“…and it ought to make us feel ashamed when we talk like we know what we’re talking about when we talk about love.”
― Raymond Carver, What We Talk About When We Talk About Love (September Reads)
Here is my monthly recap – 2018 Sep – Dalat, Vn.
“…and it ought to make us feel ashamed when we talk like we know what we’re talking about when we talk about love.”
― Raymond Carver, What We Talk About When We Talk About Love (September Reads)
Here is my monthly recap – 2018 Sep – Dalat, Vn.
I know I’m not a perfect minimalist just yet. There are still many unimportant things I can’t get rid of, many negative thoughts I still hold on to. Anyways, I’ve just only started and the journey into this minimalist lifestyle takes time and great effort. I’m just trying my best. I make small, easy changes to myself each and every day – let go of unnecessary things and be mindful of what things I consume. Being a minimalist isn’t not enough, though. I’m also on my way towards a sustainable lifestyle – own less, waste less and live more. So.. in this post, I’d like to share with you a number of things I no longer buy since I embarked on this journey. Saying “no” to these things and finding suitable alternatives that fit better into my lifestyle have somehow saved me both money and waste.
Pre-packaged and processed foods are fast, convenient, and taste good. However, they are not really healthy choices. Neither are sugar-sweetened beverages. More importantly, most of them come in plastic containers which will end up in landfills and take up to thousand years to decompose. For those mentioned reasons, now I no longer spend my money on them.
I also avoid buying other packaged products when I go shopping.
However, as you know, it’s not that easy to buy everything package free. So I’m not saying that I never buy any packaged items. I’m just trying to do my best to reduce the amount of waste that comes from packaging. Instead of buying things packaged as a single portion, I’d rather choose to buy in bulk.
I used to use a lot of disposable cups and plates when I was going on a picnic because they are super cheap, convenient, easy to handle and unbreakable compared to pottery ones. Especially, they don’t need washing after use. However, since I practiced living an intentional life, I’ve made the commitment to myself that I would never buy any plastic (or paper) disposable cups/ plates. If I go on a picnic with family or friends, I will wrap foods in the glass or pottery containers. We’ll also bring our own cups. I need a little bit of time to wash them afterward but it’s totally just fine.
Biodegradable plates and cups are currently available in many zero waste shops. They are made from eco-friendly materials such as sugarcane. Maybe I will buy these natural disposable items if I really need to, but not very often. I think I better just bring my own cups whenever I go on a picnic
I remember back then when I was a little younger and started traveling, I always had this thought in mind that I could buy a bottle of water when I got there and never bothered bringing my own reusable water bottle. Now when I’m fully aware of how those plastic water bottles I’ve bought so far have had a huge impact on the environment, I stop buying them. My reusable water bottle has become one of my essential items that I can’t travel without. I can refill my bottle water for free in most hostels and homestays, which is good for the environment and will save me a ton in the long run. Not to mention we never know for sure if that bottled water is really pure.
I stopped wearing makeup a while ago. Well, to be honest, at that time I was wearing just lipstick without other makeup – no foundation, no eyeliner, no mascara, no eyeshadow,… Now I stop wearing lipstick as well.
I no longer using any commercial beauty or skincare products except for natural oils. I use coconut oil as a skin moisturizer. I wash my face with only water (every other day I wash my face with my soap or with salt-added water). I just love the way I am. Not only does wearing no makeup save me a lot of money and waste, but it also helps me to become a happier person.
I haven’t washed my hair with conventional shampoo for half of a year now and I feel great that I made this decision of using the no-poo method in the first place. Now I use shampoo bars to wash my hair and follow up with an apple vinegar rinse. I have to say, these guys work wonders! I love them so much. As a minimalist, sustainable traveler, a natural shampoo bar is my perfect companion. It’s simple, clean, 100% natural, 100% vegan and smells just amazing. And it’s totally package-free!
When I’m at home, besides using shampoo bars, I also wash my hair with some fresh or dried herbs every now and then.
Body washing is even more simple if I’m out and about, I often use my shampoo bar to wash my body and never have a problem with it. There are also a lot of organic shops that sell natural handmade soaps, so body wash is no longer my choice.
I’m traveling now. The shampoo bar that I bring along with me is a Lush bar which my sweet neighbor gave me a few months ago.
Cleaning products contain a lot of toxicity which is harmful to the environment and our health. In addition, they are actually expensive in their own right.
So instead, I make my own all-purpose cleaner from water, baking soda and vinegar (and a few drops of peppermint essential oil if I want my home to smell fresh). This homemade cleaner is wonderful – very cheap, very eco-friendly and very easy-to-make!
I no longer use any laundry detergents. To wash my clothes, I use my shampoo or soap bar or only warm water. I think it’s fine.
I don’t use fabric softener not only because of the environment matter but also the cost. Another reason is that it’s unnecessary and I don’t like its smell.
Here is my dress code…
Every item of clothing in my wardrobe should be always practical and versatile.
Whenever I go shopping for clothes, I always look for items which can be worn over and over and match other items that I already own.
Anyway, I think I have enough clothes to wear for different types of weather and have no intention of buying any brand-new items. If necessary, I’ll just shop at secondhand stores. Buying second-hand is cool – for your wallet and the planet!
First, I say “no” to any kind of bags that are made from plastic, leather, faux leather materials.
Second, I will only use fabric wallets/ bags and nothing else.
Third, I don’t want to own more than 2 wallets or 2 handbags. One of each is enough.
Currently, I’m having a little cloth wallet that was handcrafted by myself and I feel very happy with it. I have a canvas tote bag which is my go-to bag. If I’m traveling, I bring with me my folding backpack.
In case one of those is worn out, I guess I will look for another alternative at a secondhand store or make a new one from old clothes by myself.
The only pieces of jewelry that I own are my bracelets (I love those fabric boho bracelets but I don’t, of course, buy them just because I like them. Every single bracelet that I’ve bought has a story behind it. I know I’m not that minimalistic when it comes to this sentimental bracelet thing but I feel good wearing them. So I guess it’s ok).
Other than those bracelets, I don’t spend my money on any other jewelry items – necklaces, earrings, belts,…
I’ve not bought a paper copy of any book for a long time. Now I read books on my Kindle or if I want to enjoy some time with a real book, I just borrow books from friends or the library. You know the paper is made from trees, if we reduce our number of books purchased, we can save a huge ton of trees. The environment will become better by us doing that.
Moreover, since I got my Kindle, I’ve saved a lot of money and time. Because paper books are increasingly expensive and spending time in the bookstores just to look for a single book is such a waste of time.
Kindle becomes even more convenient when it comes to traveling. With Kindle, I don’t have to lie awake many nights wondering how many books I should bring along with me for a 6-month trip.
Paper towels are one of those items that most of us have grown accustomed to but are completely unnecessary. They are bad for the environment and a waste of money. For that reason, I decided to switch to a reusable and washable cloth napkin. So when I’m on the go, I just bring my napkin with me. I even made my own hand towels by cutting up old t-shirts that were too stained to wear. Such an easy cheesy solution! Some money saved and some waste reduced!
I used to love beautiful little things that are displayed in every gift shop. I always wanted to bring some souvenir home when I traveled to somewhere. You know, we love buying souvenir because those souvenirs are reminders of a trip as some good memories. But since I started to live the minimalist lifestyle, I’ve learned how to get rid of sentimental items and focus on what matters most in life. I’ve learned that our memories are within us. And if they are fading or we can’t recall, then they are not that important in the first place.
We tend to be obsessed with discounts, promotions and free offers. And as a result, there is more and more unwanted stuff coming into our lives. The more freebies we accept, the more waste we produce, which is the reason why I now always say “no” to free gifts or promotions.
“Refusing things you’re offered but don’t really need is the first step towards a zero waste lifestyle.”
So these are items that I don’t buy any more as a low waste minimalist. Is there anything that you stopped buying and don’t feel like you’ll ever going back to buying? Let me know in the comment section below because I’d love to know!
Thank you for reading!
When it comes to minimalist living, some people may wonder whether they are a minimalist already or what they should do to become a true minimalist. For me, there is no absolute definition of what a minimalist is. Being a minimalist means different things to different people. … There is no single set of rules or standards that you must follow and meet to be a minimalist. There is no such a so-called true minimalist, either. You choose your way of thinking about minimalism and you choose your way of minimalist living. So I’m not going to give you a perfect definition of minimalism. Instead, I’ll share with you some thoughts about how minimalism means to me, how other people think about minimalism and a few values that most minimalists have in common.
As I just said, we don’t have a sole definition of minimalist or minimalism but our own views about what this lifestyle means to us. Here are some thoughts that other people have about minimalism that you may relate to in some way or other.
“If we had to sum it up in a single sentence, we would say, Minimalism is a tool to rid yourself of life’s excess in favor of focusing on what’s important—so you can find happiness, fulfillment, and freedom.”
“It’s simply getting rid of things you do not use or need, leaving an uncluttered, simple environment and an uncluttered, simple life. It’s living without an obsession with material things or an obsession with doing everything and doing too much. It’s using simple tools, having a simple wardrobe, carrying little and living lightly.”
“What Minimalism is really all about is reassessment of your priorities so that you can strip away the excess stuff — the possessions and ideas and relationships and activities — that don’t bring value to your life.”
“Minimalism isn’t about owning the least amount of stuff, but about simplifying your life and enriching it with what makes you happy.”
“Minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of everything that distracts us from it.”
“I believe that minimalism means:
Not worrying about the things we own, whether too much or too little
Understanding what things actually do bring joy and more importantly, why
Having a framework to actively manage what matters and what doesn’t
“In my life, minimalism is:
Making time and space to discover what is really important
Working towards real freedom
The answer to “enough is enough”
Expecting and welcoming change
Spending more time with people who lift me up and lifting them right back”
As you could see, people have different opinions about minimalism. As time goes on, those opinions may change. And yet, no matter how differently we think about minimalism, I know that people who practice this lifestyle always have something in common.
For me, minimalism is not merely about owning less stuff or living with only the essential things, or getting rid of unnecessary things but also about decluttering stress and negative thoughts, bad relationships or any things that weigh on my mind and stop me from living a meaningful life.
Simple living allows me to make time and space for what is important to me. I spend time planning my future and pursuing my dreams, my passions in life. I feel happy with what I have and the fact of having less doesn’t bother me. Experiences have become my priorities because I know they are what makes my life more valuable.
Being a minimalist, for me, is being intentional about what things I choose to let into my life. They may be things that I want to buy, people that I want to connect with, or memories I want to hold on to because I know they are there for good reasons.
Being a minimalist, for me, is also living a more sustainable life. The less I consume, the less waste I produce. And when I choose quality over quantity, I know I’m doing something good for the environment.
Last but not least, minimalism allows me to slow down and take a breath. I no longer mourn for the past or worry about the future because I know how important it is to live in the present.
So above are some thoughts on minimalism that I’d like to share with you in this post. What does minimalism mean to you?
Thanks for reading.
Since I started to follow the minimalist lifestyle, I have read through various blogs relating to it. You know, sometimes the best way to get some inspiration is to learn about others’ experiences. These bloggers, one way or the other, have given me so much motivation and insights into how being a minimalist looks like. Today, in this post, I truly want to share with you some of my favorite minimalism blogs (also bloggers) that I’ve followed since the beginning days. Anyway, after checking out those inspiring blogs, some of them may fall into your favorite category, some may not. But no matter how much you like them, if you take a closer look at what is shared, you’ll definitely find something useful or uplifting.
Read my blog: Inspiration for Minimalism: YouTube, Podcast and More
If you’re always hooked by “living with less” content, then you might have ever heard of (or know about) this blog. It’s not a personal blog but a collaboration between some bloggers/ designers who live a simple lifestyle and would like to share their experiences about how to get rid of stuff and focus on the essentials.
Just like many other minimalism blogs, No Sidebar’s design is elegant, clean and minimal, which is very pleasing to the eyes.
Here are some good articles on No Sidebar that you may find interesting:
I always love reading personal stories. If you know me (or rather, my blog), you’ll see me collecting stories from strangers and also sharing stories of my own. Funny enough, I’m obsessed with stories, and being a storyteller is my evergreen dream. Therefore, when it comes to following some blogs for education and inspiration purposes, I tend to choose blogs that share not only knowledge but also experiences, personal stories, and feelings. Reading my tea leaves is one of those few blogs that have given me so much of inspiration. I came across this blog while I was searching for something nice to read on the Internet, and was so happy to find this one because what Erin (the founder) has shared amazingly aligned with my values – living a simple, sustainable life.
Before diving into her blog, you can read my favorite writings of hers here:
The name says it all. Courtney Carver started this website to share her life story and help others discover the joy in less. If you crave simplicity in life and work or simply want to make some changes to yourself as a minimalist, then read her blog.
I’ve picked out some lovely articles from her blog that will surely inspire you to be more YOU:
The author of The More of Less Joshua Becker and his family share their journey of minimalist living on the blog Becoming Minimalist. Reading their blog, you’ll learn a lot about the importance of living with less and how to make the most out of your life. Becoming Minimalist has inspired millions to clear the clutter from their lives and focus on what matters the most.
Read their most popular blog posts here to get their message of simple living:
I love Tammy and her writing voice – calm, honest and full of humor. Every time I read her blog, I always feel like I can relate to her in many aspects. Tammy doesn’t only write about minimalism but also her daily adventures. They are all true stories that will somehow make you smile or wonder if you’re living a real simple life. Also, if you’re into photography, then why not check her blog out? Read her about page here.
I love these pieces of writing on her blog. You may love them, too:
So I’ve just shared with you my five favorite bloggers that have fed my mind with some of the most fascinating knowledge about minimalism and intentional living. At the same time, they have inspired me to consume less and create more. I hope you will find some inspiration when reading those blogs, too. What are your favorite minimalism blogs? And what have you learned from them? I’d like to know… Thank you, my friends.
I must say I’m not much of a materialistic person. Yet, it doesn’t totally mean that I’m not into any kind of fancy little things. Nice things make me look nice. A new pair of Converse would make me happy all day long, and of course, I’d feel more confident when I wear a lovely dress (and I know I’m not the only one). I love wandering around souvenir shops and what I want to do at those times is bring all of those tiny little cute things home. You’d never know, they are so adorable I can’t take my eyes off of.
Anyway, clothing is a different story, though. I hate shopping for clothing. It sounds ridiculous but it’s true. I usually wear my sister’s clothes or even my mom’s. Occasionally, they give me these weird confused eyes as if I were an alien coming from some star very, very far away. How come a person can wear someone else’ clothes and feel nothing at all? They may question.
Okay, you may think I’m such a lazy person who is too lazy to go shopping. Yeah… Partly true but another thing is that I don’t like (and am never willing) to spend my money on such clothing. Other than that, I share my wardrobe with my sister, which means there is of course not much room for another pile of clothes. Isn’t that better if I wear my sister’s clothes? (Sometimes I wonder).
So when I first heard of the minimalism thing, I was very intrigued because the term did sound cool. I knew from the first place that I could follow this lifestyle, and then, people would stop asking me why I’m like that. Because I have had a very good answer – “I’m a minimalist, you know”…etc
But you know what is cool about this lifestyle? I’ll produce way less trash into the environment. More importantly, though, I’m a nomad (not now but I’d like to call myself that). I always dream of wanderlust and such. Living minimalist will be a good idea because I will have to learn how to downsize my stuff and traveling light is such a fantasy!
One of my favorite quotes: Buy experiences, not things. And that’s how I started to become a minimalist.
The first thing that comes to your mind when you hear of the minimalist lifestyle is that you can do it. The next thing that comes to your mind when you hear of the minimalist lifestyle is that it’s damn a challenge! I’m a book lover (not a bookworm by the way). I love books (rather than reading books). If you come to my house, you’ll see a book self with quite a lot of books, many of which have been left untouched for years. This means so far they haven’t served any purposes other than to make the house look nice. Even my favorite books take up so much room (we live in a fairly tiny house) and they are indeed very expensive. On my first days practicing this lifestyle, dealing with those books was like a nightmare, which was why I decided to leave them behind and focus on other stuff.
(Until recently, I have just found out a great way to deal with them – Thank God! I bought a Kindle and it was one of my best decisions ever. I’ll share with you more about this Kindle thing on another post. Stay tuned!)
Okay, so that is the book story. There are of course thousands of difficulties I had in the beginning. I love keeping things (you can call me a keeper if you want to). I’ll keep back things that people throw out and give them the chances to live a second life. If you open my secret box, you’ll see many little old things that I’ve kept for such a long long time. You’ll see a notebook, an old stack of letters and photos, a keychain, a bracelet and so on… They’ve been there for so long. I never want to get rid of them because these things are part of my life, memories of good times and bad. And that’s my first and biggest obstacle when it comes to simplifying my life just the way people often define- live your life with the essential things. Anyway, essentialism is a different story, isn’t it? And it surely has nothing to do with being a minimalist. Moreover, minimalism is not merely a definition. It’s a lifestyle, and how can we define one’s lifestyle in several sentences? I suppose we have our own opinions about how minimalism is, and there is no right or wrong of it at all.
I know that becoming a minimalist doesn’t happen overnight. It is the small steps you take each day that will move you along into your journey of living a minimalist lifestyle. Some may need a few months to feel comfortable living with less. The others may need a good long while. But no matter how long it may take, the only thing you have to keep in mind is that minimalist lifestyle comes in many different approaches, different shapes and sizes, and you should find one that’s right for you (and everything takes time).
When I started to lead this lifestyle, I didn’t waste time on meaningless things. Instead, I had more time for what was truly important to my life. Every morning before going to work, I didn’t have to struggle with what I should wear anymore. When I went to the supermarket, I would only buy what I really needed (Grocery list is just very useful) other than spending time and money on things that I wanted. And as time goes by, I’ve learned to focus on improving myself and spending time with my family.
Literally and figuratively. As Tyler Durden said, “Things you own will end up owning you”. This is so true. Once you have tons of things, you will be more likely to feel overwhelmed and stressed. Because you have so many things to worry about. If you’re like me, being obsessed with keeping emotional items, you’ll never want to let them go. Because you always think that “what if I need them someday? Or what if I will forget all of those beautiful memories after I throw them out?”. But we are more than our stuff, our memories are within us, not within our things. Holding on to those sentimental items imprisons you; holding on to the past stops you from living in the present. So yeah… the day I decided to let them go (of course I didn’t put all of them in the trash. I gave those items to some people who found them useful), I felt relieved and free.
Of course, I did! I no longer wander around shops and bring home a bunch of cute little things. I no longer purchase books without considering carefully. I started to read ebooks and borrow books from my friends or the city library. I think if you buy things unintentionally whether they are clothes or any things, you’re wasting your time and money. I still remember back then when I was a university student, one day I went to a used book sale event nearby my place and spent the whole afternoon looking for some nice books. I had no clue what kind of books I should buy and then ended up buying a very old version of Jane Eyre. It would be just fine unless it was the book that I’d read before (once or twice). If I could travel back in time, I’d have definitely never bought it. The money I paid for the book should have been spent on my travel.
Anyway, that’s the story of my old days when I first followed this lifestyle. Changing your way of living is never an easy process, but if you really want to change it for a better you, then do it now. What do you think is the hardest part when it comes to living minimalist? And how has minimalism changed you? Thanks for reading.