% said their debt profile was overwhelming while 27% didn’t have enough money for their daily needs. So, I’m guessing these statistics are something many can relate to as well.

After four years of college, I let with a degree in Applied Linguistics and hundreds of thousands of dollars in student loans. I was lucky to land a job with a digital marketing agency, and then I bought a car a few months later. Yes, I did. I told you I wasn’t good at handling my personal finance.

I knew my debt load was massive. I was too scared to even sit down and perform a self-audit. I had dug myself into a hole and I was at a loss as to how to even begin with repairing my credit profile.

The crazy part? All that debt didn’t stop me from going on a spending spree despite the huge debt hanging on my head. Right after buying my car, I got a new apartment and furnished the place to my taste. Of course, I wasn’t going to be left out the trending fashion, so I added some designer wear to my wardrobe.

Despite my many material possessions, I was miserable. I knew I couldn’t go on with the pretence any longer, like everything was okay. I knew that I needed to make a drastic change. I just didn’t know how.

And then I lost my job. Maybe this served as the springboard for the subsequent decisions that I took. I wouldn’t know. However, I was jolted back to reality. Then I began one of the most challenging journeys of my life – a path towards recovery.

Over the course of three years, I was able to pay off every single student loan that I owed. The car payment too, and slowly, I recovered.

Today I think about it and I’m very sure minimalism, a concept I read about and applied while I was on the path to recovery, helped me in no small measure to achieve my financial obligations. This is the same approach I hope everyone facing the same challenges I encountered years back to apply.

The basic formula to personal finance

There’s a basic formula to win at personal finance, and it is this, “spend less money than you make.” In practice though, it is not that easy. Money seems to completely slip through our fingers. No matter how much money we make, our bank account seems to have a completely different agenda.

Why money keeps getting in the way

One of the reasons that we’re bad with money is because money is a taboo topic. It’s rare to see families gather at the dinner table and talk about personal finance. We can’t talk about it with friends and colleagues. In the event that we could, it’s always a pity party, with everyone lamenting about how they never seem to have enough money. Many are scared to bring up the money topic because they’re scared of getting judged or offending the other party. Money is one subject that is not even taught in schools.

What can we do?

However, we can only improve our money habits if we start to have honest conversations about money. We need to remove our egos and actually learn. It is something that must be learned. How can we learn?

1. Learn money management through books.

My recommendations would be The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey, I Will Teach You to be Rich by Ramit Sethi, and The Richest Man in Babylon by George Samuel Clason, a 1926 classic that continues to be relevant today.

All three of these books lay out great advice, trusted advice that has worked and will continue. You sure will find a lot of value in them.

2. Do not fall into the lifestyle creep.

Whenever we get a pay raise or we start making a little bit more money, or we land a really huge contract, the first thing that comes to our mind is upgrading our lifestyle to match our income. We start by upgrading our apartment, buying a new car. Just basically increasing our lifestyle. It could be compensation we gift ourselves for finally reaching new heights, especially one we never dreamt of.

Assuming we were more mindful of our spending, we will keep our lifestyle in check and not inflate it as our income rises. If we’re able to do this, then 5, 10 years down the road, we’re going to be able to live a lot more comfortably and we’re going to have so much security.

Let’s admit it, we buy tons of unnecessary things, and we convince ourselves in a lot of sneaky ways why we deserve it. Not all advertising is bad but a lot of it is driven to make us feel as if we deserve the indulgence. You’ve worked so hard, now you deserve this handbag, this leather jacket, or this car. The truth of the matter is, what you deserve is to be debt-free. You deserve not to live from pay check to pay check.

I look back now at my post-college lifestyle and I’m bemused at what I thought was critical to my living the dream life and generally being happy. I earn a lot more now, and I don’t even need those things I thought I couldn’t live without. I bought into the consumer culture, and I paid dearly for it.

3. Do not give into social media pressure.

We face a lot of pressure from social media. Truth be told, keeping up with the Joneses is a real thing, and if we’re not careful of our news feeds and social media feeds, it can feel like we’re not doing enough. It is very tempting to want to keep up and have the things that everybody else, otherwise we think of ourselves as failures.

But here’s the thing, rich people are rich because they make smart decisions with their money. They don’t go out and lease a brand-new vehicle or rent a penthouse that they can’t afford.

3. Do not give in to pressure from within.

We also face so many pressures from ourselves. There is this thing called, the myth of “I don’t have.” It is something that we tell ourselves to convince us that we need to go out there and get our heart’s desires.

As a YouTuber, you might say I really want to create top-notch content for my audience or that video but I don’t have this lens or this camera so I can’t do it. Or maybe I can’t start my weight loss program just yet because I haven’t found the perfect personal trainer.

But really, the only thing that’s stopping you is procrastination. It’s giving us those sneaky excuses that prevent us from getting started with our goals and dreams. It’s convincing us that buying that extra item is going to solve everything. Bad news. It won’t.

4. Make sacrifices

When I lost my first job, and with my massive debts almost ruining me, I woke up one morning and told myself, “I’ve had enough.” So, I moved back home with my parents. I stopped every unnecessary payment. I also made fewer social outings that would involve me spending money. I knew I had to make some sacrifices to get to a point that I could take risks.

You have to be completely clear with why you’re doing this in the first place. Why do you want to be debt-free, why do you want to have financial freedom? The first step in making uncomfortable sacrifices is understanding why we don’t want to be living pay check to pay check. It becomes easier when we understand the reason behind what we’re doing.

The merits of being financially free are so great. We think about having the security and safety of being able to take care of our family and friends when the need arises. It becomes more obvious why the sacrifices that you’re making are so important. It motivates you to push yourself outside of your comfort zone.

If I hadn’t taken that first step, I can’t imagine what my story would be like today. It was the first step that created the domino effect that I’m enjoying today.

The Minimalist approach to personal finance

Be intentional. You could start by being intentional in taking concrete steps to manage your finance. This means being diligent in your planning budgets, recording expenses, and being purposeful with your spending. This ensures that you’re more financially aware, which empowers you to take control of your finances instead of being scared and running away from them. This does not have to be a very tedious process. You could choose to adopt a minimalist financial system to manage your money, which essentially contains only three steps.

Create a budget: Your budget should consist of a few broad categories of what you usually spend your money on, such as transport, rent, and daily expenses. Try not to create too many categories; if not you would become demoralized when about your own expenditures. Be generous with every budget category so that you don’t have to dip into other categories of your budget when you overspend on your planned budget.

Use an expense tracker: Now comes the tedious part – expense tracking. There are many ways that you can do this. Initially, it would require trial and error on your part. But moving forward, you will find the best way to do this.

Set up automatic transfers: You could set up automated transactions to set amounts to be credited to different accounts for different purposes. By setting aside money to save once you get your salary, you guarantee a fixed amount of monthly savings and can spend money with peace of mind.

Final Thoughts

The strategy couldn’t be simpler. Spend less money than you make. But as you know, we face a lot of pressure to do the exact opposite. But if you can outmanoeuvre these forces, if you could build a healthy relationship with money, and create positive habits that stick, you will be able to become financially free.

#Minimalist #PersonalFinance #MoneyManagement #DaveRamsey #RamitSethi

#GeorgeSamuelClason #LifestyleCreep #AutomaticTransfers #Budget #SimplySimpleOrg


  • Olivia - Freelance Writer - Nigeria

Updated: Sep 18, 2021

Sustainability is one topic that has been at the forefront of our minds recently. With ecological experts warning about the dangers of climate change in our world, and the subsequent actions by climate activists around the world, including world leaders, there might yet be hope for our planet. The reduction in the use of fossil fuels, and the gradual move to renewable sources of energy is a testament to this welcome change.

However, sustainability does not only relate to climate change. It is one concept that has become applicable in virtually every facet of our lives. For some, it has become a lifestyle. So has minimalism, one other concept that is catching on with a lot of people. Let’s start by defining these terms and how they relate to one another.

On Minimalism

Minimalism simply means living with less in order to have more time and space for the things that truly matter in our lives. Leo Babauta defines it as the rejection of the idea that more is better, of consumption as a lifestyle, of excess. According to the Zen Habits guru, it is basically paring one’s life to the essentials, whether that be possessions, tasks, projects, or anything they allow in their lives, which is different for every person. Minimalism affects every area of our lives, including health, relationships, passion, growth, and emotional well-being. A minimalist lifestyle for a 21-year-old college student may be quite different from what minimalism means to a 50-year-old professional and parent. However, while minimalism means different things for different people, it is geared towards meeting the same goal: stripping ourselves of the excess in other to have time and space for the most important things in our lives. Basically, with minimalism in place, we have time and the freedom to choose the life that truly brings us meaning – a life where happiness is not hinged on the number of material possessions that we own.

On Sustainability

On the other hand, sustainability simply means monitoring our use of resources in such a way that we take only what we need to live while ensuring that the interests of future generations are protected. Essentially, we are focused on meeting the needs of the present moment without compromising the needs of the future.

Sustainability is composed of three pillars, and they include economic, environmental, and social. Perhaps widely known as profits, planet, and people.

Minimalism does not translate to boring

Admittedly, while on the surface minimalism can look like a cheap and boring path to take, it is a great journey to make, considering the excellent benefits that lie ahead once we’ve made those little sacrifices to achieve our aims.

An example of minimalism for me might be giving up on cable TV, unnecessary subscriptions, and buying lunch and snacks every day, except on special occasions. Say, I spend $10 every day buying my favourite ice cream, I would have spent $3,650 a year feeding my not-so-healthy habit. When money saved from cable, subscriptions, and other unnecessary expenses are taken into consideration, I would have saved a large chunk of my monthly income.

As a traveller always seeking new adventures, this money can fund my trip to cool places in Europe. It should be enough for airline tickets and a week's stay at some comfortable resort. I am always feeling my best when traveling, exploring, and seeing new places. My creativity is also enhanced, with new places giving my imagination the freedom to run free and create great content for my readers and audience.

In essence, minimalism for me means giving up on spending habits that don’t allow me to save, as having enough money to fund my constant travels is a top priority. This is one of the ways I carry out minimalism in my life.

However, the above expenses I listed may be a priority for every other person, and that’s cool. Our priorities and what makes us happy in life differ, and that’s just about the best part.

Minimalism is simply saying NO to the things that don’t agree with our goals and objectives. It might give the impression that we are boring and love cheap stuff, but since we are able to find meaning in every intentional step that we take, it won't bother us. Once people see our calm, peaceful attitude, they will be inspired to identify with our viewpoints. Moreover, many people in our society today, who are still bogged down by consumerism, consider minimalism to be boring. It's not the least bit true.

With Minimalism, there are fewer decisions to make

Minimalists have fewer things to worry about in life. For instance, while the colleague of a minimalist at work may be quite worried about the clothing to wear to the stakeholder’s meeting the next day, a minimalist is not bothered. They already know what is in their wardrobe.

Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg brought this illuminating fact to light at a public Q&A session at Facebook’s headquarters several years back. When asked why he wore the same type of shirts every day, Mark went on to say:

“I really want to clear my life to make it so that I have to make as few decisions as possible about anything except how to best serve this community. There’s actually a bunch of psychology theory that even making small decisions, around what you wear or what you eat for breakfast or things like that, they kind of make you tired and consume your energy. My view is I’m in this really lucky position where I get to wake up every day and help serve more than 1 billion people, and I feel like I’m not doing my job if I spend any of my energy on things that are silly or frivolous about my life, so that I can dedicate all my energy towards building the best products and services and helping us reach our goal and achieve this mission of helping to connect everyone in the world and giving them the ability to stay connected with the people that they love and care about. So, that’s what I care about. Even though it sounds silly, that’s my reason for wearing a grey t-shirt every day, it is true.”

Most famous innovators have done the same, including Steve Jobs, who was famous for wearing a black mock neck, even during product launches.

Unsurprisingly, there’s a term for what Zuckerberg is talking about. It is called decision fatigue. Research shows that we have the capacity to make so many sound decisions in a day because making decisions could be exhausting. Wouldn't it be more productive of us to make only the critical decisions?

We certainly don't need to wear a grey t-shirt to work every day (that wouldn't be wise, we don't own a billion-dollar company yet), but it would be nice to rid ourselves of excesses and stick with what's necessary.

Relating Sustainability with Minimalism

Sustainability and minimalism are quite related concepts for a number of reasons. For one, they present excellent solutions to differing issues. While minimalism preaches decluttering and the need to rid the excesses in one’s life, sustainability, especially its ecological pillar, seeks to reduce the number of consumed goods in order to reduce the consumption of finite natural resources that are depleted in the process.

It takes an enormous amount of energy and resources to produce the many products that people buy on a whim. Many products we consume produce up to 60 percent of greenhouse emissions. This number will only continue to rise as the consumption rate around the world keeps on increasing.

To manufacture an item that would reach our local store shelves, a lot of resources must have been expended. When we factor in the raw material used, cost of transportation, and the final packaging and tags, there’s a lot of waste in between, even for the smallest of items. The sad fact is that only a fraction of the lifespan of these products are used by the consumers before they get bored and move to the next trending product.

When viewed from a wider lens, both minimalism and sustainability seek to protect our planet from avoidable destruction. The overlapping of both concepts is a testament to their credibility.

Minimalism and sustainability are relevant to many aspects of our lives – food consumption, general waste, plastic usage, and water, and they don’t just end there. The intersection of minimalism and sustainability can be seen in the fashion industry, which has turned out to be one of the most polluting in the world if frightening statistics by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) are anything to go buy. According to UNEP, every year, the fashion industry uses 93 billion cubic meters of water – enough to meet the consumption needs of five million people. The fashion industry is responsible for 10% of annual global carbon emissions, more than all international flights and maritime shipping combined. At this pace, the fashion industry’s greenhouse gas emissions will surge more than 50% by 2030.

How a Minimalist lifestyle promotes Sustainability

Of course, there’s nothing inherently wrong with buying and owning things. Some of the products in our homes today are quite useful and life would be a lot harder if we didn’t have them. So, it’s not a problem if we buy items for their practical and aesthetic purposes.

However, our buying habits become a problem when the products that we purchase are manufactured at an unsustainable rate. A consumer culture that gives no thought to the environmental consequences of what we buy does not encourage sustainability. Most times, these manufacturing companies cover up for their nonconsideration of the environment by citing the frugal use of resources and protection of the environment while at it.

However, as we’ve seen, these values are not consistent with a consumer culture that encourages people to buy more and more.

When consumers buy many low-quality products instead of few high-quality ones, there’s the tendency to consume and discard after a short while, encouraging more pollution. However, when as minimalists, we buy few top-quality products with lasting value, we will use them for a long while, thereby promoting the sustainability of the environment and natural resources.

In other words, minimalists buy selectively, instead of buying on impulse as big brands encourage us to. They go for items that would last longer and meet their needs more efficiently. Buying fewer high-quality goods can help conserve finite natural resources and protect our world.

Another approach would be to prioritize eco-friendly products, recycling, and repurposing. In essence, buying better.

Final Thoughts

Global population growth has put so much pressure on living standards that cutting back on non-essentials has become a necessity. We’re running out of resources and our planet is undergoing stressful changes. Therefore, minimalism and sustainability are two related concepts that should come to our minds as consumers.

Ever wondered where we’re heading if we continue in our practice of buying things compulsively? These things are worth reflecting on for everyone.

#MinimalismAndSustainability #Minimalism #Sustainability #UNEP

#UnitedNationsEnvironmentProgram #SimplySimpleOrg #GoingGreen


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