The new year has just begun. It’s stretching out ahead of us, just like the empty pages of a book waiting to be written. So it’s a good time to have a think about old habits that have “crept in” in the last few months. How about taking time to reflect once again on the really important and good things when it comes to eating, shopping and leisure time? Making a conscious decision to have and do less can sometimes be wonderfully liberating. Our 5 tips for minimalism at the start of the year will give you some helpful food for thought.
Tip 1: Put an end to leisure-time stress
The greatest gift we have in life is probably time. Yet many people plan every free moment of their leisure time and try to do as many things as possible. After all, we want to be productive with our time. So it’s a quick dash to the supermarket, wash the car at the weekend, spruce up the apartment, go to the gym or a meeting in the evening and then of course we need to fit in those dinner invitations. Phew, leisure-time stress! So when do we have time to breathe? Is your free time also planned out weeks in advance? Do you feel like a manager of your own daily routine? As we start a new year, our tip for minimalism is: be brave and say no! Prioritise yourself and your own well-being. Have the courage to turn down invitations and instead get comfy on the couch without feeling the slightest bit guilty. Think about whether three different hobbies really fulfil you or are actually just “time-guzzlers”. Dare to be simply “aimless” and consider which tasks actually need to be accomplished. You will discover that a lot of things can actually wait. Free time does not always need to be used. Sometimes it’s just enough to simply enjoy it.
Tip 2: Clear out the fridge
The supermarket is teeming with culinary temptations. And Instagram and other social media sites are flooded with new food trends and products. As a result, we quickly end up with too much food in the fridge, which we frequently don’t eat. In a worst-case scenario, we even end up throwing it out. Now, at the beginning of the year, is a good time to talk about minimalism when it comes to food also. Our tip: clear out and make space in your fridge. Stock a manageable selection of staples that you can use to conjure up several different meals. So these meals will be eaten and they won’t go to waste. Fruit and vegetables are great all-rounders. They are a good source of vitamins and provide a healthy basis for simple, nutritious and filling delights such as casseroles, bowls, salads and smoothies. They are even perfect as sandwich fillers. Supplement them with additional staples like chicken, fish, wholegrain bread, soya yoghurt, cottage cheese and chia seeds. If you have these basic materials at your fingertips, you are ideally equipped for every culinary adventure. Keep it simple!
Tip 3: Find a new home for unwanted clothes
Blouses, shirts, jeans, sweaters – your wardrobe is bursting at the seams and you are still on the hunt for the next fashion bargain? We often buy clothes on the spur of the moment that we subsequently do not even wear. Faced with a bulging wardrobe, we lose track of what we have and feel that we have “nothing to wear”. Minimalism at the start of the year can be the key to more contentment. Not only do you spend a lot of money on too many clothes, you also lose the ability to truly appreciate any new items that you buy. Flea markets, online clothing exchanges or clothes swapping parties are therefore a good idea. This is where you can sell or swap any clothes that you do not wear and in this way create space for something new. The trick is to only buy a new outfit once you have got rid of another one. This will keep your wardrobe tidy in the long term. It also makes sense to choose mainly minimalist basics that go well together and can be easily combined for a variety of looks, from casual to smart. This means neutral colours, minimum patterns and simple cuts.
Tip 4: Cease the information flow
On the train, on the couch, at mealtimes, in bed – the smartphone is always there. We are really available around the clock – checking mails, liking posts and testing apps. Driven by the constant worry that we will miss something. But if we don’t shut out the digital world every now and then, we can feel stressed, dissatisfied and unbalanced. A digital detox will help you to find more minimalism in your everyday routine. It’s simply a case of giving digital devices, like your smartphone, less space in your life. This can certainly be a long process, which involves breaking habits. Changing your routine can also help. For example, get yourself an “analogue” alarm clock so that you don’t need to reach for the smartphone first thing in the morning. Put your phone on silent and disable push notifications. Tell your friends that you don’t want to be constantly available and that you don’t respond immediately to messages. Leave your smartphone at home when you go out. By the way, advertising leaflets and newsletters can also overwhelm you with their constant flow of information. Simply unsubscribe!
Tip 5: Nature instead of the Caribbean
Has it happened to you? You’re scrolling obliviously through your Instagram feed and suddenly there they are – photos of idyllic beaches, glittering water and unbelievably blue skies. One of your friends is clearly enjoying a holiday paradise. Your mood suddenly darkens, after all you would love to be there too. But wait a minute! Everyday minimalism can also actually mean remembering the many beautiful things we have right on our own doorstep. So don’t begrudge others their luxury holidays and open your eyes to the small, unremarkable things that make you feel good. How? Get out into nature, enjoy the feel of the wind and take yourself off on your own voyage of discovery. Bound through the trees in the forest, follow the course of a stream, amble through meadows and fields. Countless adventures await you, even in your own town. Visit museums, try out new restaurants – or how about a sightseeing tour to get to know unfamiliar places? Tip: bring some kiddies along, either your own or your friends’ children. They are amazed at every tiny bug and their enthusiasm is infectious.
Enjoy the year, liberated and content!
Your Dole Team