How 3 key life pillars have been transformed by minimalism

I now have a lot less waste and a lot more time

Food

Pre-minimalism

Before minimalism I had little routine regarding food, shopping and my diet. Shopping was sometimes sporadic, sometimes frequent, sometimes mid-week or sometimes I’d shop at the weekend. Occasionally I’d plan a couple of meals ahead of time or buy lunches for when I knew I would need them, other times I would not plan at all and buy more food than I needed. The one certitude was that at the end of each week I would always have food waste.

Post-minimalism

Equipped with the minimalist toolbelt, I identified exactly what I wanted from my diet and from my shopping experience. I asked myself how much time and energy food and shopping were consuming and how much time and energy I was willing to afford them.

Result

The results from this change are striking. I now have new relationships and new connections with those that work at our local stores, so these visits are enjoyable, interesting and I’m happy spending my time there.

Money

Pre-minimalism

Before my minimalism days, I would freely spend money without consideration. Purchases of material goods included jeans, trainers, Amazon gadgets and more coffee than my body actually needed. As a result of the poor aforementioned meal planning, I would also spend daily on lunches and snacks which, combined with my material purchasing habits, reduced my focus and my importance for building savings.

Image for post
Image for post
I was not the best at money management. Photo by Travis Essinger on Unsplash

Post-minimalism

Minimalism opened the door to excellent tools such as the Simple Year module, produced by Courtney Carver, and this allowed me to identify, almost to the pound, how recklessly I spent my money. It enabled me to completely re-imagine my finances, group related expenditure together and for the first time in my life, define a budget. The tool is designed to help simplify your life by focusing on a different topic each month, analysing all aspects of daily life. The Simple Year module included a month focused solely on money and it was this module which transformed my approach to spending and refocused my financial priorities.

  • Short-Term Savings are for planned upcoming activities, holidays or weekend breaks. This includes events such as gigs, cinema, food and drink festivals or birthday gifts/experiences.
  • Spending Money is the money I know I need to spend on recurring monthly items such as personal care products. My Spending Money pot has the smallest of my monthly contributions and it’s the pot that I use for activities such as meeting friends for coffee, going for meals with my wife or weekends spent visiting my family.

Result

Akin to food wastage, my money “waste” is significantly reduced. I define money waste as the money I have spent which cannot be accounted for. The Simple Year module included a task whereby three months of all expenditure is highlighted to help identify purchases that cannot be recalled. Over a 3-month period, I spent in excess of £400 on unaccounted purchases. Not only was this scary, it was a realisation of the severity of my reckless spending.

Time & Energy

I believe this pillar is an intrinsic link to both my previous pillars; Food and Money. Time and energy are precious commodities and if spent negatively, they have the ability to increase stress and inflammation within our body. For example, waking daily via my mobile phone alarm and checking news, social media or work email, often lead to reading something which was more negative than positive. Before getting out of bed, I had therefore already experienced a small, sub-surface stressor that would sit with me throughout the day.

Pre-minimalism

For the purpose of this article, I’ve decided to limit the number of examples which I feel caused small, subconscious or emotional stressors to three. My reason for sharing these three examples in particular are that I feel many readers may be able to relate to these and that these examples are also those that I experienced on a daily or weekly basis.

  • Kitchen utensils were always a challenge to find. One draw containing a large draw organiser enclosed all of our cooking utensils. In the moment of cooking a meal, I did not want to waste time and energy searching for the one utensil I required, I just wanted it to hand. Again, a small stressor yet a stressor nonetheless.
  • My wardrobe was also a space that caused stressors. Winter and summer clothes mixed within each other’s space, ironed garments mixed with non-ironed garments and unworn clothes that were still hanging proudly got in the way of deciding what to wear on a daily basis. Another small stressor but one which occurred regularly throughout each week.

Post-minimalism

  • Cleaning. My wife and I decided to minimise more than half of our ornamental possessions. This task freed up furniture space and also mental space which as a result, significantly reduced our cleaning time. The less we own, the less we have to clean and importantly the less time and energy cleaning requires.
  • Kitchen utensils. My aforementioned food pillar which discussed my 28 maximum meals means I now require far less utensils. We parted ways with 80% of our cooking utensils meaning the task of locating a specific apparatus is easy, quick and requires little thought.
  • My wardrobe. I assessed my clothes and donated items that I either no longer wore, haven’t worn or those I’m unlikely to wear in the future. I also introduced compartments that separate summer from winter clothing which helps me to avoid the effort of subconsciously ignoring items that are inappropriate to the season on a daily basis. I now have a single draw that is dedicated to non-ironed garments so these do not confuse from the clothes I can wear. Another small change but one that reduces daily irritations.

Result

Not having to search for a utensil or not having to worry about ignoring clothes that are inappropriate to wear during a given season may seem trivial or insignificant, yet their impact cannot be overlooked. Small stressors like this may feel below the surface or immaterial yet a study conducted by Kate Leger — from the University of California, found that small stressors which linger or are repeated daily can have important implications for our long-term physical and mental health.

Summary

The biggest positive which I’ve noticed from adopting my minimalist lifestyle is the increased time and energy gained as a result of the reduction of my life’s waste. However, reducing my inefficient spent energy and the positive of creating more time in my life is only beneficial if I’m able to put this time and energy to good use. I therefore identified activities that I found enjoyable and educational that I could direct my newly found time and energy towards; two of these being learning French and growing my own fruit and vegetables.

UI & UX Designer. Passionate about design, health & fitness and wellbeing.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store