But I am here to tell you that the two subjects are completely integrated with each other and that I believe minimalism is the baseline and foundation to begin living a more sustainable life.
Let's knock the obvious benefit out of the way first. With minimalism you buy less stuff so there is less need for stuff to be created, consuming recourses, burning fossil fuels, degrading our soils, and polluting our environment.
80% of the items people keep are never used according to 'NAPO'. If we never buy that stuff in the first place we are eliminating the negative environmental impact that has on the planet.
Imagine if all of the worlds implemented their own version of minimalism, just how much less stuff would be produced and how much smaller our landfills will have to be.
When beginning a journey towards minimalism, we must say goodbye to what we already own that doesn't serve us. The best way to do this is to give it away so it can go to someone it would serve.
The standard economic model is a linear one;
Stuff gets produced, consumed, and sent to landfill. The end.
The type of economy that is necessary for the health of the planet is circular; where stuff gets produced, used, and stays in a loop of reuse. When we give things away (for example to an opp shop) they can be taken home by someone else and given a new life; closing the loop.
When implementing minimalism, you have a new awareness and intentionality with what you use in your life. It starts with what is in your home but affects the way you look at everything.
When a restaurant sends you a whole bunch of unnecessary disposable items with your Uber Eats your minimalist mindset will be on alert, wondering why all that stuff was necessary.
Eventually, you will want your minimalism to extend to your rubbish bin and have only items that were necessary to end up in there. You'll become more conscious that one reusable coffee cup is better than 50 disposables.
When you have less stuff you can buy better quality stuff. Better quality stuff lasts longer and so doesn't need to be replaced for a longer period of time. For example, a good quality blender that lasts 10 years is better for the environment than crappy ones that need to be replaced 5 times in those 10 years. So we save 4 blenders from being made and ending up in landfills.
Besides lasting longer, there are other environmental benefits that come with better quality. The materials usually come from a better source and it is usually made in more ethical conditions. And when we lift workers out of poverty that enables them to live more eco-friendly too.
I am so passionate about the effect that less clutter has on your mind, time, and happiness. When we have less stuff we have less stuff to maintain and our home becomes so much happier. We spend less time looking for things and our mental load becomes lighter.
When we are supported not burdened by our homes we are freed up to spend more time on what we actually value. When we don't have to spend a whole day catching up on housework, who has time to watch a documentary about what we can do to improve the soil health of the planet and fight climate change? Let alone spending the time to take action on what we learn.
P.S. If you live a minimalistic life and have time to snuggle up on the couch in your clean house to watch Netflix, I highly recommend the doco 'Kiss the Ground'
So to summarise, Minimalism and sustainability go hand in hand. Minimalism isn't just some trend that's about white walls and tidy drawers. It is a philosophy that combats that mindless consumerism that is literally killing ecosystems on earth. The first step to minimalism is to declutter, and do it sustainably, not just dumping everything in landfills. Then, we must become more conscious of what we let into our lives. That is what I am about here at Sort it Out Sustainably and I am here to help you make the shift. Come hang out with me on Instagram @sortitoutsustainably.