Try Minimalism to lower your footprint

What is Minimalism?
Minimalism is an emerging lifestyle that involves owning a small number of things. This means less everything, less clothes, less furniture, less electronics, just plain less stuff. The benefits of owning less stuff are widespread. First and foremost owning less stuff means saving money. When you are actively trying to own a small amount of physical things buying more things is counter productive. In the end you save money by consuming less goods. You will also have more time to do the things you enjoy. By having less things in your home you will spend less time taking care of the things you own. There's a popular phrase among minimalists that goes “the more stuff you own, the more your stuff owns you”. The idea behind this is that the more stuff you have the more time you have to spend cleaning and maintaining said stuff. So with less stuff, you spend less time maintaining it. Of course there are other benefits besides saving money and time. Many people find that living with less stuff helps improve their mood and lower their stress.

How Does Minimalism help lower your carbon footprint?
How all this ties into lower your carbon footprint is pretty straight forward. All goods have a footprint. Throughout the item's life cycle it accumulates more and more waste, from the energy used in manufacturing the goods to the fuel used in shipping them to consumers and finally there's the energy it may consume while in use. While the footprint of an individual item may not be very big, most Americans consume a lot of goods in their lifetime. All of these goods add up to a large carbon footprint. Fortunately the solution to consumer waste is simple. Buy less stuff!

How to get Started?

While there is no standard for what is considered minimalist some set a quantifiable goal for themselves such as owning less than 100 items or don’t buy anything but the absolute essentials this month. While these examples might be a little to extreme for most, smaller goals should have a similar mindset. Where should you start? Start with your wardrobe and start a donation box for the clothes you can live without. Then move on to a bigger area like the garage. Eventually you can work your way up to the harder decisions such as scaling down to a single TV for the whole house.

If your goal is to lower your carbon footprint then there are two important things you should remember when trying to minimize. First off make sure that when your are getting rid of stuff you do your best to find someone who can use it. If you simply throw your old stuff away then you're not helping the environment. If however, you can find someone to donate it to, then you may have saved someone from buying a new version of whatever it is you gave them. This means you have saved the additional waste of a new item being made and shipped. If you can’t find someone who you can give it away to, then try to recycle it or at least ensure it is responsibly destroyed. The second thing to keep in mind is that bringing less stuff is the most important part. If you continue to consume goods in the same manner as you did before than you will quickly re-gather the amount of stuff you gave away. Also buy buying less stuff you are accomplishing the goal of lowering your carbon footprint.

How Minimalism helps you
        Living a minimalist lifestyle is about reducing stress in your life and freeing yourself from your stuff. By minimizing the amount of stuff you own you will have more free time to pursue the things that make you the happiest. You will also save a ton of money by limiting future purchases to fit your new lifestyle! You can also feel good about how this life change can help reduce the amount of waste in the world.

Learn More
Both of these blogs offer great ideas on how to start your minimizing journey.