Things Every New Minimalist Tries at Least Once
February 2, 2012 § 10 Comments
I have joyfully embraced my status as a nobody, and now, friends, I am also ready to embrace my status as a total cliché.
I have suspected this for months. I visit a lot of simplicity, minimalist and green blogs and I’m finding that my fellow bloggers are beating me to the punch on several topics. (I’m lookin’ at you minhus! I was SO going to write about coconut oil…)
This isn’t a bad thing! In fact, it reinforces a lot of my decisions and also helps me feel connected to a community of like-minded souls when I often feel like I’m on an island surrounded consumer-infested waters.
I also had my fair share of belly laughs when I watched Portlandia for the first time and realized, yep, I do all of that, too. (I did stop at asking for the chicken’s name when I ordered it, but I have asked about the farm. I also may have screamed “bike rights” once or twice while pedaling to the store. There may be a bird or two on some of my things.)
So I’m a nobody and a cliché, and that’s fine with me. If you’re looking to dip a toe into minimalism, here are some things you’ll probably find yourself doing at least once:
- You’ll run the numbers to see if you can get rid of one car.
- You’ll make your own toothpaste.
- You’ll make your own laundry detergent.
- You’ll clean, and clean, and de-clutter and clean. Then you’ll start all over again.
- You’ll bake your own bread.
- You’ll attempt to minimize your wardrobe by “Garanimal-izing” all of your basic pieces.
- You’ll walk or bike to the grocery store.
- You’ll take a yoga class.
- You’ll meditate.
- You’ll create a plan to eliminate all of your debt, including having a yard sale where you decide to sell everything in your home.
- You’ll shop at the farmer’s market.
- You’ll silently judge others as (insert sneer here) consumers. Then, you’ll chide yourself for not being more compassionate.
- You’ll go meat free on Mondays. Then you’ll go veg. Then you’ll go vegan. You’ll swoon over homemade hummus.
- You’ll obsess over tiny homes.
- You’ll start a blog.
- You’ll write an e-book about something.
- You’ll consider living with just 100 things, wearing the same dress every day for a year, or eliminating all unnecessary shopping forever.
- You’ll try to repurpose everything you bring home.
- You’ll read labels on everything to make sure it’s natural, local and not made in a sweatshop. You’ll forgive all or one of these offenses if the item you want is especially a) delicious b) unique or c) adorable. You’ll beat yourself up about it later. Then you’ll forgive yourself because you’re doing “so well” in other areas.
- You’ll freak out over thezerowastehome.com. No one in your circle will share your enthusiasm.
- You’ll compost. This may or may not include worms.
- You’ll re-asses all of your beauty products and eliminate everything but soap and eyeliner. Then you’ll go out and find a bunch of all-natural alternatives that may or may not work as well as your original stash.
- You’ll read Walden, The Story of Stuff, Your Money or Your Life, Born to Run, The Four Hour Body, and every post by Leo Babauta at zenhabits.net. (You should read The Freedom Manifesto, by Tom Hodgkinson.)
- You’ll watch Forks Over Knives, Maxed Out, The Story of Stuff, Supersize Me, Who Killed the Electric Car, Zero Impact Man and Dive!
- You’ll seriously consider dumpster diving for a meal. (See Dive! above). Someone will talk you out of it. Thank them.
- You’ll breathe more, panic less, find beauty in small things, discover your own path to health and wellness, spend less time shopping and generally just feel more in control of your destiny. (Hopefully this last one will stick).
It’s OK to be cliché! Those of us who seek a more peaceful existence will try all of these things because many wise people who have gone before us have done the same — and some of these things really work.
If being a cliché means that I work less and live more, that I waste less and appreciate more and spend less but have more, then slap a sticker on me and call me a cliché. I’ll proudly wear it on the one organic cotton T-shirt (with a bird on it) I still own as I ride my bike to the farmers market.