“That’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? That’s what it’s always been about. Gifts, gifts… gifts, gifts, gifts, gifts, gifts! You wanna know what happens to your gifts? They all come to me. In your garbage. You see what I’m saying? In your garbage. I could hang myself with all the bad Christmas neckties I found at the dump. And the avarice. The avarice never ends! ‘I want golf clubs. I want diamonds. I want a pony so I can ride it twice, get bored and sell it to make glue.’ Look, I don’t wanna make waves, but this whole Christmas season is…stupid , stupid stupid.” – The Grinch
I don’t know about you – but the Grinch has a point. Over the years, I’ve realized the art of gift giving needs reevaluated. I’d much rather find something that is useful & won’t go to waste. Not only do people run into spending hundreds of dollars during the holiday season, but our homes become bombarded with items that may or may not be useful to us. As I’m learning more about intentional living, I’ve been understanding my priorities & what holds more value. For me, I find so much joy in gifting experiences & spending time with others. Material possessions although are appreciated – tend to find themselves at donation centers more often than not. So, with that realization – I wanted to put together a list of Clutter Free Gift Options for this year.
Ever since I decided to practice minimalism & live a more intentional & simple life, I’ve noticed so any wonderful changes. My perspective on life is quite different now that I don’t revolve it around consumerism & “Keeping up with the Joneses”. Although it may seem abnormal to go against the grain & live happier with less, I strongly believe EVERYONE would benefit by just simply adding one of these changes into their lives. Here are 10 Things I Do Now That I’m a Minimalist
1. I Look For New Experiences
When I stopped wanting for the next trendy piece or expensive item, I realized adding these things into my life left me feeling empty. Or, they would bring me joy for a short period of time but I would quickly want the next best thing. Instead, I look for new experiences to enrich my life & help me grow. And when I talk about experiences, I don’t just mean extravagant vacations overseas. I also mean local adventures like hidden hiking trails, new restaurants & activities. Simply trying a new drink on the Starbucks menu counts as a new experience. I’m more inclined to spend money on these forms of happiness than material items that just sit in my home because it’s another story to tell. It’s an added memory that makes us who we are or want to be.
2. I Actually Use Up Products I Buy
I try to adopt the rule of using what I have before I purchase a new one. It’s not to say, I don’t have a few backup products in the hall closet; but most duplicates are essential to daily living. I no longer experiment too often & I stick with what works. You know the phrase, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it?” That’s the mindset I try to keep when advertisements try to entice me with something new & trendy.
3. I No Longer Try To Keep Up With The Joneses
Comparison & competing with people is honestly so exhausting. You can never really keep up. And why are we so wired to prove things to people? We need to feel more content with the lives we create for ourselves. In a world where social media snatches joy from right under your feet, we can’t allow ourselves to see highlight reels as the only depiction of success. Wouldn’t it be more refreshing if people showed all sides to the story? And if you still find yourself comparing yourself to other’s feeds, maybe you need to consider getting rid of the platforms that aren’t serving you well. For instance, I deleted my Instagram & haven’t looked back since.
I used to feel like my life had to be so extravagant. I had to spend tons of money, visit the most fancy locations for what? To show people I can? To make myself feel more whole? This year has taught me happiness can be found in such simple ways. I embrace that type of life now. I’ve become a real homebody. I don’t go searching for things to fill a void any longer. I’ve become a stronger person this way. And like I said about experiences, sometimes the more simple moments are the most precious.
5. I Have Better Relationships With People
I was someone who focused on my own happiness harder than others. Not in a spiteful way either. More like an oblivious way where I would stay in my own safe bubble. Now that I’m more aware, I ask people how they are doing more often. I listen to their stories instead of quickly telling them mine. I listen harder instead of being a burden. And sometimes keeping things to yourself is ok. There’s a difference between vulnerability & word vomit. Those who practice a minimalist lifestyle, tend to focus on decluttering material items. But the decluttering process can be useful for all aspects in your life. When you choose your friends wisely, the ones that remain can be the best ones for you.
6. I Know Who My Real Friends Are
I love the friendships that are there for your highs & your lows. The type of friends who love coming over your house, sit on the floor with a glass of wine & talk about life. Each stage holds different phases of friendships. They change & you evolve as well. Rarely does anything ever stay the same. Find the tribe of individuals that encourage you & show off your best self. Let go of everything else.
7. I Show More Confidence
When I was a teenager, I would get myself so upset if my outfit wasn’t perfect. I was too much of a try hard & honestly the outfits weren’t that great. I worried about not being pretty enough, not having the latest trends or whether people would notice of my boots were knockoffs. Now that I’m older my fashion sense has improved so much. The only reason for this is my sense of confidence has improved. I don’t own the most unique clothing pieces. But I know what works for me & I rock it.
The amount of pointless purchases I’ve made in my life is astronomical. I try to be more intentional with my purchases. And no, the joggers from Target were probably not on my NEED list, but during quarantine, they were an essential. When I do decide to treat myself, I appreciate it more. Before, I would spend so often that I stopped being grateful. “Oh that $50 Anastasia Beverly Hills Highlight Palette? Trash! And like that palette, it just sat in my drawer untouched. I try to maintain the mindset of purchasing items that are purposeful, fit in my capsule wardrobe or would truly benefit me evolve as a person.
That house you live in. The nice bedding you sleep on. The pets you own. Never take those things for granted. I used to have the mindset of always wanting the next best thing. Although I do own less, I’ve learned to really appreciate what I have. I still love owning nice things. I just don’t let them define who I am or my happiness. I try to keep things into perspective & prioritize the people, animals & experiences I have in my life above all else.
Minimalism wasn’t the end all be all cure to my life but it has made me happier. I thought I knew what happiness was before, but I’m more enlightened. I didn’t realize I used material items to hide from my problems, my emotions & people. In no means am I a perfect person. I am still a work in progress. But I will say practicing this lifestyle has helped open my eyes to the important parts of life.
Happy Earth Day! I’ve been recently on the journey to becoming more sustainable. In no means am I perfect & in all honestly, I don’t think I’ll ever be 100% sustainable but I have found a few easy swaps that have gotten me started down the road of living more Earth conscious. Here are a few plastic free swaps I’ve made in the last year or so…
I’ve used plastic toothbrushes for as long as I can remember – especially the electric toothbrushes. But as of late, I’ve decided to try bamboo or wooden toothbrushes instead. They seem to work rather nicely & they compost a lot easier.
Organic Cotton Pads
I used to be an avid user of those one time use makeup wipes & packs of cotton rounds. But I realized how wasteful it was & the amount of money I was spending monthly on these products. I now use these organic cotton pads from Amazon that can be washed in the washing machine every week or so. They have managed to hold up really nicely & I will no longer be purchasing the one time use alternatives any longer.
I’ve been using wash clothes through my childhood. I find loofas to be bacteria havens. I love using wash clothes to apply body wash, apply face cleanser & even take off makeup. I simply put them in the washing machine like the cotton pads & they are good as new.
I find body washes to run out so quickly. I end up using way too much product & the containers are always in plastic containers. Instead, I’ve been leaning towards bar soaps [ Dove brand ] that come in cardboard packaging.
Metal Water Bottles
I love my Hydroflask water bottle & use it all the time. This is a easy plastic free swap because so many companies sell metal water bottles now a days. It’s perfect for travel & outdoor / active activities like hiking or going to the gym. They really help in maintaining proper water intake throughout the day as well.
Cotton Grocery Bags
Although many stores sell reusable grocery bags, most of those options are made of plastic. Instead, I purchased a few cotton material bags I use for a multitude of things – one being hauling groceries. I am no longer hoarding tons of plastic grocery bags.
This last swap is something I’m still on the fence about -but I’m trying. In terms of feminine hygiene, I’m aware how bad pads & tampons are to our bodies. But as much as I want to go to the reusable alternative, I just can’t get behind it at the moment. Maybe I need to browse other brands. But I would love to find period underwear or accessories to make this swap because even on a money saving gain, I know for a fact I would be saving tons of money a month not repurchasing tampons or pads.
Do you have other plastic free swaps to share? Let me know in the comments