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Hilal Her

Minimalist Lifestyle: There Can Be More with Less

May 2024

Sometimes, the age-old expression “less is more” can be applicable to every facet of your life. Suppose you want to declutter your physical and mental space by eliminating the unnecessary things in your day-to-day life. In that case, you are beginning to embrace a minimalist lifestyle. Many people have started implementing a minimalist routine, supporting a zero-waste mentality. Yes, you can reduce your environmental footprint by not buying irrelevant items. Living a minimalist and zero-waste lifestyle can be an enriching journey toward simplicity, sustainability, and conscious consumption. Embracing these principles can reduce our environmental impact and bring fulfilment to our lives.

The connection between zero waste and minimalism is often overlooked, but these two philosophies are intertwined. Zero waste is about eliminating waste and striving for a future where nothing is sent to landfills or recycling. Meanwhile, minimalism encourages us to question what is necessary and useful in our lives, urging us to shed unnecessary possessions and focus on what truly adds value to our lifestyle. By embracing these principles, we can break free from the guilt and negativity associated with the clutter and consumption. 
At the beginning of the year, I set myself the goal of becoming a minimalist and zero waster, primarily by going through my belongings and being conscious of how much I genuinely use every day. Knowing how much waste I was making compared to the little to nonexistent waste I have now makes me laugh as I look back. Ultimately, it comes down to individual values and what one considers ‘enough’. While some zero wasters may not embrace minimalism, and vice versa, both philosophies promote a more thoughtful approach to consumption and waste management. 
Benefits of Adopting a Minimalist Lifestyle
Imagine a cluttered closet with clothes you have not worn in years, causing stress and burden. Now, envision the same closet with only your favorite, neatly organized items, allowing for ease and appreciation. This is the essence of minimalism, which extends beyond decluttering to bringing about  numerous benefits. By simplifying our lives, we:
•    Gain mental clarity and focus on what truly matters
•    More time and energy for hobbies and personal growth
•    Financial freedom by breaking the cycle of constant consumption
•    Support sustainability by reducing consumption and carbon footprint
•    Save money through mindful purchasing
By adopting a minimalist lifestyle, we benefit mentally and financially while contributing to a more sustainable world through reduced consumption. By controlling what comes into our lives and homes, we can create a more streamlined, efficient, and environmentally friendly existence. This journey requires constant effort and self-reflection, but the rewards are well worth it—a cleaner planet and a more meaningful way of living. Delineated below are some of the minimalist lifestyle practices for reducing waste and sustainable development.
Full Lifecycle of the Product
Before making a purchase, consider the entire lifecycle of the product. As a consumer, you will only own it briefly, but it is essential to consider its origin, production process, and what happens after you are done. Research the raw materials used, manufacturing process, and transparency of the company’s supply chain. Look for brands that prioritize sustainability and ethical practices. Additionally, make a conscious effort to properly maintain and care for your belongings while you own them and explore options for repair, reuse, repurposing or recycling. Adopting this mindset will contribute to a more responsible and environmentally friendly consumption culture.
Buy Fair Trade
The struggle for fair labor practices and decent wages affects the daily lives of workers and suppliers, making it challenging for them to prioritize environment friendly manufacturing choices. By choosing fair trade products, you can positively impact communities throughout the supply chain. It is only fair to pay more for ethically produced goods, when necessary, even if it means a slightly higher cost for consumers.
Product Manufacturing Materials
When it comes to product materials, be mindful of their impact on the environment. One should be committed to minimizing plastic use in products and encouraging brands to find alternative materials. Additionally, we should prioritize organic and sustainable materials in our lifestyle, such as Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS)-certified textiles and Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified wood products that are repurposed, recycled, or certified eco-friendly. 
Purchase Fewer Products
The simplest way to reduce waste is to purchase fewer new products. The fashion industry is a prime example of overconsumption, with an extensive increase in annual production over the past years, leading to barely worn or unused garments. By prioritizing quality, longevity, and versatility in our purchases, we can reduce the need for frequent buying. Additionally, opting for second-hand or upcycled goods extends the lifespan of items that would otherwise end up in landfills, oceans, or the atmosphere. By adopting this approach, we can break the cycle of overconsumption and waste.
Use Environment-Friendly Cleaners
Embracing eco-friendly cleaners is a simple yet impactful step towards a minimalist, zero-waste lifestyle. Conventional cleaning products contain harmful chemicals that pose health risks and contaminate waterways with non-biodegradable waste. Fortunately, toxin-free and eco-friendly alternatives are now available for laundry and cleaning. Opting for plant-based or bio-enzyme-based detergents ensures a safe and healthy environment for your family while promoting sustainability. By choosing eco-friendly cleaners, you align with the principles of minimalism and zero-waste living, creating a better future for the generations to come.
Achieving zero-waste living and minimalism on a tight budget is possible. Contrary to popular belief, going green can be inexpensive. Small changes, like using reusable water bottles and grocery bags, second-hand clothing, etc., can significantly impact the environment and your wallet. Minimalism shifts your focus from material possessions to experiences and healthy relationships, which is priceless. Transitioning to a minimalist lifestyle takes effort and mindset shifts, but it is achievable. Everyone’s journey is unique, and progress may take time. However, the benefits are worth it – reduced environmental impact, mental clarity, and contentment. Start small, prioritize what matters, and enjoy the journey of mindful living!

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