I’m taking a slight departure from my usual style of posts today to write about minimalism, because it’s something I’m very interested in; plus, I think it ties in with being environmentally friendly.
Please don’t be scared off – when I mention minimalism, I’m not thinking about the stereotype of having a sleek, monochrome house without any possessions. I don’t want a show home. I still want to own the things that I need and that make me happy. My focus is on looking at all the things I own, and donating, selling, recycling or (more unfortunately, if there’s no alternative) throwing away the things I don’t need or want, all the things I’ve kept out of habit or obligation.
So why is this eco-friendly? Well, if you don’t want something but someone else might be able to use it, then passing it on will mean resources aren’t used up on making something new.
Another side to minimalism is buying less – in our consumer-focused society, it’s so easy to get caught up in wanting to own more and more things, which is also bad for the environment. Thinking more carefully about what we buy can help us realise what we’re doing to the environment when we buy things needlessly.
I’m tackling this by buying more things secondhand, so they have less of an impact on the environment, but I’ve also decided to keep a ‘wish list’ of all the things I’m tempted to buy. I’ll write them down and look at them again in a month or so and see if I still want them. This should hopefully cut down on impulse purchases, so I won’t end up with so many things I don’t really want.
If this is something you’re interested in, there are so many places you can go to to get started! In particular, there are lots of blogs around. I’d recommend Courtney Carver’s Be More With Less. This focuses on the savings – both money and time – that you’ll make by following a more minimalist lifestyle, freeing yourself to do what you enjoy without feeling choked by unwanted possessions. Also have a look at Joshua Becker’s Becoming Minimalist, which again focuses on the joy of having less possessions.
This might not be the first thing you think of when you’re considering going eco-friendly – but I think it’s interesting nevertheless. If we could break out of our consumer habits and stop buying so many items that damage the planet then we’d be doing a whole lot better! What do you think?