Updated: May 26
I'm writing this list not to say, "Look how cool I am" or "Do what I do" because minimalism is trendy. I've been doing this before it had a name and never once thought to share my experiences. People looked at me crazy when they came into an empty room or watched me give away my possessions.
I'm writing this because sometimes in life we don't stop to think about needs, wants, and conveniences. Life is fast! But if you are interested in downsizing, tidying up, minimalism, or saving money then this list is of items that you may never have thought could be purged. I'm just here to show you, by example that life, as fast as it is, goes on just fine without the following things:
When I was pregnant, some ten years ago, I had this fear of being around microwaves. I didn't want to boil my baby while I waited for my food to heat. So I didn't have a microwave in my apartment. I haven't had one since!
Not only did I save time cleaning it, and save money by not running it, but it also saved a large amount of space on my countertop.
The only time I ever notice its absence is when someone comes over and wants to reheat their coffee cup.
Hear me out. There is nothing you can't cook on the stovetop or oven that you "need" a microwave for. Added bonus: No boiled baby!
Paper Towels & Tissues
It's been years since I bought paper towels (or took a roll from my parent's house). So I know that life can go on without them. Even with a child. Even with messes. Even with all the excuses, you tell yourself that makes you need them. It's true, you can have a paper towel-free home.
I bought a pack of hand towels and washcloths and that's been that. For tissues, I use toilet paper. I have yet to find or test out toilet paper alternatives, although I do like the bamboo ones. They are just as soft. The amount of money you will save will add up fast. I was able to get a pack of 20 washcloths for $2.00, and they will last for a long time! It also allows you to free up storage space in your house that would be for large packs of paper towels. Win/Win.
Now if you know me, you know I love to read. My books were my prized possessions for a long time. Every move (and there have been many) has started with me carefully packing up my books first. I had hundreds! Now, I have just a handful of my favorites. How did I get here?
I no longer buy books, instead, I rent them from the library. This is great for a few reasons. One, I save money right away by not buying books. Two, it saves me space that it would take it up if I owned it. And three, it gives me a limit on reading time. If I don't get to the book by the time it's due, then I am not going to read it at all. Think of all those "I'll get to" books that are sitting on your shelves right now.
A Kitchen Table
If you're the type of family that uses their kitchen table as a table, which means meals are served there, then, by all means, skip this part. This is for the people whose tables have become dumping grounds for all things not food-related.
When I did have a kitchen table, it was always covered in papers, art projects, bags, and whatever else came through the door. It was more of a hassle to look at than it was a functioning piece of furniture.
Perhaps you still need something to sit at occasionally, but does it have to be that big? Can you downsize it? Think about the last time you used it for its intended purposes. Better yet, dig under the pile of items and file a paper with a date on it. That should give you a clue.
So where do I eat you ask? I have a small coffee table in the living room that serves the same purpose. Tell me you don't eat in front of the tv...
Who needs cable when you can watch everything on your phone or computer? With streaming services, it's now easy to get live news right away, which was always a big concern for me. I'd like to know what is going on in the world or if there's an asteroid heading right for my house.
Not having cable saves you money by switching to the internet only. (Sorry, I just sounded like a commercial - I do not work for the cable company). I've been doing this for years and I haven't missed a thing. I'm pretty sure cable television is going the way of dial-up internet and corded phones anyway.
If you're really into minimalism, you may want to get rid of your tv too. Most people watch shows on their laptops, computers, or phones anyway. But one step at a time.
This one, for me, is pretty easy. I never had dressers growing up, so it never occurred to me to have one when I got my own place. What can't be hung up in the closet is put in a bin or basket. Socks, underwear, and smaller articles can all be put in bins. I always found dressers to be cumbersome and make people pretty lazy. Who wouldn't want to just shove clothes in a drawer?
Hanging your clothes in a closet forces you to be neat and also limits the amount of clothing that you can have. Doing this can save you money because you visually see what you actually own every time you open your closet so you don't go out and rebuy something.
I'm not a clothes person if you can tell. Another thing I don't own: Heels. I have yet to find an occasion that called for them. Then again, I'm not much for going out.
Okay, this one is not by choice, but it's worth mentioning the benefits of not owning them. For starters, it limits the amount of dirty clothing I will allow to pile up. If I know I have to pack and carry clothes to the laundromat it gives me a realistic amount I am able to maintain. I know once my laundry basket is full, it's time to wash them.
Next, I never leave clothes in the dryer to get mildew. When you have to go to a laundromat you need to get your clothes when they are done. You can't leave them overnight unless you were trying to get rid of them anyway.
Also, it may cost money to go to the laundromat, but not as much as owning a washer and dryer does. If a washer or dryer breaks (I didn't do it), I don't have to buy a new one. I don't have to pay for maintenance, water, or gas either.
I admit it would be more convenient to have laundry in my house, but this just shows you what you can live without and that non-ownership does have benefits.
Now that you see some of the things I live without, and the burdens owning them can cause, try to see what you can let go of. Perhaps it's just one small change that becomes the turning point in your life. There is no endgame or finish line. It's about learning what your threshold is in your home. Your house should be a place of peace, your things, items of enjoyment. No one says you have to keep anything in your house you don't want there.
If an item is not serving you well, kick it out! No freeloaders are allowed.
What do you not own that others may think is crazy?