What’s New in Minimalism?

Looking ahead to less

Photo by Kari Shea on Unsplash

I just saw an article that we can expect life in the U.S. to return to normal in August. Trips to restaurants and movies, and even vacations, are all on deck.

I’m still feeling a little guarded, but can you blame me? I was expecting life to go back to normal last summer. But this is good news for minimalists.

A core idea of minimalism is to seek out experiences, not things. And with the country shut down, experiences have been hard to come by. We’re spending more time at home, so formerly cozy spaces are getting a little cramped. There are also more stressors: job loss, kids home from school, worries about relatives.

In the past year, I’ve definitely shifted my expectations when it comes to minimalism. Previously I was interested in the idea of “no buys,” where people go a certain amount of time without buying clothing, but now I do not plan to do any.

Why? Well, people have different needs. Starting last April, most of my blazers and dress pants sat in a closet. I replaced them with some new lounge wear (because I was home more) and scrubs (which my clinic required for infection control). I have definitely used them over and over again throughout the year. And this year, I had to buy some office clothes, because I was at a new clinic. Things change.

I have seen people proudly declare a clothing “no buy” for a year. That was always a head-scratcher for me. What if your socks wear out? What if a sweater pills? Then I saw pictures that people posted of their closets after decluttering, and I understood. Many people do have enough clothes that they don’t need to go shopping for a year. They have huge walk-in closets, with hundreds of outfits to choose from.

I only keep on hand what I need; maybe six blouses and enough socks and undies to go two weeks without doing laundry. So for me, buying a piece here and there doesn’t mean I’m not a minimalist. It helps me keep up my minimalism. Plus, if I whittle my shopping trips to just one piece I know I will wear, I will have fewer returns and donations.

Here are some minimalist ideas I have on tap for the spring:

  • A garden
    I have some garden space outdoors, so I’m planning to grow native plants and wildflowers. I’m growing milkweed to attract monarch butterflies, and other local flowers for bumblebees. If you don’t have a lot of space, you can start a container garden to grow flowers or herbs. To find native plants for your area, click here.
  • Learn a new skill
    With literally nothing fun to do during the pandemic, I’ve been fixing up my home and and cleaning things I previously didn’t know existed. Dryer vent? Cleaned out. Washing machine filter? Sanitized. I was surprised at what a difference it makes. Check out YouTube videos for any tasks you’ve been putting off; you may find them to be a lot simpler than you thought.
  • Tailor your own clothes.
    I recently made a T-shirt out of a $3 thrifted dress. Sewing machines used to be fairly expensive, but there is a thriving movement to fix up older machines and sell them for an affordable price. It takes a little bit of time to learn, but simple clothing fixes like mending a tear or adjusting a hemline can be done on your own.

Article writer, aspiring YA novelist & health scientist.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store