I’ve been watching a lot of Minimalist Youtube videos and reading minimalists’ blogs lately, trying to find new ways to save money.
Although I’m inspired by the minimalist idea that you just need the very basic things in life to be happy, I’m not sure how I feel about how many people follow minimalism. And here are the reasons:
1) I don’t have a lot of clothes to begin with.
The first step in minimalism is to go through your stuff, starting with the wardrobe to get rid of what you don’t need.
Sometimes I see people donate 80% of their clothing to Goodwill since they have never worn or haven’t worn those clothes in the past 6-12 months. Some would clean out their closets and buy new clothes.
For me, I’ve kept a lot of my clothes for the past 10 years. If I know I have something to wear for a certain occasion no matter how long I’ve had it, I’m less like to buy new.
2) I fix old clothes.
I have some shirts that are a bit torn or socks that have holes in them. I just use thread and needles to fix them up and continue to wear them like nothing happened.
That’s how I’ve been able to make full use of a lot of the old clothes that I have and don’t feel the need to throw them away.
3) I think long and hard about what I don’t need.
A lot of times I’d think about selling or donating some shirts or dresses because they no longer fit me or I haven’t worn them in a while.
However, at some point afterwards, I’d find myself happily wearing them again since I lost weight or I had an occasion that called for that particular shirt or dress. Every time that happens, I feel relieved I don’t have to go out and buy anything new.
There are certain items I haven’t worn for a long time or no longer need. I usually bring them home so that my mom can wear them or give them to our extended family in rural areas who are less well-off.
My mom is very frugal and always tells me that if I have something I don’t wear, I can just give it to her. My mom means it and always feels happy to wear my old clothes. I buy her new things too, but that’s just how my mom is.
4) Frugal but not hoarding
The second step is to get rid of most of the furniture. Some sleep on a mattress on the floor and have a tiny table with two tiny chairs in the kitchen.
My thought is: if you can get a free box spring, a free bed frame, a free dining table and a couple of free chairs from friends, then why not? After all, you don’t need to spend money on it. The box spring or bed frame can keep your mattress and bedding clean by keeping it from the floor.
The key is to not take everything that’s free. Once I know I have the basic furniture that I need to make my life comfortable, I will stop taking in things just because they’re free.
That means one mattress, one bed frame, two desks and two chairs, one dining table and a maximum of 6 chairs for Mr. FAF and me.
Baby FAF will need his own bed soon, but we’re planning to get as much hand-me-down stuff for him as possible.
5) We will need the things we don’t currently use.
We put in a storage shed in our backyard what Baby FAF has used so far for his future siblings. There’s no point in getting rid of those things now and spending time in the future trying to collect the same necessities for our second baby. It’s just not an efficient use of our time.
I consider myself to be frugal but not minimalist. I really admire minimalists who don’t need a lot of materials in their lives to be happy.
But for me, being frugal isn’t always about having as little as possible. It’s about having a comfortable life with enough necessities at as low a cost as possible without sacrificing our life quality.
And because of the five reasons above, I don’t consider myself to be a minimalist.