The capitalist and consumerism culture is increasingly popular, sadly many people choose to spend more than what they earn/inherit.
How to live a minimalist lifestyle?
Focus on simplicity. Many essential, beautiful, useful, and happy things in life are free or cost very little. Think of smiles (of little children, beautiful women, the elderly), fresh air, sunrise, sunset, walking, dancing, locally-produced fruits and vegetables. Technologies that we use daily also seem to be free: Google, Wikipedia, Skype, TED Talk, YouTube, Weibo, and WordPress! “The best things in life are free. The second best are very expensive.” ~ Coco Chanel via Harpers Bazaar
Practice gratitude. While “Schopenhauerian claims that our lives lack meaning because we are invariably dissatisfied; either we have not yet obtained what we seek, or we have obtained it and are bored,” happygreenpanda learns that, as an antithesis, gratitude can provide a meaning to our lives. “Gratitude begins in our hearts and then dovetails into behavior. It almost always makes you willing to be of service, which is where the joy resides. It means you are willing to stop being such a jerk. When you are aware of all that has been given to you, in your lifetime and in the past few days, it is hard not to be humbled, and pleased to give back.” ~ Anne Lamott, Help Thanks Wow: Three Essential Prayers
Buy only things that I need, not I want. Use the wait rules; wait 3 days, 1 week, 1 month to examine if we still need the things in our shopping list.
Avoid credit cards (read: debts), unless if you know how to self-control and benefit from credit cards in terms of miles, bonuses, points, etc but be aware and mindful that you will be tempted to spend more to earn more miles, bonuses, points, etc.
Prioritize quality (implying durability) over quantity.
Prioritize substances (functions, essences) over styles. If we need only 5 working attire for a week, there is no point to keep over 20 in the wardrobe, in order to free our wardrobe. This sounds like we are bidding farewell to fashion, but this is our minimalist fashion!
Practice the art of detachment from our things, hence we feel liberated/free. While we have our favorite things and cherish them, they can subconsciously shackle us if we forget to practice mindfulness. They pile higher and deeper, and we end up using more energy, time and thought to manage them than ever. Remember that favorite things should ease our life, instead of burdening us.
As a minimalist practitioner, we do not need a big home. We can consider a smaller home/flat/room, but near to where we work/study. Thus, we minimize commuting time.
Use public transports (buses, trains/subways) if available or simply walk/cycle. If no public transports, consider car-pooling.
Discard or donate clothes that I will not wear again in a year time. Too many clothes in the closet may result in molds. Remember that highly successful people wear the same thing everyday. However, I do keep several attire that are matching in colours and allow our family to wear them to promote harmony. Personally, my favourite colours have evolved over time. Around 2015, I love the humble colours of mother earth such as brown of soil / trunks and green of plants. If Steve Jobs of Apple and Elizabeth Holmes of Theranos choose black, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook chooses grey, happy green panda prefers brown as the professional daily uniform of choice.
Recycle. Before discarding or throwing things, think “what else can I use this?” No need to buy plastic water bottles any more. Instead, I use glass containers that were used to store e.g. coffee beans, honey, nutella, etc.
I can simply print images of beautiful sceneries / our family photographs. No need frames (scotch tapes are good enough). I stop printing photos @ photo shops, buying posters, postcards and frames. No more photo albums as I keep our precious visuals that record our lives, cherished memories, and aspirations digitally in hard disks and online.
Create our own posters. From newspapers or magazines (provided in malls/on flights), I cut interesting images e.g. panda and paste them on papers. Show to little prince. He can learn a lot about culture, geography and beauty.
I minimize buying toys for baby panda, but will strive to have more face time, through our explorations as a traveler and story readings. I am grateful that baby panda receives a lot of second-hand toys and encyclopedia (while a primary school student, I was contented with few photocopied version of them, in black and white). Sometimes, blessings come in disguise. This happens after paternal grandmother of baby panda was forced to buy a car toy because he borrowed and rode it several times, and paternal grandfather of baby panda shared about this to his sister.
I have TVs, but I will not buy any new TV. “Television is bad for you, reading is good for you.” Moreover, TV is not good enough to serve as an additional monitor for our laptops. These days, we prefer to watch online, as we can control the timing and the (minimal) amount spent on entertainment.
Be thick face to ask for a discount or samples. If you shop for cosmetics, ask for samples or travel size products. I am grateful for The Face Shop sleeping mask sample in summer 2015, L’occitane en Provence samples (that I gave to the maternal grandmother of Little Prince) asked and obtained after I bought L’occitane creme divine for the paternal grandmother of Little Prince in winter 2016.
Save for the rainy days. Invest in yourself (as highlighted by Andrew Carnegie and the richest man in Babylon) and invest to allow $ to create $. Learn and street-smartly practice economy and finance.
Share with others who really deserve your kindness.
20150807 (decluttering @ 325 after feeling overwhelmed due to accumulating things)
20150813 (after discarding unused stuff, vacuum cleaning, mopping our flat with a sea view)