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How To Be Basic

Tips on how to live with less


Whenever I see closets or homes that only have neutral or nude palettes, it makes me wonder if they ever get bored with it or how do they even differentiate each piece from another. How about those who only keep the basic pieces, do they have enough to choose from? It’s not my preference but I actually admire their color & style uniformity. When I was a little miss, I dreamed of being just like them -- a minimalist. A girl who owns curated clothes & fixtures. A life with less complications (generally speaking).

As a fashion and interior lover, I have always been the shopaholic type: buying things (from my outfits to huge couches) that look pretty and/or interesting for me. I was the impulsive type, which is why most of the things end up unused and it keeps piling up in every corner of our house. Even with my fashion choices, I always go for the maximalist ones--printed, bright colors, too detailed--which makes it hard to repeat clothes. Hence, my brain is always giving me a greenlight to shop for more.

Having said so, why am I trying to be minimalist? I realize that as you get older, and as you spend your hard-earned money, material things are not as valuable as we think it is. As cliché it may sound, we cannot leave this earth with material possessions; all will be left behind. Not to mention the recent pandemic (Sorry about mentioning it on my posts so often. Maybe it is really a wake-up call for me) has made us reflect more on our life choices. When everything seems on a standstill, and all you want to see is your loved ones safe and healthy.

Going back, so how do we simplify our lives and lessen the things we own? Aside from spring-cleaning, decluttering, and garage sale, which we’re all familiar with, here are some of the reminders I have for myself to get me through my agenda, and I want to share these with you:

1. Watch more documentaries. This will help us better understand people’s lives with less belongings and will hopefully encourage us to live like them.

2. Read books. It can be a fool-proof guide on how to do things accordingly or it can broaden our knowledge on how to organize efficiently.

3. When buying things, always weigh if it is a need or a want. Ask yourself a series of questions: Can I live without this? How many times can I use this? How long can I get a return of investment? If you buy it because of the latter, then most probably, you will use it only once or it will remain in your room unopened.

4. Don’t spend beyond your means. Always remember to save your money for more important matters. Besides, you will most likely end up regretting your purchase.

5. One of the lessons I have learned from “The Science of Well-Being” course from Yale University is that our minds are built to get used to stuff. One good example is when you were able to buy your dream cellphone (or upgrade to the latest one even if you don’t need to), your happiness rating is actually high on the first few months of having that gadget, but after a while, you get accustomed to using it, it won’t make you happier anymore, or in fact, the happiness rating decreases.

6. Storage. Check if you still have space for new ones. If there’s none, try having a rule: For every item that you buy, you eliminate two items in your place.

7. Do not try to impress others. Just like in fashion, dress for yourself and not for anyone else, same thing goes for other stuff you want to own. If it will do you good, (examples: it will increase your productivity, boost your confidence), then buy it and own it!

8. Limit your visit to the mall or your activities online. The more you see things that are fresh for your eyes, the more it attracts you in buying it, especially if it falls on your interests. You can also do yourself a favor by unsubscribing from commercial emails. And by lessening your time online (on TV as well), the lesser you can watch advertisements (whose main goal is to entice you with their offerings), the lesser you are tempted to purchase.

There you have it! It’s a challenge, I know, but there’s no better way to do it but to try and try and try again until you feel more contented with what you have. You might thank yourself later.


Written by Edrelyn Santos

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