We’re almost halfway through the year, yes – already! I can’t believe that when I wrote this post about having a minimalist year we’d be three months into a pandemic. But, in some ways, it helped me prepare for these slower days.
As a family, we’ve done relatively well buying less stuff. I’ve managed to slow the immediate need to go out and buy something that we had before. The things we’ve purchased have been longer-term items, and it’s felt pretty good.
6 Ways to Refocus on Minimalism Mid-Year
Sewing from my stash. I made a commitment to my husband last year to not buy any more fabric unless I had a specific need for it, such as finishing a project. I’m really proud to say that I’ve stuck to this! In March I made over 100 masks with fabric that was in my stash or donated to me for the cause. I’ve finished or completed started half a dozen quilts and have not had to buy anything extra for them. I’m making room in my sewing bin and I’m making fun projects.
Using the library. Our library took a quick hiatus over the first few months of spring, to keep us all safe. But as soon as they opened for curbside pickup, I found myself there once a week getting new books. We’ve all branched out in our reading, and the library is the perfect place to try a new author or series, with no risk. Most libraries also have access to Overdrive or Hoopla – a way to borrow audiobooks or ebooks. Another way to save money.
Swapping puzzles with friends. I have the perfect spot in my kitchen for puzzles, and you’ll find one in progress there almost every day. I quickly ran out of the puzzles as we found ourselves home with more family time, so instead of buying new ones, I was able to swap with friends. Well, most of them loaned me theirs because they were not enjoying the puzzles as much as I was. I’m up to over 20 puzzles completed this year, and I’m enjoying it immensely.
Donating and accepting donated clothes. Staying home has given me the opportunity to go through stuff. Yes, we’ve lived in this house for less than two years, but things still pile up. Throughout this process, I’ve pared down two of the kids’ closets and was able to pack away stuff that is too big and pass along or donate the rest. While we’re not quite at capsule wardrobe, we’re definitely getting there. This also allows for easier storage of things so I can find that one particular item when we need it.
Specifically buying things that fill many needs. This step has been a harder one. In the beginning, I found myself saying yes to purchases we didn’t “need” because I wanted to make the stay-at-home time more bearable for everyone. Then I remembered we have quite a bit to enjoy already. So I switched our focus from buying items that fit one need to looking for things that fit more than one need. As a result, we’ve bought less stuff, which is the ultimate goal.
Focusing on where we’re spending money. We’ve been debt-free for over a year, even after our Disney Cruise adventure over Christmas, and we’re working towards baby step 3. To do this well, I’ve focused on where we’re spending money and why. Just the act of reviewing the last month’s purchases helps us refocus and readjust our budget so we can make the best decisions.
My plan was never to do a no-spend year, but it was to end the year with a fully-funded emergency fund, which makes me think twice about big purchases. We’re much more likely to spend money on something sustainable – like a new dishwasher – that we’ll use long-term or that we really, really like. (Yup, we’ve upped our game in coffee purchases thanks to small, locally-owned coffee companies like Swatara and Ubora.)
RELATED: Focus on Minimalism in the Kitchen
Overall, things are going well in my goal to have less things and focus on people and activities more. As we ease back towards our normal activities and look forward to school, we’re focusing on the “less is more” as far as busy activities and purchases. I love reusing as much as possible when we start a new school year, too.