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A Practical Guide to Minimalism

Tue, Aug. 8, 2017
CAIRO - 8 August 2017: we live a life of clutter and commercialism, buying and consuming more than we need and spending far more than we ought to.

Over the past few years, a minimalist movement has been on the rise, calling for us to ditch everything we do not need or use, and strip down to the basics for a more fulfilling life—with the added bonus of spending far less than we normally do.

“Imagine a life with less. Less stuff. Less clutter. Less stress, and debt and discontent. A life with fewer distractions. Now imagine a life with more. More time.

More meaningful relationships. More growth, and contribution, and contentment,” said the self-proclaimed minimalist Ryan Nicodemus to a small audience while touring with friend Joshua Fields Millburn.

The two have co-authored a book called Everything that Remains, advocating minimalism and arguing that if you surround yourself with the things you really need, you will not only save money, but also become happier.

Another American minimalist, Joshua Becker, lives in Vermont with his wife and children, committing to a life of minimalism and sharing their stories, guides and tips on his blog becomingminimalist.com.

Becker argues that one of the many benefits of this lifestyle is spending less money on material things, and hence, saving money on storage, maintaining, mending and cleaning your excess belongings.

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With the recent economic conditions forcing us all to become tight when it comes to spending, it might be worth getting a basic introduction to leading a minimalist lifestyle—or at least adopting a few aspects of it.

Becoming a minimalist

One of the first steps to becoming a minimalist is to declutter your life and surround yourself with things you need on daily basis while stripping yourself from everything else. This may sound a bit extreme, but a decluttered life can both, cause less stress and save you a little money. Think of all the clothes and shoes in your closet. How many items do you really use? Consider the stuff you have stored away in boxes, only good for collecting dust. So take a bold step, go through that closet of yours and sell whatever items you do not use on daily basis that have value, and give away the stuff that you cannot sell.

Stop buying, start borrowing

The newest iPhone, several cars in the garage, clothes only fashionable for one season and having anything they can afford, for some people, are signs of success in life. However, the next step to becoming a minimalist and saving money is to stop buying excessively.

Instead of spending a fortune on a new dress, borrow one from a friend the next time you go to a party and feel like you have nothing to wear. Things like books, kitchen appliances and party clothing can easily be borrowed. We tend to buy things, then use them only once or twice.

Fix it

Another way to avoid buying new things is to attempt fixing those that break; in a country like Egypt, this is a specially easy task. Household appliances, gadgets and toys can often be fixed by professionals for a smaller price than buying a brand new one. Smart phone screens are particularly sensitive, so make sure you have a cover for your phone.

Clean out the closet

The closet is often the most cluttered and unorganized part of any home, but a trick to cleaning it out is to turn all hangers around so they face the wrong way at the beginning of each season. After you have worn an item, turn the hanger around so it faces the right away. At the end of the season, sell or give away all the clothes you have not used in the past months.

Shopping detox

Challenge yourself not to buy new clothes, shoes and accessories for 90 days. The detox will force you to get creative with the clothes you already have, and hopefully you will find new ways to combine tops, bottoms and accessories. Do not tempt yourself by going to malls or looking at clothes online. If you think 90 days is an impossibly long time, challenge yourself not to shop for 30 or 60 days to begin with.

There are plenty more tips and strategies, but it is important to remember that at the end of the day there is no right or wrong way to lead a minimalist life.

On stage, Nicodemus pointed out that if you are in love with books and smile every time you look at your collection, you should absolutely not throw them away.

Minimalism is not about living a Spartan life with bare white walls and denying yourself pleasures; it is about living a meaningful life where dead things are not prioritized over financial security and human relations. et

For more inspiration, podcasts and guides check out these websites:
becomingminimalist.com, simplifymagazine.com and theminimalists.com.


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