Note: This is a guest post from Jennifer Newton. sustain initiative.
trip to Minimalism often begins with understanding the power of: the following: How less clutter creates room for more connections, how less shopping frees up space for meaningful relationships, how calendar commitments Can you prioritize what really matters by doing less?
It’s no secret that incorporating minimalist practices into your life has many rich life benefits. But the benefits of minimalism extend far beyond our own. Here are some ways minimalism empowers us to do good.
Consumerist Governance Protects Earth’s Resources and People
We don’t have to look far at the plastic pollution washing up on beaches, the recycling of toxic waste exported from the United States to disadvantaged countries, and the heartbreaking images of young children playing in toxic waste. Faced with these images, most of us want to make better decisions for people and the planet, even if we don’t know where to start.
Researchers have identified what they say. Gap between values and behaviorEven those who profess to have strong feelings about certain issues, such as sustainability, do not necessarily act on these values in practice. Often this is because the change feels too overwhelming or the “cost” to make it seems too high. But if you’re someone who wants to manage the earth and its resources more purposefully, the solution is actually pretty simple.
The average American throws out 4.5 pounds of garbage a day… generate up to 60+ tons of landfill waste over an average lifetime. Want to generate less waste? Buy less.
170 million children work in hazardous working conditions To meet the demand for fast fashion, which is worn on average 7 times and thrown away. Want to stop supporting child labor? Buy less.
Up to 60% of global greenhouse gas emissions come from the manufacture and use of household goods and services.. Want to reduce your carbon footprint? Buy less.
Of course, shopping less isn’t the only way to take care of the planet and its people. But if the personal changes that make the most impact are ones that simplify your home and your life, it’s a win-win.
Buying less allows you to buy better
each of us consumes thing: In a typical home, closets and cabinets overflow with clothes, books, toys, and utensils. We buy more and more stuff at ever cheaper prices and wonder why our homes are so cluttered.
But when you buy less, you can afford to buy better. Clearing out the clutter in your closet and stopping the cycle of thoughtless consumption will free up space in your life—and ultimately your budget—to make more intentional choices.
We can choose to “buy for life” when choosing furniture, utensils, and other household items, instead of paying less up front for things destined for landfill.
Rather than financing companies that pollute our waterways or engage in unsafe labor practices, we can commit to buying fair trade and ethically produced products.
We can support small businesses in our neighborhood and help them stay in business even when neighboring countries can’t beat the ‘sale’ prices of big retailers.
Every purchase we make becomes a specific vote with our money for the world we want to live in. Use that power wisely.
Holding an object with open arms is an act of love
Holding possessions with open arms means that things flow into our lives when they are needed, and gracefully leave our lives when they are no longer needed.
We are programmed by advertising and consumer culture to keep a tight grip on our stuff. thing. We tell ourselves that we have the right to buy a new car, that we made a good purchase, or that Shane’s late-night binge was some form of self-care (note: shopping is never self-care. ).
But if I stop thinking of my physical possessions as “mine,” even if I paid for them to clean and fix them, they could become more expensive, more luxurious, or simply free from the cycle of consumers chasing more those who seek happiness.
Instead, think of yourself as the custodian of your physical possessions. Use them, care for them, maintain them, and when they have served their purpose in life, hand them over responsibly.
When we become stewards rather than consumers, our identities become less entwined with what we own, giving us more room to be compassionate and generous people.
As a consumer, letting go of what is yours is thing You may feel like you are giving up the status you gave to material things, even if they no longer fit into your life. But letting go as a manager means that you care so much about your stuff—and the people who might benefit from it—that you don’t want to leave it in your closet.
Being a living example of intentionality is a gift to others
One of the greatest gifts of minimalism is the ability to organize your life the way you want it. But when we are examples of how we live our values, we empower others to do the same.
Our loved ones see us leaning into projects we’re passionate about, opting out of calendar appointments that don’t fulfill our mission, or putting our phones down and hooked up. You see what really matters to you.
Our neighbors who have seen us grow our family without increasing our square footage know that bigger isn’t always better.
Whether it’s traveling the world or watching birds in our backyard, it’s a joy to see the people around us taking time for wonder and adventure. I am made aware that it is not possible.
My purposeful life will not, and should not, be exactly the same as anyone else’s. But when we begin to experience less joy in ourselves, the world benefits from: more: More purposeful, more generous, more managing. Better.
Jennifer Newton is a wife, mother of two, and passionate about helping you live a life that aligns with your values. You can see more of her work here. sustain initiative, a blog about how to make better decisions for people and the planet. You can also follow her on her Substack here.