COVID-19 Is Turning Us into Minimalists
06 Jan 2021
Kylie Jenner was ahead of her time when she said that 2016 was the year of realizing things, and we can all say that it applies to 2020 too.
In a world where people are constantly moving and doing something, the sudden immobility brought on by the pandemic has shifted everyone’s priorities. With travel plans canceled, work and meetups turning virtual, and even physical shops turning into online stores, our usual way of life was suspended and our routines drastically began to change.
With everyone confined to their homes during the lockdown, people used their time to try different things. Some started baking their own bread, cooked their own meals, experimented with their clothing, or even tried a new hobby. The situation forced us to reassess the idea of “comfortable living,” and, for some, that meant having only the essentials. This is where minimalism comes in.
What is minimalism?
Some might think of Marie Kondo’s organizing method, KonMari, where items that “don’t spark joy” must be discarded. Others think it involves throwing or selling off all your possessions and living in a Japanese-style space, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Minimalism differs from person to person, but it generally means “less is more” or simplistic living. Queer Eye’s Bobby Berk cites it as “living your best, uncluttered life.”
While it might sound like one of the modern trends that fade away just as fast as they appear, minimalism actually dates back thousands of years in connection to Buddhism. Minimalism isn’t limited to objects either. You can apply it to your daily routine, clothes, social calendar, phone apps, and even people.
Minimalism and COVID-19
How many times have you worn the same outfit for going out to get the groceries or doing quick errands outside? How many Zoom parties have you attended in a nice top and sweatpants?
Clothing choices become limited as we follow social distancing rules and leave the house less and less. We have also started cooking at home or relying on take-out and delivery instead of ordering at restaurants. Consumer behavior has changed since the start of the pandemic as we focus on spending only on necessities like groceries and household essentials and less on accessories, apparel, and other things that are considered “wants.” BBC cites that clothing sales have plummeted in March as “no-one wants to buy clothes to sit at home in.”
When it comes to clothing, we realize that we could do with less than what we have now. While fashion still matters, people are considering using easy-to-wear and more durable pieces.
What are the benefits of minimalism?
Not only is minimalism beneficial for your space, but it’s also great for your mental health.
In a study made by Mario Pandelaere of Ghent University, he recognizes the negative relationship between materialism and well-being and that materialists aren’t always the happiest people. Another study by Darby Saxbe and Rena Repetti states that clutter can increase cortisol levels, also known as our stress hormone. It becomes hard to focus when everything around you is disorganized, and it even affects your memory.
Another benefit of practicing minimalism is that you save time and money. When you have less clutter, it decreases the time you spend cleaning your space and organize your things, and you can spend more time focusing on your priorities. Becoming critical of your own purchases and prioritizing what you need over what you want will positively impact your finances.
How to Further Practice a Minimalist Lifestyle
Since everyone has somehow practiced this way of life at the start of the pandemic, here are a few ways to continue keeping your space and your mind clutter-free.
Curate Your Wardrobe with the Right Clothes
You might have clothes you’ve never tried on or never mixed and matched with other clothes. Now’s the right time to try it out! You might find an interesting style you’ve never tried before. Try donating or selling clothes you don’t use if you want to make space for new ones. If you do feel the need to get something new, get something that’s sturdy, low-maintenance, can be used in any season, and will last you a long time.
Soft shirts and sweatpants are good for grocery shopping or running quick errands, but for women who want to spice up their outfits for a virtual hangout or improve their business casual attire, you can’t go wrong with denim. It’s easy to maintain, and it’ll definitely last you a long time.
Clean Up Your Workspace
A clear space equals a clear mind. You’ll be more productive when your space is free from clutter and distractions. Put only what you need for work on your workspace. Not only will this help you focus, but it will also help you separate your work life from your personal life.
Organize Items by Category
When you know where everything is, you save time by easily getting what you need and not spending time looking for something you’ve misplaced, and you’ll also find how many of the same items you actually have. This way, you can get rid of duplicates and easily find what you need when you need it.
Keep Track of Your Spending Habits
If you still find yourself spending on unnecessary things, use an expense tracker. Wally helps you budget your money and helps you see what you usually spend on. From there, look at what you’re spending the most on and figure out if you really need it or if you only want it.
Minimalism is not only a way of life but a mindset. A mindset that pushes us to reevaluate our priorities in life and help us realize what we truly need and what we only want, and at a time when today is just as unpredictable as tomorrow, prioritizing our well-being and relationships push us to keep moving forward.