Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
In the Environmentalist's manta of "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle," reduce can be the most powerful because it's the easiest to implement and minimizes the need for the rest of the actions (i.e., reuse, recycle, repurpose, repair, or rot).
Minimalism is the conscious practice of reducing the amount of things you have, consuming resources mindfully, and appreciating how less can truly be more.
Do a quick search on Google for "books on minimalism" and you'll find a treasure trove. One that we like to recommend is Fumio Sasaki's "Goodbye, Things." While Fumio writes from the perspective of an unmarried man, his 50 tips for saying goodbye to excess things are practical for singles and families alike! He also wins points for encouraging "green" methods for reducing clutter and his gentleness & compassion for people who have a hard time letting go of their stuff.
Check out "Goodbye, Things" through the Roselle Public Library's offerings on or on Audible today!
Here are a few tips from Sasaki to get you going:
Discard the preconception that YOU can't discard your things. You just need to learn the techniques and create the habit.
Discarding something takes skill, not time. Day 1, you throw out the garbage. Day 2 is for selling books & CDs. Day 3, you sell your electronics. Day 4 is for selling or donating large pieces of furniture. A week is all the time you need to reduce your possessions.
Reset your mind. When you discard something, you gain more than you lose.
Start with what anyone would consider garbage - e.g., clothes with holes in them, expired food in the refrigerator.
Minimize anything you have in multiples (e.g., pens, scissors, etc.). You can still cut with one pair of scissors and write with one pen.
Get rid of it if you haven't used it in a year, especially if you don't have plans to use it in the near future (with the exception of emergency supplies & equipment).
Discard it if you have it only for the sake of appearance. We often try to use objects to show our worth. Ask yourself: Am I really fond of this or am I simply trying to project my desired image?
You can avoid buying more things simply by asking yourself if it's something that you truly need.
Take photos of the items that are tough to part with. This can help you preserve the memories that are associated with that item (e.g., a picture made by your child, a souvenir from a trip, a gift from a friend, etc.).
The Negative Impact of Clutter on Mental Health
Do you dig through piles of clothes to find the shirt you want to wear for the day? When you leave the house, do you struggle to find your keys and your wallet among all the items on your kitchen table? Maybe you can't open the garage door all the way because there are so many boxes of knick-knacks in there.
You might tell yourself, I'll declutter eventually. But time keeps passing, and your home, office, or car is still filled to the brim with stuff. If any of this resonates with you, you're not alone. But many people don't realize the connection between clutter and mental health.
Benefits of Minimalism: 21 Benefits of Owning Less
Minimalism is countercultural. It is contrary to every advertisement we have ever seen because we live in a society that prides itself on the accumulation of possessions.
But there is more joy to be found in minimalist living than can be found pursuing more.
6 Environmental Benefits of a Minimalist Lifestyle
The world is changing, resources are dwindling, and nature needs our help. We must devise a fresh approach to a consumerism-dominated life in such circumstances. Minimalism is one such philosophy that can lead us to a better and more sustainable future. Many people believe a minimalist lifestyle is unrealistic, challenging, and unsuited to the fast-paced and marketed character of modern living. However, it is becoming increasingly fashionable, and many individuals are adopting it to reap the environmental benefits of a minimalist lifestyle.
"I'm getting rid of everything, now what?"
Congratulations! Welcome to the journey of a lifetime where you discover a newfound richness that accompanies having less stuff! Now what about the planet? How can we minimize the nonessential material things in our lives while staying conscious of their end-of-life?
There are many options to explore, but they fall under 4 main categories: sell, donate, recycle, dispose. While the fourth option may seem like the easiest, we recommend saving it for last. Today there are so many quick and easy options for selling, donating, & recycling that it'd be a shame to misuse viable resources in that way.
Below we share resources for selling, donating, and recycling the items you no longer need. Take a look and strive to keep your minimalism green! :)
Local "Buy Nothing" Group
DuPage Recycling & Green Events
Local campaigns with drop-off sites (e.g., Holiday Light Recycling)