top of page
Open Textbook in Library



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.

Writers Click the Button to learn how you can be featured on our website

  • Liz - Freelance Writer - Australia

Updated: Sep 18, 2021

Creating a sustainable minimalist lifestyle requires some time and thought. First, identifying what we need, not what we think we need. Working out what serves us best, and then we can find sustainable options to meet those needs. Once we've found our flow, it is a lifestyle that's simple to maintain and can reduce a lot of the mental load we face in our daily lives. But what happens when we have a family? Kids are "stuff" magnets. How do we start a minimal, sustainable life surrounded by baby stuff? Here are some ideas to keep our family life both sustainable and minimal.

Preparing for the Arrival: Because it's suggested does not mean we have to buy it.

In the new-born stage, when we googled "New-born items?" or "What do we need for a new baby?" we were immediately confronted with page-long lists of everything from bottle cleaners to wet wipe warmers. Thousands of pacifier options, bottles, sleep aids, and it goes on and on. It was overwhelming and, to be honest, for the most part, we found it all a bit unnecessary. Before running out to buy everything or putting it on a gift list for our family and friends to buy, we sat down as a family and thought about what we really need. Our baby needed a cot or crib, clothes, nappies, bottles, and transport. That's it. I'm not kidding; new-borns need very little to begin with. A place to sleep, clothes and a way to be fed. The rest is marketing, don't get me wrong, some of it can be useful, but we wanted to make sure it's a need and not a whim. Do we need a bath thermometer? Possibly not as our elbow did the same job. Does the baby need warmed wipes? Our house maintains a comfortable temperature, so we found it best just to stick with normal temperature wipes. The idea here was to narrow it down to what we needed and what will serve our household best. For anything we weren’t sure of we reached out to friends with kids and talked to them about what they found most useful during the same stages. We focused on buying what benefited us and our household, not what a baby company told us was needed.

New Baby Presents

Aside from the parents, no one was more excited by our new baby than our family or friends. Get ready for an avalanche of tiny human related gifts. To help make sure the gifts we received were both helpful and sustainable, we sat down and talked to our family and friends. We expressed that we were trying to keep things minimal and sustainable. Discussing with them what we were going to do for nappies, colour schemes, and how we wanted wooden toys over plastic. We went into detail so everyone was aware of the lifestyle being created for our family and could help make it happen. With our friends who had kids already we shared the idea that we would love hand-me-downs if they have any. After deciding to cloth diaper, we told our close friends and family, so they knew this was a great gift idea if they felt they wanted to buy something. By being open and honest it helped our family and friends give gifts that were deeply appreciated and suited our lifestyle. Our families were desperate to spend on the new arrival, so we helped with practical and useful suggestions. We discussed how instead of material items we were opening a bank account in the baby's name and they could deposit into it. We asked for help over items, asking them to help decorate the nursery or bring cooked meals after the baby arrived. Our family and friends wanted to help and learnt that there is so much they could do that supported us and our new family without adding to the material items in our household.

The Basics: What to look for and where to find it

Second hand is our friend. It is a great way to buy sustainably, and there's so much out there. Anything and everything can be found second hand; there are a few exceptions which we will cover in a minute. There's a wealth of places to find second-hand furniture, clothes, and toys. Facebook marketplace (and baby groups), eBay, sites like Gumtree or Craigslist's and second-hand shops. Op shops (opportunity shop or thrift store) and charity shops often have huge kid's sections and they are worth looking in. A quick online search brought up hundreds of items like cot's, prams and furniture like rocking chairs to furnish our nursery with. They are usually in excellent condition and need nothing more than an extra wipe down at home. The number of new items we have bought because people have changed their minds or found something better is amazing. All second hand but essentially new. Op shops are also great for toys and presents and make it easy to swap out as they usually only cost a few dollars. When decluttering, we often donate our gently used toys to op shops and choose a couple of new “to us” ones. New toys in sustainable and cost-effective way.

What's worth buying new?

There are two main Item's it is worth buying new. While we love the sustainability of second-hand items there are two things we recommend buying from the store, mattresses, and car seats. Mattresses for cleanliness and safety reasons. While a second-hand mattress may look fine, it could be hiding allergens from pets or cleaning fluids and could also not be up to code regarding current safe sleep requirements. Car seats need to be new for safety reasons and they are heavily regulated in most countries. When buying one second-hand, there is no way of knowing if it has been in a crash or its safety features are still up to code. The technology is often updated so for everyone's safety, we recommend you do your research and buy new car seats. That's not to say we didn’t buy with sustainability and with minimalism in mind. We research the best sustainable brands and made sure we knew the car seat guidelines in our area. For example, in Australia babies and children stay in car seats until they are 7 years old, meaning both of our car seats were chosen to grow with my children. Find the local authorities’ guidelines and work within them when choose a car seat that can grow with a baby instead of needing to be replaced at different phases of life.

Birthday Parties:

When we think of a child's birthday party, we most likely think of balloons, noise, colours and presents. A celebration of a milestone reached and fun for everyone. It's so easy to get caught up in the piles of gifts, balloons, and plastic cups & plates. It can be hard to step back and work out how to make birthdays less consumer-driven and more sustainable. Start with the guest list, who is coming and what will be needed. Parties often mean lots of plastic cups, plates, and cutlery. The good news is there are small companies popping up everywhere where we can hire dining sets, use them, and then return them. An excellent option for staying sustainable, ensuring minimal rubbish and no storage needed. Decorations can also be hired or consider making them from paper, fabric or using flowers instead of balloons. Presents these are where we can end up with mountains of new toys. To avoid this, noting on invitations, “No presents, please” really helps set proper expectations. For the relentless “gifters” who cannot be dissuaded, present them with options which are experiences or items that have longevity. Like a yearly membership card to the local attractions or presents that stand the test of time and can be donated once outgrown like Lego or Duplo. For wrapping, fabric or recycled paper are a great option and if receiving, try and save the wrapping paper to use on a future gift.

Libraries and More Libraries

To help maintain a minimal lifestyle and support sustainability, checkout the local library and toy library. It is so important for babies to be exposed to as many books as possible however books take up space; the local library is the perfect solution to this. They also often have events and programs just for babies and children, find their website or drop in to and speak with a staff member about what they offer. We found that local libraries in Australia offer Rhyme Time and Storytime so our children can socialize, learn and borrow books. It also gave me as a new parent the chance to meet other families. Toy Libraries are also wonderful; these are just like regular libraries but for toys. Parents or caregivers can go and borrow a few toys for a couple of weeks and then return them and borrow other ones. Toy libraries have strict regulations for cleaning and maintaining the toys ensuring they are all in great condition. It's a great way to have a variety of toys without having to keep them forever. Lastly when we planned on baby wearing, we discovered there are baby wearing libraries. These are where people can go and try out different options before buying the one, they are most comfortable in. Often, they will let families take home a sling or wrap for a week or so to ensure it suits them. We found our baby sling this way and highly recommend it for all families.


Babies grow faster than you can believe and that includes growing out of things. While they seem long at the time, the phases went by so quickly. To keep in line with a minimalist lifestyle while ensuring we had all the items needed for each stage, we made sure to declutter frequently. If it got too small, our baby didn’t use it, or it was not getting played with I decluttered it. If it served no purpose to our family, it did not need to stay in our home. We found it a new home where it would be used and serve a purpose. I found the easiest way to rehome our items was to post it on my Buy Nothing Facebook group, sell items on Facebook Marketplace or donate them to a friend or Op Shop. We found it easiest to do as we went

Sustainability and minimalism with babies and children does take some work. Luckily once the habits are created it is easy to maintain and is a great way to teach and share the values of our household with its newest members as they grow.

#Minimalism #Sustainability #Decluttering #SimplySimpleOrg #GoingGreen #SustainableLiving


  • Abby Manrell - Digital Marketer - Canada

Updated: Sep 18, 2021

Photo by The New York Times

In 2013, the Rana Plaza collapse at the Dhaka garment factory took the lives of 1,132 workers and irreversibly damaged the lives of many more, who are still dealing with the aftermath today. Has the fast fashion industry and its consumers learned the much-needed lesson from this disaster? Is minimalist fashion the way forward?

What caused the Rana Plaza collapse?

The Rana Plaza factory collapse was the deadliest garment factory disaster to date. The devastating collapse was caused by a multitude of factors, including substandard construction material, and a clear violation of building codes. Despite these unsafe working conditions, factory workers were still encouraged to work in the Dhaka garment factory, which produced apparel for fast fashion companies such as Joe Fresh, JC Penney, Primark, and more.

One of the most disheartening parts of the collapse is that it was both foreseeable and preventable. Due to the substandard (and illegal) construction of the upper floors of the Dhaka garment factory, the power generators often shook the building, and caused visible cracks in the building’s framework on April 23rd- a day before disaster struck. Yet, despite being fully aware of these cracks, the Rana Plaza owner, Sohel Rana, ignored the warning signs and forced the factory workers back into the building the next day. On April 24th, 2013, as soon as the power generators were turned on, the building collapsed, and over a thousand lives were lost. At that level of negligence, can the collapse even be considered an accident?

Are workers in overseas garment factories exploited?

You may be wondering, if the Dhaka garment factory was so clearly a dangerous place to be, why would people still choose to work there? The short answer is that these workers simply did not (and still do not) have a choice.

It is a sad fact that the workers in these overseas garment factories are exploited. Many of these workers are vulnerable women who have no other viable options for work, and need to provide for their families. They are severely underpaid for gruelling and dangerous work.

In Bangladesh specifically, garment factory workers make approximately $120 CAD (or $95 USD) per month- and that wage is an improvement. In 2013, when the Rana Plaza disaster occurred, workers only made around $45 CAD per month. This unbelievably low labour cost makes Bangladesh an extremely popular location for fast fashion companies to source from. In fact, it’s so popular that it is the second-largest apparel exporter in the world, only beat out by China. However, such low labour costs come at a very high price, that the workers themselves are forced to pay.

With the garment industry accounting for 84% of Bangladesh’s exports, these factories aren’t going anywhere, and provide many more job opportunities for local workers than most industries. These garment factory workers must blindly place their trust in the buildings they work in, for if they don’t, they fear not being paid at all.

It is easy for those of us in positions of privilege to ignore the harm that our actions cause. Because it is removed from our immediate perceptions, we have to actively educate ourselves on said harm. It can be uncomfortable to acknowledge the damage that we indirectly cause around the globe, and seems impossible to wrap your head around- I get it. I suggest reading stories like Laboni’s, a young victim of the Rana Plaza disaster, to really visualize and understand the devastating impact that our purchases can have on families around the globe.

Photo by Claudio Montesano Casillas for Roads & Kingdoms

Has the fashion industry changed since Rana Plaza?

The Rana Plaza disaster was shocking, disturbing, and made headlines worldwide. Yet, it somehow was not disturbing enough to make a tangible, permanent change in the supply chain structure of the fast fashion industry. To this day, fast fashion brands around the world utilize the unethically sourced labour that can be found in these overseas garment factories, and take advantage of the vulnerable people working there.

Not only are these workers forced into unsafe work, but they are forced into excessive amounts of it. The excess buying and hyper-consumerism that is pushed upon consumers in countries like Canada and the United States not only feeds into the unethical labour system previously outlined, but causes extensive harm to the planet as well. The fast fashion industry is responsible for up to 10% of global carbon emissions, much of which is emitted for nothing, as 85% of all textiles end up in the dump every year.

Despite increasing consumer sentiment for improved sustainability measures, the fashion industry has yet to make any real, long-term changes for the better. Any changes that have been implemented seem more reactive and short-lived than genuine and proactive. For example, as a result of the aftermath of the Rana Plaza disaster, several of the companies indicted signed the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, which successfully improved safety measures for 1,600 garment factories. Yet, this life-saving Accord is set to expire on August 31, 2021. While negotiations are underway, a successor agreement that will continue to save the lives of thousands of workers is up in the air. If a future agreement cannot be efficiently reached, or if it delegates power to local Bangladeshi governing bodies, the at-risk workers have very little faith that they will be protected.

Even with the Accord in place, fast fashion brands have still found a way to harm garment factory workers. In March 2020, when massive shutdowns occurred worldwide due to the Coronavirus pandemic, many brands like Walmart, Primark, and more, cancelled their orders from Bangladeshi factories that were already in production. This directly led to thousands of women being left without jobs, and without pay, for work that they had already completed. It is clear that without external pressure, fast fashion companies still do not care about the lives of these Bangladeshi workers who carry the brands’ profit margins on their backs.

Unfortunately, as per the classic economic theory of supply and demand, we as consumers have failed our duty to these workers as well. As a collective group, consumers have the power to create positive social change, and influence companies to do better. However, if that feels too intimidating, or downright impossible, don’t despair. There is still a lot of social good you can easily create as an individual person.

How to avoid fast fashion:

If you’ve made it this far in the article, you probably feel quite disheartened. While this is an extremely heavy issue to face head-on, there are several ways that we as consumers can make a change.

The easiest way to avoid fast fashion and the unethical impacts that come with it is simply to buy less. We are constantly being told by fast fashion conglomerates and the social media influencers they hire that we need more. It’s time to tune them out and embrace a more minimalist lifestyle.

It is impossible for fast fashion and sustainability to go hand in hand, by definition alone. Embracing a minimalist way of being will not only directly reduce your eco-footprint and contribute to sustainability efforts, but minimalist fashion will also allow you to declutter your life (and closet) to lead a happier existence.

How to shop ethically:

Minimalist fashion is a great way to counter the fast fashion industry, and get on board with its counterpart, slow fashion. It’s a movement towards buying less, and utilizing timeless apparel that will last a lifetime and survive any trend.

Unlike fast fashion, minimalism and sustainability easily go hand in hand. They complement one another, both leading to increased personal satisfaction (say goodbye to your cognitive dissonance) and global good. If you’re unsure of where to start, here are some great ways to engage with minimalist fashion as a beginner:

1. Ease into minimalism with second-hand shopping. If you have a habit of impulse shopping, and/or are new to the idea of minimalist fashion, it can be a bit overwhelming. But remember, it’s better to make a slow and sustainable change to your habits than to crash and burn while trying to change your entire lifestyle at once.

To take baby steps, try shopping second-hand for any of your impulsive or unnecessary clothing purchases. I promise you, the world of thrift shopping has become much chicer than the old dingy stereotypes could ever imagine. Try searching for local thrift stores in your area to find some hidden gems (if you’re in Canada, start your research here), or head to online stores like thredUp for a huge variety of good quality second-hand clothing- no mothballs allowed.

2. Build a capsule wardrobe to minimize the amount of clothing you need and maximize your cost-per-wear. Curate your own unique style and create a surprising number of outfit combinations with one perfectly planned wardrobe.

3. Organize clothing swaps within your community. These can be done with a small group of friends, or with a large group in your city! Check out these tips for how to organize one, big or small. With clothing swaps, you can take companies out of the equation altogether. You won’t be contributing anything new, simply transferring what you already have, consumer-to-consumer. There will be zero chance of creating clothing waste. It’s a win-win for everyone involved (except for Zara- but that’s alright)!

No matter how you choose to engage with minimalist fashion, the important thing is to take steps every day (no matter how small) to create positive change in our world. While fast fashion companies have light years to go before, they become remotely ethical, it’s up to us to do everything we can to influence them in the right direction. The 1,132 lives lost during the Rana Plaza disaster of 2013 were not the first victims of the garment factory industry, and they will unfortunately not be the last. However, we must remember and honour them every single day by purposely creating social change- towards minimalism, sustainability, and ethical labour practices.

#RanaPlaza #UnsafeWorkingConditions #Laboni #ShopEthically #MinimalistFashion #CapsuleWardrobe #SimplySimpleOrg #GoingGreen


  • Hina Bilal - Freelance Writer - Pakistan

Updated: Sep 18, 2021

It is not surprising that many Minimalists opt for zero waste swaps. While the transition to zero waste, plastic-free and/or low waste may seem difficult at first, it is a journey of discovery towards a more sustainable and thoughtful way of life.

What is Zero Waste?

It is the goal to ensure that no trash is sent to landfills, incinerators, or the ocean. Conserving resources by reducing their consumption, reusing materials, and repurposing products without burning and emitting harmful materials into the air, water, or land. The idea behind a minimalist lifestyle is to shed the things that aren't needed from your life: physical, mental, digital and environmental clutter. The reduction mindset also promotes a waste-free lifestyle because it reduces the amount of waste produced. Both low-waste and minimalist lifestyles emphasize cutting down on consumption and minimizing clutter.

Zero waste revolves around 5 R’S

We organized this list based on Bea Johnson's five simple zero waste rules.

1. Refuse anything that isn't essential.

2. Reduce what you actually need, consider how much you really need

3. Reuse repurpose stuff objects like metal straws

4. Recycle everything you can

5. Rot composting process is an excellent way to recycle wastes

Bringing Resources Back to Life: A Guide

In order to achieve Zero Waste, we must adopt lifestyles and practices that simulate sustainable natural cycles, where all discarded materials are repurposed as resources for others to use. All resources should be conserved and recovered rather than burned or buried. By implementing Zero Waste, we will eliminate all discharges that harm the planet, the people, the animals, or the plants. It can also be referred to as zero-waste, minimal waste, or no waste. Zero-waste means reducing waste to zero.

Use what you have:

Consider using the things you already have instead of making a new purchase. You can prevent waste and save money by utilizing what you already have.

Avoid pointless shopping

Be intentional about your shopping decisions. Another great way to save money and reduce waste is to buy vintage or gently used items.

Quantity not quality:

Saving up and purchase a higher quality item that will last longer will work out better in the end.

Reduce food waste:

Food waste can be reduced by meal planning and meal preparation. It will also help to learn how to properly store food items once they arrive at your home. There are several negative consequences of food waste, including losses in money and damage to the environment.

Minimize Waste by adopting Reusable Accessories

1. Look for ways to avoid using Single-use plastic. Reusable Straw, Reusable shopping bags

2. Use cloth napkins and reusable towels instead of paper towels and Napkins.

3. Clothes that have worn out can be repurposed into fabric for quilt squares or rags.

4. An alternative to disposable cups and plastic bottles, use a reusable eco-friendly bottle.

5. Consider using cloth diapers instead of disposables.

Make the Switch to Zero Waste Beauty Products:

We buy beauty items on a regular basis, so discovering zero-waste alternatives makes a great impact. Making beauty products at home is something to consider. Many of the ingredients many already be on hand. By using items like Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Castor Oil, 100% Virgin Organic Coconut Oil, Melaleuca (tea tree) Oil, Shea Butter, and Apple Cider Vinegar we can produce healthy, zero-waste products.

Here are some helpful suggestions of Zero Waste options

Dinner Plates

Plastics and disposable items can be slowly phased out of your kitchen, saving you lots of money as you do, as well as making you more eco-friendly. Brushed stainless steel plates look good, are easy to clean, and are durable.

Stirring Spoon

The advantage to having a nicely built stirring spoon, whether you are making cocktails, coffee, or scooping powders out of jars, is that you only have to purchase it once and it lasts forever.

Eco-Friendly Popsicle Molds

Being zero waste doesn't mean giving up your favourite treats. Even though it is easy, making frozen treats with a paper cup and a wooden stick or with plastic or silicone molds is not sustainable or reusable. There is still trash generated. Stainless Steel Popsicle molds allow you to make frozen treats and enjoy them with no trash.

Insulated Tumbler

An insulated tumbler keeps cold drinks cold and hot drinks hot longer. Condensation is not produced, and they stay cool to the touch. Moreover, they reduce the need for storing cups, mugs, and glassware, since they can be used to replace any of them.

Ice Cube Tray

Rather than using a plastic ice cube tray that can break or absorb odours. The durability of a high-quality stainless steel ice tray is not only ensured, but it also stacks nicely, freezes amazingly fast, and is easy to use as well.

Drinking Straws

When drinking straws are thrown away, they often end up in the oceans and waterways, harming the environment and wildlife. Instead, consider adding reusable metal straws in your zero waste lifestyle.

Bento Boxes

Bento Boxes are highly versatile. Food can be stored in the freezer, refrigerator or cupboards using these containers. These are also excellent for packing lunches.

Feminine Care

The Duchess Cup has been adopted by many who prefer it to other sanitary products. Menstrual cups often last for up to ten years, are easy to clean, and are easy to transport. Another alternative to consider are reusable pads.

Final Thoughts:

It is important to maintain a sense of balance in our lives. Zero waste living is an incredibly mindful way of living. It will allow us to expand upon the principles of minimalism. The zero waste lifestyle cultivates a positive impact on the environment, benefits communities, and supports a sustainable local economy.

#ZeroWaste #ZeroWasteSwaps #ReusableAccessories #Minimalism #SimplySimpleOrg #GoingGreen


bottom of page