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Tips on becoming more of a minimalist

Red Deer designer discusses the tiny house revolution

I am fascinated with the tiny house movement, I watch the shows and scan the Internet for interesting floor plans and try to visualize whether I could exist in only a few hundred square feet. Most of the time I’m able to rationalize my way out of this minimalist fantasy but it still makes me wonder how a person would downsize that much.

The first piece of advice I can offer is to get rid of multiple items. Okay getting rid is a bit drastic but how about putting duplicate items in a box and storing them away for six months? If at the end of that time you find you haven’t used them it’s time to donate. If I am honest with myself I have three sets of measuring cups, eight cookie sheets and five sets of sheets just for the master bedroom. Why? There isn’t any good reason to have duplicates of some items and I guarantee that you will find if you store these items away you will not miss them.

Have you heard about Project 333? Dressing with 33 items for three months, including shoes and jewelry. Again, I’m not advocating that you throw away all your clothes but just keep the favourite items while you carefully store your extra items for three months and see how you do with less selection and take note of how much time you are saving not having to labour over what to wear every day.

This mindset can also be applied to meals and snacks for your family; simplify the meals and rotate through a few favourite meals during the week instead of having to create elaborate recipes which forces you to grocery shop every day. My family and I did a 30 day challenge to not buy groceries because we had combined two households and had a plethora of stuff in our pantry. In the month, I found that I enjoyed not having to grocery shop and we ate like kings!

It can be hard to get rid of personal items; especially gifts given to you by your children and over the years and over multiple kids, all of those can tend to pile up. I made a memory book of my daughters artwork and writings over the years to keep things confined. You can also scan and save photos to your computer to further cut down on the clutter that photos can create in your home. CD’s, movies and video games are the worst kind of mess that represents many dollars spent and people can be reluctant to get rid of so it might take some bravery to bag and box these items.

Choose to trade chaos for calm and consumerism for sustainable choices. Ask yourself before buying anything whether or not it is a needed item and if it brings joy to your life. Is it necessary or are you buying just out of a vacant need to fill something in your life with material goods? Choose wisely and choose less frequently and you will find that the fulfillment of purchases more satisfying the less you choose to buy. Eliminating items in your household will pare down choices you must make which will safe you time and the stress of choosing. Happy purging!

Kim Wyse is a Central Alberta freelance designer. Find her on facebook at ‘Ask a Realtor/Ask A Designer’.